Digital Cable Card Tuners..... Wow

Panther57

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Feb 23, 2009
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I got rid of my DVR cable box and replaced my service with a SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime...

3 tuners, every combo option, on how to use all 3. Connected by network LAN to 2 PCs. One with an HDTV attached (my HTPC). The MSI R7770 is running that one just fine.

I don't know if anyone here has looked into the Cable Card Tuners.. they are awesome. It took 2 techs from the Cable Company to get me setup and running. It took PlayReady updates and me figuring out the.... learning curve. But, now that it's up running and... nice. I wonder if the cable company think it's being done, for saving DVR costs and the lower fees for the Cable Card service.. but my savings will be in about 16 months from now as I see it. The cost for the tuner, the dedicated HDD for recording (I saw a post suggesting a separate HDD.. I agree), the cost for better 28awg connection cables (DVI to..) and the frustration of learning how to get all the channels working on my PCs.

The picture quality, for me is.. even better than the DVRs. But then most of our PCS are miles ahead of the limited technology needed to run a DVR. My DVR only had a 250Gb HDD (they have another with 500Gb). The guide in WMC is fast and no loss compared to the DVR. I was able to just push a button on the DVR and I was watching TV. Now the PC has be on, WMC (or other viewing option) opened and then I'm watching. Just a minute or two. Besides, instead of a DVR always on.. now it's a PC. I haven't done it yet.. but I read that a scheduled recording will wake from sleep. My mouse gets stuck into WMC, full screen. So, I sometimes watch just large WMC, so I can multitask on my other screen(s).

I decided that.. I have an HTPC.. I'm going to Geek it up and be part of the future. As I was going through my learning curve, I used SiliconDust Tech Support and their Forum. Both excellent and I give 7 starts to SiliconDusts Tech team, on a 5 star scale. They were just awesome. If you are thinking about learning about these, keep in mind the following. My Tuner purchase was not cut and dry.. I first ordered a USB based 2 tuner one. It would take an Extender like an XBox 360, to watch in other places. I saw, installable into you PC  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815706001, USB connected http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116072 , and network connected http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815345006

Those are not the only models, I think.. but choose wisely. I first did order a USB model. Then I talked to a cable tech, and he told me about network connected. So I changed over to the one I have. The HDHomeRun Prime 3 Tuner. The Tuner requires a Tuning Adapter, supplied by the cable company, as well as the Cable Card. It was suggested to use 28awg DVI cables for a better picture.. I am not sure it is a hard rule? I'm running on my Eyefinity PC.. running extended and watching on 1 screen. I can't tell what awg my cables are, and I'm up and working, all channels. I was upset that I was not getting my upper HD channels. I drove the cable company crazy... it's on your end... lol No, they were right, it was on mine. The resetting of PlayReady was the answer for me. Building and it's complications teaches us, and now I have learned more... 

I am now a proud member of the HDHomeRun Family. I'm sure Happaguge and other companies make good equipment too... but right now you would have trouble taking my unit, out of my dead hands. Only 1 feed cable needed from the cable company. No more restricted locations for my viewing pleasure. Where a cat5/6 cable can go.. I'm in... sweet. I'm getting ready to move in about 2-3 weeks. So, if I am not as attentive to responding to your posts here, I'm apologise. The cable company does not tell you about these when you ask for service options, unless you have a Tivo. I was told in my service area that there are hundreds of Tivo users, and just about a handfull of users, using tuners to their PCs. That makes me a pioneer..  Like moving out to the frontier.. I'm a cowboy. For my billing the cable company charges $8.00 for the renting of the cable box (DVR), and $11.95 for the DVR service. I pay only $2.95 for the Cable Card Service. So, 17 months from now I start saving (equipment costs, recovery). My Tuner also works Wireless. Could be, not as nice quality.. but IPads, some Cell Phones and other equipment can also be used for viewing. There is an App for that.

Searching will give you a lot of good information, if your teased by this. I hope you are.. it does require Win 7/8, and some other OS systems work too. My first week was frustration. Almost threw in the towel. But, like I have said.. go ahead try to take mine..    To SiliconeDust.. I hope your choice is as good. Don't buy based on cheap, or expensive. Buy based on you use now and the possible future use(s). This is new to some Cable Companies. They don't have a lot of rocket scientists with knowledge about these, yet. So, work through it, use the Forums and your awesome knowledge as a PC builder. This might not be for rookies to setup. But, with patience and knowledge there is a learning curve to have yours up and running.. what's a week to end out with success. 
 
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