Spreading (HD) joy. Mission Accomplished

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mary M S, Oct 29, 2004.

  1. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    …anyone else have trouble convincing family members, that HD is worth the trouble?
    My Mom has a 60” LCD fed for a year by a base-pkg SD Direct Receiver approx. 5 years old.
    For the year I have cringed over the horribly bad PQ on both her menu with its fuzzy edged print, and the Pic which on highly compressed feeds is grainy to the point (for me) of unwatchablility.

    She had an over decade long exasperating history with the Cable Co. Each time it glitched, weeks of repeat service calls passed (4 to 8 trips, twice) before service was again reliable. She keeps basic cable to take over when her Direct Satellite Feed is lost in rain fade. The multi-feed system has maintained a fragile equilibrium the last year, - no service calls required..

    Each time I stated: " MOM! You have an HD display capable of much higher resolution than it is currently producing we have to get your PQ sorted out, - and your dish upgraded; you need to utilize your resources! She’d raise an eyebrow, “It looks good to me, and it works. If they touch it, - it will all break again!”

    I finally pestered her to the point where she grudgingly agreed to allow me to get her system upgraded for her this years Christmas gift from me. Spent two weeks sorting the deal with *D.

    Last night, after many hilarious interactions between the poor installer, me and my Mother, (who is telling the installer during a frozen download of receiver authorization, "No...your on the wrong feed, you need to be on AUX. Me: “No Mom...that’s your cable on AUX.” Finally, the new HD STB is online!
    I did not get to check it out last night, as I and the installer were arguing over how to get her slaved Master Satellite feed back on-line which had gone missing since the cable repair crew were last onsite a year past.

    While the installer and I were climbing around the house I left her pushing buttons and familiarizing herself with the new HD remote.
    Every so often, she came to locate us. Popping her head in for a quick moment before dashing back to her LCD display ….”The picture is so 3-D!!!!”. ..later ….”You know I never really believed you…I was just not too sure about this whole thing. I can’t wait for your brother to see this!” ..."what channel Is HBOHD on?!"....

    Sigh

    Awh, - the glow of an HD feed upon your Mothers face. [​IMG]
     
  2. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    I'm having trouble convincing MYSELF that it's worth the trouble. Seriously, did they HAVE to make it this complicated and expensive?

    I suppose if I ever get a true HDTV setup I'll wonder how I ever lived without it.
     
  3. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    It's not so complicated. If your cable service offers HD tell em you want it and they'll install the HD box within the next week or so. The HD display part is up to you. [​IMG]

    I'm having trouble convincing my dad but he doesn't watch as much TV as me. He keeps saying he doesn't "need" it. I tell him just like you don't need your DVD player or color TV? Then a fistfight always ensues.
     
  4. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    It's only expensive if you are looking to do this soley for the HD.

    I bought an HD-ready TV which I used for my DVD's. Since the TV was too big for standard cable, I invested in Digital Cable. So when HD was available, the only cost to me was the few extra bucks for the HD channels.

    So if you look at it from a certain perspective, HD isn't all that expensive.


    p.s. After watching the World Series on Fox-HD, you really get to see the power of HD. My local Fox station would always cut in with the lottery numbers, so they'd switch the game over to Standard Def. - Talk about a difference! [​IMG]
     
  5. Bryan X

    Bryan X Producer

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    I've got HD through my cable system and I gotta agree...

    [​IMG]

    It's fantastic. Primetime shows are great, but NFL, MLB, Nascar are simply amazing.
     
  6. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    My problem is that I hate cable companies. [​IMG]

    To me, most cable channels are crap. There are a few that I will miss, but I'm thinking seriously of dropping my cable altogether and just putting up an antenna. I'll be content just getting ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, UPN, & PBS. But right now these will all be analog. Sooner or later the analog will be dropped and I'll have to convert to digital. The pricey stuff I'm not looking forward to buying are the HDTV VCRs.
     
  7. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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    Ahh and there is the complication.

    Are you kidding? This stuff IS complicated. Try and get a "regular" person to understand how to set up a recording device "VCR, TIVO, etc. to an HD setup. The wiring can become a nightmare. Will they need component. Does this TV suport DVI? What is HDMI? Will this TV work in two years with the newest encription tech?

    What, I cannot record the HD feed? Ah the question is not can you now, but will you ever be able to like we record SD today?

    What do you mean I cannot record the Superbowl in HD?

    Wait a minute. I have Comcast cable...You mean I wont even be able to see the Superbowl in HD on FOX?

    Very complicated.
     
  8. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Assuming I go the el cheapo route to start: how difficult is it to hook up a OTA HDTV tuner >>> my old analog VCR >>> analog TV.
    Will I be able to program the VCR to auto-record via the OTA HDTV tuner (like a cable box)? If so, who makes a decent OTA HDTV tuner and how much dinero?
     
  9. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    It is not even worth it to me. I have HD, and I never, ever use it. The pleasure I get from the improved picture quality doesn't even come close to the sheer joy I get from never having to watch a commercial using my DVR. I will take SD picture quality over 20 minutes/hour of commercials any time.

    Until I can buy a HD DVR for 300-400 bucks, high def will not be used by me.
     
  10. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    Mark having never lived with TIVO or an DVR, I don’t know what I am missing. I have never spoken to a single person who had one, who did not make a comment along the lines of “It changed my life…I love it”.
    I just don’t know what I am missing [​IMG] Currently, I am resolution hungry, and cannot wait till the trickledown effect provides more of it.

    Julian, I would prob. work on the display purchase first. Then add video sources capable of 720p/1080I later as budget allows. You can still use your old analogue VHS on a HD capable display. (Unfortunately the larger the display trash in/trash out starts to really take on meaning. As camera buffs know take a digital pic with a low pixel count and blow it up hugely, it becomes a child’s connect the dots puzzle). The problem comes in that VHS will appear barbaric grainy compared to DVD’s higher resolution and even higher count HD feeds. Once you get (spoiled) by the higher resolutions it is hard to enjoy your old lower res media, and you tend to quit pulling out those tapes.

    For now HD programming is VERY spotty, it is slowly gaining in momentum, in Total hours viewing time I watch tiny amounts of HD. The recent Fox feed for the CS and WS got me lusting for ALL HD - ALL THE TIME (pipe dream currently). When you get your HD ducks in a row, you will be further disappointed to find that HD PQ can be very unreliable, affected by the media from which it is sourced: film based transfers, or modern coverage of a sports event using HD camera’s, the quality of the camera man’s work, then beyond the quality of its origin, you run into factors that affect your end product controlled by the broadcasters various problems with sending the signal and how much bandwidth your SAT/CABLE provider allot the channel your are watching.
    Much of D* feed is what some call “lite HD” not full-bandwidth etc.
    That said HD lite would still beat SD compressed!
    Native resolution of the displays purchased can also affect the end quality of your product. A high quality EDTV(480p) can mate seamlessly to your progg DVD player (480p) showing a better end product than an HDTV capable of all resolutions (but not accepting all signals nativity it can be down/upconvert in various methods to convert signals to the displays native resolution) (SD -480I ED-480p HD- 720p & 1080I) The electronics in a display for the various down/upconverting might be subpar.

    When you do get all the various factors, which can affect the end quality of your HD feed in place, it can indeed literally be jawdropping good.

    Due to the quick quick life cycle for HD STB and OTA STB’s , I would at this time build from the other end, - display first. The odds are higher you will have it much longer, and might replace any HD OTA OR STB capable of HD now, before you would ever get to view the higher resolution the receiver is capable of..

    I will say that the electronic in the HD STB’s are of higher quality, and will OFTEN improve (existing Satellite customers) SD feed, this has been the case in my family every time. Plugging in an HD STB while still receiving SD only via your SAT provider has improved the SD quality noticeably. So for that improvement alone, (since I have seen it) I would recommend picking up a discontinued bargain priced HD STB to someone who had purchased an ED/HD display, but did not intend at this time to upgrade their Satellite dish (from the smaller 18” single dual-LNB dish) to the larger multi satellite dish, - to receive HD.
    I am not familiar with the different digital Cable provider options.
    In my Moms Satellite setup, the box she just acquired is the DIRECT system RCA DTC-210, you can indeed skip the satellite feed and wire it to an analog display. You may NOT use the component or DVI outputs of the STB if the display is analog (you’ll get a blank Screen) for that setup you would cable via the S-Video output. Retail (just a guess it’s a new box, it may be web-purchase 250? 290?. I did an existing subscriber upgrade deal with Direct starting with their retail 399 pricetag on it. (it cost me 149).
    For those with D* satellite, and an analog non-HD display, you could get this box up and running and might expect to see improvement on your SD feeds from Direct. One feature the DTC220 has I will prob. go over and cable today for her, - if it works, - the one your interested in Julian so I know this feature is available but which models you would have to research. (I read her manual last night and this feature listed not compatible with all VHS models). I can cable the Satellite receiver to her VHS player. If compatible her Satellite Receiver via its remote and menu can turn on her VHS to record a program if pre-selected in Sat receivers guide before start time of programming. She wants this feature enabled since she is not interested in learning/purchasing any TIVO type setup.

    You can also use this model DTC-210 to receive OTA signals only.. However, think about it, if your display is not capable of HD resolution, why not just cable your UHF/VHF straight into your display, the only reason to use this or any other model OTA HD only or HD STB receiver capable of OTA HD decoding (most newer models would have dual decoders (SAT/OTA) so you just use the OTA portion) would be if your display is HD capable.

    You know what. It IS complicated. For me, who has tried to come up to speed in 2 years on EVERYTHING AV sometimes I want to pull my hair out trying to understand it.
     
  11. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    ugh.. I'm so addicted to my TiVo there's no way I'll be going HD for quite awhile...
    or until VOOM released that way pimp whole house HDTV/DVR system.
     
  12. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Thanks for that explanation Mary. It is complicated indeed. [​IMG]

    You are right, I shouldn't worry about HD until I get HD capable displays, and I will probably do that before analog OTA TV signals are dropped.

    I guess I'm kinda pissed that eventually I will have a closet full of obselete VCRs & TVs, just like I now have one full of obsolete PCs. [​IMG] I tend to buy quality, expensive stuff when I do buy, so my TVs and VCRs are still 100%. I hate to see functional stuff relegated to the trash heap.

    I'm with mark alan on the commecials/hour thing. 99% of my TV viewing is time-shifted. I simply cannot stand sitting through commercials. I see that JVC & Mitsubishi have D-VHS/HDTV tuner combos but they list for $1200. I need more money. [​IMG]
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  14. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    had a tivo, it changed my life. Bought an HD capable tv, tivo looked crappy on it, gave tivo to ex-wife, changed her life. I too am waiting for HD-Tivo to drop below $500.
     
  15. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

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    I would give VOOM and their gear, a shot tomorrow if they would add a couple of channels we use. I have been very tempted by the D* HR10-250 TiVo. $999.
    Too steep for the uncertainties or until further details regarding performance. I’m watching it but concerned, although TIVO groupies appear to simply love it, calling it a receiver which stands heads above others, they continue to be sparse on information in user reviews as regards its HD SAT user interface and functionality. My greater concern; since I have yet to have any preferences as regards the Tivo side of its features. I have tried a later gen. HD STB, which I had to return, so am still currently using a discontinued model RCA DTC-100. Am happy with the workaround I have between it and my Sony for AR control.
    So far my Moms new DTC 210, I have not had time to sort out if AR above 480I, can be suitably dealt with (my tastes) and that’s a sticking point for me on any purchase. The (E??) menu response is the only drawback I see mentioned regarding the HR10-250, one of the reasons I would be willing to consider replacing my DTC-100 due to its infuriatingly SLOW menu acquisition. Seems very much money for the new HDTIVO to cont. being cursed with that irritation again.

    Additionally for a D* subscriber there is a new twist coming down the road, regarding how D* will reconfigure hardware for the new Satellites built by Boeing, 2 on line next year and 2 slated by 2007. Space One/Two and Direct One/Two.
    Near as I can judge at first read is that D* primary use of these SATs will be to broaden market base into parts of the country not covered in the past. (that would not affect me). But how they reconfigure transponders / Sat locations to shift load and spread bandwidth will. New "superdish" or add a single 18 incher to a Phase III now 3 Sats, 5 LNB's to ?LNBs 5 satilites stacked.
    There is a mpeg2/4 issue, which might or not arise which could affect current receivers sold. There will definitely be some Dish revamping. (LNBs/multiswitches)

    I guess I'm kinda pissed that eventually I will have a closet full of obselete VCRs & TVs
    …if we all get old enough Julian, it all becomes obsolete [​IMG]
    Juliann, you should be able to keep those displays (with issues). I have not followed the analog turnoff date since I purchased my display. At purchase I tried to research factors, which might affect its life span, after that purchase I quit worrying till either the digital signal date gets closer or I am ready to make another display purchase.

    Last I looked any analog displays (and a good CRT can be very GOOD) will not become obsolete with the advent of all-digital broadcasting. They are going to have to come up with some sort of DAC conversion interface. The question mark (last I looked, concerned) how many of these digital signals (regardless of Resolution level) will be copyproteced in a manner which would prevent the conversion. You might get a notice you are locked out of some programming due to copy protection flags the converter cannot pass to display.
    The Est. Retail of this converter was suggested to prob. run about 200.00.

    The issue for me as a consumer is will we be blocked from a large selection of programming?
    How much does the conversion degrade the signal? And why should I be required to spend additional funds on an older display, that I paid for years ago. I would feel put-upon to have to spend money on a display that worked yesterday, once FCC locks the changeover date.
    Seems to me, many Americans might require a “Save my TV” subsidy if this comes about before age matriculation causes fewer analogue sets to be left functioning in American homes. (If you have trouble paying your rent, you do not need to be required to purchase add-on’s to keep viewing the analogue TV your parents passed to you, etc .

    ..since I have not become a TIVO zombie yet! [​IMG] 1080p to 1080p native to native onboard all video source/displays and Broadcasters 24/7 at 1080I minimum, no lock into full on prog feeds, with some sort of 4:3 to 16:9 and back again at-will complete Aspect Ratio control standard all units (no distortions horizontally or vertically during resizing) - is my dream!
    (I don’t ask for much [​IMG])
     
  16. Julian Reville

    Julian Reville Screenwriter

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    Well, as much as I would like to do away with my cable company, I have figured that after buying and installing an antenna and 2 plain vanilla STBs, I would be spending 3-5 years of basic cable costs. In that 3-5 years a whole lot of technology changes could come about, plus some of my TVs and VCRs may bite the dust. If they do, I will replace them with digital stuff instead of repairing them.

    So I've decided to wait for a while. I find it interesting that the analog to digital conversion date has been allowed to slip so much. Somefolks in Congress may be having second thoughts about a mandated dropping of analog.

    Another question....what about FM radio? It's right there in the middle of the VHF spectrum. Is it slated to be converted to digital and moved to another spectrum as well?
     
  17. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Hah.. my technophobe in-laws VCR died recently, and since VCR/DVD combos are so cheap.. they bought one. I was shocked! These are the people who bought a 5-disc CD player just so they could keep the same 5 country CD's in it.

    So, naturally, they called me to come hook it up. They only have an antenna input on their TV, so, it wasn't any more difficult than hooking up a standard VCR. I wasn't about to get into picture quality with them... they were obviously feeling overwhelmed already with just figuring out the remote. But, I had this extra audio cable that came in the box. So, I ran it to their stereo and explained how, if they want to, they could watch movies or TV in stereo.

    You'd think I just showed them how to create cold fusion. They were so excited to watch TV through those cheap Fisher speakers (my old college speakers I gave to them) now they wont watch TV without it. They were the last people on Earth I expected to be excited over anything remotely home theater related.

    I've loaned them a couple of DVD's... but I don't think they've watched them yet. I'm waiting for the phone call: "How do you open this thing again?"

    Which will be followed shortly by: "Why are there black bars on our screen?"
     

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