If I already have Comcast HDTV service, do I really need a HD-set top box?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Kevin Alexander, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    I was thinking about purchasing a Zenith HDV420 for a good price from a friend.

    1) What can I do w/ it that I can't w/ Comcast HD service besides pull in a few more channels? Is it possible to pull in more premium channels?

    2) I already receive FOX-HD, CBS-HD, NBC-HD, INHD 1/2, ESPN-HD, and HBO-HD via Comcast. With a HD-set top box, I can get UPN-HD, WB-HD, ABC-HD, and TBS-HD.
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    You should only be able to pull in over-the-air ATSC (HDTV) channels and maybe normal broadcast channel as well over the air. You wouldn't be able to pull in premium channels (unless you went with a DirecTV hook-up, and that's counter-productive if you have Comcast already).

    I used to be able to pull in ATSC 34-1, a hispanic channel. I have no idea when the HDTV PBS channels will be broadcasting locally, though.

    TBS doesn't really do their movies justice because they are P/S versions of the movies. But "The Fifth Element" was on last night, and it looked pretty good, though in P/S.

    Every now and then UPN will show true HDTV (like when they showed "Blade" in HD, and now "Enterprise" is shown in HD).

    The WB HD has its bitrate cut, so there's is some pixellation problems during fast motion scenes.

    ABC has a bad habit of cropping 2.35:1 films to 1.85:1, but other than that, their HD is pretty good, though I rarely watch many of their shows (Alias is the only regular ABC show I watch in HD since they cancelled some other shows that were shown in HD, like Karen Sisco and L.A. Dragnet).
     
  3. Kevin Alexander

    Kevin Alexander Screenwriter

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    Sounds like I'll skip the Zenith decoder for now. Thanks Patrick.
     
  4. Hank_P

    Hank_P Second Unit

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    Kevin, one word "Monday Night Football". If you are not a big MNF fan, then skipping an OTA HD receiver wouldn't be that much of a loss. But I'm in the same boat, and started with an OTA and just kept it when I went with Comcast HD for MNF mainly. There have been some really great movies that I've enjoyed also and ABC does a pretty good job of HD.
    The Comcast and OTA is a combo I can't give up yet (plus if cable ever goes "out"..I'm still set)
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    In addition to MNF, ABC will also be showing the Stanley Cup Finals and NBA Finals in HD. So, I guess it depends on how big a sports fan you are.

    I am surprised that Comcast is not carrying ABC-HD in your area. The only OTA channel that we do not currently get on Comcast-HD here is UPN (I do not think the local WB affiliate is HD-capable yet). CBS was the final holdout that was added late in 2003.
     
  6. Nathan_R

    Nathan_R Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Patrick's observations for the most part. However, I'll shoot and play devil's advocate here-- don't kill me, Patman!


    ABC does a great deal of cropping. I tune into the movies from time to time. While I'm not a football fan, Monday Night Football *is* quite impressive. I do watch The Practice, which isn't the best HD demo material. ABC does do a great deal of primetime in HD, though. I'd have to say you're missing out by not getting this on Comcast.

    Without an OTA STB, you're also missing the following (tongue-in-cheek) stellar digital channels:
    WHSG (44) - 4 multichannels of TBN
    ATLC (42) - 1 "Atlanta Channel" (independent tourist/city info; digital only)
    WPXA (51) - PAX affiliate; complete with SuperMarket Sweep!
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I watched Everwood on the WB in HD on Monday, and the bitrate seemed to be normal, not reduced as in past, so I'll have to pay attention to tonight's Smallville episode because that's the show that really makes it apparent if the bitrate has been reduced in the broadcast.
     
  8. Nathan_R

    Nathan_R Supporting Actor

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    I had no idea about the reduced bitrate. I guess I don't get my "HD Dollars-worth" with WATL, as I pretty much only watch the Simpsons reruns. I have watched a couple of episodes of Reba and Smallville in the past, but not enough to make an intelligent comment on it. [​IMG]
     
  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Smallville in HD looked okay last night, still a little bit of artifacts here and there, and the colors seem a little overly saturated (that's the look of the show), but better than what I had remembered from 6 weeks ago. Angel looked very good (especially for a show that's darkly lit/shot).

    I don't get channels 44, 42 or 51, though. But I doubt I'm missing much.
     

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