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Cable TV Transition FAQs

Thursday, June 5, 2014
FAQs

When will the change take place?

The new service will start sometime during the week prior to the start of fall semester classes (August 18-22).  Once the exact date is determined, it will be published in the news wire.

Will the current channel listing change?

Yes, the listing of channels will change with many more high definition channels and other additional content being provided.  The procedure for setting up your TV to recognize the new signals will be different based on the manufacturer and TV model. Please refer to your TV’s manual for instructions. The scan may take a few minutes as the TV looks for all available signals. Once it’s done, your TV should recognize all the content provided by Penn State that your TV is capable of receiving. You can then tune to the channels just like any other channel. Remember, the specific procedure may vary by TV manufacturer and model and you may have to refer to your TV’s instruction manual.  

What are sub-channels?

Multiple digital TV signals can be squeezed into the same bandwidth space as a single analog channel–splitting what was one channel into several. Digital tuners see these extra channels as sub-channels, such as 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, etc. You can tune to sub-channels just as you would tune to a normal channel.

How many channels will be provided in the new TV service?

The new service will provide approximately 93 high definition channels, 163 standard definition channels, and 50 music channels.

Is there a charge for TV service in the residence halls?

The service is provided in all residence hall rooms and the cost is included in standard room and board fees.

What equipment do I need to receive the cable TV service?

The new University Park campus cable TV service will deliver all content in a digital format and will require a television set, DVR, or conversion box tuner capable of receiving a digital clear QAM signal. To receive the HD channels, you will need an HD-compatible TV.

If you already have a TV connected to our system you can test your equipment by tuning to one or more of our existing digital channels:

  • If you can tune to 77-1 (AMC channel), your set is digital capable
  • If you can tune to 74-2 (Big Ten Network HD channel), your set is digital and HD capable

You can also check the specifications from your TV manufacturer to determine if it includes the required tuner. There are several types of digital tuners in use in the United States and not all will work with the campus cable TV service.

  • NTSC Tuner - not compatible
  • ATSC Tuner - not compatible
  • QAM Tuner - compatible and required

Some less expensive TVs sometimes come with a lower quality clear QAM tuner that may be unable to pick up all the digital channels. Users with less expensive TV brands such as Dynex and Insignia have reported some of these types of problems.

You can purchase an external QAM tuner conversion box, but it must be a conversion box that is compatible. NTSC and ATSC conversion boxes are NOT compatible.  In some cases it may be less expensive to just replace the entire TV. The following tuners have compatible QAM tuners that have been tested with service:

We have compiled the following information about television compatibility and provide this list as an informal reference for newer devices. This information was compiled from external sources and is not intended to be complete. The University cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. You should verify the specifications when you make a purchase.

  • Dynex - Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • Insignia - Only limited models have a QAM tuner
  • LG - Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Samsung - All models since 2009 have a QAM tuner (fifth digit of model number must be B or a letter beyond B in the alphabet)
  • Sony - Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Sylvania - Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • Toshiba - Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Visio - Recent models have a QAM tuner

Please report any inaccurate information in this list to Housing.