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Can I Use A PCI Tuner Card With Time-Warner

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Old 08-29-2009, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Can I Use A PCI Tuner Card With Time-Warner

First, hello and I hope this thread is not a duplicate. I did search a bit and did not see anything similar.

What I am asking is that if anyone has experience or expertise with using a PCI HD video card to receive TW's HD signal on a computer? I specifically am aiming on utilizing a computer as a DVR and to access a TV programming listing. I now rent TW's DVR for about $15 including the menu subscription fee.

I don't know if this possible with TW. I have checked a few Hauppauge cards, but it appears that their tuners only have a range of 125 channels. TW has their HD programming in the 1,000+ channel range. I realize that I can go with an antenna, but I'm hoping that I can gain similar features to their DVR so that I can return it.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by woodyhayes68 View Post
First, hello and I hope this thread is not a duplicate. I did search a bit and did not see anything similar.

What I am asking is that if anyone has experience or expertise with using a PCI HD video card to receive TW's HD signal on a computer? I specifically am aiming on utilizing a computer as a DVR and to access a TV programming listing. I now rent TW's DVR for about $15 including the menu subscription fee.

I don't know if this possible with TW. I have checked a few Hauppauge cards, but it appears that their tuners only have a range of 125 channels. TW has their HD programming in the 1,000+ channel range. I realize that I can go with an antenna, but I'm hoping that I can gain similar features to their DVR so that I can return it.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
I believe the tuner card would need to have a QAM tuner in it as well as a ATSC tuner.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:48 PM   #3
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Thank you for the response.

A Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 card is one that I am looking at and has ClearQAM (hybrid tuner, whatever that means). If TW does provide QAM programming, does that mean that the channels would actually be in the 125 range (all or some)?

I aplogize for the apparent ignorance, but you don't know if you don't ask.

card specs: ATSC / ClearQAM / NTSC (source: newegg)
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:12 PM   #4
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Thank you for the response.

A Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 card is one that I am looking at and has ClearQAM (hybrid tuner, whatever that means). If TW does provide QAM programming, does that mean that the channels would actually be in the 125 range (all or some)?

I aplogize for the apparent ignorance, but you don't know if you don't ask.

card specs: ATSC / ClearQAM / NTSC (source: newegg)
That should work.
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Old 08-29-2009, 09:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by woodyhayes68 View Post
Thank you for the response.

A Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 card is one that I am looking at and has ClearQAM (hybrid tuner, whatever that means). If TW does provide QAM programming, does that mean that the channels would actually be in the 125 range (all or some)?

I aplogize for the apparent ignorance, but you don't know if you don't ask.

card specs: ATSC / ClearQAM / NTSC (source: newegg)
The key phrase is ClearQAM. That means it will only tune channels that TWC does not scramble. Thus even though you may order HBO, SHO, Cinemax, etc the tuner card will not receive them. Additionally, in many markets TWC will re-arrange the channel assignments from time to time which makes scheduling a DVR operation difficult. As time goes by I'm thinking they will scramble more and more channels to make it even more difficult for QAM tuners to work with TWC. After all, they want you to rent their DVR.

The channel numbers are usually in the 80-120 range and they use sub-channels like 87-1, 87-2, etc. If you call TWC the people that you get to talk to will not have a clue as to the QAM channel assignments. Most people who have QAM tuners have to scan for channels and make up their own map. If TWC re-assigns them the process has to be repeated for the new map. With their cable box a user never realizes the channels have been re-assigned as they are mapped to different channel numbers anyway. QAM channel 87-2 may be channel 376 (or any other channel #) on the cable box. You can get some idea of what you may be able to receive here: http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/channels_us. You enter your zip code and then select the TWC cable service.

All in all these days I'd recommend against a QAM tuner card because of the very limited use, imo. I have U-verse and use a Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR Video Capture device for any programs I want to archive on my HTPC. With TWC you could use one of their non-DVR boxes and the 1212 to make a PC based DVR. Then if you switch to satellite or a telco service the 1212 will still work.

Last edited by rbinck; 08-29-2009 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Added silicondust info.
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:09 PM   #6
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Again, thank you the quick response. After checking out other areas of this forum it is obvious that many members have expertise that they are graciously willing to share. This is a great resource for the uninformed masses, including my humble self.

Details on what QAM channels are elementary to my plan. The plan, as it is, is to build a modest quad core box with a tuner / capture card and accompanying PCIe card that would facilitate at least web browsing, gaming and some type of TV viewing on a 50' Samsung 720p plasma. After some thought of this build I wondered if I could replace the rented Atlantic Scientific DVR with this set up and essentially get a "payback" of the expected $500 - $600 cost of the computer. I obviously did not know if it was possible to receive all the programming that I currently pay for if I eliminated the AS DVR and it is evident that I cannot.

I followed the silicondust link and it created a couple more questions:

1) They list channels, but do not identify whether they are QAM or ClearQAM. Is is safe to assume that a ClearQAM tuner may get fewer channels?

2) Under the category of "Type" they list QAM256 for my area. Assuming I can access this with a ClearQAM tuner, is 256 the actual channel or do I tune in with what is listed in the Channel column?


According to the Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR Video Capture device link it appears that I would still need a capture card as it states that this is only an interface. I appreciate the reference, but it doesn't look like an applicable device for my needs since my signal is delivered by coax and one of the tuner / capture cards that I have in mind would enable direct linkage to the coax. While the 1212 does offer some attractive on-screen options, I do not prefer the cost up. My thinking at this point is to go ahead with the PC build with the aforementioned goals (sans the DVR replacement). The approximate $100 cost of a tuner / capture would apparently at least enable the recording of some digital (and hopefully HD) TV programming.

On final question that is a bit off topic - The silicondust link lists resolution for several of the channels in my area as 1280x720p. Perhaps I am still enjoying the bliss of ignorance, but I did not think it was possible to broadcast to that resolution. It has been my understanding that the only way to access 1280p was thru Blu-ray?
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by woodyhayes68 View Post
Again, thank you the quick response. After checking out other areas of this forum it is obvious that many members have expertise that they are graciously willing to share. This is a great resource for the uninformed masses, including my humble self.

Details on what QAM channels are elementary to my plan. The plan, as it is, is to build a modest quad core box with a tuner / capture card and accompanying PCIe card that would facilitate at least web browsing, gaming and some type of TV viewing on a 50' Samsung 720p plasma. After some thought of this build I wondered if I could replace the rented Atlantic Scientific DVR with this set up and essentially get a "payback" of the expected $500 - $600 cost of the computer. I obviously did not know if it was possible to receive all the programming that I currently pay for if I eliminated the AS DVR and it is evident that I cannot.

I followed the silicondust link and it created a couple more questions:

1) They list channels, but do not identify whether they are QAM or ClearQAM. Is is safe to assume that a ClearQAM tuner may get fewer channels?

2) Under the category of "Type" they list QAM256 for my area. Assuming I can access this with a ClearQAM tuner, is 256 the actual channel or do I tune in with what is listed in the Channel column?


According to the Hauppauge 1212 HD-PVR Video Capture device link it appears that I would still need a capture card as it states that this is only an interface. I appreciate the reference, but it doesn't look like an applicable device for my needs since my signal is delivered by coax and one of the tuner / capture cards that I have in mind would enable direct linkage to the coax. While the 1212 does offer some attractive on-screen options, I do not prefer the cost up. My thinking at this point is to go ahead with the PC build with the aforementioned goals (sans the DVR replacement). The approximate $100 cost of a tuner / capture would apparently at least enable the recording of some digital (and hopefully HD) TV programming.

On final question that is a bit off topic - The silicondust link lists resolution for several of the channels in my area as 1280x720p. Perhaps I am still enjoying the bliss of ignorance, but I did not think it was possible to broadcast to that resolution. It has been my understanding that the only way to access 1280p was thru Blu-ray?
1280 x 720p, where 720p is the number you want to look at; meaning that the broadcast is in 720 lines of horizontal resolution and progressively scanned. For all practical purposes the cable and sat co's use 720p and 1080i almost exclusively for HD.
Give this a quick read - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/720p

And welcome to the HD forum.
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Old 08-30-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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@woodyhayes68
People ask the tuner card question for various reasons. To be able to record HD programming is the most popular reason for the inquiry. To save money by not having to rent a TWC box is second in the reasoning, at least in my experience. I had assumed you wanted to be able to record in HD to your PC for archiving purposes.

The QAM256 has to do with the particular compression used for that channel. Here in Houston we have some QAM256 and some QAM64. QAM256 is generally better quality.

You would probably be correct that you will get less than what is listed. Give us your zip code and we may be able to be more precise.

Last edited by rbinck; 08-30-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:16 PM   #9
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@woodyhayes68
you would probably be correct that you will get less than what is listed. Give us your zip code and we may be able to be more precise.
45503
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:19 PM   #10
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1280 x 720p, where 720p is the number you want to look at
I should have known that. I've probably already read that wiki. Silly me.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:04 AM   #11
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45503
The 48 channels shown for TWC is probably what you will get. Plus whatever analog channels there are.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:31 PM   #12
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The 48 channels shown for TWC is probably what you will get. Plus whatever analog channels there are.
If it is HD you are interested in, you will only get the local channels (ABC,NBC,CBS,FOX,CW,PBS) in the clear over most if not all cable systems. Talking to an insider at the cable company it sounds like the content providers are not letting the cable companies put there HD channels in the clear (TNT,TBS,ESPN, USA, SyFy, Discover,TLC,A&E, ETC..)

But there is hope for a good HTPC solution. MS has announced that with Windows 7 you can use cable card tuners on home built PCs. This means you can rent a M-CABLECARD from your provider and with a new cable card tuner coming out record up to 6 channel at a time (Ceton Cablecard Tuner). Also on Windows 7 PCs there will be support for SDV USB adapter.

I am ready to upgrade my HTPC to Windows 7 and give this crappy DVR back to the Cable company.

Last edited by WhatHappend; 09-14-2009 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 08:27 PM   #13
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If it is HD you are interested in, you will only get the local channels (ABC,NBC,CBS,FOX,CW,PBS) in the clear over most if not all cable systems. Talking to an insider at the cable company it sounds like the content providers are not letting the cable companies put there HD channels in the clear (TNT,TBS,ESPN, USA, SyFy, Discover,TLC,A&E, ETC..)

But there is hope for a good HTPC solution. MS has announced that with Windows 7 you can use cable card tuners on home built PCs. This means you can rent a M-CABLECARD from your provider and with a new cable card tuner coming out record up to 6 channel at a time (Ceton Cablecard Tuner). Also on Windows 7 PCs there will be support for SDV USB adapter.

I am ready to upgrade my HTPC to Windows 7 and give this crappy DVR back to the Cable company.
And just what slot are you going to be plugging it into? Go ahead and downgrade to Win7 and tether your windows machine to the most DRM pervasive operating system to date. This is not hope for any HTPC machine but rather a step towards the MPAA and RIAA dominating and disabling equipment.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:06 PM   #14
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And just what slot are you going to be plugging it into? Go ahead and downgrade to Win7 and tether your windows machine to the most DRM pervasive operating system to date. This is not hope for any HTPC machine but rather a step towards the MPAA and RIAA dominating and disabling equipment.
I will plug it into a PCIe slot of course.

I will have the 4 tuner HTPC in a closet and run xbox360's as media center extenders (or maybe a new TV with Mediacenter extender function built in).

With the new Windows 7 release, only the channels/shows that are marked as no-copy will be encrypted and DRMed. All other shows will be recored in the clear just like my current OTA Vista MediaCenter.

This is mush less restrictive then any cable company provided device and no other brand Media Center software will be able to tune via a cable card (Maybe some day Apple will get a solution certified be CLABS).

The new DRM for Windows 7 w/cable card will be the same as the current TIVO's loose model.
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