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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    high definition

    I am thinking about getting a high definition TV. We have cable for our TV and Internet. HDTV requires either a DIGITAL box or a HD box. I have a computer with Windows Media Center. If I connect my HDTV cable through the computer - will that work as a DIGITAL or HD box? And I confess, I have minimal understanding of HDTV.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: high definition

    I have only the most limited knowledge of this area, but I'll pitch in.

    Almost all new large-screen TVs can tune over-the-air digital (in the U.S. = "ATSC") broadcasts. These may be either in standard definition, 4:3 aspect ratio, or in a flavor of HD. In addition to the local programming, a digital cable or satellite subscription may include both SD and HD channels. The main difference is the number of lines and/or pixels. The highest HD is 1080p, and sets that support it tend to be the priciest. It isn't widely used now, but if you're going to invest a lot, you should consider it.

    You can purchase a TV tuner card for your computer. Cards that tune digital and HD are just starting to become common. If you have digital cable, you probably will still need some kind of cable box because from what I have read the PCI cards cannot decode the copy protection; you'll need to research that. Many cards can tune ATSC and NTSC (analog) broadcasts, assuming you connect up a good antenna.

    Also, I found the Windows MCE compatibility explanations confusing; apparently only certain products are certified to work with MCE's software. Of course, you can always use a third party product.

    Unless you plan to use your computer as a TiVo-like digital video recorder (DVR), the overhead of dealing with the conversions and extra bits and pieces probably is not worth it.

  3. #3
    Silver Lounger
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    Re: high definition

    Usually cable companies that transmitted HDTV programs require cable box renting as part of the package. Some cable companies includes HDTV programs in additional packages only - that means your current package may not include HDTV programs. Contact your cable company for details.

    You can use your Windows XP Media Center computer as HDTV receiver if you buy and install an HDTV tuner card - see HDTV and your Media Center PC for more information.
    Is it better than cable box purchasing/renting?

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Re: high definition

    HI; Just for information, ATI now has a tuner called the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner and it has just been released. At this time they are only selling it through computer manufacturers. After much discussion with my computer maker I should be getting one pretty soon, (I was the first customer to ask for one) and will post a note here after I get it and try it out. I did a lot of looking and found almost nothing that was fully digital - but I will have a fully digital cable signal and this sounds like it should fill the bill. Everything else that I saw relies at least partially on OTA signals, and there are too many hills here in Atlanta for that to work. ATI says that the tuner is designed for either Vista Home Premium or Ultimate and is available in internal and external versions. Both use USB connections and the internal one gets its power from the mother board. Each has a provision for a cable card which enables it to receive the optional channels like HBO, Showtime and so on. Most of the stations here have HD broadcasts so my upcoming 24" HD LCD monitor should be put to good use. As soon as I see how it works I'll let you know. the web site is the same as the name ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner, and no, I don't work for them.

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