Everyone’s all excited about High Definition TV channels these days. Cable service providers have changed the way they deliver cable content through their lines by way of newer cable boxes and such. However a few hacks exist that are perfectly legal.
All newer HDTV’s ( primarily 2007 and newer, but some pre-2007 TV have this too) have QAM tuners and ATSC tuners as required by FFC laws.
A QAM tuner is this:
A QAM tuner is a electronic tuning device. The qam tuner is used in digital television sets and other electronic equipment, such as vcrs and dvrs. QAM stands for "quadrature amplitude modulation". Qam is the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted by the cable companies. A qam tuner can tune non-encrypted, digital cable channels, without using a cable box (set top box). If your set has a built in qam tuner, you can simply plug the cable from the cable company, directly into your TV set. This will allow you to watch non-encrypted programming. (Encryption is used for programs such as HBO and Showtime).
An ATSC tuner is this:
An ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner, allows reception of ATSC digital television (DTV) signals broadcast over-the-air by TV stations in North America, South Korea, and Taiwan. Such tuners may be integrated into the television, VCR, digital video recorder, and set-top box which provides audio/video output-connectors of various types. An ATSC tuner for most cable TV systems is a QAM tuner, referring to the different type of modulation used.
ATSC tuners allow you to hook an antenna up and watch Digital HDTV broadcast from local TV station towers. Often HD Channels look better if you get a good signal since it is not compressed. Cable service providers compress HDTV data so to not saturate the lines since bandwidth is often limited.
In a nutshell, QAM tuners allow for cable coax lines to be hooked and non encrypted channels ( basic standard TV and basic HDTV- usually local HDTV channels) to be watched. So, if you pay for any type of cable; basic, digital, HDbasic, you actually having all the channel streams flowing through that connection.
You can hook the raw coax connection without a cable box to the newer TV. The QAM tuner will decode and display all the basic channels including the free HDTV channels! Just do a channel scan from your TV menu and your set.
Now, you will not get any interactive guide channels and the channel numbers will not be in order or may not even make sense. Channel 8 through your cable box may come up as channel 845-001. However this is a great hack for any secondary TV’s you may have since you do not have to pay for any additional Cable boxes! Since most houses now are wired with cable coax in all rooms or most common rooms it makes this easy to hook up. Some of the digital music channels will come through also.
Modern TV’s will let you reliable the channels. So if you take your time with it, all the funny numbers can be changed to sensible channel labels.