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  1. i dont know if this is the proper forum to post this question.. please move if this is the wrong place.

    after reading different articles on this issue, i am getting extremely confused. do we need an hdtv or digital tv? i currently have a sdtv, which was purchased in 2005. when the usa will switch to hd in feb 2009, would i need to get another tv or continue to use what i have now? i only watch news from over-the-air channel, and watch directv satellite all the time. please help! thx!
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    You could get a converter in order to use your sdtv the government will give voucher of 40$ if you ask.As for the other question hdtv is fine.
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    Are you sure you've got your facts straight? The only "switch off" that I'm aware of (at least here in Australia) is that of the old ANALOGUE transmissions...the stations will still be transmitting both SD and HD channels after that.
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  4. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    You can get a digital converter box to continue to use your existing TV. This is a link to a thread about the discount coupons for the converter boxes: https://forum.videohelp.com/topic343391.html

    In the US full-power television stations cease analog broadcasting after February 17, 2009. Cable channels and other sources may still have analog TV format available after that date.
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  5. yeah, i know that there are coupons for a converter box. what im confused is... do i need a hdtv or just a digital tv? i think mine (sdtv) is already digital, but not hd.
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  6. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    You need a HDTV to watch HD in all it's glory. If you just have a standard CRT or LCD TV and are happy with it for the moment then all you need is a set top box (SD or HD) to bring in the broadcasts. If your TV already has a digital tuner (and not all LCD/Plasma screens do) then you won't have to change anything.
    Read my blog here.
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    Your confusion is with the anagrams. TV stations have historically been broadcast in analogue transmissions - these are now moving over to digital transmissions instead (still same stations & programmes but with some additional stations too). The older TVs will need some sort of coverter in order to watch the digital transmissions. Newer TVs will have a sticker indicating they can be used to watch digital stations without the need for an additional converter (at least they do here in the UK).

    SD and HD refer to something else - they size of the picture being shown. Standard definition TV programmes in the US are made up of around 480 horizontal lines. High definition programmes are made up of either 720 or 1080 horizontal lines - this allows for the much greater clarity and level of detail you can see.

    Here in the UK all digital free-to-air broadcasts are in SD - from reading this forum I gather in the US things aren't so simple: whilst the majority of digital stuff will be in SD, depending on where you live you may also be able to get TV stations in HD. If you live in such an area then currently you will not be able to view these HD channels on your SD television, but will still be able to watch all the other stuff.
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  8. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    Over here we now have the FTA stations running different programming in HD to SD, so even if you have an older, SD TV, it is worth getting a HDTV box so you can get the extra channels.
    Read my blog here.
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    You can get two $40 coupons no questions asked from the US Government at the following link:

    https://www.dtv2009.gov/

    Quantities are limited. Act now. It takes about two min.
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    3390 - Over the air will stop working for you on Feb. 17, 2009 without a converter box. I believe that your satellite TV will be OK, but you might check with your provider. You don't HAVE to buy an HDTV. A converter box, if you need one, will convert the digital broadcasts to analog so your SDTV will still work.
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  11. Member oldandinthe way's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by videobread
    You can get two $40 coupons no questions asked from the US Government at the following link:

    https://www.dtv2009.gov/

    Quantities are limited. Act now. It takes about two min.
    Quantities are limited to 26 million. When I registered yesterday I was request number 69,946. Coupons expire 90 days from issue so don't make request unless you are ready to make a purchase. There are some questions asked but its on the honor system to answer properly.

    There is some more explanation on the site as well.
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  12. Member Webster's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by oldandinthe way
    Originally Posted by videobread
    You can get two $40 coupons no questions asked from the US Government at the following link:

    https://www.dtv2009.gov/

    Quantities are limited. Act now. It takes about two min.
    Quantities are limited to 26 million. When I registered yesterday I was request number 69,946. Coupons expire 90 days from issue so don't make request unless you are ready to make a purchase. There are some questions asked but its on the honor system to answer properly.

    There is some more explanation on the site as well.
    I couldn't even register it yesterday. It keeps giving me an error message. As of this morning, I couldn't even connect to the site!!
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  13. The hard deadline is getting softer and softer...

    "Broadcasters get leeway on digital TV switch"

    http://www.news.com/Broadcasters-get-leeway-on-digital-TV-switch/2100-1041_3-6224251.h...l?tag=nefd.top
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 3390
    i dont know if this is the proper forum to post this question.. please move if this is the wrong place.

    after reading different articles on this issue, i am getting extremely confused. do we need an hdtv or digital tv? i currently have a sdtv, which was purchased in 2005. when the usa will switch to hd in feb 2009, would i need to get another tv or continue to use what i have now? i only watch news from over-the-air channel, and watch directv satellite all the time. please help! thx!
    A few questions to zero in on your needs.

    1. What model is your 2005 TV? It may already have an ATSC (digital) tuner. If not, you will need an external ATSC tuner to get local over the air OTA broadcasts. Cable and satellite are unaffected.

    2. Does your sat box include an ATSC tuner? Some do. If so you are ready.


    The "government certified" ATSC tuners listed on the coupon site are very basic. The first example is this DTT900 LG/Zenith tuner.
    http://www.zenith.com/dtv/dtt900.html

    It will tune any of the SD or HD broadcasts but downconvert them to composite NTSC with analog stereo audio or NTSC RF Channel 3 or 4 over coax.

    The government coupons may be limited to this very basic class of ATSC tuners.

    Better digital tuners would include

    - S-Video or component analog (SD/HD) output connections
    - DVI-D or HDMI digital out (with HDCP encryption)
    - Dolby Digital AC-3 audio over S/PDIF connectors
    - 480i, 480p, 720p or 1080i output settings.
    - Data access modes

    The government ATSC certified tuner may be adequate for a 1990's analog set (addition of S-Video would be nice), but for "HD Ready" sets, an HD out capable tuner should be used. There will be many new models to choose from in the coming months. Current models and reviews are listed at the AVS Forum.
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095
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  15. Plus you need a box for each tv you have.
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  16. Originally Posted by edDV
    A few questions to zero in on your needs.

    1. What model is your 2005 TV? It may already have an ATSC (digital) tuner. If not, you will need an external ATSC tuner to get local over the air OTA broadcasts. Cable and satellite are unaffected.

    2. Does your sat box include an ATSC tuner? Some do. If so you are ready.
    i have the sony kd-36fs130. and the satellite receiver is a directv r15.

    the only thing i watch on over-the-air channel is news, so im not so concerned abt quality since its only 20 mins max. and for satellite, i am currently only subscribed to the international program, which i heard would not have hd (at least for the time being).

    btw.. this is off topic, but just wondering if anyone may know the reason and fix for it. i used to have the basic satellite receiver for directv and was able to watch all over-the-air channels (except channel 2 since channel 3 is for satellite). ever since i upgraded to the r15, every over-the-air channels are snow. i tried to turn off the satellite receiver, but still doesnt fix the problem. the only channel i can watch (with ok clarity) is channel 7 even with the satellite receiver left on.
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  17. Originally Posted by 3390
    i have the sony kd-36fs130.
    That TV has both ATSC and clear QAM tuners. It is prepared for the analog/digital changeover.
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  18. Member
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    3390 - Please add your location to your forum specs. A location specific question as this, should have your country in the subject - it makes no sense to people outside (apparently) the USA.

    regards Pol
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  19. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    It looks like our cut off date has been pushed out again, now to early 2013.
    Read my blog here.
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  20. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by guns1inger
    It looks like our cut off date has been pushed out again, now to early 2013.
    Where did you see that? The frequency auction is already on. Google is going to bid.
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  21. Member dcsos's Avatar
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    You guys live in different countries!
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  22. Member Krispy Kritter's Avatar
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    Of course this all only applies to those still using an antenna. Many of the people confused/complaining are using cable/SAT, in which case it is all irrelevant.
    Google is your Friend
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  23. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dcsos
    You guys live in different countries!
    Yep, dates and plans vary locally.

    This Wikipedia page overviews by country. In the USA, the media has jumped in with typically false or misleading headlines that have added to the confusion.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television
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  24. Member [_chef_]'s Avatar
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    Analogue has nearly nothing to do with HDTV.

    analogue > digital is inevitable.
    *** Now that you have read me, do some other things. ***
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  25. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Most of the confusion involves these items:

    (1) That digital tv will somehow look better than current analog TV.
    FALSE! It won't. In some cases, the compression will make it look worse. You exchange analog noise for digital blocks. Oh goody.

    (2) That it affects everybody.
    FALSE! If you use cable or satellite, no effect to you. Only if you use antenna. I'm so far away from a transmitter, that I could use an antenna (analog or digital) if I wanted to. I either watch cable or DVDs.

    (3) That is has anything to do with HDTV.
    FALSE! Digital television (DTV) comes in standard and high definition.

    Weird enough the "SD" stands for "standard definition" and "HD" stands for "high definition", so if "DTV" means "digital television", then shouldn't our abbreviations be HDDTV and SDDTV?

    Stores like Best Buy are full of high school and college dumbshits, many of whom insist an HDTV is required by 2009.
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  26. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Most of the confusion involves these items:

    (1) That digital tv will somehow look better than current analog TV.
    FALSE! It won't. In some cases, the compression will make it look worse. You exchange analog noise for digital blocks. Oh goody.
    If you are getting your local TV by antenna, the digital SD quality depends on the amount of MPeg2 compression the TV station uses for that particular subchannel. Most compress less than a typical digital cable MPeg2 channel. Most major network affilliates are sending the main digital channel as HD with SD upscaled to 1080i or 720p. The digital tuners then downscale that to either 720x480 or 640x480 depending for SD output to analog.

    The exception is the typical PBS affliate that broadcasts 4-6 SD channels during the day and switches to 1HD + 2 SD in the evening.
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  27. Member vhelp's Avatar
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    * The subject is with respect to HDTV broadcast, and not HD as in commerical type sources,
    (ie, movies) etc.

    ...
    (1) That digital tv will somehow look better than current analog TV.
    FALSE! It won't. In some cases, the compression will make it look worse. You exchange analog noise for digital blocks. Oh goody.
    This is so true* and yet sooo disapointing. That is why I bumped back down to analog cable
    from Satellite to begin with, way back when. And now that HDTV is on the move, I've already
    seen the quality of this new medium and all I can say is that it too is very disapoiting.. you get
    the same nonsense you do with Satellite -- DCT errors; Macro blocks; Pixalations; more..
    and on top of that, they purposely 'degrade' the tv program.. either by reducing the bitrate or
    squeezing more channels on the pipes or whatever. Either way, the end result is always reduced
    quality.

    * true in the sense of what they are and have been doing to the HD content, as explained above
    and below.

    The only good thing out of this medium is the Resolution and (supposively) more detail. But after
    reallzing the above nonsense that goes into this, you are basically left an a higher quality analog source..,
    well, maybe not.

    Now, I'm a quality buff. Many of you know this of me. I strive and research the best methods to
    produce maximum quality of whatever my source is for when I am transfering it to (ultimately) dvd.

    Course, analog has its loooong bouts with its weakness.. noise. But I would rather put up with that
    (if it were broadcasted HD 'wise as analog) for analog reception than HDTV. HDTV -- It's insulting.
    Like a slap in the face, imho. And to this day, I do just that.. I put up with analog cable tv. Why ?
    Because it would seem that the bitrate does not go through the nonense laid out ealier above. So,
    all you are left with is the noise and the limits of analog sampling or whatever.

    ( I'm wondering if they will outputing HD broadcasts over analog cable. I mean, it looks like they are
    doing this, but reducing it to SD 'like specs. I could be wrong. But, I think I would be happy with that
    type as an alternative to HD, in the so called, raw.

    But, here is something to ponder..

    Our area when through a major cable re-installation some three years ago. The purpose was to get
    ready for 'digital' and provide digital cable over analog, and you have to have a digital cable box (theirs)
    capable of descrambling the channels. The aim or drive of that medium (when asked) was that it
    provided superior 'digital' picture quality. Course, I knew even then, that it was just balonee.
    But road the wave as the gentlemen was stalling the new cables through the building. (I'm getting
    to my point now)

    The cable provider (supposively) provides both Analog and Digital cable tv. You have the option of
    either one. But, if you with digital, then you have to have their box to view it. I choose to have
    Analog. SO, I didn't need anything but my tv set. So, I use my vcr and tv, and I'm happy. Really.
    But, I've seen both, (digital and analog) and they both look pretty similar, except that the digital
    doesn't have any (analog) noise. But, the catch here, is that BOTH video sources are being sent
    through the same cable wires.

    So, I'm wondering if HD will follow something similar. Either in is true HD glory or modified, perhaps
    SD or xSD or something. I don't know. I'm just theorizing at the moment.)


    Anyways..

    Look at the great TV series, 'LOST'. What a fantastic series. I LOVE this show, and love all the
    casts, and so much more. But watch it in HD and you are instaulted by all (downgraded) degrading
    quality of the HD. And they also apply the tipicle modified telecine system (I have lately been
    terming it as, TEC (Time Expansion/Compression)) this source, too.. so you can't get a proper and
    clean IVTC out of this series. This is just one example of the nonense with HD.

    My best guestimate is that broadcast providers and their HD content will vary their bitrate scheme,
    one to another. So, for instance, while in one city the bitrate is 19MB, in another, it might be,
    15MB, and so on.. So some people may have slightely better HD (recorded) versions than others.
    And when you are locked in a city with a given bitrate scheme, you are 'locked' into that scheme
    (quality level) for ever, unless they change or something. But just remember, that with all antenna
    signals, location of the TV channel will also be different. That means, that while your ABC is using
    a lower quality scheme, you NBC or PBS or whatever channel you are able to receive for your given
    area, may be higher quality. And then there is the other idium, where they will give you reduced
    quality at a certain time and then higher quality, later. And this too, will vary. Ultimately, all this
    will all vary from person to person. I've already seen this in the (ABC) tv series, 'LOST', and
    compared it with someone else 'es, last year, though I no longer have the sources -- I didn't think
    to keep it at the time, and I should have -- and all this makes me puke.

    What we really should do (at least it would provide something interesting) is gather a few members
    together and record a few of the popular HD channels and post them up so that we can get a
    'guage' at the different quality apsects. This would prove interesting, indeed.

    EDIT: one thing I want to add is that I was not saying that HD or HDTV is worse than analog
    cable tv, but that it is not all that what it has been so hyped about. It is undoubtedbly better
    quality, but that for its medium in relatation to older medium like digital cable/satellite, they
    will always taint or reduce or hinder or jsut flat out *NOT* release the high quality that this
    supposively hyped new standard is capable of. And, for the time being, I prefer to just watch
    my analog cable, though mostly because I only have a few HD channels, if any.

    -vhelp 4498
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  28. Preservationist davideck's Avatar
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    I sympathize with you vhelp. I attended the NAB conventions when Sony, etc. were demonstrating their early full bandwidth HDTV systems. Stunning to say the least.

    The good news is that the limiting factor is not the HDTV itself, but rather the source quality. There is a lot of room for improvement, and things keep getting better.

    Keep in mind how soft and noisy the early B+W and then Color SDTV broadcasts were. Things kept getting better. Farnsworth deserves a lot of credit for designing a TV format that lasted so long and improved so much.
    Life is better when you focus on the signals instead of the noise.
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  29. The biggest problem with our digital cable is the huge amount of temporal filtering they do on analog sources. Apply VirtualDub's Temporal Smoother filter at the 8 setting and you'll get an idea how bad our digital cable is. Macroblocking is a problem on some of the digital sourced channels.
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  30. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Many issues raised. Too many to respond all at once.

    Originally Posted by vhelp
    * The subject is with respect to HDTV broadcast, and not HD as in commercial type sources,
    (ie, movies) etc.

    ...
    (1) That digital tv will somehow look better than current analog TV.
    FALSE! It won't. In some cases, the compression will make it look worse. You exchange analog noise for digital blocks. Oh goody.
    This is so true* and yet sooo disapointing. That is why I bumped back down to analog cable
    from Satellite to begin with, way back when. And now that HDTV is on the move, I've already
    seen the quality of this new medium and all I can say is that it too is very disapoiting.. you get
    the same nonsense you do with Satellite -- DCT errors; Macro blocks; Pixalations; more..
    and on top of that, they purposely 'degrade' the tv program.. either by reducing the bitrate or
    squeezing more channels on the pipes or whatever. Either way, the end result is always reduced
    quality.

    * true in the sense of what they are and have been doing to the HD content, as explained above
    and below.

    The only good thing out of this medium is the Resolution and (supposively) more detail. But after
    reallzing the above nonsense that goes into this, you are basically left an a higher quality analog source..,
    well, maybe not.

    Now, I'm a quality buff. Many of you know this of me. I strive and research the best methods to
    produce maximum quality of whatever my source is for when I am transfering it to (ultimately) dvd.

    Course, analog has its loooong bouts with its weakness.. noise. But I would rather put up with that
    (if it were broadcasted HD 'wise as analog) for analog reception than HDTV. HDTV -- It's insulting.
    Like a slap in the face, imho. And to this day, I do just that.. I put up with analog cable tv. Why ?
    Because it would seem that the bitrate does not go through the nonense laid out ealier above. So,
    all you are left with is the noise and the limits of analog sampling or whatever.

    I think you are reacting to your local situation and equipment. Component analog can look great in the studio or when D/A'd off a quality digital source. NTSC analog can look good with a good Y/C separator (comb filter). Noise is just one of the negatives with RF NTSC broadcast. Broadcast NTSC also suffers ghosting and RF harmonic noise that aren't issues with digital broadcasting.

    Digital ATSC (MPeg2) quality depends on bitrate (transmission issue) and maintaining minimal RF signal to noise (distance and antenna issue).

    Despite what the cable companies said in the 80's, "Digital Cable" was always about forcing 6 to 12 channels into the space of one 6MHz analog channel. It was never about video quality. People assumed "digital" gave better quality (based on audio CD experience) so cable advertised to this belief as did Direct TV and Dish who were delivering even higher compression for SD.

    ATSC SD quality can be as high as DVD but so far nobody is delivering quality 480p in wide or 4:3, Instead they offer 480i at bitrates equal to or slightly above cable. PBS gets reasonable daytime results with 4-5 subchannels averaging 3.80-4.75 Mb/s. Statistical multiplexing can give near DVD quality for 4 subchannels within 19Mb/s.

    Networks and local stations have ample opportunities to screw up quality. Small market stations just can't yet afford high end upscalers. Next generation equipment will be within price range for mid market stations.
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