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I'm trying to build an HTPC for my Dad. I'm extremely new to the ins and outs of HD, and was wondering if a pc tv tuner would be able to read the signal sent from cogeco?

I've searched a bit, and saw that in some cases you would have to link output from the cable box to the pc tuner and use an ir blaster to control channel from the pc. This would be alright, but I get the impression that this set up won't permit me to record one thing and watch another without getting a second cogeco cable box (I'd rather have none at all). Is this the case?

Thank you for any input/answers you may have to offer.
 

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Most PC tuners will only work with the analog signals. Some cable systems have a few clear QAM channels which will also work with digital tuners. To watch and record two different encrypted digital cable channels will require two cable boxes. There are other options, such as watching a previously recorded show while recording another and using OTA or analog cable to receive another channel. These topics have been discussed elsewhere. You might want to check the FAQ, HTPC and OTA forums.
 

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You are correct that you would need a second STB to record one channel while watching a second. The cableco PVRs have two tuner/decoders built in so only one box is needed.

Based on a search for "Cogeco Clear QAM", it looks like your father may be very lucky - Cogeco provides clear QAM (in Hamilton at least). However, it doesn't appear that HD channels are sent in the clear. To get Clear QAM you will need an HD capture card which supports QAM256 (most ATSC cards do) and is supported by your PVR software.

AFAIK in Canada almost all digital cable is encrypted - no clear QAM. Furthermore, there are only a few Canadian cablecos who support CableCard. So the only way to decrypt digital cable is using a cableco STB. Therefore the only way to record digital cable is via the STB analog outputs. For HD channels this means using something like the Hauppauge HD PVR. For SD channels you'd need a capture card supported by your PVR software.
 
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