I am now in my second week with my new CableCARD ATI Digital Cable Tuner and I will explain how the unit is working with Windows Media Center 7. In addition, I will show you the new Cisco STA1520 Tuning Adapter that my cable company installed today.

Windows Media Center

Background – Revisited

Now that Windows 7 has the Digital Cable Advisor, anyone who passes the test can get a CableCARD and Digital Cable Tuner for their PC and start watching and recording HD cable TV. You need a cable provider that supports CableCARD but most of us have that anyway. This is not as complicated at all. It is actually easy and I promise looking back 4 months from now that you will see we were heading in the right direction!

Two weeks ago I walked through the installation process of an ATI Digital Cable Tuner (DCT) in Windows Media Center 7. My cable company (Charter) installed the CableCARD and I have been up and running ever since. Previous articles can be found at:

http://moviesgamesandtech.com/2009/11/09/installing-a-cablecard-digital-cable-tuner-with-the-new-digital-cable-advisor-on-a-friday-night/

http://moviesgamesandtech.com/2009/11/15/reviewing-cablecard-recorded-tv-in-windows-media-center-on-a-friday-night/

Equipment Needed

  • Windows Media Center 7 PC
  • Cisco STA1520 Tuning Adapter and active CableCARD
  • DCT on a qualified WMC7 system
  • Two Beers (Optional as always)
  • Windows Home Server with Power Pack 3 (Optional for the TC Archive function)

Lets set this cow on fire!

CableCARD Setup

This short video shows the entire process of how a CableCARD is set up in WMC. I edited out 20 seconds of the program download screen. Adding that edit back in the whole process is complete in less that three minutes!

 

 

Switched Digital Video – Revisited

Although I get all of the basic cable channels on the DCT, and all of the local HD channels, there are still some channels I am missing. On the ATI DCT I did not get upper tier channels like Discovery HD, TBSHD and Universal HD. Charter recently changed to switched digital video (SDV) and I need an additional component called a “tuning adapter” to get these switched channels.

Cisco STA1520 Tuning Adapter

My Charter tech arrived at 2:00 pm today with a brand new Cisco STA 1520 Tuning Adapter. It took all of about five minutes to install the Cisco and activate it. It connects to the coax, a power supply and a USB connection to the PC. Totally easy.

Cisco Tuning Adapter

Once he plugged it in I started the PC and the Cisco STA1520 was immediately recognized.

Device Manager

After an initial activation call to his supervisor the power light turned steady green I was ready to verify the Tuning Adapter status.

I entered the IP address of the DCT and I clicked on Tuning Resolver. I have no idea what all this crap means but it says “Tuner Resolver operational” so I am happy.

DCT Device Web Page

Live SDV TV

Well it seems to be working…

Mars Attacks on a Friday night

Conclusion

This wraps up the CableCARD series of articles. I hope I have generated some interest for CableCARD tuners and hope that Ceton, ATI and Hauppauge deliver new DCTs to us in the coming months!

The whole process has been a learning experience and I am very excited about the new options for CableCARD. I feel that the results have been better than I expected and the actual process of installation and set up is quite easy. Let me recap the basic installation steps of the last three articles:

  1. 1. Run and pass the Digital Cable Advisor in WMC 7
  2. 2. Buy a DCT that supports CableCARD
  3. 3. Have your cable company to install a CableCARD and Tuning Adapter
  4. 4. Let Media Center and Windows 7 recognize the equipment
  5. 5. Run the TV signal setup while the Cable tech is there
  6. 6. Watch and record HD TV!

See you next Friday night,

Timothy Daleo