Oh well, I guess my quest for HD content on my HTPC has come to an end here. One would think that living in Plano, one of the largest suburbs of Dallas, would mean access to digital cable on all fronts. However I forgot just how much of a pain it is living in an apartment where one company can own the monopoly on services provided at the complex. Of course that one provider will tell you that digital cable is available in the complex you can't actually get it. Instead they sell you expanded cable with premium channels added and call it "digital cable". BBB report filed on their ass
I picked up an HDHomeRun in prep for the digital cable service I had ordered and was even scheduled to receive today only to get an automated email saying my order was cancelled due to an error. The error being I couldn't actually subscribe to the digital cable service I ordered online because it wasn't actually available. So now I've spent a day off from work, $150 on the HDHR, and another $100 on the cable splitter/booster and associated cables for everything because the cable company lied to me. I even called them up to verify the service was available. It's my fault for ordering the equipment before I actually had the service but with no STBs needed for the HDHR I needed the equipment soon after the service was available to be able to get any TV reception at all.
So now I'm stuck with the one OTA HD channel that comes in on my amplified directional antenna on my HVR-1600. At least it's Fox and I like a lot of their programming as well as NFL coverage when the season starts. Apparently I need to buy a house down here to confound the cable monopolies, but I can't afford that with another house up north. At least at the other place it's so damned remote that I wouldn't even dream of even getting cable. I was extremely surprised that they ran DSL almost exclusively for me. But here where there is FiOS and three other digital cable providers you'd think something would be available.
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FB-DIMM are the real cause of global warming
You do understand that digital cable does not equal HD. Any SD channel can sent as a digital channel. Most cable companies have moved their most popular channels to Digital as that gives them room for more channels or more HD channels.
Satellite TV via Dishnetwork or DirecTv has been digital from the start.recently thay have been adding HD content.
So the question becomes do you have a balcony that faces south and is your exlusively? In your area you'd need to see the satellites at 90 degrees to 129 for HD depending on provider. There are websites that will allow you to look up the look angles you'd need from your zip code. looks like a range of sat. at 101 = 187 degrees at 52 Degree elevation to the 119 sat. = 217 elevation of 45 degrees
Digital cable is not HD by default but it carries open QAM channels which are read by the HDHR. The HD content in my area would be limited to the broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and whatever else there is but then there would also be HD versions of ESPN, the Discovery Channel, and a few others. And then of course only certain shows are in HD, but MCE's program guide tells you which shows are in HD and which are not.
Either way digital reception is far more clear than analog cable. I'm probably going to sell the HDHR to a friend who has a MCE box with digital cable as he's currently only collecting the analog channels with his HTPC and using a DVR for his digital cable shows. We use his place for sports games as he gets the best picture from his cable and also gets some of the games in HD. With the HDHR he can get rid of his DVR and STB and record two channels simultaneously.
As for satellite I'm conflicted about signing up. I have an east-facing balcony and neighbors on this side have DirecTV. Their pricing is certainly fine at $70 a month for HD service, however they don't work with MCE quite yet. MS and DirecTV were working together on a cable card for a HTPC so they would work seamlessly but nothing has happened on that front. From what I've heard the signal from a dish isn't open QAM encryption so again the HDHR is useless, and the STBs don't have any other way to interface with an HTPC.
Anyone running MCE 2005 with a satellite provider?FB-DIMM are the real cause of global warming
Your over the air DTV stations are clumped in an antenna farm ~37miles and ~203 degrees southwest heading.
Most of the stations are high power and can be received with a yellow rated antenna. This might work from your deck especially from upper floors.
Wel I use MCE2005 with a Hauppauge USB MCE device that controls the channels on my Dish HD DVR. So bottom line I capture in SD from a HD source via S-Video cables.
The Box outputs a squeezed signal via the S-Video cable that needs to be stretched to fill the screen side to side by the TV. Given that it looks pretty good. Or I can hit the zoom button on the DVRs remote and that brings things into the proper AR.
My testing shows this to be a feature(?) of the DVR. IOWs if I were feeding the signal out via coax to another HD tv it would be rceiving a SD signal but would look proper and fill the screen if I hit fill on that TV.
As edDv has pointed out:
In your case I would try a antenna pointed at the transmitters with a HD card for the PC. There even USB ones you use.