TV: Campus Cable TV Service Compatibility Guide

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Television Compatibility

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


NTSC 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.


An ATSC tuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner, is a type of television tuner that allows the 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, or Clear QAM, is the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers. A QAM tuner is the cable equivalent of an ATSC tuner that 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, 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, Insignia, as well as some low-cost models from Visio. If this 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 box 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 verify the manufacturer's specifications. 

Digital Televisions

We have compiled the following information about television compatibility and provide this list as an informal reference for newer devices. This information is compiled from staff and student reports and is not intended to be complete. OIT cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. We recommend that you verify the TV 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 higher)
  • 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
  • Westinghouse - Some models require QAM tuner activation


Article ID: 124747
Fri 1/15/21 4:06 PM
Fri 11/4/22 12:54 PM