STD, HRC, and IRC are cable television formats. If your manual doesn’t explain it (always RTFM!), you are here for help in scanning (auto programming) channels for their HDTV.
STD HRC and IRC Reference
While the terms HRC and IRC are slowly phasing out, many TVs still allow the option of setting up your tuner to one of these 3 formats.
|HRC||Harmonically Related Carriers|
|IRC||Incrementally Related Carriers|
Additionally you might have the option to select analog vs digital. You want digital if available, but it likely won’t matter as analog cable is going the way of the dinosaur and if you have a “digital cable box,” all your programming is coming into the house digitally already (and then converted to analog by the box).
What’s the Difference
Older cable trunk lines suffer from signal degradation over and distance and require amplifiers to maintain signal strength. This amplification introduces noise into the cable signal. HRC and IRC are formats that the cable companies use in an attempt to clean up signals and improve audio/video quality. They slightly alter the frequency in order to make interference less noticeable, but most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Modern cable installations run fiber optic lines and do not require signal improvements. Today, most cable systems use STD.
Cable signals are sent through lines with a frequency, measured in MHz (megahertz) like cordless phones or computer CPUs. HRC and IRC try to eliminate interference, which comes in the form of “beat noise”- a term describing “concentrations of energy in the frequency domain.” Ya, that’s not too technical! We don’t care about all that. We just need to know which one to use…
Which do I Choose?
This is an official position from Brighthouse Networks and also our Solid Recommendation:
Always select STD (standard) if your TV offers this setting. Choosing the others could result in reception problems or missing channels.
If you have cable TV and live in a major city, or if you have satellite television like DISH Network or DirecTV, then you want to always select STD standard.
If you live in a rural community that is running an older cable system, then you might benefit from trying HRC or IRC. Results will vary as it is not an exact science, but you should take notes of the number of channels found and your opinion of quality between each. After comparing, choose which one you like.
For you worry warts- your TV set does not care which format you choose and it cannot hurt anything.
Is there any relationship with QAM signals?
QAM refers to your tuner device inside the TV. Digital televisions have either an ATSC or QAM tuner in them, but you will still scan for channels the same way. A QAM tuner just lets you pick up a few more channels in certain scenarios.
Good article! Thanks for this.
I found this article really helpful. And decided to stick to standard broadcast. Thanks for the help!
Thank you, glad to help!
what if I read the fm and it didn’t explain what HRC and IRC meant? I’d go to the web to be told to rtfm.
Agreed. My e-manual did not explain either. just gave a choice. but anyway, glad I found the answer here. Thx
Thanks for the info. I’m not a fan of manuals
This is what I see and found on Shentel Standard Cable. No box, Brand new TV…
–Auto-240 channels, Std-132, IRC-147, HRC-65. Each of the 4 settings has 10 or so totally different channels. Who cares, some stink to me. The large increase in the Auto setting is from 5 different PBS 9 channels in 5 different formats and resolutions. Fox CBS ABC etc X5 too.
–Also, I see if the TV takes too long to lock on to the channel, it sometimes erases the name I gave it, and/or erases the name AND the channel from the channel list, so you have to rescan. Sometimes it will erase a small block, (5 or 10) after the slow channel.
–Auto seems the most offensive, doing both. IRC erases mostly names only, STD is in between. HRC scans too few channels to use.
— I use IRC. More channels, and losing just the name is easy to fix without a rescan, which erases ALL the names. It comes up with channels I actually watch too. Manual didn’t explain squat.
-Cable systems are all different. TV’s too. Try each, and live with it for a week to see what works best for you… Walt
Thanks for the help…now I can watch TV
This was helpful knowledge. Thanks.
I have a dish box. What I am scanning for is the local over the air signals dtv I think. I was thinking it would be good to include that in this article unless I just missed it. I will guess STD is the choice for me. Thanks for the article. I was just looking for the definition of STD HRC and IRC so, yes thanks. My TV ask you to choose when autoprograming. Please feel free to delete this communication now:)
Thanks Thomas- I simply mention above “if you have satellite … select STD standard” since the others are for cable TV.
I just bought a 19″ HD Digital LED TV Element Model ELEFW195 and thought I could scan and pick up both Analog and Digital Channels from my cable Company but all it scans is Analog Channels. My larger TV picks up Analog and Digital so I know they are available to me. It says it has a “Digital ATSC Tuner so why can’t I scan Digital?
If your other tv works on your setup, then consider taking back the no-name brand tv. It likely has the cheapest of everything in it.
There are different levels of tuners, including QAM, which is needed for some channels. Additionally, most TVs have the option to scan air, cable, or both at once.
“Advanced HDTV tuners, such as the 232-ATSC+1 and HD TV sets can tune in both kinds of channels, and analog channels as well. Only a few tuners, such as the 232-ATSC+1, can accept both at the same time from a separate Air and Cable feeds.”
I don’t use cable tv and hadn’t used cable tv. for over 10 years so why am I being charged for HRC SRC
Charged by who?
Thank you for the straight forward info here i was just curious and u answered all my questions without me having to ask
I have a element tv I’ve tried connecting the cable with std n it still won’t work
We have digital cable with a Samsung TV and cant connect to our campground cable. We have the option for STD IRC OR HRC, but does anyone know if we should be using a different hookup instead of ANALOG/DIGITAL
This article wouldn’t apply. Your Digital cable box is your tuner – you just hook up the HDMI and set the TV to whatever input you plug it into
I have a Samsung TV it’s not smart and to get air channels its many options for example for air I have 3 options std hrc IRC and for digital it’s the same I’ve tried all and cant get channel 2 yesterday I couldn’t get channel 2 CBS and I couldn’t watch the rams game now today I cant watch the Patriots beat the chargers I’m very sad
What are you getting your tv signal from? If it’s an antenna screwed in, then select air. If you have a box from a tv provider and it screws in, then select digital. Do a channel scan with STD for either one.
If you don’t have channels, your signal is too weak
Thank you so much for stating this clearly! I never knew which one to use, and which one would give me the most channels! I kept loosing them and didn’t know why.
yeah channel 49-3001 while scannng holy *****.