If you love cable tv but hate the cost of renting boxes you may have looked into the availability of a CableCard Tuner which can help you with your Entertainment needs.
Unfortunately these devices are both expensive and require more than just the device to get content to your TV and to record shows for later viewing.
In this How To we will look at the three leading Manufacturers of CableCARD Tuners for residential / end user customers. There are a few other choices out there and a handful more for commercial applications but we won’t be dealing with them today.
I find it very unfortunate that there are only three companies that make devices of this type.
That being MultiTuner Devices for CableCards or even for ATSC Over the Air.
There is Ceton
Ceton is only for CableCards
SiliconDust makes CableCard and Antenna Devices
Hauppauge only makes Single or Dual Tuner Cards and 2 Tuner CableCard Boxes.
If you are on CableTV the Ceton gives you 6 Tuners either in a Network Device Box or in a PCIe Card
They are nice but they require that you rent a CableCard for about $10 from your cable company every month.
From what I understand the Cetons will record and let you watch CopyOnce Cable TV Stations on your Cable Subscription BUT you can not move those files to another computer for storage.
From what I understand the SiliconDust CableCard Tuner will not even show you CopyOnce TV Stations on the computer its connected to.
The Hauppauge is the same but only has 2 tuners.
You get one cablecard from your cable company for $10 each month and can record
Up To 6 different programs at the same time with the Ceton
Up To 3 different programs with the SiliconDust
Up To 2 different programs with the Hauppauge
Up To means if someone is using one of the Tuners for live watching you can’t use it to record.
It seems that the cost per Tuner is about $35 from any vendor.
If you want to watch LIVE TV from the available tuners you need a device that supports DNLA Copyright Protection.
Only a handful of devices out there support this and they cost about $100 each
This means you will need
The Tuner and each TV will need a Viewing Box.
There are some workarounds for this such as Roku’s with either a special addon for the manufacturer.
OR running the tuners to a windows box and then feeding them back out across your network using KODI.tv
Cutting the Cable or Reducing your Monthly Costs can be difficult with these methods.
First you have the Device and then you have the Display Device at each TV and finally you have that $10 CableCard bill every month.
The best use for this Tuner is to set it up on a Windows Computer
Then record every TV show that you can on all 6 of its tuners.
Don’t Record the Copyonce stations.
Use the Microsoft Media Center MCEBuddy to convert the 3 to 10GB files for each TV show down to 500Mb to 1Gb each.
Have MCEBuddy store the converted TV Shows on an External Drive.
Compile Literally 10,000 or more shows with a 1 year subscription to your cable company. You will have every rerun and every recent show on your local TV Stations.
Once you have that many shows back them up to a second large external drive.
Then Call the cable company and cancel your subscription for TV and Upgrade your subscription for your cable modem.
Once you are set with that you will need to connect a good antenna to each TV or use your Cable TV wires run in your home to connect an attic or roof antenna.
You will now have thousands of reruns and live locals.
Then you can install Rokus, FireSticks, Chromecasts or Other devices at your TV so you can stream TV Shows from Hulu for free and from other live streams that are Free and LEGAL.
You will have so much content you will not need to stream illegal feeds or Buy subscriptions to costly streaming services.
Finally .. if you’re a sports nut get a streaming package from MLB NHL NFL NBA.
And if you must you can buy a subscription to Amazon Prime or Hulu Plus or Netflix.
Even with a Single Tuner card in my Windows Computer I have been able to record thousands and thousands of TV Shows. Many of them I watch live when they are broadcast and some I wait until the Weekend.
This means I never miss that Movie at 3am or that show in the morning while I’m working.
Whatever I want to watch on Cable I can record with my single tuner.. More tuners would be helpful but you will be surprised to find that many if not more than half of the stations on cable are completely reruns. Whats worse is many of these stations are duplicates… meaning you are going to find episodes of maybe 10 shows that make up the content of 20 to 30 of your channels and then a handful of shows that are unique.
It is really pretty sad.
After recording shows for quite some time now I know that when I finally can’t afford or .. when I am unwilling to afford garbage tv at really high prices I will have a good 50% of the shows I would have been watching already recorded on my Media Center DVR .. and since they are not Copyonce protected I can continue watching them for as long as I want.
Then I will have money to buy that $5 or $15 movie once a month that I really want to see because right now when I am paying $125 a month starting for garbage TV I can’t spend that $10 for a new recent movie from Netflix.
So get yourself some type of Tuner and compile your own library of shows.
Just don’t go sharing your Library of shows on the internet or outside of your home. Laws will vary but as far as the US Congress has stated recording shows for your own use is ok to do.
And by doing this you will have lots of shows so hopefully you won’t be searching online for something to watch from a source that might not be that great or may install a virus on your computer when you watch it.
It will keep the kids happy too if you do this for a few years.. You will have tons of content. TV Shows, Movies .. whatever is on.