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HDTV on an SDTV...my impressions (1 Viewer)

nick_rh

Stunt Coordinator
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Jan 1, 2003
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This is a topic I'd been very curious about for a while, so I thought I'd fill in others on my experience with it now that I've had a weekend to play with a Zenith HD receiver connected to a SD Sony Wega.

First off, HD programming. So far I've seen the NCAA game on CBS, part of Smallville and Everwood on the WB, Dragnet on ABC, Disney's Atlantis on ABC (the listings didn't say it was HD, but it was widescreen with 5.1 audio), and some travel programs and HD demos on PBS.

All of it looked very, very good. I would have liked to have a copy of the Atlantis DVD on hand to compare it to the broadcast, but my impression was that the picture on it was very close--if not equal to--DVD quality. The WB and ABC shows looked great. Again, no means of comparison since DVDs for those shows don't exist. However, on Tuesday I'm looking forward to comparing the 24 digital broadcast (non-HD, but supposed to be DVD resolution) to my first season 24 DVDs.

Digital non-HD programming also looks nice, definitely better than any other type of TV broadcast I've seen (cable, satellite, or otherwise).

All in all, I'd say an HD tuner is a great way to "upgrade" an existing TV without getting into the huge costs of actually buying a new monitor. (That said, now that I've seen what downconverted HDTV looks like, I really want an HD set!) $400 (what I paid for the Zenith) is kind of a lot to pay just to make my TV shows look and sound better (even a lot better), but I figure it'll be a useful thing to have around if I decide to spring for an HD set somewhere down the road, or when the networks stop broadcasting in SD and every SDTV needs one of these boxes to function.
 

Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 1, 1998
Messages
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An HDTV box connected to an ordinary TV will give just as good a quality as you would get from a DVD player.

If the circuitry and picture tube(s) are good enough, you can get 1920 x 480 luminance resolution or test pattern resolution (blacks/whites) using composite video and 960 x 480 quality in full color via 480i component video. However I don't know of any examples of equipment.

Video hints:
http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
 

Michael TLV

THX Video Instructor/Calibrator
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Calgary, Alberta
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Greetings

The SD set is not capable of showing more than 700 horizontal lines of resolution out of that 1920 number anyways.

Still looks nice though.

Regards
 

BrianAe

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Messages
441
Interesting, I've thought about this before. I've decided to hold off a couple more years to buy an HD monitor but thought that if comcast offers HD in my area that I might upgrade my service to get the higher video quality and more importantly, DD 5.1 audio for some movies on HBO.

Is anyone else doing this and would like to comment?
 

nick_rh

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 1, 2003
Messages
86
Interesting, I've thought about this before. I've decided to hold off a couple more years to buy an HD monitor but thought that if comcast offers HD in my area that I might upgrade my service to get the higher video quality and more importantly, DD 5.1 audio for some movies on HBO.
You can check the Comcast website, but I think you need an HDTV to get their HD service (i.e., they don't have boxes capable of 480i downconversion). I'd thought about this as well, since I'd rather spend $45-50 a month than $400 all at once.
 

Dan Stone

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Messages
221
You can check the Comcast website, but I think you need an HDTV to get their HD service (i.e., they don't have boxes capable of 480i downconversion).
Comcast will normally only give you the HD box (Motorola 5100) if the technician can see that you have an HDTV set. However, if you can get the box from them, the HD channels will be output in 480i through the composite and s-video connections.
 

BrianAe

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Messages
441
Thanks Dan, there are ways of dealing with the technicians :) Seriously though, I'd hope that getting DD audio and seeing my good audio HT system would make a semi-compelling case.
 

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