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Zenith C32V37 ... no need for digital cable box?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 of 7 Tom Rags

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Posted January 23 2004 - 03:33 PM

Okay, let me get this straight. The Zenith C32V37 has an integrated HD Tuner and supposedly an internal digital cable box. A few questions for anyone who is familiar witht this set:

1) Do I still have to rent the box and subscribe to digital cable, or is this signal already in with the regular cable signal?

2) I'd rather not pay the $13/month the cable company wants to charge for their high def box. Will the Zenith still see the high def channels such as ABC, CBS, and ESPN-HD?

I am really debating on getting this set or the smaller C27V36 which lacks the tuner and is obviously smaller. I'd save some cash, and I could live with the smaller screen since I sit pretty close.

If anyone has any advice on either of these sets, specifically regarding receiving the HD signal over the cable but without the cab;e company's box, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

#2 of 7 MikeMcGrew

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Posted January 23 2004 - 06:16 PM

The Zenith set, as I understand it, has the capability to pick up over the air HD broadcasts with a HD antenna. There is no such thing as a "built-in" digital cable box. The "built-in" tuner that you are referring to is an HD capable over the air tuner. I'm not familiar with the specs of this particular set but you will indeed need to subscribe to the cable company in order to receive channels such as Discovery HD and ESPN HD and the like. The only HD signals you will pick up without the subscription are your local channel HD broadcasts and even then only with the HD antenna (not very expensive). This is still ok though as much of the prime-time over the air broadcasts are presented in HD now. Check the network websites to get specific HD programming information. If you subscribe to the cable company to get the HD box, then you are in pretty good shape as you will be able to receive all of the HD programming available in your area. Keep in mind though, the cable company will most likely charge you for the box and an HD package of some sort.

#3 of 7 TerryS

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Posted January 24 2004 - 03:16 AM

The C32V37 contains "Integrated ATSC and Digital Cable Tuner (QAM Unscrambled) with 1080i Resolution Capability" (from zenith.com). I take this to mean you don't need a digital cable box if your digital signal is sent unscrambled, and it makes no mention of HD over cable. From what I've seen, many cable operators don't scramble the digital signal until you get into premium territory.

#4 of 7 Mike Howard

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Posted January 24 2004 - 04:42 AM

When I bought my Mitsubishi Diamond, which has three different tuners, two analog and one digital. I was put under the impretion that I would be able to receive, without any additional hardware, the HD broadcast within my standard cable package. I was told by the guys at Tweeter that my cable provider does not scramble the OTA HD programs. I get my set home, plug in my cable line, power up the set, set the tv to its digital tuner, and yes I am receiving program material on my sets own digital tuner without an antenna. But to me the material does not appear to be of HD quality. So I call my cable provider, and without disclosing any information as to what I might be receiving, I am informed that NO I will not be able to receive the HD broadcasts without renting their digital tuner box for an additional $7 a month because the signals are scramble. Well with a little more searching through the digital bandwidth, I've come to the conclusion that yes I am receiving HD broadcasts. It's just that not everything on the digital bandwidth is broadcast in HD. And not only that, but I am also receiving some premium channels (only on the digital tuner in my Mitsubishi) that I am not even subscribed to. Can't explain why, all I can say is that for what it's worth, this is what I am experiencing. Surfing through the digital tuner is however a royal pain. The channels are in a decimal form, such as 089.05 But I am definately receiving the OTA HD broadcast through the cable line without an antenna or a digital tuner box from the cable company.

#5 of 7 MikeMcGrew

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Posted January 24 2004 - 02:24 PM

I apologize for my misinformation. Thanks for teaching me something. MM

#6 of 7 Iver

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Posted January 24 2004 - 05:48 PM

Quote:
The C32V37 contains "Integrated ATSC and Digital Cable Tuner (QAM Unscrambled) with 1080i Resolution Capability"


Hi Terry. Eau Claire is a lovely town, or at least it was the last time I had a chance to see it. I remember it had one of those All-American type main streets with a real single-screen movie theater. S'pose that might be gone by now.

The QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) standard is widely used by cable operators to carry unscrambled HD signals. If the cable company uses an unscrambled QAM signal, then you do not actually need their box to receive these HD cable channels. You can just connect the cable plug to the RF-in antenna jack on the back of your QAM-equipped HDTV or QAM-equipped STB (such as the Zenith 420 or a few of the LG models, for example).

On the other hand, if the cable company scrambles any or all of their HD signals, then you will need a box from the cable company to unscramble these channels and convert them to a form which you can input to your TV.

Tom, I would guess that the cable company combines all the signals in the single line. If they use QAM to send their HD signals in unscrambled form, then it would be possible, by connecting to their cable, to tune the QAM HD signals without having to rent the box for $13/month. However, you should check with the cable company. Their contract may prohibit this.

With the hope of clearing up some possible confusion, let me explain a few key differences.

Digital cable is not identical to HD cable. Digital cable takes signals, which may originate as analog signals or digital signals (analog in the case of OTA NTSC broadcast signals; possibly digital in the case of signals which are never actually broadcast OTA but originate from a central control point, such as HBO, and may be sent to individual cable operators via digital satellite links), and sends these signals over the cable line in digital form. Obviously, all analog signals must be converted to digital before being sent over the line in this fashion.

The signal quality of digital cable depends on the amount of compression and bandwidth used. While they make marketing claims about "crystal clear" digital video and audio, digital cable can be of lower audio and video quality than OTA NTSC (standard broadcast). One undisputed advantage is that, whatever the PQ and audio quality, the digital signal should be free of interference (such as RFI or the noise from your neighbor's vacuum cleaner).

You have to have a box from the cable company for home conversion of the digital cable signal back to analog, typically output via line-level video connections (and either analog or digital audio connection). As with analog cable, the box may also serve to unscramble certain channels (typically premium channels such as HBO).

With a QAM cable HD STB (tuner), the signal comes over the cable in digital form. The QAM STB then converts this either to an analog signal (at one of the ATSC resolutions such as 480p, 720p, or 1080i) or to a DVI digital signal that will eventually be converted to an ATSC rez. As far as I know DVI w/HDCP is the only type of digital output now available on QAM STB's or even on OTA STB's for that matter.

Now, whatever format the cable company uses, if they scramble it you will not be able to view it by running the signal through a QAM STB. A QAM box is for unscrambled digital HD cable only. With scrambled HD cable, you will need to rent or buy the box, with the HD cable descrambler, available from the cable company.

Mike, you are correct that not everything that comes over the HD cable signal is actually HD. Some stations take the option of using the bandwidth to broadcast two or more (I think the max is four) standard-def (SD) signals rather than a single HD signal.

If you are getting premium HD cable channels with your TV's integral QAM cable tuner, they would be unscrambled. Otherwise, you would need the auxiliary box from the cable company to unscramble the channels.

#7 of 7 Scott Greczkowski

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Posted April 05 2004 - 05:41 AM

I just purchased a C32V37 yesterday.

I hooked it up to my cable and get 2 of my local channels in HD, however I do not get other channels such as INHD, Discovery HD or ESPN HD.

I also do not get any digital cable channels except for the PPV barker channels.

The TV does get all the audio channels though and even displays the Music Choice graphics when you are tuned to them (nice!) It also picks up a few Talk Radio Stations which is odd since these channels are not listed or offered by our cable company. Posted Image

I love this TV so far!
Scott
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