What kind of television do I need to use with Xfinity TV?

NOTE: Some TV brands may not work with Xfinity TV, including Apex, Dynex, Element, Haier, Insignia, Seiki, Sylvania, Vizio and Westinghouse. Read below for more information.


The Wayne State University digital cable system requires a television, DVR or other tuner device with a quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) tuner. QAM is the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted. A QAM tuner allows your TV to tune to digital or HD channels. Check the specifications from your manufacturer to determine if it includes a QAM tuner. TV brands that generally do have a quality QAM tuner include LG, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.


Sometimes TV manufacturers use QAM tuners that are of lower quality. Brands to avoid include: Apex, Dynex, Element, Haier, Insignia, Seiki, Sylvania, Vizio, and Westinghouse. If you have any of these TVs, you may not be able to receive all of the Xfinity channels.


Types of tuners


The types of tuners currently in use in the United States include:


  • QAM tuner (required): Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM). A QAM tuner is the cable equivalent of an ATSC tuner which receives over-the-air digital channels broadcast by local television stations. Most new TVs support this, but there is no requirement so some inexpensive models may not include a QAM tuner.
  • NTSC tuner (not compatible): The NTSC tuner gets its name from the National Television System Committee. This analog TV system was used in the U.S. between 1941 to 2009 when it was discontinued by the FCC. Analog channels are still available on many cable systems for basic programming without the use of a cable conversion box, but some manufacturers no longer include this type of tuner.
  • ATSC tuner (not compatible): An Advanced Television Systems Committee tuner (ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner) allows reception of digital TV channels transmitted by stations in North America. All manufacturers have been required to include an ATSC tuner since 2007, and broadcasters have been required to switch since 2009. You'll find this type of tuner in all new TVs, including inexpensive digital conversion boxes that became popular leading up to the 2009 switchover.


How do I know if my TV has a QAM tuner?


Search online by make/model of your TV or reference your owner's manual for specific model information about the tuner in your TV.


  • An example of what the manual may say if the TV has a QAM tuner: Built in digital tuner (ATSC/Clear QAM) or NTSC/QAM.
  • An example of what the manual may say if the TV does NOT have a QAM tuner: ATSC/NTSC Tuner (no mention of QAM).
  • If your TV remote has the (.) or (-) symbol button for easy tuning or is able to display channels such as 5.2 or 5-2, your TV likely has a QAM tuner.
  • TV brands that may NOT have a QAM tuner: Apex, Dynex, Element, Haier, Seiki and Sylvania. If you are choosing one of these brands, please verify that the model has a QAM tuner


If you are still unsure whether or not your TV has a QAM tuner, please check with the manufacturer.


NOTE: To use cable at WSU, you will have to scan for channels on your TV. Learn how to scan for channels at tech.wayne.edu/kb/internet-networks/cable-tv/292695. View the channel guide in the Xfinity Stream app, available for both iOS and Android.