ATSC Tuner/Cablecard Questions

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Andy Kim, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. Andy Kim

    Andy Kim Second Unit

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    Hello,
    I noticed the new Sony's will include an ATSC tuner and Cablecards as well as the current NTSC tuner. I'm a little confused about the ATSC tuner and Cablecards and how it will be used currently and in the future.

    I live in Toronto and subscribe to cable. Upto channel 70 or so, is regular analog and you don't need a set-top box. If you want the specialty channels which are basically anything above 70, you need to subscribe to them and have a set-top cable box. As far as I know these channels above 70 are all digital however only a handfull are High Def. As far as I know, I don't think there are any channels that broadcast over the air in HDTV.

    1. Am I correct in saying that an ATSC tuner will be useless for now until channels begin to transmit via cable in High Def?
    2. If I were to subscribe to one of the high channels that broadcast in High Def, I will still need a set-top box wouldn't I specifying which channels I subscribe to? The built-in ATSC tuner may be able to understand the transmission but it would still be scrambled right?
    3. In connection with Q2, Cablecards programmed specifying which channels I subscribe to would eliminate the need for Set-top boxes in the future. (Right now, I have no idea whether Canada will accept the use of Cablecards but it doesn't sound like its being accepted in the US either despite the official rollout).
    4. Why will we need these Cablecards specifying which channels we can watch or not? Cable company's right now can turn certain channels on and off for us depending on what we subscribe to. Can't they do the same?

    The current Sony LCDs are being discounted by $1,000 bucks right to make way for the new LCDs with the built-in ATSC tuners and Cablecards, hence my questions.
    Thanks for any replies.
    Andy
     
  2. Daniel Kikin

    Daniel Kikin Screenwriter

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    Also keep in mind that cable cards are only one way so any two-way features likk the guide and on-demand can't be used unless you have a set-top box.
     
  3. Steven.W.T

    Steven.W.T Stunt Coordinator

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    With an ATSC tuner all you need is an antenna to get over the air broadcasts in HDTV. It just depends on if your area has any channels that broadcast in it. The tuner has nothing to do with cable tv.

    My cable company is starting to use them. Here is what their site says. "Through the use of a CableCARD device, which is inserted into a slot in a Digital Cable Ready (DCR) television. The CableCARD will descramble the digital and high-definition signals provided by Cox Communications without the use of a traditional set-top box. However, this new technology is only one-way - users are unable to access the Cox Interactive Program Guide (IPG) or make impulse pay-per-view purchases using their remotes. Customers who wish to receive these two-way services must lease a Cox Digital Cable set-top box."

    Yes, the cable companies do the same. We dont control what we will be able to watch, it will be the cable company.
     
  4. kahlilJ

    kahlilJ Agent

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    this is a question i have only recently began wondering about: does a tv with an onboard ATSC tuner also have NTSC tuning capability? i thought that they were 2 separate tuners i.e. a TV might have either NTSC OR ATSC OR both. & if it has both then it literally had 2 individual tuners. i have been looking for tv's that advertise having both.

    I was in store recently & the sales assistant used a sony tv with an ATSC tuner onboard which was connected to their cable. he disconnected the cable feed & connected a regular antenna to it. It received NTSC channels!!

    now i am confused.[​IMG] does anyone have a TV with an ATSC tuner & can verify that is also gets NTSC? do these tv's have 2 tuners then or is it only one (the ATSC which also gets NTSC)???

    thanks,
    kgj
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    All TV's (except those sold as "monitors") are required to have an NTSC tuner. I think you can be sure that any TV sold with an ATSC tuner also has a NTSC tuner. Yes, they are 2 distinct tuners, although they may be combined depending on the TV.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    In the newer Sony's that have it all, it is amazingly seemless. Tell it to auto program, and it finds everything that it can possibly find with it's tuners. Everything it gets shows up, and if you hit like the channel up button, it seemlessly gives you everything it found it can give you in order. Pretty neat the way that works actually...
     
  7. kahlilJ

    kahlilJ Agent

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    thanks jeff & john.... i found out that:
    ∙ ATSC tuner does not have NTSC reception ability.
    ∙ units will likely have to have an NTSC tuner
    ∙ current manufactured TV's (including plasma tv's) are required to have NTSC tuners onboard

    if i'm mistaken, then someone please correct me. [​IMG]

    kahlil
     
  8. Kelvin Tucker

    Kelvin Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Kahlil,

    You may be complicating things more than you need to. In simple term;

    1) ALL TV's will have NTSC tuners, (can't be called a TV otherwise)
    2) Some TV's have dual tuners (NTSC) and will be advertised as such
    3) Therefore, any ATSC TV will have full NTSC tuning functionality.

    Dual tuners are neccessary (usually) to get any use out of the PIP features.

    NOTE: There are "monitors" being sold without tuning functionality, but they are specifically NOT called TV's.

    Hope this helps...
     
  9. kahlilJ

    kahlilJ Agent

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    thanks kelvin.

    i am aware of the difference between a monitor & tv. & not to belittle the point cause i think we're on the same page, BUT i don't think ATSC tv's will have "NTSC tuning functionality". i believe the ATSC tv will have 2 separate tuners (an ATSC tuner AND an NTSC tuner).

    my point in stating that "units will likely have to have an NTSC tuner" was that from what i have researched some tv's were made with only an ATSC tuner a couple/few years back.

    however CURRENT (or subsequent) government requirements are that ALL tv's are required to have NTSC tuners. that is what that last statement was referring to in my summary.

    hope this make sense. [​IMG]

    kahlil
     

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