"Digital" Cable vs. Analog Cable or HD Box

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Philip, Jul 12, 2001.

  1. Philip

    Philip Extra

    Jan 3, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I have a Tosh 56H80 and enjoy many shows on straight cable her in the Philadelphia area. Since I am paying about $55 per month to receive regualr cable without HBO, Showtime, etc, I was interested in my choices.
    Comcast now offers a digital cable box, which I picked up and installed yesterday. It was supposed to make everything look better and sound better. I've waited over 2 years to receive "DIGITAL" cable, and after hooking everything up correctly, I see little or NO difference in the quality of my picture with so called "digital" ccable.
    In fact, please note the following "benefits" I now receive with my brand new Motorola DTC 2000 cable box:
    1. I must tune my TV to channel 4 all the time and my 3 year old son and wife cannot watch TV without turning on yet another component.
    2. My Replay TV, which works wonderful with straight cable, is rendered useless with the digital box connected as the 1st component from the cable from the wall.
    3. It takes much longer to change the channels.
    4. The S video AND Digital audio outputs on the digital box are closed off with a metal plate and are not functional.
    4. Most imortantly, the picture is no better then straight cable.
    1. Has anyone on our forum experienced these "benefits" with a digital cable box in their system?
    2. Can Repaly TV (or TiVO) be used with a digital cable box if the TV tuner and Repaly unit must be locked on channel 3-4 to receive audio/video signal from the box?
    3. If I buy the Samsung HD unit, (which I've been reading about on our forum, and which should solve the problem of not being locked in full mode, allowing me to use the best stretch IMHO, which is TW 1), will I be able to use my Replay TV to record (not tape) HD shows and those that are not broadcast in an HD signal?
    4. If I buy the Samsung box, which does NOT hook up to a SAT dish, do I still need to retain my cable company for all the other channels which is NOT received by the Samsung HD box?
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

    Apr 26, 1999
    Likes Received:
    The only benefit of digital cable in the vast majority of places is number of additional channels. They cram in as many channels as they can so quality suffers. Furthermore, all the stations you received via regular cable are almost always still analog, so for the old channels you are getting the exact same thing you were before, just using the cable box's tuner rather than the TV. The only digital channels are usually the additional high-numbered ones.
    Either Replay or Tivo work just fine with digital cable. You have to go through their setup procedures to use a cable box. The tuner of the PVR gets locked to channel 3/4, and you connect an "IR blaster" from the box over the IR sensor of the cable box, so that the PVR can change the channels on the cable box. Output of the PVR goes to the TV, you can use AV outputs for that if your TV supports them, rather than channel 3 RF.
    If you get most HDTV tuners, you can record both HD and non-HD shows on the Replay, through the downconverted-to-NTSC output. Obviously it will no longer be HDTV after this conversion. However, all of this generally has to be done manually (or with manually set timers on both boxes), because Replay / Tivo don't know how to control most HDTV boxes yet, at least for the OTA stuff.
    Of course you have to get/keep something else (cable, satellite)to receive channels not picked up by the Samsung. There's no way to get channels like ESPN or CNN otherwise. If you can do without them, then you could drop cable and only watch free broadcast TV.
    $55 is really high for cable, I'd strongly recommend investigating satellite alternatives. A satellite/HD box gets you access to HD-HBO, which you can't get with the Samsung. I'd get a 2nd, really cheap satellite receiver to use as Replay's slave tuner. The HD box isn't ideal for this since they typically have to be manually switched in and out of HD mode, which would mess up your recordings if in wrong position, and it prevents you from watching two shows that air simultaneously.
  3. Philip

    Philip Extra

    Jan 3, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Steve, thanks for your excellent analysis of my question.
    I've done some research tonight on another forum and it seems that the Samsung SIR T150 has what I need and is the right choice for me, unless I want Showtime or HBO.
    Does this line of A/V connections seem right in order to:
    1. Record HD broadcasts onto Replay TV (up to 480)
    2. Record Cable TV channels/signal on Repaly TV
    It is my understanding that Replay TV, (and probably TiVO) will allow 2 different sources of programming, (ie, cable TV and a Sat feed) to go into Replay TV and seamlessly integrate them on their nice menu.
    Here goes:
    1. Cable TV (coax) into Replay, as I have it right now, no change. Audio out of Replay to Audio In of my A/V Receiver.
    2. Antenna (I guess the RF 75 ohm line) from a Radio Shak or Terk 55 unit into Samsung HD.
    3. S Video Out from Samsung to S Video In of Replay.
    RCA Audio Outs of Samsung to Audio In of Replay.
    4. To get HD 1080 video from Samsung directly to my TV, if I want to watch a live broadcast in HD, then run Red, Green and Blue component video outs from Samsung to HD 2 of Tosh.
    5. Digital Audio Out from Samsung to Digital Audio In on A/V receiver, so I can HEAR live broadcasts in 5.1, if broadcast this way. (I'll never be able to HEAR 5.1 from Replay TV, when time shifting since Replay probably does not record in 5.1 format. Correct?
    Is this hook-up right?
    If so, will I have a problem configuring my Replay TV since program menu might ask me if I am using cable feed OR cable box/sat box feed. If I cannot tell Replay TV that I am feeding it signals from TWO (2) sources, (straight cable + Samsung box) I am probably screwed, since I do not want to start using A/B switches.
    However, I am certain that Replay TV has inputs on the back for BOTH coax cable AND S VIDEO IN. Therefore I am assuming Replay TV must be able to handle signal inputs from multiple sources. Right??
    AM I CORRECT and does my hook-up sound right to you or anyone else who simply wants to record favorite cable TV AND HD shows?
    Last question..Since CBS, ABC, and other shows fed into Replay TV are also being fed in from my local cable signal, how does Replay TV know which CBS, ABC broadcast to record....Of course, I would want it to record the signal with the highest resolution video source. I assume it does this by assigning different numerical channels for these broadcasts...for example, CBS is channel 3 on my cable but coming from the Samsung box it might be channel 120.
    Thoughts, comments, corrections?? THANKS! Philip
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

    Aug 22, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    I don't know about Replay setups but I want to second Stephen's suggestion on satellite. Even if you don't want to actually subscribe to satellite service, it is still cheaper than the Samsung. If you get satellite service (way cheaper and better than your cable), the HD receiver will be cheaper since the DBS company gives you a break on equipment in exchange for a year's commitment in programming.

Share This Page