I do all my TV program recording with my computer — and am using a Hauppauge WinTV PVR-USB2 and a Pinnacle "stick". I am able to do this without a box. How is the Feb switchover going to affect my set up?
Digital broadcast transition aside, many of us are Comcast customers facing the end of extended basic analog service. Many of us have DVR devices and need to know how to adapt.
I understand that Comcast will be distributing digital converters to effected customers. With that in mind:
I have a home-brew DVR with two reciever cards:
An analog tuner (Happauge 150)
A digital (QAM) tuner (hdtv 3000)
Question 1: If I connect the analog tuner directly to the coax, without the digital converter device, will it be able to recieve the "Basic Cable" analog channels?
Question 2: If I connect the digital tuner card to the digital converter device, will it be able to recieve the digital channels directly? (It is currently capable of tuning into the QAM channels included with the basic extended analog service.)
The analog tuner should still work for the basic channels still provided by Comcast in analog (probably just the locals). The QAM tuner should work for unencrypted digital channels (including HD). Exactly which channels are included is a local matter.
* He was not sure if the clear QAM channels would still be available on Basic cable after 2/17. He hadn't heard either way.
* A DTA is a cut-down set top box. It has a digital tuner; it tunes in on a digital signal and outputs an analog signal. It is not a passive device; it has a remote and must be tuned to a particular station.
* This means that a VCR plugged into it would only recieve the station that the DTA is tuned to.
* Analog PC card tuners would be in the same boat.
* And, according to the fellow I talked to, digital TVs and presumably QAM pc cards would be in the same boat.
Assemblers of home-brew DVR equipment can adapt to this by adding a "IR blaster" which would tune the DTA to the desired channel before a recording begins. But you'd need a seperate IR blaster and a seperate DTA for each tuner card.
In short, this will be a major pain.
If it turns out that QAM broadcast channels are still provided with basic cable, then I might just reduce my plan to basic cable and use the money I save to rent Netflix DVD collections of cable shows.
I was able to set up my DVR to capture from the digital equivalent of the Standard Basic lineup (channels 32-71), plus the 20 or so bonus channels thrown in after the transition (Sprout, MSNBC, Hallmark, etc.).
These are currently, and hopefully will remain, clear QAM, so no STB and IR blaster was necessary. (NB: If you have a digital TV you can recieve them directly, but you'll need to make your own cable guide since the channels are all over the place.)
This was not easy. I had to do a lot of scanning and painstaking manual IDing of the channels.If anybody is interested I'll point out the relevant articles in the MythTV Wiki.
Since I'm paying for the channels, and am only recording for time-shifting purposes, I see no problem with going around the miserable DTAs. I can't access the premium stuff so there's no service piracy involved. And this way my tuner still can access the OTA HD channels.
StefanJ -- I see no problem with the way you're accessing the QAM channels. You may in the future encounter situations where Comcast moves channels, and they may encrypt the expanded basic channels at some time.