I just read an interesting article on Hometoys.com about how to get Premium HD cable content in to Media Center without using CableCARD. The solution uses an undocumented feature of Motorola Set Top Boxes (specifically the QIP6200-2 in this case) to get the content.
The RF output connection (the ‘F’ connector labeled RF out) sends out “clear QAM” (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) in addition to standard NTSC signals. QAM is the same modulation technique used by the cable companies for transmitting multiple streams of high definition video through their cable infrastructures. Most people connect the RF connector from their Set Top Box to a NTSC tuner tuned to Channel 3 or 4 (usually a VCR). However, NTSC limits the resolution to 520 interlaced lines while high definition needs to go up to 720p or 1080i.
We simply put an off-the-shelf AVerMedia AverTV Combo PCIe MCE tuner card into a Windows Vista-based PC with Windows Media Center and let Windows Update load the appropriate drivers. This tuner card supports QAM connectivity in addition to NTSC. It also supports Over The Air (OTA) ATSC, but we did not use it for this installation. We plugged in the standard USB Microsoft eHome IR Receiver as we normally would and attached the IR blaster to the Set Top Box as we would using the lousy-looking standard definition S-Video solution provided by Microsoft.
We initially assumed that Windows Media Center would use the NTSC tuner capability and require us to use Channel 3 or 4 to match the NTSC output from the Set Top Box, but much to our surprise, the standard TV setup procedure found the QAM signal and used it for the TV input without requiring any other setup. It then asked us if we had a Set Top Box, which we configured the same way we normally do. Voila! We were receiving “in the clear” high definition video unencrypted by the Set Top Box. We can record it, copy it to other machines, and stream it to any number of devices we want.
Looks an interesting solution, read the rest of the article HERE