It looks like my Windows Media Center Remote arrived earlier than expected, so I spent some time this afternoon hooking up my new set of hardware components. As you may have read in a previous posting, Comcast in the Seattle area will be switching some of their “premium” channels from analog to digital signal. As such, I will need to use a Comcast Set Top Box (STB) which will convert these digital signals to analog for the TV Tuner Card inside my Desktop PC system. Unfortunately, I can’t control the STB directly using the Vista Media Center (VMC) software (which I use to schedule recordings, watch live TV, etc.) so I needed to purchase a Windows Media Center Remote (with Infrared Emitter) to do the channel changing.
Basically, I connect the IR receiver for the Windows Media Center Remote to my Desktop PC via a USB cable. Once I do that, the VMC software has the ability to interface with it. The IR receiver also has a jack for a IR emitter, which VMC will use to send IR signals to the STB to change its channel. So, I then connect the STB, with the Cable TV line connecting to it, and second connection between it and my TV Tuner card.
Once everything was connected up, I followed the installation guide on this web page. It was very helpful in explaining how to hook up the hardware and what the setup steps were with the VMC software. After following this guide, it appears that the entire setup is working as expected. No hangs or snags as of yet. Whew! 🙂
It seems so primitive to have to use IR emitters taped to the front of a STB, etc. to get all this to work, but I really have no choice since there isn’t a reasonable alterative. I’ll just have to keep an eye on the whole McGyvered system and will let you know if I have any issues. So for now, I’m back in business with recording TV shows on the Comcast Cable Network!
NOTE: If the audio volume for your recordings seem very low, try increasing the volume of the STB by using the remote control that came with it. I noticed that my recordings were really low in volume, and jacking up the STB volume resolved the issue.