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Recommended Converter Box

Kcgreatfox
05-01-2009, 08:26 PM
My college has recently had a change in their cable plan. The school has RCN, and this year instead of having a primarily analog service, the majority of the channels (of course, all the good ones) are now digital. Only a handful of channels are still offered in the analog format. :banghead:

Unfortunately, the TV I have is a little old, and only supports analog signals. Being a poor college student, I can't afford a new TV.

My room mate and I decided that we would split the cost of a converter box, and I'm wondering what the best option would be. I'm looking for one that's a reasonable price, but has the best features and functionality.

Any recommendations? :what:

DoctorCAD
05-02-2009, 06:16 AM
I don't think one is available except from the cable company.

Kcgreatfox
05-02-2009, 09:59 AM
I don't think one is available except from the cable company.

There's quite a few converter boxes on the market. Just look at the search results from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=converter+box&x=0&y=0

DoctorCAD
05-02-2009, 12:53 PM
Those are for OTA only, not cable. Cable digital signals require the cable companies box only.

Kcgreatfox
05-02-2009, 02:10 PM
Those are for OTA only, not cable. Cable digital signals require the cable companies box only.

haha yeah I just figured that out... Any options for getting digital cable that isn't an illegal do-it-yourself kind of thing?

HiDefRev
05-02-2009, 03:51 PM
Nope. In order to receive the decode the digital signals from your cable company, you must use one of their boxes. :(

glennb1
05-03-2009, 10:44 PM
Nope. In order to receive the decode the digital signals from your cable company, you must use one of their boxes. :(

No. Not really true. :(
If you have a QAM tuner in an HDTV you will get the free digital cable channels that are sent down the cabletv line as long as you are paying for the basic cableTV service.

DoctorCAD
05-04-2009, 05:47 AM
No. Not really true. :(
If you have a QAM tuner in an HDTV you will get the free digital cable channels that are sent down the cabletv line as long as you are paying for the basic cableTV service.

From the original post "Unfortunately, the TV I have is a little old, and only supports analog signals. Being a poor college student, I can't afford a new TV."

Kcgreatfox
05-05-2009, 05:49 PM
No. Not really true. :(
If you have a QAM tuner in an HDTV you will get the free digital cable channels that are sent down the cabletv line as long as you are paying for the basic cableTV service.

I'm kinda confused now, because i know people with tvs that have digital tuners and they get all the channels and they don't need a cable box... they don't sell digital tuners like you would find in a newer tv? :confused:

DoctorCAD
05-05-2009, 07:06 PM
I'm kinda confused now, because i know people with tvs that have digital tuners and they get all the channels and they don't need a cable box... they don't sell digital tuners like you would find in a newer tv? :confused:

I have an external QAM tuner, it will pick up the signals that the cable company sends in QAM, but NOT IN DIGITAL ONLY.

Or they are using the OTA tuner in their TVs to pick up regular TV signals over the air. Those will be (generally) in HD.

Kcgreatfox
05-06-2009, 08:07 AM
I have an external QAM tuner, it will pick up the signals that the cable company sends in QAM, but NOT IN DIGITAL ONLY.

Or they are using the OTA tuner in their TVs to pick up regular TV signals over the air. Those will be (generally) in HD.

They aren't using the OTA tuner. We actually have a cable jack in the room that will give you both analog and digital channels. All they have to do is scan for channels and they get both digital and analog channels. What is QAM exactly?? :confused:

Sorry, I'm a bit ignorant about cable-related things :huh

DoctorCAD
05-06-2009, 10:55 AM
QAM is like FM or AM...its a type of signal that is sent down a TV cable. A QAM tuner will be able to tune in those signals that are sent in the QAM format. Lots of cable companies send all local channels in QAM, some cable companies send locals plus other signals in QAM, my cable company sends ALL of its HD channels in QAM, so I can pick them up with my QAM tuner.

What I (or anyone else) cannot pick up are the "regular" digital channels that the cable company sends down their cable. They are sent in a format that only THEIR cable box can decode. Those boxes are NOT AVAILABLE to the general public to own.

Of course at a college, nobody would be doing anything illegal to pick up the endrypted channels. We all know that students only spend their time on good and wholesome activities!

deadhead68
05-06-2009, 11:07 AM
What I (or anyone else) cannot pick up are the "regular" digital channels that the cable company sends down their cable. They are sent in a format that only THEIR cable box can decode. Those boxes are NOT AVAILABLE to the general public to own.


That's not exactly accurate. QAM is the signal format for digital cable signals. Some of which may be in HD, but they are all digital. QAM is not only for HD channels. When I connect my cable from the wall outlet to my TV's QAM tuner, I get all the unencrypted digital/HD channels. The only digital/HD channels I don't get are the premiums like HBO, Cinemax, etc. The only thing the STB is for is to decrypt the premium channels within the package you pay for.

DeadHead68

Bigloww
05-06-2009, 11:22 AM
As the Doctor stated, an external tuner, new HD TV or renting a set top box from your provider is your only option. We already know that a new HDTV is not in the cards... So either rent a STB for like $5 month from you cable provider (if cable is legit) or buy a terrestrial tuner with QAM on E-Bay.. The run about $75-$100 though unless you find a great deal..


Here is 1 from buy.com for $79 shipped. They have a version that has composite and component inputs and another with DVI.. Composite is what he will need most likely.

http://www.buy.com/videoclip/kworld-digital-atsc-qam-tv-tuner-box-reveiver/73163.html

http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=209849676#cRevSec

If he has a computer monitor, he may be able to get some locals in HD as well..

DoctorCAD
05-06-2009, 02:06 PM
That's not exactly accurate. QAM is the signal format for digital cable signals. Some of which may be in HD, but they are all digital. QAM is not only for HD channels. When I connect my cable from the wall outlet to my TV's QAM tuner, I get all the unencrypted digital/HD channels. The only digital/HD channels I don't get are the premiums like HBO, Cinemax, etc. The only thing the STB is for is to decrypt the premium channels within the package you pay for.

DeadHead68

Sorry, I should have qualified QAM with Clear QAM. My cable company (and I thought all others) does not send their digital channels in Clear QAM.

My tuner "sees" all 222 digital channels on the cable, but only the Clear QAM versions show up with a picture and sound.

I also get all 29 music channels, but without the video information screens.

Kcgreatfox
05-06-2009, 06:54 PM
Of course at a college, nobody would be doing anything illegal to pick up the endrypted channels. We all know that students only spend their time on good and wholesome activities!

:lol: the digital tuners in their tvs are legit! Really, the only channel I want that RCN doesn't offer in analog is Sci-Fi!

My room mate might just ask for a new TV with a tuner than can pick up the digital stations RCN provides without a box for Christmas... The other options are a bit too expensive :crying:

quattroG
05-08-2009, 11:25 AM
:lol: the digital tuners in their tvs are legit! Really, the only channel I want that RCN doesn't offer in analog is Sci-Fi!

My room mate might just ask for a new TV with a tuner than can pick up the digital stations RCN provides without a box for Christmas... The other options are a bit too expensive :crying:

I think your best bet would be to rent the box. Like others have stated. A non-HD box from RCN is something like $3.95 a month. Because you have RCN, even if you purchase a new digital capable TV, you may not get the digital channels. I'm in the Lehigh Valley, PA RCN coverage area. And here, RCN has recently blocked all HD except the major networks and PBS. Those are the only HD in the clear. The music channels are also still in the clear. But other than that, many of the digital channels are encrypted and no longer free and in the clear. I would assume that's the same for other RCN areas as well?