Adding in a digital converter

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Reiss, Jun 5, 2002.

  1. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    I have a HT setup currently that I'm liking a lot, and now am going to add in digital cable. I don't currently use any cable converter at all, so this adds a new set of complications. Also, I'm not sure I'm interconnected as best I could be now, so I thought I'd get some advice from you all here. I've already read through several excellent posts regarding connections, so I think I have half an idea, but I could really use some critique. I'm also hoping this will solve a lingering problem I've had for awhile, and that is that I have a 2-tuner PIP TV (Toshiba CX32F60) but can't get a signal on the PIP, so it's useless.
    Actually, it used to work, but now it doesn't (not sure why) and on the day several months ago that I decided to really debug what was happening, it miraculously started working and worked for a couple days, then stopped working again. Murphy's Law in reverse.
    My equipment, and the in/out options on each:
    TV: Toshiba CX32F60
    coax antenna 1 and 2 in
    coax antenna out
    in video 1 SVideo and RCA (composite)
    in video 2 RCA
    Receiver: Kenwood VR209
    video1: RCA video in & out, RCA audio in & out
    video2: RCA video in, RCA audio in, coax digital audio in
    video3: RCA video in, RCA audio in, optical digital audio in
    Monitor: RCA video out
    DVD: Toshiba SD-K700
    component video out
    RCA video out
    SVideo out
    coax and optical digital audio out
    VCR: Panasonic PV9661
    RCA audio in and out
    RCA video in and out
    RF in and out
    Converter: Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3100
    RF in and out
    SVideo out
    RCA video out
    RCA audio out
    Digital coax audio out
    I would really like to end up with PIP working (hopefully with all channels on either signal, i.e., digital/descrambled and clear channels on both PIP inputs) and be able to record any channel on the VCR while watching any other channel. Also, this comes with the digital music channels, so listening to them as a 'radio' would be good too.
    Here's what I'm thinking, appreciate thoughts:
    On converter:
    Cable source to RF in
    RCA video to Receiver Video 2
    digital coax audio to Receiver Video 2
    With a splitter, split RF out to 1) TV ANT 1 and 2) VCR RF in
    On VCR:
    RF from converter to RF in
    RF out to TV ANT 2
    RCA audio in and out to Receiver Video 1
    RCA Video out to Receiver Video 1
    On DVD:
    Optical digital audio out to Receiver Video 3
    SVideo out to TV Video 1 SVideo in
    On Receiver:
    TV Monitor RCA video out to TV Video 2 RCA in
    Thanks for any advice ... Scott in CT
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I think getting all channels available on PIP would be a pain in the butt- as Robert said, you can't use the internal tuner on the TV for digital channels (it will only be able to receive the analog band ones), so having all channel access in dual PIP would require 2 cable boxes (as they are the only device which could tune all bands of channel you have available).
    What's worse, if you were going to use the "swap" function popular for PIP based sets- you have to have both sets of audio from the two cable boxes running to two separate inputs on your audio receiver, and switch between them manually to make the audio switch when you made the video swap (unless your TV has fixed audio outputs, which offer a more streamlined solution- let me know if it does).
    In addition, if you really wanted the ability to watch and record two different signals, you'd still need two cable boxes as the Digital band channels can only be received using a cable box tuner.
    Heck, if you wanted to record and watch two different things and still have full PIP function at the same time, you'd need 3 boxes in order to have access to all channels for your VCR and 2 pictures.
    Ugh.
    My suggestion would be a compromise:
    1) Route cable coax from the wall, split into both the digital cable box and the TV set.
    2) Hook all the proper inputs and outputs from your devices through your kenwood receiver.
    3) If your cable box has two sets of audio/video outputs(most do)- send the second set directly to the VCR's inputs
    4) Hook the output from the kenwood to the TV.
    By doing so, you have access to all channels via the cable box tuner. Whatever channel the box it tuned to will be routed to the VCR. So, you can record from any channel the digital box it tuned to-- and then can use your TV's tuner to watch something else (only in the analog band).
    Your PIP will work with the internal tuner, but digital channels will be unavailable (the PIP tuner will only be able to see the 100 or so analog band channels). Depending on how your TV deals with doing PIP while watching the composite input, Your swap function would probably work, however the signal from the internal tuner will only have audio to the TV speakers (unless your TV has a fixed audio output I mentioned above).
    You will be able to watch any analog band channel while the Box/VCR are recording (using the tuner in the TV)- but again the audio will only be available via the TV speakers.
    That's the best I can some up with for now. I'm not much of a fan of PIP, and when it comes to newer systems it becomes nearly worthless as it cannot keep up with the modern means of signal routing and tuning. For PIP to be a worthwhile item, it should be a function of the cable/DSS tuner rather than the set.
    -Vince
     
  4. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    Hmmm. Not sure what to do... I'm sure there's a reason, but why can't I take the RF out of the back of the digital converter and split it? At that point wouldn't I have two RF cables that are 'equal' in terms of unscrambled and could also see the digital channels?

    But, as I think about this all, if it's that much of a challenge, I probably care a whole lot more about being able to watch one channel and record another, and no doubt I will want to do that with two digital channels (at some point).

    As for the PIP, the main use is to be able to switch to another channel and watch something while the PIP lets me keep track down in the corner of when the doggone commercials are over and it's time to return to the main event!

    Scott in CT
     
  5. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  7. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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  8. RobertCharlotte

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  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    The Video out to the receiver will be sufficient for playing back material from the VCR. With this config, you will be able to watch one program (using the TV's tuner) while taping another (using the video coming from the converter into the VCR). Make sure your VCR can be set to Timer record using the AV inputs (where the box will be connected)- because oddly some don't allow this--- or make sure your cable box can trigger your VCR to start recording- that would be a good solution as well.
    However- as stated above, with this configuration the channels you will be able to "watch" using the TV tuner will be limited to the analog band (under 100 or so depending on your specific cable system).
    In addition- unless your TV has fixed audio outputs to run to the receiver- you will only get audio from the TV speakers when using the TV's tuner to watch programs, you won't get audio from the receiver system. This will also be an issue using PIP- as the signal coming from the Cable Converter box will be available through the audio system, however the second window sourced from the TV tuner will not (unless you have a fixed audio output from your TV, which I've mentioned here once or twice).
    Hope that makes sense.
    -V
     
  10. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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    It was all of this kind of stuff that made me realize that PIP was entirely more trouble than it is worth. [​IMG]
    Your mileage may vary.
    Hey, this is my 300th post.
     
  11. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    Thanks for your excellent and patient help. I'm getting there.

    My TV has variable audio out, so I guess I want to run those to the receiver also.

    And I did confirm that I can record on the VCR through the audio/video in (rather than RF in) by setting the VCR input source to line 1.

    Scott in CT
     
  12. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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    I've restructured all the interconnects based on all the advice here. The PIP didn't seem to work at all, which seems to confirm my suspicion that maybe it's on the fritz. It worked sporadically before and I was hoping that restructuring the connections with some expert advice would solve some other problem I caused myself, but I'm concluding it's likely a problem with the set.

    So, by default I'm abandoning the whole PIP thing.

    I do have another question (or two): The digital converter will output digital coax audio as well as standard analog L-R RCA. I was hoping to take advantage of the digital audio, but I don't think I can. My receiver will accept it (on the 'Video 2' input) but then of course you need to tell the receiver to use the digital input rather than the analog on Video 2. As a result, I get no sound on any of the analog TV stations. So, I switched to the analog for all channels. Anything I'm missing to allow me to take advantage of digital sound? Would a newer receiver allow me to do this? I'm beginning to think that a new receiver is in my near future anyway...

    A second question: the digital cable comes with several digital music-only channels. The onscreen display for these channels is a bright blue background, and I notice a wicked flicker. I have the Essentials DVD arriving any day now to go through the calibration I've read about here... will that fix that flicker or is something else afoot?

    Thanks... Scott in CT
     
  13. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Could be many things. I would start with a calibration and work from there. Some of the causes of flicker like you describe come from design flaws in the set (Comb filter, power supply, clipping in the video signal)-- but it's possible that a proper calibration would fix the problem.

    Also, it could be an issue with the box itself. Depending on how you have it wired, there might be processing circuitry in the cable box itself that is not cutting the mustard.

    Again, I would put video calibration at the top of the list-- and even if it doesn't fix it, at least you've eleminated the first option.

    -Vince
     
  14. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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  15. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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  16. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Scott,
    Pioneer stuff is decent. Denon makes good stuff. Onkyo and Kenwood have become very popular in the budget price range (although given your current experiences with Kenwood, you might be looking elsewhere).
    You might also consider the Outlaw 1050. For $499, it's a bit beyond your listed price range- but many people consider it to be one of the better bang for the buck units available under $750 (and does 6.1).
    I would start looking at who offers units in your price range-- and then make sure it offers all the features you seek (specifically the digital/analog auto detect and whatever else you can think of that you consider a must have).
    You might also consider the used market. Many good products coming along from HTF owners who baby their gear, now that some newer products have hit (outlaw 950 for example)-- many people are upgrading. I'd keep an eye on the Hardware for sale/trade area on the forum.
    I'd bet by doing some searching here on the forum, you could come up with a short list in a few hours of products to consider. I'd start with thread like these:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=76289
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=71049
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=74167
    etc
     
  17. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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  18. Scott Reiss

    Scott Reiss Agent

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