Television Compatibility information
Posted by Aaron Klein on 23 August 2014 09:30 AM

Television Compatibility

During the summer of 2014 our cable provider upgrade our campus cable TV service to digital.  The new digital service requires a television, DVR or other tuner device with a QAM tuner. You must check the specifications from your manufacturer to determine if it includes the required tuner. TV's sold in the US can have up to three different types of tuners so it is important to understand the differences between them and which one is required for our campus.

NTSC Tuner (not compatible)

NTSC, named for the National Television System Committee, is the analog television system used in the United States from 1941 to 2009. After nearly 70 years of use, the FCC ordered the discontinuation of most over-the-air NTSC transmissions in the United States in 2009. Analog channels are still available on many cable systems to provide basic programming without the use of a cable conversion box. Some manufacturers no longer include this type of tuner in televisions built after 2009.

ATSC Tuner (not compatible)

An ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner is a type of television tuner that allows reception of digital television (DTV) television channels transmitted by television stations in North America. The FCC required all television manufacturers to include an ATSC tuner in all products since 2007, and required television broadcasters to switch in 2009. This type of tuner is currently included in all new televisions, including the inexpensive "digital conversion boxes" that were widely available leading up to the 2009 switchover.

QAM (required)

QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) is the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers, including CWRU. A QAM tuner is the cable equivalent of an ATSC tuner which receives over-the-air digital channels broadcast by local television stations. Many new cable-ready digital televisions support both of these standards. Because there is no requirement, though, some very inexpensive manufacturers or models may not include the QAM tuner.

Please be advised that less expensive TVs sometimes come with a lower quality QAM tuner that may be unable to tune all of the channels. If that is the case a digital conversion box can be purchased.

TV Brands to avoid (these brands typically do not support QAM tuners):




Digital Conversion Boxes

If your television does not support a QAM tuner, you can update your television or purchase a digital conversion box. Just like the TV, you should ensure that the conversion boxes includes a QAM tuner, and not just an ATSC tuner. Most tuner boxes available at electronic stores from over-the-air digital TV transition do not include this tuner, so be sure to verify the specifications from the manufacturer. The IT Center is currently researching external tuner box's that work with our cable service.  We will update this article as we have more information.


The following models are known to NOT work on campus:

Insignia NS-DXA2

iView 3500STBII


The following models we have CONFIRMED work on campus:

Channel Master CM-7001 - Discontinued

Channel Master CM-7003 - Replaces CM-7001

PHD - PHD-8VX2 - Note this unit does not have an RF output (requires HDMI or Component or Composite inputs on your TV to work) 

PHD - PHD-208  - Note this unit does not have an RF output (requires HDMI or Component or Composite inputs on your TV to work)

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