ATSC Setup for NA Digital Cable with HDHR Dual Tuner

Cable providers in the United States are required to carry at least the local broadcast stations over clearQam. These stations are not scrambled and should be able to be picked up by the HDHomeRun. They should send the station name also, but they don't always do it so we will explore what happens if they do not.

Finally we will be adding the stations epg data using schedules direct but others should be similar. Let's get started:

Installing HDHomeRun module and drivers

Built in support for HDHomeRun for TVH is done using a user-generated DVB module located here: [[]] and that page explains how to get TVH to recognize the HDHomeRun. Once TVH is recognizing it you should also install the official drivers located here: [[]]. You should choose ATSC at the bottom. The cool thing about the official drivers is that it comes with a utility called hdhomerun_config_gui which lets you check the status of your tuners as well as update them and scan and watch channels. This is a great tool to use to manage your hdhomeruns and to check if you have everything you think you should.

Before you move on you should be showing your tuners in TVH. If you aren't showing them there your HDHR is either not functioning or you haven't installed the DVB module correctly. Do not move on until you have your tuners showing up in TVH, or it is simply pointless. (You can see your tuners under the Configuration -> TV Adapters and then using the drop down on the left.)

Scanning for stations

The easiest way to find stations is to just add the standard us frequencies named "us_Cable_Standard_center_frequencies_QAM256" in the Configuration-> TV Adapters -> General -> Add DVB Networks by location. Doing this will likely get you your local broadcast stations and if that is all you want you can skip down to the section titled "Adding EPG data."

If you want everything you rightly should get things get a bit harder.

Find hidden channels

These channels are not illegal, they just aren't named. Currently when you scan for services using the multiplexes using the standard frequencies you will find hundreds of blank ones. They look like the image that is attached.

Some of those may be stations that work but TVH just doesn't know the Service Name. As a result there is no way to identify them without clicking play on every one of them. That would take hours and may not work anyway, so we will NOT be doing that.

Alternatively that hdhomerun_config_gui lets you see stations that are available. The problem here is it gives you something like "auto:65" in the Physical Channel field which in no way helps with TVH.

You could use something like w_scan and scan and try and work it out too but neither of these told me anything that I could find out other ways.

Luckily there is an addon for XBMC that will let you scan for those stations with XBMC directly: [[]]

Use that plugin on XBMC and you will find a bunch of stations with identifiers like "ChannelName", "encrypted", "control", or "". The last one is the most interesting. Those are stations that are not encrypted but also do not have the station name being sent. On each one of those services that are blank or have a station name listed click play in XBMC. Once you verify they work (watch long enough to get an idea of what the station is) check your XBMC log. You will find somewhere something like this:

10:34:50 T:5475536  NOTICE: DVDPlayer: Opening: hdhomerun://1032EE7A/tuner0?channel=auto:513000000&program=14

That is what we need! That is telling you the device, tuner and most importantly the auto: is the mux you need and the program is the specific channel on that frequency. Copy each one down that works in the addon.

Make your own Mux File

On the Configurations -> General tab there is an option for "DVB scan files path" and in there type: "/usr/share/dvb" and save.

On the computer that is running TVH go to "/usr/share/dvb/atsc" and you will see the same names that you had listed earlier. Open one of those up and check it out. You'll notice the basic format is this:

A  141000000 QAM256                                                                                                                                            
A  657000000 QAM256
A  675000000 QAM256
A  693000000 QAM256
A  699000000 QAM256
A  717000000 QAM256
A  711000000 QAM256
A  315012000 QAM256
A  111000000 QAM256
A  513000000 QAM256
A  519000000 QAM256
A  525000000 QAM256

This is actually the mux file for me, so if you are lucky enough to be in Pensacola these may work fine for you. Since you probably aren't in Pensacola you need to make your own. Using those hdhomerun calls you got earlier from that plugin make a file of unique frequencies. Ignore the program part of the frequency call for now. Use the same format: A[SPACE]FREQUENCY[SPACE]QAM256 Most everyone in the US uses QAM256.

Now that you have a nice unique file, name it something similar to what is there, using the country code first. I named mine: us-FL-Pensacola, no .txt should be there.

After that restart TVH head to Configurations->TV Adapters->Add DVB by location and you should have your new file listed there. Add that. On your Multiplexes screen those should be the only frequencies listed.

Add Stations to TVH

Let TVH do its initial scan. and when you are done you will have some stations (the ones with names) listed out. The ones without names we need to do a bit of cross referencing. I used chrome for this, because at the bottom left it shows what the url is if you hover over a link. That speeds things up. OK Nitty Gritty:

An example for one of my "Play" button links is this:

That is the internal ip address of my TVH install at the beginning and at the end we have "ATSC513000000_000e", ignore the ATSC you have 513000000 which should look pretty familiar as you added that frequency to your custom mux file just a few minutes ago. (It is listed off to the far right column in TVH too, so quick reference there.) Now for the specific channel on that frequency. You will need to convert the 000e from hexadecimal which is what it currently is to decimal which is what that addon gave you in the log file.

I used but there are literally hundreds of websites that will do this conversion for you. If you put 000e into it you come out with a decimal of 14. If you scroll up you will see that is what I had posted as an example. That turns out to be a channel for me. You can, if you wish, click play and verify it but so long as it matches up you should be ok. (Clicking play will also let you see what station it is so you can name it appropriately, if you didn't take notes earlier.)

In the channel name column you can double click and put in a name that tells you what that station is. After you have found all the stations that work go back to the General section under TV Adapters and click "Map DVB services to channels..." and go to Configurations -> Channels and they should all be listed there.

You should at this point duplicate the same thing on the second tuner, just use the same Service Name for each tuner and they should pair up and you wont have to do any merging.

Adding EPG data

As stated earlier I use for my EPG data, and it takes a bit of setup and isn't free. Currently it is 10 dollars a month. You will need to run tv_grab_na_dd command line first. That will get your username and password for the site. From there you will also need to select it Configuration -> EPG Grabber. (It is XMLTV: North America (Data Direct)) After all that I would restart TVH and let it load one last time and then back to Configuration -> Channels

On that tab under EPG Grab Source you can double click and get a bunch of options on what to use for that specific station. Unfortunately it really doesn't make any sense. So go to, log in and add your lineup. When you have added it you can click report. In the report it tells you the station name and XMLid which you can use to cross reference in the EPG Grab Source. You get the hang of that pretty quickly.

Make sure you click save and then restart TVH one more time. Give it a few minutes and refresh your page and you should get your tv listings. One thing you can do to make it more efficient is on website you can click edit and only pull the stations you need. I did that and went from ~10 minutes to download the EPG to 36 seconds.


This is a lot to take in and a lot of cross referencing. Once you do it once you shouldn't barely ever have to do it again (only when your cable provider adds more stations) so don't stress too hard.

Updated by Joshua Welch about 11 years ago · 5 revisions