HD Set-top box questions

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by LDfan, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    I'm looking to buy a HD set top box but I'm a little confused about what they can really do. I do know they can receive all the Over the Air HD broadcasts via an antennea but many models also say they can get digital cable signals too via QAM. What is this QAM and does it also get the HD signals the cable company is broadcasting?

    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    There are 2 flavors of QAM: QAM64 and QAM256. You can think of QAM as being the digital cable standard equivalent of the ATSC standard that is used to broadcast HDTV content over the air.

    Cable TV providers are able to use QAM to send modulated HDTV content via their cable infrastructure to their customers.

    I guess you'd have to check with the local cable company as to which HDTV STB to get in order to receive/decode the HDTV content that's coming through the cable feed to the STB.
     
  3. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Those STB's will only work with unencrypted QAM. Most cable companies scramble their premium channels like HBO HD, ESPN HD, etc. so that only their STB's or a CableCard equipped TV can tune them in.

    -Robert
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Ah, good point on encrypted vs. unencrypted QAM for STB selection. This is why you'll most likely face the prospects of getting the STB provided by the cable company if you want HDTV via a digital cable content provider in order to get the good stuff on premium channels.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    I was asked yesterday if CableCard will recieve scrambled channels? I mean the cable company provides them so maybe?
    Pay per views? ect..ect...


    I really didn't know.
     
  6. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    There are a few articles about Cable Cards in the current buff books. I think the whole point of the excercise IS for a CC equipped set to receive all cable programming w/o a set top box.

    I think I also read that the current CC's are only one-way, meaning that you can't do PPV ordered via the remote at this time.

    All that said, I am a DirecTV guy, so maybe someone that actually has a CC system can correct me on these points.

    BGL
     

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