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HDTV Tuners

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#1 of 11 Jeff La Clair

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Posted May 15 2003 - 04:45 AM

Comcast cable in our area is providing subscribers w/ a HD tuner to get HDTV through the cable company for 50.00 a month. Which picture is better, HDTV over the air or cable HDTV? Is there a difference? If over the air HD is the way to go, what HD tuner is recommended?

Jeff La Clair

#2 of 11 Jed M

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Posted May 15 2003 - 12:59 PM

I have found cable to be more reliable and I can't honestly say I notice a difference between the two. Both are unbelievable. Adjusting an antenna can be a real pain, as I did it with my directv for so long. If you do go over the air, get a big antenna that goes on your roof. I used the radio shack double bow tie antenna and its great, but it requires positioning for different channels, where with cable the signal is always there, rock solid.
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#3 of 11 RayJK


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Posted May 15 2003 - 11:32 PM


I'm a little jealous, I'm 25 miles away right across the border and don't have cable available at all. If the cable system provides all of the HD channels you want then it is an option. Of course, you are paying $50 a month for this option. While receiving OTA isn't free (cost of STB, rotor and antenna) it is cheaper in the long run. I get Baltimore HD stations OTA with no problems and you should even be able to get many more than I do. It all comes down to what you need.

#4 of 11 Bill Lucas

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Posted May 15 2003 - 11:55 PM

It's the same image. Regarding off-air if you get an adequate signal you get what is transmitted. There is no ghosting or other problems that are associated with analog off-air reception. You either get the image with off-air HD or you get no image.

#5 of 11 Dave Milne

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Posted May 16 2003 - 01:27 AM

As bill said... it's either there or it isn't. And 1080i is 1080i (or 720p is 720p, etc). In my area cable "doesn't do HDTV", and OTA is just arriving (2 channels so far)... so it's a moot point.

I was hoping someone would chime in on your last question about which HDTV tuner. I'm about to take the plunge. I was set on the Samsung SIR-T165 (the FireWire/DVI output that lets you record Hi-Def to a D-VHS recorder might be nice, but D-VHS machines are not cheap). I've been surfing the forums and the Sammy has some quirky problems like audio dropouts and no way to manually set the clock if stations don't have their PSIP coding correct.

The Zenith HDV420 seems to get better reviews for reception and picture quality... and it's a lot cheaper than the Sammy (but doesn't have digital output for recording).

Anybody have experience with these or others??

#6 of 11 Brian L

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Posted May 16 2003 - 03:54 AM

I have a Sammy 151, an OTA only HD box. It has been dead-nuts reliable. I can pull all but one station here in Albuquerque (7 out of 8).

And the 1 I can't get, I should get (All antennas in my city are in the same place on top of a 10,500 foot mountain).

I am no more than 5 miles the way the crow flies to the antennas...not quite line of site from my antenna though. I suspect I am either in a multipath area for that one station (I have tried moving the antenna around, but no joy) OR there is a conflict with the PSIP data (which was noted in several national AV mag reviews).

It hasn't had any of the problems noted with the other combo boxes, but thats probably because its does nothing BUT OTA.

Anyway, probably useless info if you are looking for a DTV/OTA combo box.

FWIW, I am a DTV customer, but did NOT go to a HD DTV box because I am also a Tivo guy. Tivo does not play nice with HD sat boxes. But, I did want to be able to get HD, so the cheapest route for me was an OTA box they runs straight to the TV.

At the end of the year, when the Tivo/DTV/OTA HD boxes come out, I am ALL OVER IT.


#7 of 11 Anthony F.

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Posted May 16 2003 - 05:25 AM

I've tried the SIR-T151 and the HDV420 and the Zenith was far more sensitive. I have a rooftop antenna, but live in an area with lots of tall evergreen trees and no clear line of site. After some wrangling with the antenna (and getting over a fear of heights :b ) we're able to get all the available OTA channels without a rotor. I also like the antenna pass through on the Zenith so that in the event you don't get some of the digital channels you're not swapping cables all the time.

#8 of 11 Bill Lucas

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Posted May 16 2003 - 06:09 AM

The Zenith 420 and 520 are excellent receivers.

One minor correction to a previous post. The new Sony receiver allow the user to select the output (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i) via the remote control. If you want to select the output on the Zenith you must push a button on the front panel.

#9 of 11 Jeff La Clair

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Posted June 18 2003 - 05:18 AM

Thanks for the info... I think I may tank the plunge this summer.

#10 of 11 Jeff La Clair

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Posted June 18 2003 - 05:18 AM

Thanks for the info... I think I may take the plunge this summer.

#11 of 11 JeremyFr


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Posted June 18 2003 - 05:40 AM

um I dont you mean 5.00 a month not 50??
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