What's the optimal configuration w/ digital cable & HDTV?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rick*Guillo, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Rick*Guillo

    Rick*Guillo Auditioning

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    I'm a newbie to the Home Theater Forum and have been impressed with everything I've seen so far. I'm hoping someone can help me with this.

    I'm trying to determine what would be the optimal configuration for digital cable and HDTV. I subscribe to our local cable company who supplies both the digital converter and the HD decoder. I recently had them out for a service call which culminated with the replacement of the digital receiver. In the process the cable repair man insisted on reconfiguring my set up which included where the cable actually enters the system, replacing my Monster Cables with the cable company's RCA cables, removing the cable I had running through a Monster surge protector to directly to the converter, etc. I have a widescreen, A/V receiver, DVD, VCR, etc. Can anyone suggest where I should run the cables? For example, should I continue to run the cable thru the surge protector? Should I have everything running from the digital converter to my A/V receiver and then to the TV? What works best?

    Thanks to all that can offer any insight!
     
  2. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    From the converter to the TV -- Were you using a Monster S-video cable or a Monster composite video cable? The HDTV needs to come in using component video (three RCA cables). Some of the other channels may look best with composite video, others may look best with S-video or component video. If not all the channels look the best with the same cable, you may wish to run all three, composite, S-ideo, and component video, from converter to A/V receiver to TV or (your choice) converter(s) directly to TV. If you use S-video from your HDTV converter, the picture will not be high definition even if teh TV upconverts it to 1080i.
    The purpose of running video through the receiver is (1) so picture and sound change together when you switch from one source to another, and (2) you don't have enough inputs on your TV. When you need to run both composite and S-video (or composite and S-video and component video) from the same source to the TV, it is better using an A/V receiver since both (all) kinds of video and matching audio go into the same input bank of the receiver whereas (usually) composite and S-video need to go into different input banks of the TV in order to work properly.
    From the wall to the converter -- See if using the surge protector in between degrades the picture, it may affect all channels, some channels, or no channels if you are lucky.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  3. Rick*Guillo

    Rick*Guillo Auditioning

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    Allan,

    Thank you greatly for the reply. I apologize. I've wanted to respond sooner but just haven't had the time.

    In answer to your question I believe the system was configured running a Calrad RGB 75 ohm Coaxial Cable - three RCA cables from the converter to the TV.

    If I understood your message correctly you recommend running the cable from the wall directly to the converter and then in turn from the converter to A/V receiver. From the A/V receiver I would then run to the TV. One question, how does the HD decoder fit into this picture and should I run the S-video cable also from the A/V receiver to the TV?

    The challenge I'm facing is how best to configure the system. It's such a jumble of wires currently. Right now the cable runs from the wall to the converter and from the converter to the VCR using standard cable coax. The converter also feeds into the HD decoder and directly into the TV. Not sure what the preferable approach is. The A/V has all appropriate jacks so I know I'm covered there.

    Would it be possible to detail for you what components I have and perhaps you could recommend a cable to cable set up?

    Thanks for any additional assistance you can offer!

    Regards,

    Rick
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Try this:

    Wall to cable converter. Cable converter to HDTV decoder. Cable converter composite cable to VCR video in. VCR video out to A/V receiver. A/V receiver both composite and S-video to different input banks of the TV. HDTV decoder to TV, component video. Optional, with regular VHS VCR add S-video cable from cable converter to another input bank of A/V receiver. Optional, with S-VHS VCR run S_video cable from converter to VCR and run S_video out of VCR to same input bank of A/V receiver as composite from VCR.

    I was going to suggest:

    2. Wall to 2 way splitter. One output of splitter to VCR antenna in. Other output of splitter to converter box. This allows you to watch one show and record a different show. But only analog channels on the cable, if any, will be receivable by the VCR.

    Oops I missed the part of the HDTV decoder I thought the cable company gave you your choice of regular cable converter box or HDTV decoder (higher monthly rate) but not both.

    As separate boxes where you get both of them, the HDTV decoder, if it came from the cable company, needs to be connected to the cable converter box in the way the cable company suggests. I my self am not familiar with these. On many cable systems the HDTV channels are transmitted in a fashion different than over the air HDTV so an over the air HDTV set top box such as an RCA DTC100 won't work.

    Typically, the channel selected by the cable converter may be either regular or HDTV. A separate HDTV decoder must figure out which it is and convert it to component video or S-video to deliver to your TV.

    The HDTV decoder should have the red, green, and blue RCA jacks thjat you connect the component video cables to and these cables go to your A/V receiver or TV (your choice).

    There may be a few cases where regular channels only come out of box #1 (the converter) composite or S-video or antenna jacks and HDTV only comes out box #2 (the HDTV decoder) component video jacks. You will have to check your instructions on this. Another case is if regular channels come out of box #1 but both regular and HDTV channels come out of box #2. Only one channel should come out at any given time; if something comes out of both box #1 and box #2 at the same time it will be the same show.
     
  5. Rick*Guillo

    Rick*Guillo Auditioning

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    Allan,

    Thanks so much for your help on this. I've already printed out your message and will give it a shot!

    Regards,

    Rick
     

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