Housing provides at least one cable television connection in each residence hall and/or apartment. To use the service, simply connect your TV to the wall jack with a standard coaxial cable (not provided).
Housing regularly evaluates the TV service and the channels that are provided, involving student representatives from the Association of Residence Hall Students (ARHS). Please email Housing if you have comments or suggestions about the TV service.
For more information about the cable TV service, please review the Frequently Asked Questions below:
What equipment do I need to receive the cable TV service?
The University Park campus cable TV service delivers some content in an analog signal, which can be received on any television. Additional content (video and music) is delivered in a digital format and will require a television set, DVR, or conversion box tuner capable of receiving a digital clear QAM signal. To receive the HD channels, you will need an HD-compatible TV.
You must check the specifications from you TV manufacturer to determine if it includes the required tuner. There are several types of digital tuners in the United States and not all will work with campus cable TV service.
- NTSC Tuner - not compatible
- ATSC Tuner - not compatible
- QAM Tuner - compatible and required
We also noticed that some less expensive TVs sometimes come with a lower quality QAM tuner that may be unable to pick up all the digital channels. Users with bargain brands such as Dynex and Insignia reported these types of problems.
You can purchase an external QAM tuner conversion box, but it must be a conversion box that is compatible. NTSC and ATSC conversion boxes are NOT compatible. The following tuners have compatible QAM tuners that have been tested with the campus cable TV system:
We compiled the following information about television compatibility and provide this list as an informal reference for newer devices. This information was compiled from external sources and is not intended to be complete. The University cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information. You should verify the 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 a letter beyond B in the alphabet)
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
Please report any inaccurate information in this list to Housing.
How do I program my TV to be able to see all the channels being offered?
The procedure for setting up your TV to recognize the new signals will be different based on the manufacturer and TV model. Please refer to your TV's manual for instructions. In general, the procedure is as follows:
The scan may take a few minutes as the TV looks for all available signals. Once it's done, your TV should recognize all the content provided by Penn State that your TV is capable of receiving. You can then tune to the channels just like any other channel. Remember, the specific procedure may vary by TV manufacturer and model and you may have to refer to your TV's instruction manual.
What are sub-channels?
Multiple digital TV signals can be squeezed into the same bandwidth space as a single analog channel--splitting what was one channel into several. Digital tuners see these extra channels as sub-channels, such as 76-1, 76-2, 76-3, etc. Analog channels 2 through 70 do not have sub-channels, only digital channels 71 and above will have sub-channels.
My television does not appear to be working properly. What should I do?
Before you call for repairs, check the following:
No picture or sound?
Plug a light into the receptacle to check for electrical service. If the light doesn't work, contact your area Housing Office or your RA (residence halls) or CA (apartments). If the light works, the problem is in your TV set.
Do you have a snowy, fuzzy, or distorted screen? Check the cable connection. If this doesn't work, try the TV in another student's room. If it doesn't work in their room, the problem is in your TV set. If the TV works in their room, try the following: Take the TV cable from their room and try it in your room. If the TV works with the new cable, replace your cable. If the TV still doesn't work, call your area Housing Office or your RA (residence halls) or CA (apartments) for assistance.
Note: Faulty VCRs, DVD players, console/game units, etc. may also interfere with television reception. Follow the same procedure listed above to check these units. If it is determined that the problem is in your TV set, there may be a charge for a service call. Housing does not repair or replace televisions.
Sometimes the broadcast on an HD channel looks more like a standard definition channel. Why is this?
Some networks may show classic content that was originally only recorded in a standard definition format. That means that even though you are watching an HD signal, the original content was only standard definition.
I don't have a TV with the required digital or high definition (HD) tuner. Will I still be able to see all the channels?
TVs that do not have a reliable QAM digital tuner will still receive channels 2 through 70. If you would like to receive all the content from the service on your non-compatible TV, you will need a TV, DVR, or conversion box tuner with a digital QAM tuner. Please see information above in the section, “What equipment do I need to receive the cable TV service?"
Will Penn State be broadcasting more HD channels in the future?
We will continue to evaluate the most cost-effective way to provide additional HD services in the future.
Where should I report problems with my TV service?
Report problems with your TV service to your local area Housing Office. The Housing Office will help you resolve the issue if possible, or report it to the proper office for action.
No person using the broadband television services offered by Penn State may videotape or copy content in any form except for content that is provided directly by Penn State.