VideoHelp Forum


Try DVDFab Video Downloader and rip Netflix video! Or Try DVDFab and copy Blu-rays! or rip iTunes movies!
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2
1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 31
Thread
  1. I'm looking to buy an ATSC set top box for my 32" Sony NTSC standard TV. I'm satified with my existing TV and not ready to upgrade to a HDTV. Currently I have Comcast cable but I want to cancel my subscription and go to off-air only.

    A little history: I bought a LCD TV with a built in ATSC tuner for my motorhome as space was an issue. When trying this LCD TV in my house, I realized I can get all digital network channels off-air when connected to the rooftop antenna. Light bulb went on in my head and I thought I'd just buy an ATSC STB and cancel cable. Well, not as easy as that (is anything?), I bought the first one I could get which is the Zinwell ZAT600HD. I was unpleasantly surprised when the digital channels would lock up or pixilate almost every 30 seconds on all the channels that were rock solid on the LCD TV with built in ATSC tuner. So now I realize not all ATSC tuners are created equal and have since read that each generation gives better performance. I read that LG makes the large majority of the ATSC tuner chipsets and their 6th generation out earlier this year delivers 30% better reception than the 5th generation. I'd bet the Zinwell is the 1st generation. If the wind blows, reception is even worse. When compared side by side, the Toshiba LCD tuner is rock solid when the Zinwell is locking up. I live in an area with lots of trees and have read this is not unusual for older ATSC tuners.

    The question is, what options do I have if I want to keep my existing Sony 32" TV but get a GOOD ATSC tuner? Any suggestions? BTW, my Sony does not have component video input, only S-video and composite.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  2. Member yoda313's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    The Animus
    Search Comp PM
    Check out some newer dvd recorders. Some include atsc tuners. Apparently there aren't any that output the full digital signal but since you'd be using an sdtv that wouldn't affect you. Just be sure it is a atsc model dvd recorder.
    Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
    Quote Quote  
  3. Originally Posted by yoda313
    Check out some newer dvd recorders. Some include atsc tuners. Apparently there aren't any that output the full digital signal but since you'd be using an sdtv that wouldn't affect you. Just be sure it is a atsc model dvd recorder.
    Thanks. Problem here is, will anything I buy have a newer type tuner? I think it sucks there is not some kind of way to tell the differance between the newer tuners and older ones. I could buy one of everything and check it out and if it's not the newer chipset, send it back but that just not practical and I hate sending things back. Considering there is a huge difference in reception cabability, the chipset generation is nessesary information to make a decison or at least a positive review of reception. I've found one at Amazon that obviously is one of the newer chipsets given the feedback BUT it does not work s-video or composite. That is, you can't set it up and it's imposible to change screen resolution sizes, i.e., it's meant for a HDTV, not a SDTV. This is the feedback given on Samsung DTBH260F HDTV Terrestrial Tuner:
    "I live in a hilly area and two of my High definition stations fade in and out regularly with my lcd tuner and my dvr tuner hence I bought the sumsung dtbh260f I had read that a new chip in the tuner would lock onto and hold difficult signals and I am happy to report it works very well I can now enjoy PBS and ABC in uninterupted bliss.....5 stars "

    Yep, that's exactly the tuner I'm looking for.. But I need it for a SDTV..... Anyone have any direct experience with one of those DVD upconverters that has a built in ATSC tuner? That is, make/model and does it have the newer chipset/will it work with a s-video input?

    Thanks.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  4. Member Webster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by TomTee

    The question is, what options do I have if I want to keep my existing Sony 32" TV but get a GOOD ATSC tuner? Any suggestions? BTW, my Sony does not have component video input, only S-video and composite.

    Tom
    why don't you try to pick up one of those VOOM receiver on ebay? they are pretty cheap. Just make sure you get one that is already activated for local channels.

    some info:

    http://www.winnfreenet.com/voom-setup.html

    http://home.att.net/~roashru/Voom.html

    http://www.burnyourbonus.info/alt.tv.tech.hdtv/thread661.html
    Quote Quote  
  5. Originally Posted by Webster
    why don't you try to pick up one of those VOOM receiver on ebay? they are pretty cheap. Just make sure you get one that is already activated for local channels.

    some info:

    http://www.winnfreenet.com/voom-setup.html

    http://home.att.net/~roashru/Voom.html

    http://www.burnyourbonus.info/alt.tv.tech.hdtv/thread661.html
    Wow. Great idea. I had no idea Voom was out of biz. I remember reading about their service a few years ago. But I wonder if the reciever is better than the Zinwell? I'll search for some reviews. Thanks for the info.. Much apprciated.
    Quote Quote  
  6. Member Gritz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    One thing that improved my signal dramatically was to install a 110 volt Radio Shack TV/FM Antenna-Mounted High-Gain Signal Amplifier between my antenna (which is in my attic) and the lead out to my TV in the house. This one is rated to give a 30dB gain and is adjustable and it made a big difference in my signal. 8)
    "No freeman shall be debarred the use of arms." - THOMAS JEFFERSON .. 1776
    Quote Quote  
  7. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Here is a list of all current and past tuners. These guys can recommend the model you need. They could also suggerst which DVD tuner if you want to get that direction. More tuners specifically targeting analog S-Video in TVs will be coming as the 17 Feb, 2009 date approaches. If your current TV will accept YPbPr analog componet, that is the best connection to use.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095

    If all your stations are in one direction better to use a directional antenna. This cancels out multipath interference. www.antennaweb.org will ID all stations available at your address. This forum discusses antennas.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=381623
    Quote Quote  
  8. Originally Posted by Gritz
    One thing that improved my signal dramatically was to install a 110 volt Radio Shack TV/FM Antenna-Mounted High-Gain Signal Amplifier between my antenna (which is in my attic) and the lead out to my TV in the house. This one is rated to give a 30dB gain and is adjustable and it made a big difference in my signal. 8)
    Thanks for the reply. I'll tell you though, I've already gone through the antenna thing inside and out. I've got two Channel Master 4221 antennas set in a matrix like CM 4228. I've got a CM 7777 preamp. I bought all this trying to pull in better HD using the Zinwell tuner.. Heck, the Toshiba LCD TV works great on my new antenna system. Thing is, it worked great on my old one too.. It's not the antenna system.. It is the tuner. Unfortunately, it cost me some money to learn this fact.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  9. Originally Posted by edDV
    Here is a list of all current and past tuners. These guys can recommend the model you need. They could also suggerst which DVD tuner if you want to get that direction. More tuners specifically targeting analog S-Video in TVs will be coming as the 17 Feb, 2009 date approaches. If your current TV will accept YPbPr analog componet, that is the best connection to use.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095
    Wow, cool.. Great link! Thanks. I'll look through it.
    Quote Quote  
  10. If you get a Voom receiver, you have to connect it to a widescreen TV. I made the mistake of buying one on Ebay. They can't be set for a 4x3 TV, stupid. I bought a Hisense after the Voom didn't work. It works pretty good, once in awhile the audio sync will be off, but changing to another channel then going back fixes it. I've never seen any artifacts or pixelating. The remote sensor sucks. The remote pretty much has to be pointed right at the box.
    Quote Quote  
  11. Originally Posted by samijubal
    If you get a Voom receiver, you have to connect it to a widescreen TV. I made the mistake of buying one on Ebay. They can't be set for a 4x3 TV, stupid. I bought a Hisense after the Voom didn't work. It works pretty good, once in awhile the audio sync will be off, but changing to another channel then going back fixes it. I've never seen any artifacts or pixelating. The remote sensor sucks. The remote pretty much has to be pointed right at the box.
    Oh Jeeze, thanks for the feedback. I had no idea they couldn't be set to 4x3. I canceled my eBay snipe bid based on your comment.. I'll look into the Hisense that you mentioned.

    Thanks much!

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  12. There are a number of new DVD recorders and DVD/VCR combo recorders that have the ATSC digital tuner built in and work great for older 4:3 analog TV's. Check out the Magnavox DVD/VCR unit at WalMart. My parents have one hooked up to their 32" and it works perfectly fine for that purpose. It has a pretty sensitive digital tuner (they live out in the country and get all the local digital signals except PBS, whose tower is too far away).
    Quote Quote  
  13. Originally Posted by TomTee
    Originally Posted by samijubal
    If you get a Voom receiver, you have to connect it to a widescreen TV. I made the mistake of buying one on Ebay. They can't be set for a 4x3 TV, stupid. I bought a Hisense after the Voom didn't work. It works pretty good, once in awhile the audio sync will be off, but changing to another channel then going back fixes it. I've never seen any artifacts or pixelating. The remote sensor sucks. The remote pretty much has to be pointed right at the box.
    Oh Jeeze, thanks for the feedback. I had no idea they couldn't be set to 4x3. I canceled my eBay snipe bid based on your comment.. I'll look into the Hisense that you mentioned.

    Thanks much!

    Tom
    None of the sellers on Ebay will tell you the Voom can't be used with a 4x3 TV. I didn't find that out until I got it. The Hisense works with 4x3 or 16x9. It has component, s-video and composite outputs, but only 1 set of each. It has something like 4 different zoom modes too. I'm about 45 miles from the transmitters if I remember right from antennaweb.org, but I've got a pretty good sized antenna, the signal strength is around 97-99 on most channels.
    Quote Quote  
  14. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    That Voom box is getting fairly old. These ATSC tuners are making huge improvements each new chip generation. Early models had serious issues for city (multipath) and distant use. In general you should avoid the older ones.

    If you are on cable, look for QAM capability. You can get the digital locals (including HD) over the cable without a cable box.
    Quote Quote  
  15. Originally Posted by edDV
    That Voom box is getting fairly old. These ATSC tuners are making huge improvements each new chip generation. Early models had serious issues for city (multipath) and distant use. In general you should avoid the older ones.

    If you are on cable, look for QAM capability. You can get the digital locals (including HD) over the cable without a cable box.
    I have to say that this group is great. I'm surprised how much good feedback I've gotten from everyone. After the suggestion for the Hisense Tuner on eBay, I bid and won one for 30 bucks. It is kind of a gamble becasue I don't know if it will be any better than the Zinwell ATSC box but for the price, if it doesn't work well, I'll resell it on eBay. If the Hisense Tuner doesn't work well and there are no better ideas by then I'll get the Wal-Mart Magnavox DVD recorder with ATSC tuner that someone here mentioned. It's only 140 bucks. If that doesn't work, I'm back to square one.

    Thanks again to all who replied.
    Quote Quote  
  16. Unless you're too far away to get a good signal, in that case you'll need a better antenna not a different tuner, the Hisense should be fine. I just checked, I'm 41-44 miles from most transmitters and get a high 90s signal on those channels, I'm 65 miles from a couple of others and get about 87 on those if I remember right.

    It's true the Voom tuner isn't very good, the Hisense is a lot better.
    Quote Quote  
  17. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    In another year or less there will be a mass supply of ATSC tuners intended for analog TV sets/VCR selling for under $50 with $40 gov't rebates possible. These basic tuners will output composite, S-Video and analog component at 480i. Some will have RF (Ch 3 or 4) for the oldest analog TV sets.

    The next tier up will be similar to current models with SD and HD out over analog component or HDMI. Expect those to drop well below $99 as volume grows.
    Quote Quote  
  18. Originally Posted by samijubal
    Unless you're too far away to get a good signal, in that case you'll need a better antenna not a different tuner, the Hisense should be fine. I just checked, I'm 41-44 miles from most transmitters and get a high 90s signal on those channels, I'm 65 miles from a couple of others and get about 87 on those if I remember right.

    It's true the Voom tuner isn't very good, the Hisense is a lot better.
    Good to hear. I can hardly wait to get it. Should be here mid-week. As far as being too far away from the stations, according to TVfool.com/ all networks except for one is in the green. I think my reception problem is all the trees. There is not a single direction you can look from my house and not see tall evergreen trees. I can't get satilitte because of the trees. That's why I was surprised to get such good reception with the Toshiba LCD ATSC TV. Again, with the Zinwell set top box, I get the channels but it just freeze frames all the time or turns totally black for a time or pixilates. I notice it does this more when it's a windy and the trees are moving around. As far as my attenna system, I don't think I could get any better. I just spent a few hundred upgrading it. I even replaced the RG/6 cable and raised the mast another 5 feet. Also replaced the VHF antenna with 2 UHF Channel Master 4221 antennas. The thing is, if I didn't have the Toshiba LCD TV to compare to, I would of thought freeze frames was something I'd have to live with. The Toshiba is my standard to compare to so it has to be the set-top receiver if I still have problems with reception. There is nothing else it could be.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  19. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Two issues.

    Trees will interfere with UHF. Causing the signal to bounce around causing level and phase shifts. The tuner neeeds to grab the main signal and hold on without resychronizing. If you can relocate the antenna to avoid trees it will help.

    Second, if you are in the green those CM 4221 antennas may be overloading the tuner. They also need careful pointing since they are highly directional.

    www.antennaweb.org will give exact compass directions to the transmitters from your address.
    error: make that .org not .com

    Quote Quote  
  20. Originally Posted by edDV
    Two issues.

    Trees will interfere with UHF. Causing the signal to bounce around causing level and phase shifts. The tuner neeeds to grab the main signal and hold on without resychronizing. If you can relocate the antenna to avoid trees it will help.

    Second, if you are in the green those CM 4221 antennas may be overloading the tuner. They also need careful pointing since they are highly directional.

    www.antennaweb.com witll give exact compass directions to the transmitters from your address.

    Thanks, but there is no way to relocate the antenna other than on the roof and that won't do any good to get out of the trees. The only way to get out of the trees is the either cut them down (and most are not on my property) or build a 300 foot tower. It's just not a valid option, period. Secondly, the Toshiba TV seems to lock on to channels with no problem regardless of the trees so whatever chipset it uses, works for me. If I can get the same in a set-top box, I'd be as happy as a clam. Keep in mind, I don't want to upgrade my TV so I am trying to find an adequate STB. Also, the Toshiba is not for the home, but the motorhome so all I am doing with it is using it as the standard for reception at the house.

    A few things are for sure. The antenna system is not going to change in any way other than maybe changing the gain of the preamp. It's not the issue what-so-ever since my Toshiba can pick up off-air without any issues what-so-ever from the same antenna system. Again, the issue is not my antenna system, it *IS* most definitly and without ANY DOUBT, the set top box. Again, I *KNOW* this as a *FACT* since I have a TV that picks up perfectly without ANY Freezes or any pixilation using thr *SAME* antenna setup..

    Thanks,

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  21. I have an HDTV connected to my antenna too. Both the TV and the Hisense get high 90s on reception. Look on your TV or STB and see what the signal strength is. I don't know if your TV or STB have a signal meter, but my HDTV and the Hisense both have one.

    I had to buy a digital tuner because for some reason when I put spray in insulation in my attic, where the antenna is, the analog TV reception went to hell. I don't know why that happened, I cleaned the antenna completely afterwards, it didn't make any difference. Fortunately it didn't affect digital reception.
    Quote Quote  
  22. Originally Posted by samijubal
    I have an HDTV connected to my antenna too. Both the TV and the Hisense get high 90s on reception. Look on your TV or STB and see what the signal strength is. I don't know if your TV or STB have a signal meter, but my HDTV and the Hisense both have one.

    I had to buy a digital tuner because for some reason when I put spray in insulation in my attic, where the antenna is, the analog TV reception went to hell. I don't know why that happened, I cleaned the antenna completely afterwards, it didn't make any difference. Fortunately it didn't affect digital reception.
    The Toshiba has a meter but it always says 100% if it's receiving the channel so I don't trust it. The Zinwell has a strength meter but the only way to use it is to reset the channel then add it manually so it's kind of worthless and a pain since if the channel is below 80 to 85% strength, it won't add it and I have to try over and over again for it to add it or do a complete channel scan for the entire channel list for it to bring it back into the channel list. It's just quirky I guess. I'll let you know what the Hisense strength meter says on average for the channels. Seems all my channels are the same though with this Zinwell. They all dropout on occasion even the close ones. It doesn't do that with the Toshiba. I wish I could clone the Toshiba tuner!!

    Thanks again for all your help.. Much appreciated.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  23. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by TomTee

    A few things are for sure. The antenna system is not going to change in any way other than maybe changing the gain of the preamp. It's not the issue what-so-ever since my Toshiba can pick up off-air without any issues what-so-ever from the same antenna system. Again, the issue is not my antenna system, it *IS* most definitly and without ANY DOUBT, the set top box. Again, I *KNOW* this as a *FACT* since I have a TV that picks up perfectly without ANY Freezes or any pixilation using thr *SAME* antenna setup..

    Thanks,

    Tom
    The problems with the early STB chipsets included loss of sync due to multi-path and poor handling of over strong signals. This mainly was a problem in urban areas where signals were strong but reflected. The latest chipsets are much better at handling signal variability. That is why you need a newer generation tuner.

    As for the antenna, the issues would be making sure it is pointed at the tower, not a reflection. Also an attenuator might help prevent overloading if that is happening.
    Quote Quote  
  24. Originally Posted by edDV

    The problems with the early STB chipsets included loss of sync due to multi-path and poor handling of over strong signals. This mainly was a problem in urban areas where signals were strong but reflected. The latest chipsets are much better at handling signal variability. That is why you need a newer generation tuner.

    As for the antenna, the issues would be making sure it is pointed at the tower, not a reflection. Also an attenuator might help prevent overloading if that is happening.
    This might explain why the most stable station I receive is the most distant FOX Channel, it seems, using the Zinwell tuner. When I get the Hisense tuner, I'll get back to you about the reception if I still have issues. In thinking about what your wrote earlier, maybe an antenna tweak might help for a particular receiver even if the newer generation tuners have no issue with the same situation. I.e., might get be acceptable reception with an antenna tweak.

    Thanks,

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  25. Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by edDV
    In another year or less there will be a mass supply of ATSC tuners intended for analog TV sets/VCR selling for under $50 with $40 gov't rebates possible. These basic tuners will output composite, S-Video and analog component at 480i. Some will have RF (Ch 3 or 4) for the oldest analog TV sets.

    The next tier up will be similar to current models with SD and HD out over analog component or HDMI. Expect those to drop well below $99 as volume grows.
    If they don't also tune QUAM channels, these tuners would be of no use to me.
    Quote Quote  
  26. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV
    In another year or less there will be a mass supply of ATSC tuners intended for analog TV sets/VCR selling for under $50 with $40 gov't rebates possible. These basic tuners will output composite, S-Video and analog component at 480i. Some will have RF (Ch 3 or 4) for the oldest analog TV sets.

    The next tier up will be similar to current models with SD and HD out over analog component or HDMI. Expect those to drop well below $99 as volume grows.
    If they don't also tune QUAM channels, these tuners would be of no use to me.
    Why is that?

    QAM is the method cable companies use to encode "digital" channels as opposed to ATSC for over the air digital broadcast. Most cable digital channels are encrypted so that a cable box or "cable card" is needed for reception. The FCC will not allow encryption of "locals" that are offered over the air. A QAM capable tuner will receive these with basic cable service. Analog versions of the channels are also offered.
    Quote Quote  
  27. Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Illinois
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by edDV
    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV
    In another year or less there will be a mass supply of ATSC tuners intended for analog TV sets/VCR selling for under $50 with $40 gov't rebates possible. These basic tuners will output composite, S-Video and analog component at 480i. Some will have RF (Ch 3 or 4) for the oldest analog TV sets.

    The next tier up will be similar to current models with SD and HD out over analog component or HDMI. Expect those to drop well below $99 as volume grows.
    If they don't also tune QUAM channels, these tuners would be of no use to me.
    Why is that?

    QAM is the method cable companies use to encode "digital" channels as opposed to ATSC for over the air digital broadcast. Most cable digital channels are encrypted so that a cable box or "cable card" is needed for reception. The FCC will not allow encryption of "locals" that are offered over the air. A QAM capable tuner will receive these with basic cable service. Analog versions of the channels are also offered.
    OTA digital TV reception is not possible at home. It may be possible at the fishing cabin, provided the broadcasters crank up the power well beyond what they are now using. There I can receive two analog stations....fuzzy but watchable for weather forecast and ball games. Radio and recorded cable TV is what I rely on there.

    My father lives only 6 miles from the WICS broadcast towers near the capitol city. The analog channel passes through the foilage year round. The digital channel can only be tuned when the leaves are down. Same situation there with FOX and PBS.

    My cable system is family owned, so it's hard to tell what QAM channels we may get. If and when we do, I would rather buy than rent a QAM tuner box. If only the so-called locals (network and PBS) are on QAM, I will not even bother with it. Newspaper and radio are my best sources for truely local news.
    Quote Quote  
  28. Member edDV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Northern California, USA
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by SmokieStover

    OTA digital TV reception is not possible at home. It may be possible at the fishing cabin, provided the broadcasters crank up the power well beyond what they are now using. There I can receive two analog stations....fuzzy but watchable for weather forecast and ball games. Radio and recorded cable TV is what I rely on there.

    My father lives only 6 miles from the WICS broadcast towers near the capitol city. The analog channel passes through the foilage year round. The digital channel can only be tuned when the leaves are down. Same situation there with FOX and PBS.
    Same here. Only one fuzzy analog channel. I have the cable box but use QAM to cap a second digital channel.

    In smaller cities like Springfield, they cheap out on power for the second digital channel. In 2009 expect that they will power up when the analog channel is shut off.
    Quote Quote  
  29. Originally Posted by samijubal
    Unless you're too far away to get a good signal, in that case you'll need a better antenna not a different tuner, the Hisense should be fine. I just checked, I'm 41-44 miles from most transmitters and get a high 90s signal on those channels, I'm 65 miles from a couple of others and get about 87 on those if I remember right.

    It's true the Voom tuner isn't very good, the Hisense is a lot better.
    Well, I got the HiSense box. The version I recieved has:
    System software version: 2.7.15 (2.4.18-15)
    Hardware version: db2020

    The stations that I do get, don't freeze frame as much but still do occasionally (I could live with it). So I am happy about that but what I am not happy about is there are 3 stations and 8 channels on those three stations that I do not get anymore. I mean, they don't come in at all regardless of what I do with the antenna and they were pretty solid as compared to other channels with the Zinwell box. So I don't know what to make of this. I notice that some channels the video and audio are not sycronized but this varies (not sure if this is going to be an issue yet). Also, the picture quality leaves a bit to be desired as compared to the Zinwell (but I could live with that). So, I'm disappointed overall. I want those other channels that the Zinwell receives. So now I'm going to buy the Magnavox unit from Walmart that someone mentioned and see if it's any better.

    Tom
    Quote Quote  
  30. The audio sync problem went away after a couple of weeks on mine. I don't know about the missing channels. Mine gets all the channels my HDTV and the Voom receiver get. Philips/Magnavox products are very poor quality, I'd be amazed if it was better.
    Quote Quote  



Similar Threads