Manually adding ClearQAM channels to 7MC

Adding ClearQAM channels to your Windows7 Media Center can be quite a daunting process. With reguard to previous version of Media Center though it's still quite an improvement as before there was no native support for ClearQAM whatsoever. ClearQAM is generally broadcast in the United States through your cable provider and typically only consisits of the basic broadcast channels you would be able to get through an antenna. The advantage to these channels over regular cable is they come in as HD channels for free.

The first step is to check your tuner manufacturer's website for the most recent drivers for your particular tuner card. If there are newer drivers you may want to install these before going on. The next step is to run a normal TV Tuner setup in Media Center. If you have already run the initial setup you can run the tuner setup again by going to Tasks > Settings > TV > Setup TV Signal. Follow this wizard and be sure you have an available ClearQAM tuner presented during the setup and follow through the TV Channel Scan.

Note: Certain older Hauppauge cards may need a registry fix which can be found here at Mike Wren’s blog.

Often this scan returns "0 channels found", fear not. Once you have completed the wizard, you will most likely need to add these channels to your TV listings manually. Go to Tasks > Settings > TV > Guide > Edit Channels. Here you will be presented with what is most likely a lengthy list of channels with your basic cable channels numbers and labeled. Just past these neatly organized channels, though, you will find a mess of channels marked simply with numbers and displaying (or not) a small lock beside them. This is the cash crop, these are ClearQam channels.

Once we have come to this point enable the "Show Preview" option on the left and scroll down through the ClearQAM channels until you come to one or more that do not show the lock icon beside them. You can also reffer to SiliconDust's webpage to identify ClearQAM channels you will likely recieve in your area. Selecting the channel name on the right with "Show Preview" enabled should bring up the channel in the background and play audio from the channel. If you don't see/hear this it may be a false positive and you should move on until you find one that comes in correctly.

When you reach a ClearQAM channel that comes in properly mark the checkbox next to the channel number to enable this channel in your TV guide listing. Once you've completed marking all the channels that come in save your settings on the left then we'll move on to setting up the channels in the guide.

Enter your TV guide listing from the main menu and scroll until you come to the channels you just added to your guide listing. You'll notice that none of these channels have names or program data associated with them. To change this click on the channel number on the left and then select "Edit Channel".

Here you can once again refer to your local ClearQAM listing through Silicon Dust's site if the channel numbers match that listing you can simply watch the channels momentarily to determine which channel you are viewing. Then you have the option of Renaming the channel and Editing Listings associated with the channel. Note that when possible you should choose the listing associated with a "DT", "DT2", etc after the callsign as these will give you the listings for the digital channel and include any HD information that is available.

That's it, you should now be able to enjoy your ClearQAM channels from inside Windows 7 Media Center!


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