Television Compatibility

The CWRU digital cable system 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. The types of tuners currently in use in the United States are listed here for your reference.

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 Tuner (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. We have found this to be true of bargain brands such as Dynex, Element, Insignia, Seiki, as well as some low-cost models from Visio. If that is the case, a digital conversion box can be purchased.

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 following boxes have been tested by the university for compatibility with our system.

Compatible Devices
Incompatible Devices

The following specific devices are equipped with a low-quality QAM tuner that is not capable of tuning the entire channel lineup. You may get limited or erratic service with these devices, or it may detect channels incorrectly.

  • Access HD DTA1080
  • ChannelMaster CM-7003
  • Digital Stream DTX9950
  • Firebird DCT310
  • iView STB1000
  • iView STB2000
  • iView 3200STB
  • iView 3500STB2
Digital Televisions

We have compiled the following information about television compatibility based on reports from students and staff. CWRU is unable to certify that any particular device is compatible and this listing does not guarantee compatibility. You should verify the specifications when you make a purchase.

  • Dynex - Only limited models have a QAM tuner (not recommended)
  • Element - Only limited models have a QAM tuner (not recommended)
  • Insignia - Only limited models have a QAM tuner (not recommended)
  • 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 higher)
  • Seiki - Only limited models have a QAM tuner (not recommended)
  • Sony - Most models since 2007 have a QAM tunder
  • Sylvania - Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • Toshiba - Most models since 2007 have a QAM tuner
  • Visio - Recent models have a QAM tuner
  • Westinghouse - Some models require QAM tuner activation

Please notify us if you see any inaccurate information in this list.