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Need help choosing HD decoder please...

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   JamesOr



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Posted August 08 2003 - 08:31 PM

I bought a 57" Hitachi HD set about a month ago and football season is coming up quick so I am looking into receivers/decoders. I live in an apartment and I get DirecTv through a big central satellite dish so I'm not going to be getting HD programming through DirecTv in the near future(unless I move).

My quandry is whether to get a HD Receiver that is over-the-air only, or get one that is also a DirecTv receiver so I can eventually use it someday when I have my own dish. Am I getting better quality in a receiver that doesn't have DirecTv capabilities?

The model I am looking at right now is the Samsung SIR-TS160 which can be seen here:

I haven't put too much time into researching yet, I would like to find out what people here think about which way I should go.

Incidentally, I've ordered a Jensen TV940 antenna for reception. It was recommended by someone on this forum. I figure I will check out the signal strength for the local UHF channels before buying a receiver. Thanks for the help

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   dan fritzen

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Posted August 10 2003 - 03:55 PM

I was going to get the Samsung SIR-t151 but the t351 just came out and has DVI which the 151 doesn't. The 351 is supposed to support QAM for unscrambled cable HD but if it does I do not care, the t151 is $320 and the t351 is $330 so I ordered it last thursday. If you want HD DirecTv go for the t160 but otherwise get a t351. I read a review of the t151 and it was rated as very good for quality of picture and reception. The sony is supposed to be good as well and zenith uses the same insides for one of there OTA/DirecTv HD receivers.
"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln how did you enjoy the show?"

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Brian L

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Posted August 11 2003 - 04:08 AM

I have a 151 and can get 7 out of 8 stations in my city. But I think you would be wise to get the 351 for DVI, which may be useful in the future. With real HD content, it looks fabulous on my 53" HD TV. It got a crappy review a while back in SHGT, but I guess the reviewer was just in a bad area. Then again, there is a lot of variation in receiving ability. What works great here may suck where you live. Best buy something that can be returned. And FWIW, I started out with rabbit ears (poor reception), then went to one of those Terk antennas that look like an oar (it sucked slightly less hard than the rabbit ears, but still sucked), then got a RS traditional style VHF/UHF antenna mounted in my attic. That was the ticket. Had I known then what I know now, I would have gotten a Channel Master 4221, which is UHF only. It should easily outperform my rat shack antenna. I may still buy one and see if I can get that one station I can't get now. BGL

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   JamesOr



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Posted August 13 2003 - 08:20 PM

Thanks for the ideas. Unfortunately, I just got the indoor antenna I ordered and I get pretty bad reception on the regular UHF channels. My balcony faces the wrong way for my own dish so I'm out of luck. It's a good thing there isn't much being broadcast in HD right now or I would be pretty pissed.

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Mikey_B



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Posted August 26 2003 - 03:46 PM

What is "support QAM for unscrambled cable HD"

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted August 27 2003 - 12:13 AM

QAM is one of the formats that cable HDTV is using. If your tuner or TV supports this, you can get unscrambled HDTV from your cable company without having to rent a HDTV box from them. Sort of the HDTV version of a TV being "cable ready".

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Ike



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Posted September 03 2003 - 04:38 PM

Hey all,

without starting a new thread, I thought I'd ask this here:

I want to get HD, but my Cable Provider only offers one channel (HBO). You have to rent one of their receivers to get it. I was wondering if it would be possible to get OTA HD from their box, even if they don't offer these channels as part of a cable plan? I'm thinking it's not possible, but you never know.

Here are the specs on the box. It's a PDF file, by the way.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted September 04 2003 - 12:49 AM

That box is the Motorola DCT5100. It is for decoding cable HD signals only (see QAM discussion above). As far as I know, it is not capable of decoding over the air signals. Unless they have drastically changed the box, you would need another tuner for OTA.

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