HD reception & VCR as a tuner?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Andy_Hamric, Apr 15, 2004.

  1. Andy_Hamric

    Andy_Hamric Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm considering getting a RPTV HD-ready set around 50". Currently I have traditional analog cable. Two questions:

    1) My RPTV would be in the basement, where I can get the analog versions of my channels with decent reception using rabbit ears (stations 4-8 miles away). Does this mean I am likely to be able to pull in DTV with rabbit ears and an HD set top tuner?

    2) Since the TV would be a monitor, can I run my cable into my VCR, run S-video from VCR to RPTV and get a picture? Or do I need some sort of other tuner? Will I be able to do PIP with this set up?

    Many thanks!
     
  2. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Andy, you need an ATRAC tuner box. Samsung has made a stand-alone one. I can't remember the model #. Most of us have a DirecTV box that also includes an ATRAC tuner, I do. JVC's next D-VHS deck, the alleged model #5000, is supposed to include the needed OTA tuner. Supposedly, it will be available this summer. I might buy one for the on-board tuner myself...? It may very well be pricey? It'll mean easy 1080i recording off of OTA signals, I presume. You could maybe buy a used HD DirecTV unit to avoid their year long hook and just use it for OTA.

    If the digital tower is in the same spot as the analog tower, it sounds very promising for you. As a general rule, in most cities, if you can pick-up analog, the digital will come in too.....unless they've moved the towers.

    Here, in Pixley, the big four networks and PBS, I think too, all have their antennas on the same tower. The UPN affiliate is on a high mountain about 50 miles north. I get the analog badly but no digital so far. I think they're just begoinning to experiment??? Anyway, my city is proably typical, or a bit above...?

    You should pickup the latest issue, May, of Sound & Vision. It has an HDTV theme going on. It has all the broadcasters listed. Somebody may give you some links that do same but there's alot of info in this issue. You sound like you need a broad overview. Best wishes![​IMG]
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Keep in mind that almost all DTV stations broadcast in the UHF band (even if the analog broadcast for the same station is a VHF channel), so your rabbit ear antenna will need a UHF element.

    I used a cheap $17 Radio Shack double bowtie indoor UHF antenna for HDTV reception for a couple of years before Comcast started offering HD service locally. I could successfully pull in all local digital stations except the UPN affiliate. I am about 20 miles from the broadcast towers.
     
  4. Andy_Hamric

    Andy_Hamric Stunt Coordinator

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    I thought my VCR had a NTSC tuner built in, that's why I could do PIP with my current TV through the VCR. Won't my video ouput on the VCR be sending out a picture rather than the information to decode a picture? I'm still not sure about this. If I plug analog cable (yeah, I know it's going to look so-so) into my VCR, will I be able to get a picture on the HDTV monitor through the VCR?

    Yes, thanks for the reminder about DTV over the air. All the stations are UHF thought most broadcast analog on VHF in my area.
     
  5. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Andy, you can use the VCR with the TV. As long as you have NTSC service you can use the VCR to tune in stations. If you had a digital tuner you could send a composite or S-video signal from the tuner box so that you could record off it. I think all or nearly all the HDTV tuner boxes will output NTSC if needed? You need to get that, even with a big antenna digital comes in better than analog. I presume you're planning a new set too...
     
  6. Andy_Hamric

    Andy_Hamric Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the information....

    I've been trying to figure out if I want to get an HDTV monitor or get the set with a built-in ATSC tuner... Not sure I can convince the folks around here to spend another $40/month for digital cable with the Hi-Def channels.

    It seems like it might be better to get a built-in tuner rather than a set top box, and it seems like even money either way. Thoughts?

    Know anything about the Zenith ZHDTV1Z antenna? Sometimes referred to as the "silver sensor". It gets positive reviews.
     
  7. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    The Samsung SIR-T151 that I own is ATSC-only, so it cannot receive standard over-the-air analog broadcasts.

    Most HDTV's have a built-in NTSC/cable-ready tuner even if there is no built-in ATSC digital TV tuner, so you should not need your VCR to act as a tuner for the analog signals (even though that would work). Also, many have dual NTSC tuners for PIP without using a second external tuner. My 3+ year old Toshiba 56H80 16x9 set has these features.
     

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