: Digital/HD cable on a vista media center pc?

2007-05-28, 12:18 AM
What do I need in order to be able to watch/record/browse HD digital content on my pc? I'm looking for an alternative to the super expensive hd decoders my cable provider (VDN) is offering, and figured I might as well put my $4000 pc to work.

I was looking at this (http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1697093&CatId=1427) card and was wondering if that's all I need to decode the digital cable and of those, the ones that are in HD. I see alot of free-to-air stuff, but thats not what interests me most right now. I want to be able to plug my wall cable into my box and watch/record the digital content especially in HD.

Can anybody recommend this card, or another for that matter? If I get two can I simultaneously record and watch?


Running it on a Samsung 61" 1080p LED DLP (HLT6187)

2007-05-28, 09:40 AM
You can, if the HD channels of interest are unencrypted. If they are, you are SOL in Canada, as the olny other solution requires cablecards and a cablecard TV tuner, which cablecards aren't available in Canada.

2007-05-28, 10:23 AM
That particular card will do over the air HDTV, but not cable. In Canada, due to regulatory differences versus the US, you're not going to be able to fully replace the functionality of the digital cable PVR. They lock up those HDTV digital channels pretty tight on this side of the border. There are hacks, but they'd be unreliable and not get you nearly the content you're looking for.

Where do you live? OTA HDTV (ie plug an antenna into the PC) is free and excellent quality, but availibility of signals varies by location quite a bit.


2007-05-28, 12:58 PM
I am using a "hack" with my Vista Media Center and my cable stb.

I can record HD and playback on my Media Center pc and stream to my 360.

The software isn't 100% reliable but its still way better than what the cable co's offer.

The downside is that I cannot watch live HDTV thru Media Center or record specialy channels but I don't do either anyways.

We will be waiting a long time before cable-card ever comes here and when/if it does, everything will be IPTV.

2007-05-28, 01:32 PM
Agreed on never seeing cablecard here. Although I'd expect Winnipeg to be getting more OTA HDTV in the coming years now that Canada has an analog cutoff date too.

2007-05-28, 01:59 PM
Well thats bad news!

I was really hoping on plugging my digital cable (which has a 10 channel HD package) into my pc and having access to digital channels via my media center along with all the 'record and watch later' stuff that goes with it, and if it could do HD then that would be wondreful. The prospect of spending 600$ on a decent hd cable box makes me ill and I was hoping there was some way around it!

Any questions I should ask my cable company to see if it would be compatible? I'm in Montreal downtown on the 30th floor of my building, so I may be able to get some OTA where I am, but not much.

Here is the package I am considering:

Update: I just called them and they said the digital stream is encoded/encrypted.

2007-05-28, 03:36 PM
Most major cable companies encrypt most of their digital channels (including HD). I'm not sure whether VDN does or not. You'd have to have a QAM-equipped TV to check. Also, they could encrypt at any time and then you'd be out of luck.

See: Can I get digital cable? (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=32271)

2007-05-28, 03:44 PM
Well I don't see too many people with VDN, so i'll plug my analogue cable into my set and see what pops up, i'll post back on saturday when everything is up and running.

Anybody know of a good indoor antennae for OTA in montreal? (and if its even worth it for channels).

2007-05-29, 09:59 AM
There's a whole thread here for Montreal OTA:

That should help.