GeneralMills777 wrote:BIG QUESTION HERE.
Go from wall --> to Digital Cable Box --> to the card (I bought both just in case)
If I change the channel on the box it should tune on the computer to that channel. The question I have is, can I tune to the HD channels off the box?
1- this is a little complex, yes, it will tune whatever channel you have selected on the cable box. BUT, if you want the most functionality, use a Vista/Windows 7 media center to tune all your channels. To do this with a settop box, you have to get a pc remote with an IR blaster (little cable to sends IR signals to your cable box). This way, when you change your channel on the pc, it syncs with cable box.
You will not get your HD channels from the box, only the SD channels (as it only uses analog signal).
2-My suggestion. Drop the cable box, use the basic cable for the analog connection. Then use either OTA signal for local/HD channels OR setup the ClearQam signal (comes through regular cable like analog, but gives you all local stations and some additional in HD). ClearQam can be an issue as it doesn't play well with Vista MC.
I recently built a htpc with Vista Ultimate and use a analog card for basic cable and a HDHomeRun box for ClearQam signal. The channel guide in Windows Media Center is AWESOME, way better than Time Warner Cable. While I miss some of the HD channels I had, I don't miss spending the extra $50/mo. I purchased 2 of the pci tuners to build my parents a htpc. Also a note, in Vista, you are limited to 2 ATSC/QAM tuners and 2 NTSC/Analog tuners. There are work arounds for this, but it can be a little involved if you're not used to working with registry edits. From what I hear, Windows 7 doesn't have that limitation.
And remember you degrade your signal everytime you split a cable, so if you split your cable 4 ways when it enters the house, each cable is automatically 25% of the original signal and if you split it again in 2, that's now 1/8 of the original signal strength. To address this, take out unnecessary splitters or buy a cable distribution amp.