Friday, January 23, 2009

Adventures in the Land of QAM

As I was watching my WVU Mountaineers throttle Georgetown last night (see it here!), my enjoyment was furthered by the lovely HD broadcast of the game. And then it occurred to me -- I wonder how many people who could be watching it this way didn't know they could?

I won't speak for everybody's cable system, but mine (Comcast), sends numerous HD channels out over the wire that are open for anybody to receive. It's their little secret -- they'll never tell you they're available. Instead, they want you to subscribe to their HDTV packages, add their tuner box, and pay their extra fees for the privilege of using your HDTV the way it was intended.

What do I do? Simply use my QAM tuner. I instruct my TV to search for digital channels, and it locates all the channels (SD and HD) that are available. As I said, many of Comcast's offerings aren't scrambled, so I can tune them in without having the man stick it to me. I get all of my broadcast channels, plus ESPN, ESPN2, and several others, in HD without paying a cent above my basic cable.

The downside? You get some weird channels -- like 89.1403 for Discovery, for example. And I suppose there's always the chance they'll decide to scramble the channels. But for now, I'm a happy guy. Let's Go Mountaineers! (In HD, of course).


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:39 AM


    I didn't know about QAM before reading your blog. Thanks for the tip. Here's a Wikipedia page with a nice QAM explanation.