Why the need for aHD cable box w/ HD tuner?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Dan Burch, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. Dan Burch

    Dan Burch Agent

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    I bought a Panny TH-50PX500U which has a HD tuner. Adelphia cable tells me I need a HD box. I don't understand why I can't hook the cable directly to the HD tuner. Can someone please explain what type of conversion the HD cable box does?
    Thank you, Dan
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    A few reasons.
    1. Your TV may have an ATSC only tuner. Digital cable is in QAM modulation. Therefore the need for a cable box.
    2. Your TV has a QAM tuner and you want programming like HBO HD. Regular QAM tuners only work with unencrypted signals. Your locals are probably unencrypted. Nothing else is. Therefore the need for a cable box.
    3. Your TV has a cable-card tuner. That would work with encrypted QAM but doesn't give you features like ordering PPV via the remote. Cable boxes have 2-way communication with the cable office. Therefore the need for a cable box.
    4. You may only want local HD via cable and have a QAM tuner. The CSR you spoke with is not as informed as the rest of the world and it pushing you to pay for a cable box.

    -Robert
     
  3. Dan Burch

    Dan Burch Agent

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    Robert,
    Thank you. The TV has ATSC/QAM/NTSC Tuners and the card slot. I don't subscribe to HBO, any other pay channels and have never used PPV. I do want a DVR. I have TIVO on our other TV, it is awesome. I can go buy TIVO and pay the $12 a month until it wears out then buy another one. Or I can rent the Adelphia HD box w/ a DVR for $14 a month. Looks like they will be getting my $$ anyways.
    Again thanks for all the information. So much to learn.
    Dan
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Be careful. Cable company DVR's are notoriously low on hard drive space (only like 7 hours HD recording time for Comcast's). If you intend to record a lot of HD material, you may want to see what they offer for storage space before pulling the trigger (and do not believe a sales person or a "tech" when they tell you how much space they have, get a model number and look it up online [​IMG] ).
     
  5. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Dan -- you're dealing with several related but not identical issues here and you need to get them sorted out in your own mind because in my experience the cable companies either don't know or will deliberately tell you the wrong things.

    You're situation may be a little different from mine but here's what I figured out after much digging and considerable experimentation. (BTW, I've also got a Panny with HD tuner and a stand-alone TiVo).

    -- Analog channels (1-100 or thereabouts) don't need a box for and TiVo works great with it as you know.
    -- Non-premium digital channels, I need Cox's digital service and their digital box. (Well, actually a few of them come through without the box but mostly they don't). With their box and the IR blaster TiVo can record these, too.
    -- Premium channels (I don't have any) would need a box
    -- HD channels don't need any cable box at all (again, for non-premium, over-the-air channels delivered over the cable) but TiVo won't "see" them since it lacks an HD tuner

    Without the cable company's HD service and HD+DVR box you can watch HD and everything else but you won't be able to record HD channels. But that, I think, is all you give up. Personally, I've stuck to the digital service with their non-HD boxes. If TiVo can't get a dual tuner HD box on the market relatively soon then I may end up paying Cox for the HD service and an HD DVR but that will wait for awhile.
     
  6. Dan Burch

    Dan Burch Agent

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    I'll check the hard drive size of the Adelphia DVR. We record or start to watch programs 1/2 hour or so ino them to FF past all the ads. Our digital non-HD cable box from Adelphia has a serial port that hooks directly to the TIVO which makes channel changing flawless. We 1st had the IR, I never could get it to work right.
    If I don't record in HD, doesn't it defeat the purpose of a HD TV?
    Okay now a dumb question. If the coaxial from the cable company carries the signal in HD and can deliver it to a TV why the need for HDMI,DVI... cables. Same question for DVD players, why not just use coaxial?
    The more I learn, the more I don't know,
    Dan
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    DVI and HDMI are for copy protection. HD-Cable boxes can deliver HD through component connections, but in order to make HD harder to copy, the industry is trying to keep the signal all digital from source to output. This is so they can employ the HDCP (High Definition Copy Protection) standard to the digital stream. That's why all upconverting DVD players and future HD-DVD players will only output through DVI/HDMI.
     
  8. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Not unless the only purpose of the TV is to watch programming through or from TiVo. TiVo doesn't have a standalone box with a tuner nor does it have a box that can accept the HD output from a tuner (component or other), so it can't handle HD in any form. Until that changes anything in HD you'll have to watch 'live'. That's the very reason that some people are switching to the cable company DVR's or adding one of those and keeping TiVo, too.

    As for why all the different types of outputs/inputs, well that is because although the newer connections are better suited to high quality, digital data transmissions, the legacy connections have to be kept around to support devices that don't have them. While you could theoretically run everything across coax it isn't optimum and it isn't what the makers of the gear elected to do (optimum or not). In the long run I would hope that all the device interconnects migrate to a common standard and HDMI seems the most likely candidate since its getting support because of its copy protection layer (HDCP) that is being dictated as a requirement.
     
  9. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Oh, yeah, here's how my system is setup (only video path):


    cable coax --> splitter --|--> RF coax input on TV
    ..................................|
    ..................................|--> RF coax input on cable box


    cable box ---(SVideo)-->TiVo--(SVideo)-->TV S-video input

    [​IMG]Video 1 on TV selected: Watch cable channels through TiVo or TiVo recorded stuff (No HD available).
    [​IMG]TV (tuner) input selected on TV: Watch analog cable channels and HD channels. TiVo isn't active here.

    This also gives the ability to watch something while recording something. Neither path has everything available but the combination does and I don't need the cable company's pricey HD service and set-top-box. The big gap is not recording HD material and I can live with that right now.

    (BTW the DVD player is connected with HDMI)
     
  10. Dan Burch

    Dan Burch Agent

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    All that for copy protection. Since we always watch thru the DVR, sounds like the Cable Co HD DVR might be best for me for now. At least it's rented and I can turn it in or upgrade at any time. Dick, that's about how I have my TV hooked up now w/ the splitter. I'll plan on doing the same for the new HD TV also. I hear that he Direct TV Tivo is HD. I've never looked into Sat TV.
    My new set is supposed to be in on the 14th. I can't wait.

    Again thanks for all the info
     
  11. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Correct and the only way to get an HD TiVo right now.

    I'd get the new TV and drop it in place with minimal other changes. Get everything working and just rewire/reconnect as necessary to get what you can out of what's there. Live with and play with the new TV for awhile and then see if the HD recording capability is really important to you. If so, get the DVR from the cable company and try it out. At the cost of some complexity you can have TiVo on one split and the HD DVR on the other. Compare and either keep both or ditch one.

    Basically, that's what I did and I concluded it wasn't worth the extra money to Cox. "Your mileage may vary"[​IMG]
     

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