S-video From Cable Box

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by brian cr, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. brian cr

    brian cr Auditioning

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    If I ask for it, I can get a cable box from ATT Broadband that has S-Video output. This is one of the Motorola digital converters. Would this be the same improvement you get from using s-video with DBS?
     
  2. Richard Burzynski

    Richard Burzynski Second Unit

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    Brian:
    It should be beter than watching cable thru a composite (regular) video connection, but we aware that digital cable video quality varies greatly depending on where you are located.
    I have read everything from people saying that their new digital service is worse than there old analog service (ouch!) to digital cable being better than their old analog cable and even better than DBS service!
    You need to give your area's Digital service a try and then you'll know - it doesn't appear to be consistent across the board. I won't have digital service in my area (North NJ - Cablevision) until coming Spring/Summer, but inital reviews from nearby (Long Island, NY) aren't that great.
    Hope this helps.
    Rich B.
     
  3. MarcS

    MarcS Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's my experience... I've got TimeWarner cable (now an HD box, but previously a regular digital box) feeding a Pioneer SD-582.
    Straight composite feed looks WAY better than the S-video on the analog channels. Don't know about the digital channels because I typically only watch the HD channel, and that's through component input. Actually, I now feed cable directly into my tv, it gives me the best picture. I use the converter box for the CD Music channels, and HD only.
    To be honest, I haven't tried viewing the other movie channels with S-vid input because I only really care about the HD channels--but the few times I might surf the non-HD movies, the composite input from the cable box looks fine.
    YMMV, I've got the Scientific Atlanta 2000HD box--there is the possibility that its S-vid output sucks...
    Marc
    [Edit] Plus, "digital" usually means only the movie channels and PPV are really digital, all the other channels are still analog...so the only advantage might be for the true digital channels...
    [Edited last by MarcS on November 06, 2001 at 08:40 AM]
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    In order for analog cable channels to come out as S-video the box must have a comb filter. I haven't auditioned any but folks here at HTF have reported that on average cable boxes ahve poor comb filters. So composite has its place in the cable TV realm if your TV has a better comb filter. You may find it expedient to run both composite and S-video cables from your cable box to your TV or receiver.
    Digital channels will look better with S-video connection.
    You may or may not (try it) be able to run both composite and S-video cables to the same bank on your receiver, some receivers let you some don't. You almost always need separate banks e.g. video 1, video 2, on your TV for this.
    Other connection hints: http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/vidconn.htm
    [Edited last by Allan Jayne on November 06, 2001 at 11:57 AM]
     
  5. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    I recently acquired a Motorola set-top box (sorry, model # eludes me) for AT&T's digital cable service. The accompanying instruction manual clearly showed an s-video slot, but the actual box has no such input, only a round metal indentation where it should be... no optical jacks either, although the instructions also claim to support optical sound.
    Apparently, you need to specifically request the set top box with the 'special options,' or AT&T will send you their bottom of the barrel edition. My roomates opted for the digital service and I was out of town when they requested the boxes.
    That said, the quality of the pure digital channels is beyond atrocious (BTW, I have a 32" 32FV27 Wega). There are so many digital artifacts... backgrounds that should be static dance around wildly. Large random chunks of digital information appear and disappear at will. Every film on the pay channels is panned and scanned to boot. [​IMG]
    Thanks goodness I use my television primarily for DVDs and video games, and that the analog channels are artifact-free. [​IMG]
    Joseph
     
  6. Mike Pgh

    Mike Pgh Auditioning

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    Here's my experience with AT&T Broadband's digital cable. I'm buying a Toshiba 50A61 tomorrow (10% off at Best Buy!) and will finally have S-video and component inputs on the TV. Can you believe the TV I've been using for the past several years doesn't even have S-video [​IMG] Anyway, I looked at the back of my set top box and there are no s-video or optical outputs. I've had the digital cable service for over two years so I have an OLD General Instruments box. Of course now AT&T is using Motorola since they bought out GI although the old GI crew is still doing all the design work for consumer products (set top boxes, cable modems, etc.) out in Horsham, PA...just the name has changed. I got to visit their design/testing labs out there quiet often in the last 6 months for work (projects dealing with IP telephony and their cable modem solution) although that's a story for another day.
    Sooo, I call AT&T's customer service center to inquire on a set top box with the advanced options. What an experience [​IMG] The first guy I talked to, after holding for 20 minutes, had no clue what s-video even was. He gets a repair tech on the phone and although he somewhat understands what I'm asking he ends up to be no help at all. Finally after about 45 minutes on the phone we get a supervisor on the line who sounds like he knows his stuff. He said that they are currently evaluating the next generation of set top boxes and when they decide on one they will be s-video and optical capable. He also said you would have internet access right from the terminal. I told him that I had heard on the net that some folks can get the boxes with the advanced features if they request them and he said he does not believe that to be true. I'm not sure what to think about that one. In any case, I waisted about an hour and got nowhere.
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  7. Richard Burzynski

    Richard Burzynski Second Unit

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    I forgot to mention earlier that a good friend of mine got Comcast's Digital cable here in NJ for 1+ year now. Also no S Video or Optical Audio. But, the digital channels thru a regular composite cable, look *great.*
    The analog channels stink, but HBO & other digital ones are beautiful. He has a Sony Wega w/ 3D filter which helps a good deal. Please note, although SVideo is preferable, if your set has a good 3D (not 2D or 3 line) filter then you should still get a nice to very nice picture even if you're using a regular composite video cable, assuming source signal is clean.
    Perfect example of this is an Analog DVD player hooked up both ways (Svideo & composite) to a TV with a good 3D filter. It can be hard to tell the difference between the 2 connections with the better sets. I know, I owned one - a Pioneer RPTV.
    Here is a related Note.
    If you want to include a cable box in your Home theater and if it's the only video source that isn't Svideo capable, this can be a pain in the but. A nice thing about using an A/V receiver as a "switching box" is that it takes care of your video switching as well as audio. A workaround that I have used and am going to use in my next HT is to hook up an SVHS VCR between the cable box and your A/V receiver. Now your cable is Svideo capable (thru the VCR). The only pain here is that you need to turn on the VCR everytime you turn on the cable box, but if you macro the entire "system on" sequence thru a nice HT remote, this is no big issue.
    Rich B.
    [Edited last by Richard Burzynski on November 09, 2001 at 01:43 PM]
     

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