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Contributor
Kyle_B
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
0 Kudos
Accepted Solution

Watch TV without set top box?

Is it possible to get any channels without a set top box?  I have a PC with a TV tuner card and I would like to hook up the coax cable and maybe get a few basic channels.  We have Brighthouse at work and I am able to get quite a few channels this way.  Is this possible with Verizon Fios?  Or are they all digital, encrypted, etc. ?  Thanks in advance.
Contributor
fiosrat
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
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Re: Watch TV without set top box?

[ Edited ]

Easiest thing to do is just plug it in and see! :smileyhappy:  In my case, yes, it works, at least insofar as plugging it directly into a plasma tv.  I don't get all the channels i get through my tivo, but I get locals and some other stuff.  I haven't bothered to figure out exactly which channels as I rarely watch my TV this way.  I just flip to it in the rare event there is some live event taking place when the tivo is recording something.

 oh, and I don't know if this will be the case with your PC, but be prepared for a bunch of dot channels (I don't know what the official term is seeing as how this is the first time I've seen this) Basically, all my channels are like 72.3302, 72.3303, etc...
Message Edited by fiosrat on 11-04-2008 08:33 PM
Gold Contributor III
Keyboards
Posts: 2,296
Registered: ‎08-05-2008
Plan: Extreme HD DV /50/25
Location: SE Pennsylvania
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?


Kyle_B wrote:
Is it possible to get any channels without a set top box?  I have a PC with a TV tuner card and I would like to hook up the coax cable and maybe get a few basic channels.  We have Brighthouse at work and I am able to get quite a few channels this way.  Is this possible with Verizon Fios?  Or are they all digital, encrypted, etc. ?  Thanks in advance.

All FiOS channels are digital, however not all are encrypted.  If your TV has a QAM tuner you can get your local SD channels, local digital ("HD") channels, the music channels, and your local PEG channels (Public, Education, and Government). You will not get the national channels (CNN, ESPN, A&E, etc.) without and STB as these are not only digital but encrypted.  Hope that answers your question.

If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
Copper Contributor
dalhectar
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎08-27-2008
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Re: Watch TV without set top box?

I have a CableCard PC, and have 3 CableCard tuners connected to that PC.  CableCard allows you to watch whatever standard def, HD, or premium content your FIOS account offers.  The PC uses Windows Media Center to run the DVR side of things, and I get all the capability of a DVR, and then some.  Since it's a PC, adding storage is as easy as adding a new hard drive, and I have 1 terabyte drives RAIDed together which hold the recordings.  There are a few other nice features likeunlimited codec support for every video format birthed from the unholy union of a geek and a can of mountain dew, music library support, about 90 (and growing) ripped movies from netflix.  On occation troubleshooting can be a bit of a pain, I can't exactly call VZN support if a hard drive acts up, but the machine's been stable so it's not really an issue.  While VNZ offers DVR deals from time to time, paying $3.99 for a CableCard does beat the regular DVR rental price substantially.  Also with extenders or other hardware devices like a 360, I can share the recordings to other TVs.  Some people also use it to watch Blu-Ray, but personally I prefer a standalone player.


If you've come to like a PC tuner, I really recommend it.  DRM bans reencoding a recorded TV show to an iPod, and you can't view the show on another PC, but you view or schedule shows on a seperate Media Center extenders and/or a XBox 360.  Also I don't have On Demand, but between netflix, hulu, and bt, I have access to a media collection that's larger and more customized to my taste than any On Demand service ever will be.  For me, having all my content: legal, fair use, and/or pirate on one box that can share that content to ther TVs around the home makes it a huge win. 

Contributor
Kyle_B
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?

Thanks for the help & advice.  I did hook up the cable and got nothing but snow.  I was wondering if it was something wrong with my wiring.  I think I will get another set top box for my home office so I can get all the channels.
Gold Contributor III
Keyboards
Posts: 2,296
Registered: ‎08-05-2008
Plan: Extreme HD DV /50/25
Location: SE Pennsylvania
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?


Kyle_B wrote:
Thanks for the help & advice.  I did hook up the cable and got nothing but snow.  I was wondering if it was something wrong with my wiring.  I think I will get another set top box for my home office so I can get all the channels.

If you don't care about the guide or VOD the cheapest (and physically smallest) option is the DCT-700.  It tunes all SD channels that you are subscribed to but doesn't support guide, VOD or widgets.

If a forum member gives an answer you like, give them the Kudos they deserve. If a member gives you the answer to your question, mark the answer as Accepted Solution so others can see the solution to the problem.
Contributor
GTCar
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-12-2008
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Re: Watch TV without set top box?

Is this true in all areas?

 

I hooked up my new TiVO HD receiver with a QAM tuner and expected to get the channels below 49 and am getting none of them.

 

My Motorola STBs from Verizon are working.  I took a cable from one of the working STBs and connected to TiVo with no success.  I have Cable Cards coming but wanted to make sure the TiVo (refurb) is working before the Tech with the Cards shows up.

Contributor
TobyInTampa
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-22-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?

I've been doing some comparisons today between Verizon FiOS (of which I'm a customer) and Brighthouse Networks. My monthly bill is approximately $145 which includes phone, internet, and FiOS TV with a HD set top box (non DVR) and two additional standard set top boxes for my bedrooms. It also includes inside wire maintenance and all the applicable taxes, fees, etc.

 

My beef is this. Verizon FiOS is already 100% digital. That means that if I want to reduce my monthly expense and do away with my standard set top boxes in my bedrooms, ($4.99 each), I will not be able to watch ANYthing on either TV. This was confirmed to me today by two Verizon Tech Support persons. Brighthouse, on the other hand, is equipped to allow TVs which receive their coax cable to be able to watch channels up to 99 without the use of a set top box. I would either have to keep paying Verizon $10/month or go get a digital decoder for each TV.

 

And what's with all this advertising for 100's more HD stations coming, (when in fact many are repeats of what we already have) and then charging us $10 more to receive them. 

Silver Contributor II
KenAF
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
Device: Blackberry 9630
Location: Washington, DC
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?

[ Edited ]

GTCar wrote:

Is this true in all areas?

 

I hooked up my new TiVO HD receiver with a QAM tuner and expected to get the channels below 49 and am getting none of them.

 

My Motorola STBs from Verizon are working.  I took a cable from one of the working STBs and connected to TiVo with no success.  I have Cable Cards coming but wanted to make sure the TiVo (refurb) is working before the Tech with the Cards shows up.


You will get channels 1-49, plus the HD locals, without a CableCard.  However, you'll have to perform a Settings -> Channels -> Channel Scan to get them, won't be found on channel numbers 1-49. Instead, they'll be on QAM numbers used internally on the Verizon system.  For example, you'll find your HD locals in the QAM 71-73 range.

 

In addition to decrypting the encrypted channels, the CableCards also do something else.  They map those internal QAM numbers to the 'official' channel numbers on the Verizon lineup sheet.  Once you get the CableCards installed, all channels will be on the appropriate numbers.

Message Edited by KenAF on 12-22-2008 05:18 PM
If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
Silver Contributor II
KenAF
Posts: 585
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
Device: Blackberry 9630
Location: Washington, DC
0 Kudos

Re: Watch TV without set top box?

[ Edited ]

TobyInTampa wrote:

I've been doing some comparisons today between Verizon FiOS (of which I'm a customer) and Brighthouse Networks. My monthly bill is approximately $145 which includes phone, internet, and FiOS TV with a HD set top box (non DVR) and two additional standard set top boxes for my bedrooms. It also includes inside wire maintenance and all the applicable taxes, fees, etc.

 

My beef is this. Verizon FiOS is already 100% digital. That means that if I want to reduce my monthly expense and do away with my standard set top boxes in my bedrooms, ($4.99 each), I will not be able to watch ANYthing on either TV. This was confirmed to me today by two Verizon Tech Support persons. Brighthouse, on the other hand, is equipped to allow TVs which receive their coax cable to be able to watch channels up to 99 without the use of a set top box. I would either have to keep paying Verizon $10/month or go get a digital decoder for each TV.

 

And what's with all this advertising for 100's more HD stations coming, (when in fact many are repeats of what we already have) and then charging us $10 more to receive them. 


This is only partly true.  Verizon is 100% digital, but channels 1-49 plus the HD locals are unencrypted and available on any TV with a QAM digital tuner.

 

The FCC required that all 36+" TVs introduced after July, 2005 include a built-in digital tuner.  The FCC also required that all 25+" TV introduced after July, 2006 include a built-in digital tuner.  Finally, most other devices -- 13+" TVs, VCRs, DVRs, DVD recorders, etc -- introduced after July 1, 2007 must feature a digital tuner.  Obviously, this doesn't stop people from buying old, discontinued models online.

 

Technically, the FCC only required that manufacturers include an ATSC (off-air) digital tuner, but the overwhelming majority of these TVs also include a QAM tuner to support cable.  A single chip in the device typically supports both.

 

Now, this doesn't address the problem of encrypted digital channels -- on FiOS, that is essentially every channel outside of 1-50, the HD locals, and the music channels.  Ideally, Verizon would offer all digital channels in the clear, so all you would need would be a TV with a digital QAM tuner to receive all channels.  This isn't practical for two reasons.  First, some content providers want copy protection on their channels, and there's really no way to provide copy protection for unencrypted channels.  Second, Verizon offers a locals-only package for $12.99/mo, and if all channels were in the clear, then customers with that package would receive all channels.  In theory, Verizon could install a trap inside the ONT to restrict access to channels a customer is not supposed to receive, but then a costly service call would be required whenever a user wanted to upgrade or downgrade programming packages -- that's not something Verizon wants.

 

To deal with this problem, Cable Labs (which represents other cable companies) developed CableCard for use in TVs and other third-party devices.  The problem with the original OpenCable (CableCard) standard was that it only supported one-way communication.  That meant you could watch encrypted channels, but your TV or DVR couldn't communicate with the cable company to request guide information, VOD, PPV, or new channels delivered using SDV technology. Product manufactures had to provide their own guide, their own VOD using service like Netflix, etc -- that's what TiVo did, but this can be a costly proposition.  Most TV manufacturers halted all CableCard implementation after it became apparent that some large cable providers were going to make extensve use of SDV to deliver new channels, which the original OpenCable (CableCard) standard could not directly support.  [TiVo recently came up with a USB SDV adapter as a workaround, but that wasn't really a choice for TV makers.]

 

The True2Way standard was created to address the limitations in the original OpenCable (CableCard) standard.   True2Way equipment uses the same CableCard to decrypt your encrypted channels, but it has extra hardware and software support for two-way communication; it allows cable companies to download software to your TV or retail STB so you can access all of their services (incl. VOD, PPV, and SDV channels) with the same interface you get on their box.   This software runs inside a Java VM, much like Java applications run inside your web browser.  For this to work, you need a TV or STB with True2Way capability, and you need a cable provider that actually offers the True2Way software in your area.  At the moment, True2Way service is available in only a small percentage of markets, but providers like Time Warner and Comcast expect to make it available everywhere by the end of 2009.   Most television have announced plans to incorporate True2Way tuners into their products once cable companies have widely deployed the software to make it work.

Message Edited by KenAF on 12-22-2008 06:26 PM
If you are the original poster (OP) and your issue is solved, please remember to click the "Solution?" button so that others can more easily find it.
 

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