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Campus television upgrade information

In late summer 2013, UW-Stevens Point received an upgrade in its cable TV system. The signal was upgraded from analog to "QAM." Here are some important things you should be aware of before choosing a television to bring with you for your residence hall room.

Why did the university change to QAM?

Our local cable provider, Charter Communications, has made the change to its signal for the Stevens Point community to the QAM signal.

What is the difference between the previous cable television system and the new one?

QAM is a type of digital signal that is used by cable companies to distribute television and other telecommunication mediums. The old cable system at UW-Stevens Point was analog. This system has been replaced by QAM in accordance with FCC regulations. This change is similar to the 2009 digital TV switchover that was mandatory for over the air (OTA) broadcast stations.


QAM signals are different from OTA signals. A QAM tuner is needed to receive and decrypt the QAM signal. A digital converter or set top box from a local electronics store will most likely NOT be able to receive the QAM signal.

Will my TV work with the new system? How can I tell if my TV has a QAM tuner?

Many televisions manufactured since 2007 already have a QAM tuner built in. The easiest way to tell if your TV has this feature is to:

  • refer to the documentation which came with your television and look for "QAM capable"
  • Google your make and model to determine whether it is QAM capable.

Why are my channels not lining up with the channel schedule?

The cable provider established a specific channel order. Some televisions may not map the channel order exactly as shown on the guide. This is due to variations in television manufacturers' standards. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this discrepancy.

Antenna vs. cable settings - why am I only getting 13 channels?

Be sure your TV is set to "cable" to properly scan and capture the channel content. This will not occur if your TV is set to "antenna." These options are located on the TV menu. Check your TV documentation.

Where can I get assistance if...

I do not receive any channels on my TV?
Submit a work order stating you receive no channels.

I only receive some channels on my TV?
You may need to acquire a QAM capable tuner or switch to a different TV that is QAM capable.

Where can I purchase a QAM capable tuner?

As of this writing, we have not found these to be available in traditional retail electronics stores. If you are unable to find one at a retailer, you might check the Internet for dealers selling QAM capable tuners. They typically cost around $120-$160.

What type of QAM tuner does the university suggest?

While we cannot tell you what to purchase, we have found that this model QAM tuner works well at UW-Stevens Point: CM-7001 Channel Master. There are likely other models in the marketplace that will also meet your needs. We encourage you to do some research and shop around.

Depending on your situation, you may decide that it makes more sense to invest in a new TV rather than purchase a QAM tuner.




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