Thanks everyone, here is what i learned
Here is what i learned.
I originally wanted to get just analog cable (basic cable channels) on my mac mini, with the ability to record. I have an old HP touchsmart computer that i plugged the coaxial cable in the bedroom into, and was able to do this with via media center.
I learned that the touchsmart uses an NTSC card which will pick up some analog or basic cable channels. Finding an NTSC card for a mac however proved to be almost impossible. (The first person that replied to my post was bang on the money about this ).
What i ended up doing was returning my Elgato HD Homerun ( was ATSC) and buying an Elgato EyeTV. I tried to hook this up to my digital set top box, only to find out that the output on the set top box (only had one jack ) wouldn't work with the Eyetv ( has red green blue input ) so i ended up having to get an HD set top box ( add another 170$ ). with this set up i am able to watch tv on the mac, use the elgato software to record, pause, rewind, etc. and best part of this system is that it "talks" to the set top box, so when i change the channel on the computer (or when a recording begins and causes the channel to change ) it sends a signal to the set top box and changes the channell. now i am getting a true PVR experience from my mac mini.
thanks again for the input and advice here, as always its been a learning experience !