Newbie questions about cables

HDwannabe

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Michael
My father recently bought a 42" Panasonic plasma with 2 HDMI connections.

He called Comcast (Cherry Hill, NJ) to get the regular cable upgraded to HD cable (he also agreed to get digital service package). I told him to be specific and ask "what cables do I need for the HD setup?" He was told by the Comcast csr none were needed, the technician will have all the cables.

So upon my arrival after the install I immediately notice the cable box has no HDMI output, only a DVI output. And it's not in use! The cable tv signal was being sent to the tv via component video.

When tuning to digital channels, the Panasonic television's info overlay shows 480i on the screen.

My questions:

Is this because the digital channel (channel tuned was FOX-digital) is being broadcast in only 480i?

OR, is it because these component video cables aren't capable of handling an HD signal?


I suspected the latter and had him call comcast back the next day and ask why he didnt get an HDMI box. He was asked if he had an HDMI cable. Of course he did not and said, "no."

"That's why you didn't get an HDMI box." Gotta love Comcast.

So we bought him an HDMI cable and he called Comcast to get his box switched out. He was told (for the first time) they don't have an HDMI box, just a DVR box with HDMI for an additional charge (I think $12/mo). Gotta love Comcast.

He will be looking into satellite tv after the new year.

Another question on cables: If he were to buy a DVI to HDMI cable for this current box, would that deliver a signal better than 480i on these HD channels?

Thanks for all your responses. The info is appreciated.
 

Nick:G

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Nick Gallegos
Well, first off a "digital" channel doesn't necessarily mean that it's HD. Most cable providers keep HD channels separated from the rest on their own block (for example, Cox Communications in my area does HD on the 700 block). Furthermore, HD channels (particularly locals) don't always broadcast HD material.

Second, component video is more than capable of passing an HD quality signal. You should be able to output 1080i from that box over component video. It sounds like you have an older HD box that isn't compliant with HDCP, hence the DVI output is disabled. HDCP is a requirement for passing any signal above 480p over digital video.

As far as the differences in visual quality between component video (analog) and DVI/HDMI (digital) connections are concerned, it really varies with cable boxes. Digital video is technically a superior connection because you're getting the exact bit-for-bit signal with no loss, but I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
 

HDwannabe

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Michael
Thanks for the response, Nick:G.

I'd really like to find out why on HD channels, the plasma tv is showing 480i.

Is it a cable company equipment shortcoming or is it on my father's side?
 

Jeff Gatie

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First off, as Nick said, "digital" channels are not necessarily HD channels. There is a big difference between "Digital" cable and HD. Digital cable is just another way of transmitting regular tv. HD is actual HD and is completely separate from digital cable. If it is displaying actual HD channels as 480i, the set top box is probably not configured correctly. If it is a Motorola, turn the power off and hold in the "Menu" button. You should have a menu choice of output and "4:3 override". Set the output to the native display of your TV (1080i or 720p). If you wish to use TV's stretch modes on your 4:3 channels, set the "4:3 override" to 480i or 480p. If you don't wish to use the TV stretch, set it to the native format of your TV.

If your box is not a Motorola, I can't help you. Sorry.
 

bookumdano

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Daniel Sessions
This is my first post, so here goes. HD, I live in Maryland and have comcast also. We purchased a panny 42' plasma for Christmas. I went online chat with comcast to order the HD box. I asked if I could still use my old TV till Christmas (Christmas presents should be opened on Christmas). The lady checked and said no problem. The next day the Tech??? came out to install. He said no way had to have an HDTV. He checked his truck and none of the boxes could be used on my old tv. So he just left the new box with component cables (Comcast only provides component). He said that I'd be charged for both boxes till I hooked up the new TV. As soon as he left I looked at the box it was a Pace. The back had HDMI, Component, S-video,Optical audio and composite connections. Hooked it up and it worked great (He said he would have it turned on right away) I checked Pace online and it looks like its a DC551 Laguna, can download the user manual there too. I returned the old box and informed them the tech needs alittle more training (outside contractor). On the front of my box just to the right of the display is a button that says display. When pressed a menu comes up to set the TV format. Check that. Well we couldn't wait till Christmas, the Panny is hooked up. How did we ever watch regular TV? I also now have an Onkyo HTS790B being delivered on friday. I think I'm hooked.
 

Nick:G

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Nick Gallegos

And if it's a Scientific-Atlanta, switch the box off by pressing the POWER button (but keep the TV powered on) and then press the GUIDE and INFO buttons at the same time on the front of the box. This will start an HD setup wizard, where you can select the HD output of the box (in your case, this would be 720p) and the screen type (16:9 for your set). It is very possible that your box might had been previously used and permanently set on a 480i output, as strange as that sounds.
 

HDwannabe

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Michael
Everyone,
Thanks for all the replies.

As I said, this is my father's system: I will be in contact with him a.s.a.p. to find out specifics of his cable box and hopefully be able to try some of your suggestions.

I'll let you know how I make out. Thanks again.
 

HDwannabe

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Michael
12/29/06 UPDATE:

I was able to work through the wizard on his cable box. He has a Scientific Atlanta. The screen with the resolution choices was set up with 1080i and 480i selected (enabled?). I kept the 1080i and de-selected 480i. I then selected 720p.
After the change, I accessed the same digital channels that were showing 480i on the plasma's info screen and they are now showing 1080i.
At the very least I feel better that the tv is now reporting it is receiving a digital signal.

Thanks to everyone for your help. Happy New Year!
 

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