Understanding QAM vs. Basic Cable, and what channels I should expect to get from HDHo

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Libertine Lush, May 1, 2010.

  1. Libertine Lush macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    I'm considering purchasing a peripheral, HDHomeRun, that connects to the coaxial running from the wall and streams the feed to my MBP over WiFi. However, I'm having a difficult time figuring out what channels I should expect to receive with a direct connection to the coaxial and if they'll be HD.

    When I check what channels I'll get via cable using the "What channels will I receive?" link on HDHomeRun's homepage (http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/lineup_web/US:92656#lineup_2156083), it lists about 70 QAM channels. However, most are duplicates or throwaways. It is mainly the 3 major networks and PBS that is of interest--all in HD. Cox Cable's list of available QAM channels looks much like HDHomeRun's list: http://ww2.cox.com/wcm/en/residential/datasheet/orangecounty/QAM-OC_3.2010.pdf

    However, when I connect the coaxial cable running from the wall of my home directly into a TV (without the set-top box), I get considerably more channels; I get the basic cable portion of my digital TV subscription, which means there's the major networks, 24/7 cable news channels, etc.

    1) So when I plug the coaxial cable into the HDHomeRun, which set of channels should I expect to receive: the QAM set listed by SiliconDust's channel lineup and Cox Cable's QAM pdf or the more expansive lineup I get with a TV directly connected to the coaxial?

    2) And a related issue. Perhaps key to understanding this discrepancy: are the basic cable channels one gets via direct connection to a coaxial cable synonymous with QAM channels? Or are these 2 distinctly different things?

    3) Or is the difference in the channel lineups because the first set of channel data (HDHomeRun & Cox's) presents what you would get if you connected the QAM tuner (HDHomeRun) directly to the coaxial without even a basic cable subscription? But if you had at least a basic cable subscription you should expect to receive the same channels over this QAM tuner peripheral as you would when connecting a TV directly to the coaxial?

    Thank you for any help.
  2. ReggaeFire macrumors 6502

    Mar 19, 2003
    All the 'bonus' channels you get when you plug straight into your TV are part of the analog cable feed. HDHomerun does not have an analog cable tuner, so you will not get those channels.

    Most likely you will only be able to receive those analog channels for a few more months, most cable companies are turning off their analog feeds to free up bandwidth so they can carry more HD channels.

    ClearQAM is a digital distribution method that is unencrypted, meaning the customer does not need a cable box. It is always very limited in channel choice, usually just the local channels.
  3. Libertine Lush thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2009
    Ah! That makes sense. I've been reading up so much, but haven't come across that info yet. In fact, I thought all this time that all forms of analog had been phased out. I was only familiar with NTSC, the over the air analog. So from a quick googling just before replying, I see the FCC is promising to support analog cable at least until 2012. What is the name of the tuner that is associated with analog cable (in the same way NTSC=OTA analog, ATSC= OTA digital)?

    So when a secondary TV in the home is connected to the coaxial directly, without a set-top box, and receives all the basic cable channels, that means it receives it because it's both an analog feed and because the owner of the home has at least a basic cable subscription? Or is simply an analog tuner in the TV sufficient to receive basic cable?

    Thanks a lot.

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