Questions by another Comcast cutter

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Cursor, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Cursor macrumors 6502

    Cursor

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    Jul 17, 2002
    #1
    Hi all-I am in the process of trying to cut the cable cord, and I am almost there :). I have an AppleTV hacked with Boxee, and that is great except I obviously can't get any of my local channels. But, I am reading in places about something called Clear QAM and had a couple questions. I believe my Samsung HDTV has a QAM tuner in it, but I'm not sure.

    1. If I can get odd channels like 8-1, 8-2, 15-3, 99-4 but I don't officially pay for digital cable; is this an indicator that I have a QAM tuner built-in?

    2. If I do have a QAM tuner built in, can I safely cancel my cable subscription, and still get these channels, if my TV is plugged into cable?

    3. Why does the cable company not block this out–it seems like it would be illegal.

    Thanks in advance for all your replies!
     
  2. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #2
    Clear QAM is the new digital over-the air signal that networks are using to replace the old analog signal.

    It sounds like your TV has a digital tuner in it.
    As far as using the coax cable as mode of receiving the signal it's only as good as the coax is.

    They do sell new digital over-the-air antennas that are pretty cheap. I use an indoor antenna that's connected to the tv via coax and I get like 22 digital channels. They are all the free signal one used to get in the analog days.
    As far as expanded cable channels like the history channel et. al. you won't get those from any mode except from a comcast subscription.
     
  3. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #3
    Not correct.

    ATSC is for Digital OTA signals. Clear QAM is the distribution of local channels thru a provider without a set top box necessary to convert the protected signal and should cost the viewer no extra charges.
     
  4. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

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    #4

    Thanks for the quick reply! Sorry to seem slow-witted about this, but QAM is all new to me. As of this minute, I still have my standard basic cable subscription in-place. For example, if I would cancel it tonight, would I need an antenna to get all of these local channels if I kept my cable plugged in (assuming I get all my local, digital NBC/CBS/ABC/PBS channels now)?
     
  5. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #5
    You should not be able to recieve any channels if you cancel your cable. You would therefore need an antenna. However, if you have Comcast's internet still connected, there's a good chance you would then be able to plug the cable into your TV and recieve the QAM channels. This could be considered piracy, so check with Comcast in your area.
     
  6. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #6
    that would be piracy and Comcast puts a video filter on when a customer has only internet so they can't steal any video channels.
     
  7. PixelFactory macrumors regular

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    #7
    If you use a decoder to get cable only channels then yes, it is piracy. But, cable companies are required to broadcast local stations in unencrypted QAM. So even if you do not subscribe to cable, you can tune into local stations with a QAM tuner.
     
  8. Cursor thread starter macrumors 6502

    Cursor

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    #8
    So you're saying I'll be able to get ABC/NBC/CBS/PBS if I keep my cable internet connection (which I will). And that is not considered piracy, because I could get them over the air anyway. Let me know. Thanks a lot, this was very helpful knowledge.
     
  9. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #9
    You are correct. Given his description I just thought the OP was referring to the OTA digital signal when he said QAM.
     
  10. PixelFactory macrumors regular

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    #10
    Depends on the cable company. Here in Chicago (comcast) I was able to get local stations via QAM. The problem is that they keep changing the channel lineup so I have to re-find the stations every 2-6 weeks. I found that my ATSC tuner has better quality anyway. If you have a TV antenna, try it out. You do not need a special HDTV antenna to get over the air channels.
     
  11. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

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    Nov 20, 2002
    #11
    This is a very interesting topic to me, as I too want to give Comcast the boot.

    My main TV has these specs listed:

    Tuner: Integrated NTSC/ATSC/QAM HDTV Tuner

    So what would I need to get network channels? Is it region specific?
     
  12. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #12
    To get ATSC over-the air digital content all you need is a digital antenna.
     
  13. PixelFactory macrumors regular

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    #13
    If you have an antenna that can receive VHF (Channels 2 to 13) and UHF (Channels 14-69), you can get ATSC signals. There really is no such thing as a HDTV antenna, it's just marketing to get you to pay an extra $10. Current over the air HDTV signals are in the UHF band. When the transition to digital happens on June 12, main channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS) will be put into the VHF band and have better reception.
     
  14. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #14
    Right on. ATSC signals look great OTA, the same material should look better OTA than with cable or satellite.

    Not all the major networks will move back to the VHF band after the transition. Some will stay in the UHF band. The FCC gave some folks new channel assignaments and some folks got to keep their old ones. In my area, all stations will stay in the UHF band. It's really a local thing so make sure you check with local TV stations. They should be cramming it down your throat by now...:D
     
  15. PixelFactory macrumors regular

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    #15
    Cramming is an understatement. At least they will start giving full power to the HD broadcasts.
     
  16. dmm219 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Clear QAM is definitely NOT piracy. Cable companies are required by federal law to provide the same local OTA channels over their cable lines unencrypted. It will it most cases only work with the digital channels and you will more likely not get stuff like history or discovery. In most cases you will get the local networks...ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, PBS...etc. And in most areas, each of those will be in HD.

    Cable companies are still playing around with their QAM lineups and every other week or so, its a good idea to do rescan to pick up any new channels they have in the clear. I actually have Discovery HD theatre for a little in the clear, figured that one would't last.

    I get far better coverage with QAM than with an antenna...and I really don't want to be mounting and antenna outside. Works very well for me.
     
  17. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

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    #17
    Comcast has to supply local channels? no, that's why people who don't have cable would have an antenna or dish. People who have internet though a cable company w/o paying for video service will get a video trap on the line. Cable isn't mandatory for everyone to have.
     
  18. jtbell macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Not all of them. I have two OTA digital stations in the VHF band. They use channels that didn't happen to be occupied already by analog stations in my area.

    Most stations that now use the high-VHF channels (7-13) for analog will move their digital signals to those channels, because they need much less power and VHF tends to propagate better around obstacles than UHF does. Most stations that now use low-VHF channels (2-6) will stay UHF for digital (or in a few cases use high-VHF), because some common sources of interference can wreck low-VHF digital signals. But there are exceptions in both cases.

    Here, for example, CBS is now 7 analog and 53 digital, and will move digital to 7 after analog shutdown. ABC is 13 analog and 56 digital, and will move digital to 13. NBC is 4 analog and 59 digital, and will move digital to 36. FOX is 21 analog and 57 digital, and will move digital to 21. This area is a bit unusual because all four major networks have digital channels above 51, and those are the channels that have been auctioned off for wireless service etc. so they have to move.
     
  19. bergmef macrumors 6502a

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    Southeast of Baltimore, USA
    #19
    Not sure where you got the June 12th date, I thought it was this month (17th).

    I cut the cable 2 weeks ago, comcast came and added a filter to the pole, no qam any more. I use a DB4 antenna and it's inside the house in the attic. Works like a champ and the picture looks better than the comcast signal (uncompressed vs compressed). I have an elgato eye tv and for the missed shows I have an old program called 'tvshows' (they stopped work on it but it works well). Next is boxee for me. I just want them to get a little further with it first. I was glad to see ABC was added.
     
  20. dmm219 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Ah yes good point. Comcast has to supply locals channels per http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-170A1.pdf to their subscribers and locations for which the cable company "provides a connection". One can argue this means that as long as your house has a cable connection (even if you don't subscribe), comcast has to provide local channels. In most cases, even without a subscription, you might be able to get Clear QAM. If you have internet only, you will definitely have access to Clear QAM.

    FCC regulations generally require way too many lawyers to understand, and most are not enforced. Therefore, it would be hard to claim someone is a "pirate" for watching clear QAM without a subscription. Likewise, lots of cable companies don't really follow the rules anyways.

    Botton line, if you don't have a cable...hook your QAM tuner up to the coax anyways and see if you get any QAM stations. If so, you're good to go. If not, get an OTA Antenna...you'll get the same channels either way in most cases.
     

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