TV Service

University housing provides an on-campus cable TV service that is an all-digital signal with an expanded channel lineup and includes 95 high-definition (HD) channels, 120 standard definition (SD) channels, and 50 digital music channels.

University housing provides at least one cable television connection in each residence hall and/or apartment. To use the service, the TV must be connected to the wall jack with a standard coaxial cable, which is not provided. A channel scan needs to be run on the television to recognize new channels.

Channel List

TV Schedule – See what’s on using the online TV schedule. You can even download the mobile app schedule (iPhone/Android).  Note: Be sure the Channel Lineup for Pennsylvania State University is selected. If the schedule does not default to the Pennsylvania State University, click ADD (next to Channel Lineup), choose DIGITAL, enter 16802 for the Zip Code, and choose The Pennsylvania State University.

The University regularly evaluates the TV service and the channels that are provided, involving student representatives from the Association of Residence Hall Students (ARHS). Contact Housing  with comments or suggestions about TV service. 

What equipment do I need to receive the cable TV service?

The cable TV service delivers all content in a digital format and requires a television set, DVR, or conversion box tuner capable of receiving a digital clear QAM signal. To receive HD channels, you need a HD-compatible TV.

If you already have a TV connected to thesystem, you can test your equipment by running an automatic channel scan to verify what channels are recognized.

Check the specifications from your TV manufacturer to determine if it includes the required tuner. There are several types of digital tuners and not all will work with campus cable TV service.

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 less expensive brands such as Dynex and Insignia reported these types of problems.

External Converter Boxes

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. In some cases it may be a wiser decision to just replace the entire TV. The following external tuner boxes have compatible QAM tuners that have been tested with the campus cable TV system. Once programmed, they receive all channels provided, including HD channels.


  • HD channels will be shown in standard definition on TVs that are not HD compatible. 
  • The connection to your TV can be coax, standard AV jacks, or HDMI.
  • The units can be purchased from multiple sources:

Channel Master CM-7001

kWorld External ATSC/QAM TV Box HDMI Edition, model SA298-QDE

The following information about television compatibility is 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
  • Funai - Do not appear to have QAM tuners
  • 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 (channel scan) 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:

Run an automatic channel scan for Cable channels. 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.

We have had reports of some TVs having difficulty scanning for the new channels. If you encounter this problem, try the following procedure. We have had reports that this may correct the scanning problem on some TVs.

Will TiVo work with the provided TV service?

No. TiVo will not work with the TV service provided on-campus. We have tested TiVo and because our channel listing is proprietary there is no way for the TiVo box to have access to the channel guide to schedule program recordings.

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 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, etc. You can tune to sub-channels just as you would tune to a normal channel.

Is there a charge for TV service in the residence halls?

The service is provided in all University housing, and the cost is included in standard room and board fees.

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 Housing or your RA. If the light works, the problem is in your TV set. 

Poor reception?

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?

You will need a TV, DVR, or conversion box tuner with a digital QAM tuner to receive service.  Please see information above in the section, “What equipment do I need to receive the cable TV service?"

Where should I report problems with my TV service?

Report problems with your TV service to ResCom, who can 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 the University may videotape or copy content in any form except for content that is provided directly by the University.