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Computer is not digital cable ready

How To Get HDTV on Your PC

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Looking to turn your PC into a super media center monster? The most comprehensive way is with a CableCARD—the buggy, hard-to-get, often-unsupported tuner cards that lets your computer decode encrypted digital cable shows. CableCARD tuners are available only on a handful of new computers, meaning you can't just add one to your current PC. Yet they're required before your PC can unscramble HBO, Showtime, and the other big name TV channels.

The good news is, you don't need CableCARD for all HD transmissions. HDTV comes in two basic formats: ATSC signals, short for Advanced Television Systems Committee, are sent over the air from your local TV stations in glorious high-definition, widescreen, surround-sound format. If you can receive standard broadcast channels with an antenna, you should be able to receive high def signals too.

QAM, or quadrature amplitude modulation, is a technical description of the video signal your cable provider supplies. Most of it is encrypted, requiring either a CableCard or a cable box to decode. But many channels are unencrypted, or "clear, " since Cox, Cablevision, and most other big providers make ABC, CBS, NBC, and the other basic channels available on their networks by remodulating the ATSC broadcast into QAM.

There are rumors that the FCC will make delivery of basic channels in this manner mandatory. This means that depending on your cable provider and location, you may not be able to receive any channels whatsoever, or the major networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), or the even premium channels (HBO, Showtime, and so on).

Unfortunately, Vista's Media Center doesn't support QAM without a CableCARD. Well, it does and it doesn't. According to Microsoft's website, the format is supported. A spokesperson elaborated a bit, however, noting that "clear-QAM signals are supported with the version of Windows Media Center that is included with both Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate, a digital cable tuner, and a digital cable-ready PC. Digital cable-ready PCs are those that have been certified by the cable industry to ensure a predictable level of service." In other words, Vista doesn't support clear QAM; certain individually-certified PCs support it.

If your PC is one of the hundreds of millions of functioning PCs in American households today that aren't "digital cable ready, " (and if you have to ask, you're not certified), you're stuck renting a cable box. Remind you too much of renting a phone from Ma Bell? But all is not lost. Instead, turn to one of the following three ways to get that cable signal directly into Windows Media Center: The Elgato HDHomeRun, the Hauppauge Win-TV-HVR-2250, and the AVerMedia AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCIe. Which one should you get? Read on to find out.

Want to compare these HDTV tuners against one another? Check out our

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AVerMedia AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCIe ($79.99 direct)
An inexpensive TV tuner board that comes with some very impressive options, including QAM support and real-time H.264 transcoding, the AVerMedia AVerTV Bravo Hybrid PCIe is a nice multimedia package. If you're looking to break into the world of high-def video, it's a solid choice.

Hauppauge Win-TV-HVR-2250 ($129 direct)
With two hybrid tuners and integrated QAM support—all at a very reasonable price tag—the Hauppauge Win-TV-HVR-2250 is the gold standard of Home Theater PC TV tuners.

Elgato HDHomeRun ($199.95 list)
This network-attached HDTV tuner delivers over-the-air HD and SD programming and unscrambled cable television channels to any PC or Mac on your network. In addition, the Mac software lets you convert files, so you can watch them on mobile devices like iPods, iPhones, and PSPs.



Seagate Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100)
Personal Computer (Seagate)
  • Easy and simple to use - simply plug in the power adapter and USB cable
  • Fast file transfers with SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • Compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Drag and drop file saving for Windows, right out of the box
  • Please note: For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Reformatting the drive will erase all content unless it is backed up to another drive...
Seagate Seagate Expansion 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0 (STEB5000100)
Personal Computer (Seagate)
  • Easy and simple to use - simply plug in the power adapter and USB cable
  • Fast file transfers with SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • Compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0
  • Drag and drop file saving for Windows, right out of the box
  • Please note: For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Reformatting the drive will erase all content unless it is backed up to another drive...
Mohu Leaf 50 TV Antenna, Indoor, Amplified, 50 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 16 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110584
Speakers (Mohu)
  • 50-mile range to access Over-the-Air TV channels without a cable or satellite subscription (NOTE: Enables access to free channels only - does not enable access to...
  • CleanPeak Filter technology filters out cellular and FM signals, resulting in a clearer picture and allowing access to more channels
  • Multi-directional and Reversible: No pointing needed and comes with included 16 ft. high performance cable
  • DISCLAIMER: Channel reception varies based on what is broadcast in your area, your distance from broadcast towers, and any geographical obstructions between you...
  • Comes with 1 Year warranty. Email us at support@gomohu.com for help setting up your product. You can also visit .gomohu.com or call 1-855-4GOMOHU (855-446-6648).
Bluetooth Audio Transmitter / Adapter - Transform your non-Bluetooth devices such as TV, Music Players, iPods, MP3 / MP4 into Wireless Streaming Machines (Black)
Speakers (Proxelle)
  • Limited Offer: Buy 1 Strobe-Black Bluetooth Transmitter And Get The Second One 20% OFF. No Coupon Code Needed.
  • WIRELESSLY TRANSMIT AUDIO FROM DEVICE: Convert your traditional non-Bluetooth devices into a V4.0 Bluetooth Wireless Device (e.g. TV, MP3, CD/DVD Player, e-Reader...
  • NO AUDIO DELAY - The most annoying tech problem you can is a lag between sound and images. It avoids that issue with AptX LOW LATENCY support (with under 50 msec...
  • SMALL, LIGHTWEIGHT AND USER-FRIENDLY: No need to say goodbye to your old Non-Bluetooth audio devices. Strobe will do the quick and easy fix for you - and it s small...
  • EASY PAIRING, LONG RANGE: Enjoy stereo music streaming as far as 33 feet for 6 full hours. It easily auto pairs with Bluetooth stereo headset, headphones, speakers...
Cable Matters Cable Matters Mini DisplayPort (Thunderbolt™ 2 Port Compatible) to HDMI Male to Female Adapter - 4K Resolution Ready
PC Accessory (Cable Matters)
  • Lightweight and portable adapter for connecting a Mini DisplayPort (Mini DP or mDP)/Thunderbolt™ 2 port compatible computer to an HDTV, monitor, or projector with...
  • Transmits both audio and video from computer or tablet to HDTV display; Supports 4K (3840x2160) Ultra HD resolution and flawless audio pass-thru for uncompressed...
  • Gold-plated connectors resist corrosion, provide rigidity, and improve the signal performance
  • Compatible with HDMI 2.0, this 4K ready Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter brings crystal clear image to your digital life
  • Compatible with Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro; Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Pro 3, Pro 2, Surfacebook (NOT Surface for Windows RT);...



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