[mythtv-users] HD tuner: best bang for the buck

Cool Frood aaranya+mythtv at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 18:15:54 UTC 2007

On 11/3/07, Rod Smith <mythtv at rodsbooks.com> wrote:
> On Friday 02 November 2007 18:33:05 Cool Frood wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > Sorry if this is somewhat of a repeat of things that have been talked
> > about before.  I'm in the market for a cheap HD tuner (in the US) that
> > works well with MythTV.  The key things are "cheap" and "works well."
> > Reading previous discussions, it seems that people really like
> > HDHomeRun or PCHDTV.  However, both of them seem to be comparatively
> > pricier than the other options available.
> I originally had a pair of pcHDTV 3000 cards, but their QAM reception was so
> poor as to make them useless for receiving digital cable signals, at least in
> my computers. I therefore bought a secondhand AVerMedia AVerTV A180 card,
> which works much better for QAM (digital cable) reception. I seem to recall
> it went for under $50 on eBay, but it was used, not new; I'm not sure what
> the new price is.
> Note that there are probably three types of signals that are important for HD
> tuners in the US: ATSC (over-the-air digital), QAM (digital cable), and NTSC
> (standard analog). Many tuners support just two of these, or sometimes just
> one (ATSC). If getting digital cable is important to you, be sure yours
> supports QAM; and if you want analog reception, be sure yours supports NTSC.
> AFAIK, all HD tuners that record NTSC do so as frame grabbers, not as
> hardware MPEG-2 encoders. Therefore, IMHO it's better to get separate digital
> tuners and NTSC MPEG-2 tuners, if you've got the available slots. The AVerTV
> A180 card I've got is effectively an ATSC/QAM card; under Linux it's useless
> for NTSC encoding. IIRC, the same is true of the HDHomeRun. I believe the
> Air2PC card that somebody else mentioned doesn't support QAM, so it's useless
> if you want to record digital cable channels.

Thanks for all the info.  One more question.  I have Comcast analog
cable right now, without a cable box.  I don't intend to go digital
until they shove it down my throat, the reason being that analog is
cheaper and more so because I have done the whole IR blaster thing
before and I prefer not to go down that road again.

I've heard that Comcast carries the OTA HD channels (NBC, ABC)
unencrypted over their analog cable, though I can't confirm whether
that's the case with me.  If I understand you correctly, these would
also be ATSC and not QAM, right?

Also, can anyone confirm that Comcast in fact *does* carry the basic
HD channels in the clear?

> --
> Rod Smith
> http://www.rodsbooks.com
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