Cable box & picture setting help needed

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Michael.M.C, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. Michael.M.C

    Michael.M.C Stunt Coordinator

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    I am not a novice but can't solve this one without assistance from those of you with the vast knowledge I know exists here!! [​IMG]

    My HT setup includes a Samsung plasma 42" widescreen. It came with a tuner but my cable company (Armstrong in Western PA) told me I had to use theirs, at a cost of course.

    I have digital & HDTV service although I receive only a half dozen HD stations. All of that (except for some volume fluctuations) works perfectly.

    That said, I need a machine to record one program while I watch another. My cable company offered me yet another digital box called a PVR, for an additional fee, but it only records what you are watching. Not what I want.

    Is there another recommended setup or another box available. Should I somehow set a recorder before the cable hits the box? It would be nice to be able to return their box completely.

    Another problem:

    While watching DVD's, most have excellent picture quality on the Samsung but a few are grainy. For example, Pretty Woman was not the best of pictures watching it last night. It was almost as if the picture was trying to sharpen but could not succeed. Am I missing a setting or is it just that the older DVD's were not made to play in HD?

    Thanks for your help!![​IMG]
     
  2. DaelS

    DaelS Auditioning

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    i have hooked up to cable boxes to my set in the past to get around exactly this problem. in my case, it was with bell expressvu satellite, but the principle is exactly the same.

    in your case, cable goes into both decoder/tuner boxes, each box then routes into input1 and input2 respectively. (am operating under the assumption that you have two inputs that can handle cable feed). when you want to record, the PVR records, and if you want to watch a different show, you flip to input2 and watch using that feed.

    is kind of a pain in the ass, and i have heard that some PVR's now offer a watch x, record y feature, but that doesn't sound like your situation.

    hope this helps,

    daels
     
  3. Michael.M.C

    Michael.M.C Stunt Coordinator

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    DaelS,

    Not certain what you are trying to tell me. (I can be thick at times)

    I haven't gone for their PVR offer. I am still using their original digital feed box. If I did go to their PVR it apparently has only input.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  4. DaelS

    DaelS Auditioning

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    Michael

    Does your set have two sets of inputs?


    I am assuming that as it stands, the cable goes into the cable box from your providor and then routes into the television inputs? If so, keep that setup the way it is. Now, add the decoder box to your system--You will need a second cable feed going into that box, you can run a completely new feed, or splice off from the original. Output the signal from that second box into the second input of your television. For the sake of argument, cable box 1 is on input1 for our purposes here, and cable box 2 is on input2.

    Most PVR units allow you to pause tv, rewind etc., so I would recommend that you watch tv using that decoder box to take advantage of the little features. When you want to record something but watch something else, you set the PVR to record, and then change inputs on your television to correspond to the input that the normal decoder box is on. You will now be able to watch whatever channel you want on this input, without it affecting the channel that the PVR input is recording. When you want to go back to the PVR, you change inputs again to correspond to it.

    Drawbacks are that you have to change inputs now and again, but not a big deal, think of it as if you switching inputs to watch a dvd! The other is that you often times have a decoder box which you have paid for already, or are renting, sitting there doing nothing other than when you are recording something with the PVR.

    I hope this clears things up for you.

    daels
     
  5. Michael.M.C

    Michael.M.C Stunt Coordinator

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    I understand what you are getting at now.

    My set has five inputs: RPG, Video, S-video, Component 1 & Component 2.

    DVD is on Component 1 and the cable box goes to Component 2.

    So, you recommend getting the PVR going to one input and, using a splitter, hookup my original box (I assume it will decode) then set the PVR to record x while I watch y on the other input.

    I'll try to hookup the box that came with the set to see if it will work.

    Now, let me present another scenario and see what you recommend.

    Say I wanted to have some type of recorder, like TIVO (as a VCR would do), that would record several programs while I was away so I could watch at a later date.

    What kind of equipment/setup would you suggest to accomplish that?
     
  6. DaelS

    DaelS Auditioning

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    I don't know much about TIVO units since I am in Canada and we don't have the darn things, but friends of mine in MI have them and I love them when I go down!

    I think my friend actually just upgraded to a TIVO that would allow him to watch x and record y at the same time, in fact, I think it even allows to record two different shows at the SAME time which is great....He has a TIVO unit through DirecTV however, I don't know how they work for cable.

    One thing I have just clued into, the convertor box you have now, is decoding HD right? Does the PVR unit also decode HD? I know that up here in Canada, the main satellite company has a PVR option and a HD option for convertor boxes, but not together. If the PVR doesn't decode HD, it won't be able to record in HD.

    Hope this isn't confusing you more!

    cheers

    daels
     
  7. Michael.M.C

    Michael.M.C Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually with your help I am becoming less confused. [​IMG]

    Yes, both my original box and the PVR decode HD.

    I am wondering about DVR's similar to TIVO. I like the concept of a hard drive recording but I am not that familiar with the units and I do not want the subscription service you have to buy with TIVO.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     

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