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Would this STB-digital cable TV box setup work?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Thik Nongyow, Aug 24, 2002.

  1. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    Imagine that:

    a) I connect a digital cable box from the antenna
    b) I connect the said digital cable box to a set-top-box through an RF cable
    c) I connect the set-up-box to an HDTV-compatible TV through a component cable
    d) I use Component 1 video mode to watch unscrambled cable TV channels

    From this, is it possible to watch unscrambled cable TV channels by following these steps? I recently thought up this scheme and wonder whether it will work.
     
  2. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    You're using an over-the-air antenna? At some point do you plan to plug in the digital cable box into the actual cable feed?

    If I understand your situation, you can think of a cable box (digital or not) like a VCR, but instead of playing tapes, it plays the signal coming over the cable. Instead of fast-forward, pause, and rewind, you can change the channel. Like a VCR, the picture will come out through the RF on channel 3/4, and some video or S-video connector, if it has one.

    The set-top-box tunes TV channels and converts them to component video for the TV. It might also have video and S-video inputs.

    So the basic answer is yes. Connect the boxes with an RF cable and tune the STB to channel 3, and you can watch whatever the digital cable box is putting out. But that's probably the worst possible picture quality. Using the video connectors would be better. And doesn't the TV has non-component inputs?

    //Ken
     
  3. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    I will see if the:

    cable feed ----> RF Monster cable ----> digital cable box

    ---->RF Monster cable ----> SIR-T150 set-top-box

    ----> Monster 3 HDTV component cable

    ----> HDTV-compatible set

    = watching digital cable channels unscrambled & improved picture quality
     
  4. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Selden
    Thik,

    Some cable TV systems include HDTV signals in a format which can be decoded by HDTV set top boxes, but you'd have to connect the HDTV STB directly to the cable to watch those channels.

    Most digital cable TV decoders do *not* pass through the all of the cable channels. They only generate an output for the channel that they're tuned to. Some, but not all, digital cable boxes do include a "bypass" feature. You'd have to look up the details of your particular cable box to find out if that feature is available and if it's included.
    (I have a Scientific Atlanta Explorer 2000, which has bypass as an option which our local cable company chose not to include.)

    In other words, I'd suggest getting an RF splitter. Its input would connect to your incoming cable feed. It has two outputs, one of which would go to the cable TV STB and the other to your HDTV STB. Connect both the HDTV receiver and the cable box to your TV. Many HDTVs have more than one component input. If your TV has only the one component video input, you can get an external component video switch box to select the appropriate component video source. JVC makes some inexpensive switches. Extron makes some expensive ones. Mechanical switches are available at Radio Shack.

    I hope this helps a little.
     
  5. Sujeet Patel

    Sujeet Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Selden's right. I work for one of the largest cable companies in the country, and prior to this I worked for one of their competitors, doing analog and digital set-top box programming and stuff. The cable companies control the channels you get from the headend in the digital world, so there's no signal for you to descramble. Analog is a different story, but the cable companies are rapidly phasing out analog because they know theft of service is rather easy.
     
  6. Thik Nongyow

    Thik Nongyow Stunt Coordinator

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    I wish there is a diagram to see what to do. The digital cable box I have is not HDTV-compatible, but I have an HDTV-compatible set that has two component inputs, one of which is used for my Panasonic RP82, while the other is used for the Nintendo GameCube. Finally, I currently do not own a HDTV set-top-box.
     
  7. Sujeet Patel

    Sujeet Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I'm in the same boat, my RP82 and my PS2 take up my component inputs. I just used the S-Video connection for the set-top, and it looks fine. The only place you're going to see a noticable difference are in the digital channels.. I was blown away to see some of the HBO movies on the digital end, picture quality looked better than some DVDs I've got!

    Don't think this out too much, there are only so many ways to set the set-top up. Here's how I ended up doing it:

    Cable from the wall goes into a splitter. One end goes into my ShowStopper ReplayTV to record basic cable stuff. Other end went into the digital set-top box. From there, I've got coax going into my VCR, and coax from the VCR to input 1 on my TV. Then I've got the S-Video out from the set-top going into input 3 of my TV. (Input 2 is my ReplayTV). I've got a digital coax cable going to my receiver. But since you can only get digital sound on the digital channels, I still have RCA jacks from the set-top to the TV directly. If I'm watching a movie on one of the pay stations and it has 5.1, I'll mute the TV and turn on my receiver. Otherwise, I leave the receiver off and watch TV on either input 1, or input 3 if I'm watching a digital channel. (On analog stations, input 1 is a softer image, which hides some of the artifacts that the S-video output shows)

    Confused? I sure was, it took awhile to figure out that this is PROBABLY the best solution for me. I thought about feeding the S-video output of the set-top into my Replay, but it's so much easier to record stuff on my VCR because of the VCR commander interface between the set-top and the VCR. If not for that, I'd have to set a timer on both the set-top and on the Replay (or VCR).

    My g/f hates this setup, because it's moderately confusing between the inputs and the 7 remote controls on my table. But unless I want my receiver always on and deal with the artifacts on the analog stations, this is the only way I saw to do it. Hope this helps.
     

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