S-video connection with DIGITAL CABLE BOX

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DavidQc, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. DavidQc

    DavidQc Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm just curious... does anyone live in the New York tri-state area with COMCAST digital cable service???

    Behind the digital cable box, there is a hole labeled 's-video'... but no actual s-video connection. So I called Comcast today... they said that they no longer provide boxes with s-video connections. It is only available on HDTV cable boxes.

    What kind of bs is that? I was hoping to connect the digital cable box to my Pioneer receiver. What good is digital cable, if you can't even connect it via s-video?

    Anyone have thoughts or insight into this?
    Am I expecting too much from Comcast? Especially when I'm paying $70+ per month for digital cable????
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    -david
     
  2. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    I had the same problem here in Chicago with AT&T Digital cable. I was hoping to have an S-video connection and either a coaxial or optical digital audio output on my box. The holes for these connections are present and labeled for S-vid and digital audio, but the outputs do not exist on my box.

    My solution was to go over to Radio Shack and buy a 19.99 Digital Audio/Video converter. this small device lets you run your normal red, white, yellow RCA cables from the cable box to the converter and then run s-video, optical or coax cables from the device to your TV or receiver.

    My current cable box to receiver setup is now:
    VIDEO-- Yellow RCA from box to converter, s-video from converter to receiver

    AUDIO-- Red and white RCA's from cable box to converter, optical audio cable from converter to receiver.

    This solution will not give you 5.1 Digital audio as the signal that AT&T offers is not a digital one, but the video is slightly improved for me using s-video over composite.

    Hope this helps. I know it's not the best option but it will work until I switch to satellite next year.
     
  3. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    My advice since I work for comcast here in Washington, ask for the Home Theater box if they offer it in your area, sounds like the salesperson doesn't know what he was talking about at any rate it gives you s-vid, coax, and optical out. or hell just order the HDTV box shouldn't cost you much more.
     
  4. DavidQc

    DavidQc Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the info guys.

    Jeremy, what is the price of a HDTV cable box?

    Hell... it's pointless, if I can't even enjoy HDTV with my dinosaur 27" panasonic.

    I need a newer, bigger, HDTV capable tv...
    [​IMG]

    I will begin taking donations now.
    -david

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason, I live in Pittsburgh and when I ordered my digital cable I asked them if they had boxes with S-Video and optical on or coax for digital sound. They did, its called the home theater box, of course they didnt bring and I had to make a trip up to the customer service center to get it, the box is free and its the same monthly price as a regular box. You will get a better picture if you use a S-video cable directly instead of going through one of those boxes to convert it. I dont think those digital A/V boxes make a big difference if any at all.
     
  6. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    Well, with AT&T recently being bought by Comcast, I'm hoping to have that option in the near future. You're right, the converter box is not a great option but it does improve the picture slightly.
     
  7. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    For the majority of cable channels, the best quality is usually had by going composite all the way to the TV.

    This has to do with the comb filter in the cable box, vs. in the TV, vs in the little adapter. The little adapter is usually the worst. If the cable box did have an S-video jack, you would want to try it both ways and see what looks better.

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

    CarterH Auditioning

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    First time post. I've learned a ton from this forum, but joined specifically to follow up on this topic. I hope this thread is still active.

    I've recently upgraded my old Comcast/ATT DCT 2000 cable box to a newer version with s-video. I expected to get better video with the s-video out, but have seen no improvement over composite.

    I understand Allan's explanation about the comb filter in the cable box v. the filter in the TV, but here's the catch: I'm using a 27" JVC 27770 from the mid-90's. It's not like it has a newer comb filter. In fact, it has an option called Notch, which leads me to believe that it has a notch filter, not a comb filter.

    I've hooked the box up to Video1 (s-video) and Video2 (composite) on the TV so I can compare picture with the touch of a button. No difference at all, at least to my untrained eye.

    Could the cable box have an equally bad filter as the TV? Could the signal in the Richmond, VA area be so bad that it doesn't show a difference? I've checked broadcast, premium, cable 0-99, and cable 100+. They all look the same. BTW, the DVD on s-video looks pretty good (given the equipment), so I know the TV is capable of reasonably sharp s-video.

    Any suggestions or explanations? If I can't tell the difference, I'm going to return this cable box for one with optical audio out, as my receiver doesn't have an open coax digital input. Comcast says they don't have one with s-video and optical out. This would also allow me to reconnect my DVD directly to the TV s-video, as I don't have a true switching receiver and would have to use a stand-alone switch to connect the DCT and DVD to the one s-video on the TV.

    Thanks, Carter
     
  9. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Here’s my take, and Allen Jayne or others may wish to comment…

    I think many of us are in the boat where our cabletv coax feed we’ve used for years now requires a cable converter box as AT&T/Comcast cable providers switch/market their so-called upgrade to “digital” cable. Digital here just means they are sending the chls above 100 compressed within this bandwidth. To continue to enjoy HBO and other premium chls now in the “digital” band, we must pay for this new box.

    Audio continues to be NTSC stereo for the most part. Therefore, the cable provider gives us a box (like the Motorola 2100) that offers (1) standard RF coax OUT or (2)RCA audio/video composite OUTS. The SPDIF audio coax and S-Video ports are blanked off. NO, Nil, Nada digital coax/S-Video output box is available from my provider.

    The situation varies from provider to provider, and a lot has to do with the existing infrastructure: Not all cable systems are up to fiberoptic capability to transmit a true HD feed together with DD5.1 “When Available.” That is, the show itself was filmed in HD using DD5.1 audio recording. If they do offer HD like TWC in some markets, a converter box for HD such as Motorola 5100 or a Scientific-American is spozed to be available.

    Because each of us has a different home equipment set-up, hook-up will be a trial-and-error process. Got a modern HDTV-Ready monitor? Then the RF coax out of the converter box may go directly to the tv to use IT’S comb filter.

    Got a VCR in the chain? This complicates the signal path, and choices.

    For example, I have a JVC 7800 S-Video VCR whose internal comb filter seems to do a better job than my older 27-in tv, which happens to have an S-Video input.

    I run the cable box RCA A/V outputs into the JVC VCR. The VCR L/R audio goes to the rcvr, as well as an S-Video cable. Rcvr Monitor Out feeds S-Video to the tv.

    This gives a sharp, stable picture, for me.

    Since I have no digital audio coax in the chain here, I assume I am not even getting DD2.0 from HBO-type movie broadcasts. I must say, tho, watching HBO’s Six-Feet Under Sunday which HBO fed with DD5.1, the stereo audio I experienced on the “digital” band was quite good with more dynamic range than usual tv fare.

    [I still am experimenting with passing an RF feed thru the VCR for program recording; this is a lower priority and I’m not there yet]

    Bottom line: If your cable company HAS a converter box with digital audio/S-Video OUT features, but didnt give you one, I wud insist on getting one. Be prepared to disassemble and reassemble your hook-ups at least twice before getting the best path for your eqipment, and have some spare RF and RCA red/white patch cables around.

    YMMV

    bill
     
  10. Ottis Fletcher

    Ottis Fletcher Stunt Coordinator

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    When I posted my first comment I had a 36 inch Sony Wega (analog). Since then I upgraded to a 46 inch HDTV. On the Wega the S-Video cable made a huge difference, but on my HDTV I get the exact same picture going through the coax and S-Video cable. I guess its because the TV up-converts all feeds to 480p or 960i.
     
  11. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Generally TV sets with a "notch" option have mediocre comb filters that make text (such as from a video game) less sharp. The "notch" option counteracts this. It may either be used together with the comb filter or instead of the comb filter, this varies with make and model. It usually reduces dot crawl but also reduces horizontal resolution.

    The $19.95 Radio Shack box that takes composite in and delivers S-video out has a notch filter rather than a comb filter. Many cable boxes that have S-video outputs have a filter that is no better.
     

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