HD cable TV question

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Todd Stout, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    My hand me down 18 year old Mitsubishi 45" RPTV finally died Monday night so I am looking at new ones (I have a few brands and models in the 46-53" range in mind).

    Anyway, my cable TV company (Charter) carries several HDTV channels and I am wondering if there are any tuners that are built into current HD televisions that allow for reception of these channels (the non pay channels anyway) or do I have to go with their cable box? If I am understanding correctly, built in HDTV tuners are only used for receiving over the air signals? I imagine I probably need to go with the cable company's box but I want to be certain before I make a new TV purchase.
     
  2. Jon_Gregory

    Jon_Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    Your assumptions are true for 99% of the cable companies. You more than likely will need their box to decode the signal. There are a few cable companies out there that simply pass the signal through untouched, but not many. If you are not going to get an over the air antenna, then I would not even worry about getting a built in tuner in the tv.
     
  3. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Where I am located, most of the LA Area TV signals are pretty poor even with an external antenna. It's also very unlikely that I will ever put up another outdoor antenna so I'm guessing that I really don't need the internal HD tuner.
     
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    A lot of the TVs with built-in digital tuners these days can decode "unscrambled QAM". For some cable companies, this lets you tune in local HD channels, CBS/ABC etc. Channels like HBO-HD would definitely require the cable company's box.

    Some of the newest TVs, like from Panasonic, that advertise "cableCARD" capability, would be able to tune in the scrambled channels as well, like HBO-HD, once the cable company supports this new standardized encryption scheme, which supposedly will start rolling out middle of this year. You wouldn't need a cable box for these sets for regular or premium channels, though you might for video-on-demand type services.

    But since the cost differential between having tuner & not is still kind of high, at least for current sets (will start to drop in coming years as tuners have been mandated), I wouldn't get one. You'll likely have to get another box anyway, for either premium channels or for recording capabilities (PVRs starting to roll out, like HD-Tivo, Dish 921, Motorola 6208, Scientific Atlanta 8000HD), so the tuner in the set would only serve as an extra in case your main tuner was busy recording something else.
     
  5. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    That's really good to know. Thank you. Reading about all of the various HD tuner schemes and formats tends to get a bit overwhelming at times.

    This is off topic from what I had originally asked but being used to a 45" 4:3 screen, what size of 16:9 screen will be about the same (at least when watching widescreen DVDs)? I have been looking at 46" tabletop models from Hitachi and Toshiba as well as a few 48-53" Mitsubishi and Panasonic models as well. If I were to say pick up a 46" model, will my movies appear about the same size? Or perhaps larger or smaller? I have been trying to find a thread or article on this topic but I'm not sure what to search for. I am about to break out a tape measure and figure it out the hard way.
     
  6. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Todd,
    My Zenith C32V37 direct view integrated HDTV has a built-in QAM tuner. Unfortunately, my local CableCo doesn't offer HDTV...yet. [​IMG] I just hope that when they do, they don't encrypt the basic channels.

    With regard to your second question... no need to get out the tape measure, the numbers you have picked make the math quite easy. A 4:3 set is a 3:4:5 right triangle (remember the Pythagorean theorem?) or 27 high by 36 wide by 45 diagonal. To achieve the 36" width on a 16:9 set, you'd need to factor the 16 by 2.25. Thus the height is 20.25 and the diagonal is 41 (square root of 36^2 + 20.25^2). So, anything larger than a 41" 16:9 set will give you a bigger widescreen picture than you can display on a 45" 4:3 set.
     
  7. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Wow! Thanks Dave. I have been in an Algebra for Buisness and Economics class the last several weeks so doing extra math makes my brain hurt at the moment.

    So QAM is the term for the cable ready HDTV tuners then? I have no idea whether or not Charter encrypts their HD signals though. I'll have to do a little more research.
     
  8. BrianCC

    BrianCC Extra

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    Spare yourself the headache, Todd, with this handy site.
     
  9. Todd Stout

    Todd Stout Screenwriter

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    Thanks Brian! I just put the 45" 4:3 vs. 46" 16:9 numbers in. I see that 4:3 material will be smaller on a new 46" while 1.78:1 to 2.35:1 material will be larger than on the old 45". I figured that would be the case but it is nice to see the actual numbers. Hell, I have been watching an old 25" Magnavox TV the past few evenings so I'm sure just about any RPTV would appear larger at this point.
     
  10. Harold Southard

    Harold Southard Stunt Coordinator

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    Todd,
    You may want to look at the RPTV's that have built in hd tuners, but also have the cable card. I don't know of any cable systems using them YET, but soon all of them should support it. My cable co. is looking at the cable cards, I was able to talk to the local manager about it. Nice guy. I have a Panasonic 53wxd63 with built in hd and cable card and I am able to get some of the digital signals from my cable co. I also use it for OTA. You may want to take a look at this.
    http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...C-238865A1.pdf

    The cable card is the answer for the plug and play. I at one time read on the CEA web site, I think, more about the move to cable cards instead of set top boxes. I don't have time to find it right now, but you can do a Google search. It would be great if someone more informed that I (that would not take much, lol) to post a tread on the on going standards and cable cards. Well I have to go. Watching the Cat in the Hat with my family [​IMG]
     

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