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  1. The most common way for older devices to connect to a TV (before composite video connection was used), was for the device to have a built-in RF modulator that output on TV channel 3. With TVs moving away from analog, I assume some day there will be TVs manufactured that have ONLY a digital TV receiver (and no analog receiver hardware in them at all). In preparation for that (because I've got an old device that only has RF output), I want to get a device that lets me demodulate the channel 3 RF signal into 3 RCA connectors (composite video, and L and R audio).

    Now I could use a VCR, but if I bought a VCR, I'd also be using it for recording purposes. However, I have better ways to record video than a VCR (such as a video capture card in my computer). I don't want to waste valuable space in my house for a large piece of piece of hardware that has more features than I need, when I could use a smaller device (probably small enough to fit in the palm of my hand) that would perform the exact process I need it to perform, and nothing else.

    Therefore, I'm looking for a device that is a standalone "channel 3 demodulator", with RF input port, and 3 RCA connectors for the video and audio outputs. Such a device would be very small, as it would (unlike a VCR) not need to be large enough to accommodate the size of a video tape plus motor (and gears and other mechanical parts) to spin the tape and eject the tape and pull in the tape.
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  2. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    You can try ebay,they have quite a few of them for sale.
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  3. It's usually called a tuner. They're getting hard to find now since there is no analog broadcast TV.

    https://www.amazon.com/Analog-Tuner-Output-Satellite-Receiver/dp/B01CWRVBZG/
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    There was a recent thread a while back that I can't find that right now that talked about this. The bottom line is that they're pretty rare (professional equipment) and not cheap as you may think they would be. A quick check on eBay shows they start at ~$50 for a used ones.

    Or you could keep an eye out for slim Betamaxes which will likely be really cheap or free because they were low end machines. They're about 3" high, but just as wide a regular VCRs. Think slim stereo component size.

    Edit: If you're looking to get one because you want to use an old videogame system, you're better off modding it to output composite or S-Video. The cost will be about the same as a demodulator and you'll get much better quality. Almost every game system, going back to the very earliest have a mod for it. If you have multiple systems, then modding may not be cost effective.
    Last edited by lingyi; 31st Jul 2019 at 21:56.
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    FYI, the day of HDMI only is already here. Some low end HDTVs have HDMI only as a cost cutting measure and most new sets don't have composite inputs and S-Video was discontinued years ago. As the push to close the analog hole continues, even component inputs will be gone. Some cable boxes already output HDMI only.

    The following is best suited to a video game forum, I highly recommend atariage.com.

    In general, stay away from analog to digital converters as most of them introduce lag because of the conversion. If you only have one game system, you're probably better off using an emulator as almost every system is out there. The catch is the controller which you may have a hard time connecting for use with the emulator.
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  6. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    If its a gaming system which one is it or other system piece?If we knew then we could tell you a better alternative.
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    But why are you still trying to use analogue? Analogue is all but dead now. You say you can record stuff into your PC, why not just stream the video straight to your TV over your network, most TV's are network capable.
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    The OP said that he has an old analog device with analog channel 3 RF output only. There's no way to stream that output to a TV without converting it to digital. Which means connecting to an old analog tuner on his PC or using a demodulator and sending the composite output to a capture device, then stream to the TV. If it's a game system, as I stated above, you don't want to convert to digital as that will very likely introduce lag.
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  9. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    FYI, the day of HDMI only is already here. Some low end HDTVs have HDMI only as a cost cutting measure and most new sets don't have composite inputs and S-Video was discontinued years ago. As the push to close the analog hole continues, even component inputs will be gone. Some cable boxes already output HDMI only.
    Most still have an antenna connector, for digital over-the-air ATSC signals, right?
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    Most do but it's dropping so pretty soon it will have no co-ax connectors,just hdmi only.You still haven't said what device you have that still needs a co-ax connector.
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  11. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The OP said that he has an old analog device with analog channel 3 RF output only. There's no way to stream that output to a TV without converting it to digital. Which means connecting to an old analog tuner on his PC or using a demodulator and sending the composite output to a capture device, then stream to the TV. If it's a game system, as I stated above, you don't want to convert to digital as that will very likely introduce lag.

    They still make "channel 3 modulators" devices (usually called "RF modulators") with the whole purpose being that you can connect an old gaming system with RCA composite video + audio, to an even older TV that has only an RF input (no RCA connectors for baseband video and audio signals). These are pretty easy to find.


    However, my the device I'm looking for is the opposite. I don't want a "channel 3 modulator". I want a "channel 3 DEmodulator". Such a device, if it existed, would exist for the sole purpose of converting RF output from and old device that output on TV channel 3 RF signal, to the normal composite video + audio RCA connectors. Unfortunately, such a device doesn't seam to exist.


    Of these 2 types of devices, I need the second one. Here's why. I have a Video capture card with RCA connectors for composite video + audio (but no RF connector for TV, since it's not a TV card), and I have a very old game system, which ONLY outputs via TV channel 3 RF. To connect this device to my video capture card, I will need to demodulate channel 3 RF to the composite video + audio signals. And I don't need a big device to do this. I just need a demodulator, that's as small as the normal channel 3 "RF modulators", but obviously does the opposite process to the signal as a channel 3 "RF modulator" would do.
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  12. I wonder if this works? It's one of those digital TV tuners they made back when ATSC was a new thing, and it was designed to allow an old analog TV to receive digital TV channels. Did these boxes also allow receiving analog channels, or did they exclusively receive digital? If they also received analog, maybe I could buy one and just set it to channel 3, connect my old game system to its RF input, and connect my video capture card to its composite video + audio RCA connector outputs.

    https://www.amazon.com/Digital-1080p-Channels-Closed-Caption-Support/dp/B01L9EPT60/
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    AFAIK, yes. The cheap 19" TV I bought a few months has it. The issue is that it's the lowest quality video input and HDTVs don't do well with SD signals. I'm using an old 15" 4:3 LCD for my Atari 2600 and contemplating getting a good CRT.
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    Originally Posted by Videogamer555 View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The OP said that he has an old analog device with analog channel 3 RF output only. There's no way to stream that output to a TV without converting it to digital. Which means connecting to an old analog tuner on his PC or using a demodulator and sending the composite output to a capture device, then stream to the TV. If it's a game system, as I stated above, you don't want to convert to digital as that will very likely introduce lag.

    They still make "channel 3 modulators" devices (usually called "RF modulators") with the whole purpose being that you can connect an old gaming system with RCA composite video + audio, to an even older TV that has only an RF input (no RCA connectors for baseband video and audio signals). These are pretty easy to find.


    However, my the device I'm looking for is the opposite. I don't want a "channel 3 modulator". I want a "channel 3 DEmodulator". Such a device, if it existed, would exist for the sole purpose of converting RF output from and old device that output on TV channel 3 RF signal, to the normal composite video + audio RCA connectors. Unfortunately, such a device doesn't seam to exist.

    Of these 2 types of devices, I need the second one. Here's why. I have a Video capture card with RCA connectors for composite video + audio (but no RF connector for TV, since it's not a TV card), and I have a very old game system, which ONLY outputs via TV channel 3 RF. To connect this device to my video capture card, I will need to demodulate channel 3 RF to the composite video + audio signals. And I don't need a big device to do this. I just need a demodulator, that's as small as the normal channel 3 "RF modulators", but obviously does the opposite process to the signal as a channel 3 "RF modulator" would do.
    Almost everyone that posted here knows what a RF demodulator is and what it does, so your explanation of what you're seeking is unnecessary.

    jagabo linked to one at Amazon in his post and I said they're available on eBay https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1311.R2.TR2.TRC0.A0.H...kw=demodulator

    Also, as I stated, unless you have a really obscure game system, someone has likely figured out a composite video mod (which will be about the same price as a demodulator [if you DIY]) which will give you much higher quality than a demodulator, which outputs a signal no better than the [RF] input. GIGO.

    Edit: If you're planning to play your game system directly through your PC on your PC monitor, as I stated above there will very likely be lag because of the analog to digital conversion. May or may not be an issue depending on the game. If the lag bothers you, you need something like a high end El Gato to get rid of it.
    Last edited by lingyi; 2nd Aug 2019 at 01:58.
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    Originally Posted by Videogamer555 View Post
    I wonder if this works? It's one of those digital TV tuners they made back when ATSC was a new thing, and it was designed to allow an old analog TV to receive digital TV channels. Did these boxes also allow receiving analog channels, or did they exclusively receive digital? If they also received analog, maybe I could buy one and just set it to channel 3, connect my old game system to its RF input, and connect my video capture card to its composite video + audio RCA connector outputs.

    https://www.amazon.com/Digital-1080p-Channels-Closed-Caption-Support/dp/B01L9EPT60/
    Possibly. But it's a sloppy way and bigger box way to do it. Plus it costs nearly the same a proper RF demodulator.
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    If you want something as small as possible, there's this: https://www.amazon.com/Universal-Analog-Cable-Tuner-Software/dp/B01GF4V73I/ref=sr_1_30...ateway&sr=8-30 . But again, for the price and unknown quality, best to go with a proper RF Demodulator.

    Edit: Here's a cheaper version on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Analog-NTSC-PAL-RF-Coax-To-USB-Demodulator-Recorder-For-Win10...kAAOSwmepcLm1W
    Last edited by lingyi; 2nd Aug 2019 at 01:52.
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