Clear QAM receiver

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by w8ing4intelmacs, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. w8ing4intelmacs macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast, US
    #1
    I have an HDTV that has a NTSC receiver but no clear QAM support. Is there such a thing as a clear QAM receiver that I buy?
     
  2. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #2
    Yes, just about every set-top HD box (such as the one provided by your local cable company) as well as HD-DVR boxes like Tivo and similar have one or more HD signal receivers built in. Just do a search for "clear QAM" set top box or clear QAM DVR.

    Now understand that the "clear" in "clear QAM" basically translates into the HD channels your cable company will give you "for free*" with the asterisk translating into probably requiring at least a basic level of cable service. Many HD channels via cable will not be in the free tier, so I wouldn't expect much more than just the same local channels you can get if you put up an antenna or use rabbit ears. But, depending on where you are, there are sometimes a few "goodies" included in the "clear" zone (for now).

    Also, since this is in the :apple:TV section, it probably goes without saying that :apple:TV has no such tuner built in. There are many clear QAM USB sticks you can plug into your computer and capture the free HD channels available in your cable's "free*" tier. Some of those make it not too difficult to convert those captures into :apple:TV-compatible video, which then can be watched on your :apple:TV. Look at Elgato and similar for those kinds of solutions.
     
  3. dmm219 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    #3
    Yea, basic rule of thumb, never expect anything over clear QAM that you wouldn't get with OTA...QAM is just handy in that you don't need to mess around with an antenna. It also assumes you have at least some form of cable service. You don't necessarily need basic cable. Usually, if you use cable for you internet only, you will also have access to the Clear QAM channels.

    If you have no cable subscription at all, you probably won't be able to pull in any QAM and you'll need to go with an antenna.
     
  4. jtbell macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Location:
    South Carolina, USA
    #4
    The Official AVS HDTV STB Synopsis - Winter 2009 (scroll down to the section "Over The Air DTV/HDTV/Cable Clear QAM")
     
  5. Advance The Man macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #5
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    how do you know if your tv has qam or not? I don't have the manual.
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #6
    Assuming you mean for HD channel acquisition, just plug the cable into the cable jack, scan for channels, then see if you get any HD channels. The most likely ones you will find will be your local networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX) but they might be anywhere in the channel numbering (meaning that if your CBS is on- say- Channel 9, don't necessarily expect it to be delivered via cable on cable channel 9). Check with your cable company (or their website) to pin down exactly which of their cable channel allocations will actually show your local channels in HD. Then, after you've scanned for all channels, go to those channels and see if you get them.

    If you didn't mean HD, chances are favorable that just about any TV made in the last 5-10 years will have a regular QAM receiver built in. Again, just plug in the cable, scan channels, and see if you see channels. The QAM ones will likely be those above about 120 (often billed as "digital tier" or similar). You may need what is called a cable card to tune in many of them; else, you'll need their settop box which then acts as the QAM tuner for your TV. If your TV has a cable card slot, you almost certainly have a QAM tuner built in.
     

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