HDTV Tuner

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by CarlosGH, May 16, 2004.

  1. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I had heard that HDTV would be the norm in 2008 and that all analog TVs would have to use a HDTV tuner/decoder(I think?) to recieve signals. Is this true or an urban legend?

    There is a cheap Samsung HDTV tuner for less than $100 for sale at Best Buy and I had a few question on it. Do I need to attach an antennea to view HDTV or can I use my cable line to view them in HDTV? My local NBC station says that some shows are broadcast in HDTV, but is that through OTA or the cable itself?

    Second Question: if in 2008 ALL analog stations broadcast in HDTV only will I be able to just connect my cable line to the tuner or will still have to use the Off-Air antennea.

    I am a bit experienced when it comes to using HD cable/satalite, but clueless when it comes to OTA HDTV and the future standards. Thanks for any help, I just don't want to have to buy HD Cable or get a new tuner/decoder tomorrow or when ever HD dominates the TV industry
     
  2. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    First question, do you have a high definition tv? If not, quit worrying about it.

    If you do, then you can use the tuner to receive over the air high def broadcasts. you will need an antenna. you may be able to go with a small antenna behind the tv, or you may need a large one outside. Go to antennaweb.org to find out what you need.

    In order to get high def from cable, you will need a decoder from the cable company. They will typically rent you a box for 5-8 bucks a month.
     
  3. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't have a HDTV, YET! But I plan to get one. Since it was on special I planned to get it before it dissappeared.

    Isn't that kinda of a monapoly? I mean you can only watch cable using there box?
     
  4. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    It's their service, and they can do what they want. However, I heard somewhere that the cable companies are working on standardizing their systems so that tvs can be equiped with high definition tuners so you can simply plug in your cable to them. Don't know if I heard right, don't know when it would happen, and can't imagine that the cable companies would actually do that (they couldn't rent you a box then).

    New high def tvs are being equipped with high def tuners that will decode over the air broadcasts. This being phased in starting this summer (I think). If you get one of those tvs, you won't need the samsung box
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 1998
    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The cheap HDTV tuner (and also the more expensive ones) is meant to work with most non-HDTV sets. Simply connect the S-video output to your TV (or the composite output if your TV does not accept S-video). You can even connect the HDTV tuner to the same RF modulator used with a DVD player to feed a TV with no video jacks (using a switch box).

    Connect a UHF antenna to the HDTV tuner.

    You will have to find out for yourself whether there are HDTV stations close enough for good reception. UHF frequencies in general don't go as far for a given transmitter power, and also for a station whose picture comes in quite fuzzy will probably be unreceivable in HDTV or even digital 480i.

    If you already rely on cable to get a decent number of stations, you will likely have to get the cable company's HDTV box and therefore won't need a separate HDTV tuner.

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

    The need will still exist for TV sets without HDTV tune4rs, for those folks who need cable because they live too far from stations.
     
  6. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    So just to recap, if I buy the HDTV tuner today I will need to hook it up to an antenna today and in 2008ish when all stations coming from your cable wall socket are in HD?

    Damn isn't that a monopoly?! If I buy a SDTV today I can hook it up to cable (without paying for any service) and get better picture than antenna. But in a couple of years I'll have to rent their box. Will there ever be a HD decoder that can be connected to the wall cable instead of having to rent one?
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    5,610


    I'm confused. Where can you hook up to a cable and not pay for the service? Wouldn't the cable companies frown on this, considering they are in the business to make money and giving it away for free tends to lose them money?
     
  8. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I live in Texas and Time Warner cable has free stations. You can connect your TV to the cable wall socket and recieve all of the channels that you can get with an antenna, but with better reception. I recieve NBC, CBS, FOX, and a few other local channels. This is my situation, I don't know if this true for other states or cable companies.

    I thought that if you can watch analog broadcast channels both over the air and through the house cable (without subscribing to any service), I thought that would could do the same with HDTV both today and in the future, having the required equipment.
     
  9. Peter-P

    Peter-P Auditioning

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm pretty sure that OTA HD is going to be better than your OTA SDTV...
     
  10. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok I have to clarify my post and make things better.

    First of all I need to know if TV stations will only broadcast in HD ONLY in the near future

    i.e.: switch from NTSC to ATSC?

    Thats the reason I wrote this thread, if I have to buy a HD tuner in the future, I'll buy it now when I can get it cheap and at a discount.

    Shows like SVU and ER have a logo that they are broadcast in HD, does this mean that people can watch them on SDTVs and in HDTV watching the same channel (NBC=ch. 10)? So I can tune the HD tuner (connected to the cable coming from the wall) to channel 10 (in my case) and watch SVU in HD?

    Thats what I'm trying to get across, can you broadcast HD signals on the same cable line as your analog cable? And just to double check, HDTV is only broadcast in ATSC (in all its variants) right and not NTSC?
     
  11. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    5,610


    Yes, it is broadcast across the same cable as the regular cable, but the cable system has to be able to handle the bandwidth.
     
  12. Bryan Rheem

    Bryan Rheem Auditioning

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To use the cable companies box decoder, don't you also need to subscribe to their digital service?
     
  13. Barry Ford

    Barry Ford Extra

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bryan,

    I would recommend you hold off buying a HDTV tuner for the time being.

    You are half right about the phase in period for HDTV OTA broadcasts. The idea is that by 2008 all OTA broadcasts are to be in HD and soon after that the current NTSC broadcasts will end. The broadcasters are supposed to then give the NTSC frequencies back to the FCC to redistribute for other uses. When/if that happens, you will need a box for your TV, but it will not be a HD tuner, it will be a converter box to convert HD back to NTSC so your old analog set can receive it.

    If you are planning to buy a HDTV before 2008 you won't have to worry about this anyway except if you want to keep some old sets around for the guest bedrooms, etc..

    The broadcasters are lobbying congress though to let them keep their analog frequencies along with their digital ones, so I will be surprised if NTSC broadcasts really go away this decade.

    Bottom line, prices are falling so quickly that I wouldn't buy anything involving HDTV until you really need it.
     
  14. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2000
    Messages:
    8,309
    Likes Received:
    62
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Real Name:
    Robert
    No. The push is for OTA to go digital. HD is just a subset of the many digital formats.

    -Robert
     
  15. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Carlos, the answer to your question would depend on which model the Samsung is. Most likely it's an OTA (regular digital broadcast) HD tuner. If it's new and comes with manufacturer's warranty, then $100 is a pretty good price. The cheapest I've seen new entry-level units going for is about $250.

    In terms of the OTA frequencies used by stations for digital broadcast, these are any of the VHF and UHF channels, though UHF is more common. The NAB dot ORG site will give you a list of your local stations broadcasting HD OTA.

    As far as an antenna, that depends, for any particular HD OTA station, on how strong you get the signal at your location and on the signal quality (i.e., how much multipath, a.k.a. "ghosting").

    There's a site called Antennaweb DOT org which can give you suggestions on antennas to use in particular areas for HD reception.

    The HD OTA is not on the same frequency (channel) as the same station's current NTSC broadcasting. ATSC is broadcast digitally while NTSC is broadcast in analog form.

    Now, in terms of cable, unscrambled HD cable, usually meaning the standard HD signals from local OTA stations, is most commonly sent over the cable in a format called QAM. Not all HD tuners can handle the QAM signal. But that's what you need to get unscrambled HD over your cable line, unless you have an HD-capable box from the cable company itself in which case you don't need your own tuner anyway (unless you also want to get OTA HD in addition to cable).

    As far as the transition to ATSC-only, that is well underway, but it's not presently clear exactly when it will be completed. If you visit the NAB site, you will find that almost every TV market in the country now has ATSC broadcasting and in most medium-and-larger markets several stations are sending an HD signal.

    If you want the HD tuner for the superior image quality, I don't see any reason to wait. You can use it with a regular NTSC TV and you'll get a 480i image, similar to the image quality from a DVD player. On the other hand, you'll most likely still be able to use your NTSC TV for the next few years. So there's no rush to buy an HD tuner.

    *********

    I just noticed your question about the cable line. The answer, as above, is that, yes, the QAM signal comes over the same line.

    BTW, "digital cable" does not usually mean unscrambled QAM HD cable. Digital cable is usually just the standard analog cable stations, sent over the line in digital form, and then transformed back to analog with an output for connection to your TV.

    Besides QAM unscrambled HD over cable, there are also scrambled HD channels, such as HBO and Discovery HD, sent over cable systems. If you're interested in that contact your local cable provider to find out what type of converter you will need.
     
  16. CarlosGH

    CarlosGH Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2004
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    THANKS!!!

    My questions are all answered! I know that the following question depends on your area, but if I had a TV equipped with a QAM tuner (a 61-inch RCA @ BestBuy) could I view the unscrambled HD channels without subscribing to their HD Channel lineup (HBOHD, Discovery HD)?

    And I guess that the HD tuner sold at BestBuy could be used in the future when ALL stations broadcast in ATSC HD.

    Is QAM some sort of encryption or broadcast standard like NTSC or ASTC?
     
  17. Iver

    Iver Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If they are sending unscrambled HD over the line then you can plug the cable line directly into a QAM-capable tuner or TV with integral QAM.

    Of course, I am not suggesting avoidance of payment for cable service. Remember, it's okay for the cable company to charge you as much as they feel like, but it's not okay for you to pay as much as you feel the service deserves[​IMG]

    Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, QAM, is a digital format which is now the de-facto standard for cable companies who carry unscrambled (non-premium) HD on their systems.
     

Share This Page