Your Daily Phil

Experimental HD

Posted by lozenp on January 13, 2008

Everyone knows how expensive cable is. You have to sign up for the HD package, and of course the DVR. All this on top of the normal cable fees. With this in mind, I’m going to begin researching the possibility of using my computer as my main source of tv.

Here’s how I see it working.

Currently, I have a tv-card in my computer. I can get the normal channels (up to 99) on it and watch those through my Xbox 360 via the Windows Media Center software. This provides tv listings and DVR functionality. The problem, HD is spotty at best with the low powered antenna I have in the basement with my computer, and we all know that HD is a deal breaker for me.

So here’s my list of current issues that I need to solve before I can call Comcast and have them come take my box away.

1. Improve my HD reception on my PC, either through a better antenna or finding out how to use my TV-Card to pull in the clear QAM channels from basic cable. Clear QAM, without getting into too much detail, allows digital tv tuners to pull in HD channels that are in the cable system without the box.

2. Upgrade the video card in my PC. HD video us suspect with the card I currently have. I’ll have to fix that.

3. Add RAM to my PC. Only have 1.5 MB right now, want at least 2, maybe 2.5.

4. Ensure I can get the digital sound from my PC to my surround system upstairs.

4. Determine how much money I would save by downgrading my Comcast subscription, and compare that to the investment I’d have to make to fix the issues above.

The biggest drawback to this process is losing the cable channels, such as TNT, HD Theater, etc. I have to look further into clear QAM but I’m not sure those channels come in through it.

So, I’m in the very early stages. I’m excited about the possibilities, but I’m realistic as well. I’ll keep you posted.

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