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Do I need an HD cable box?

Posted by
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Member Since: ‎08-15-2011
Posts: 19
Message 4 of 4 (1,739 Views)

Do I need an HD cable box?

Just finally upgraded to an HDtv. But right now without an HD cable box the picture isn't great. So I'm wondering is there a way to get the full effect of my HD tv without having to get an HD cable box. Because I don't intend to upgrade cable packages. It would not be worth it, since my current package doesn't have many HD channels if any. So I don't want to go paying for a box each month, just so the channels I do get show up in HD. 

I was told I may be able to just run the cable wire right to the tv and get the HD effect. And if I wanted to use the cable box just run a splitter between the TV and cable box I currently have.

Is this possible. Any diagrams on how to do so? 

Posted by
Silver Problem Solver

Member Since: ‎06-17-2008
Posts: 13,999
Message 1 of 4 (1,586 Views)

Re: Do I need an HD cable box?

comcast and most cable providers have won the right to encrypt all channels, so if you have an hd tv you will need an hd cable box.  If you don't have an hd cable box you might be able to get a free dta box depending on your package.

Posted by
Member Since: ‎12-27-2012
Posts: 2
Message 2 of 4 (1,601 Views)

Re: Do I need an HD cable box?

Is Clear QAM for Comcast here in Albuquerque going away because of the FCC decision this month December 2012)?

Posted by
Cable Expert

Member Since: ‎03-02-2007
Posts: 17,039
Message 3 of 4 (1,721 Views)

Re: Do I need an HD cable box?

Yes, in many area's, you can split the coax and run one line directly to the TV's tuner.  That only works on systems that still have some clearQAM channels, and those will be mostly local network channels.  None of the other channels will be available without a cable box.  


If you system is encrypting the local network channels, then you could connect up a antenna to receive any available local network channels.


For most, the investment in a HDTV is worth the 9.95 a month for HD service and that includes all TV's in the home that have full cable boxes, all full std def boxes would qualify for replacing with HD boxes.  Then you get all the available HD channels in your digital TV package.


Using a std def box will give you a disappointing picture quality on a large HDTV.  You can improve that some by using the composite video cables (yellow / red / white) between the box and the TV's composite video input.  Using coax from the cable box to the TV gives you the worse picture quality.