Help w/ digital Tv's

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rye9, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. rye9 macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #1
    Can someone explain to me some stuff about digital cable? I currently have standard analog cable and want to buy an HDTV. Specifically, the Samsung HLR-4266W DLP TV. What would happen if I had analog cable with the HDTV? I could still play video games in HD though, right?
     
  2. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    Apr 12, 2005
    #2

    You can only play games in HD if the games were made to support HD. Currently only the xbox 360 supports HD.

    Standard Digital cable known as "SD" or standard definition sometimes looks like if you took a 4x6 photo scanned it and then printed it at 11x13. The quality is ok, mediocre at best. My HDTV which is 1080p at its max resolution is spectacular with HD feeds and my Pioneer elite upconverting DVD player, but nothing too special when it comes to SD shows.

    I tend to see more pixilization, the image seems noisier (more graininess) when i am watching SD feed on my TV.

    SD would be 480i (some providers boxes will upconvert to 480p but its usually not too good in quality)
    HD 720p - 1080p
    Standard DVD Players 480i
    Progressive DVD Players 480p
    Upconverting DVD Players 720p - 1080i


    Hope this helps ya, if you have any question feel free to IM me or PM me, i am a total home theater nut :)

    Ed
     
  3. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #3
    It helps a little, but I would like to specifically have an idea to what would happen when I use analog cable on an DCR HDTV. I dont want to switch to digital cable(which would be nice) bc I have 5 other TV's, all of which I am guessing are analog bc they are older.
     
  4. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #4
    You can use analog cable just fine with your HDTV... but don't expect the picture quality to look much (if any) better than what you have now. Also, since the HDTV is going to have a wider aspect ratio than a normal TV, you'll either have bars on the sides of the picture or a stretched picture when you watch non-HD broadcasts.

    Oh, and the main difference between digital cable and analog cable is that digital cable usually requires an external decoder box (or CableCard decoder if you have a compatible TV), whereas analog cable is broadcast on frequencies that match up to your TV's analog tuner. So you should be able to get digital cable service for one TV while maintaining analog cable for the others.
     
  5. e²Studios macrumors 68020

    e²Studios

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    Apr 12, 2005
    #5
    Digital Cable will work on any TV with a coaxial input :) In fact in my area Analog cable is pretty slim, maybe 10-25 stations.

    With digital cable the bandwidth that is used can be split in to more frequencies, essentially any channel you watch is a frequency. This is why if you have a bad physical cable it will effect only a few stations or maybe even one station.

    If your TV currently has a Analog box, all you would have to do is trade up to the digital box. The only thing that wouldn't work is if it carried HD programming, then everything BUT the HD programming would be available to your TVs that were not HD compatible.

    I have a HD box downstairs which has HD and Digital Cable feeds, upstairs is just a plain Digital Cable box connected to two of the TV's and another HD box in my bedroom. You can mix and match :)

    Ed

    Edit: To expand on what clay said, the quality is not great watching SD feeds on a 16:9 HD TV. It will blow up the imperfections and make them more visible. Also if the aspect processor in your TV isnt too great the 4:3 expanded mode could make the image look wider than they would appear on a standard 4:3 TV.
     
  6. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #6
    You dont need to have a digital TV to get digital cable. Also you can get digital cable for your HDTV while still having your other TV's connected the same way they are now. I got my HDTV before our HD Digital cable box came and it looked terrible on the HDTV, which is because the low quality picture gets blown up and the big screen. When the box came it was a WORLD of difference. The picture is absolutely beautiful. If anything you should try digital cable for a month and see for yourself.
    PS. If you order digital cable make sure you request an HD box and connect it to your tv through HDMI/DVI or component. I cant count the times ive seen people hook up their HDTVs to their HD Box with the component cable.
     
  7. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #7
    OK... I have one last question. The TV I want is an HDTV w/ built in tuner... DCR, and has a CableCard slot. I have basic analog cable. If I use analog cable with a CableCard, could I get digital cable and HD for that TV or do I have to use digital cable with a CableCard? I know I dont get digital services like PPV, but all I want is the widescreen, enhanced picture and sound from digital cable. Could I still get that from analog cable with a CableCARD in that TV? I dont want to get digital cable yet bc like i said... i have 5 analog TV;s and only this digital one. But this TV also says is has an analog/digital (NTSC/ATSC) tuner... what does this mean?
     
  8. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #8
    -rye6

    I'll try to answer your question, and I'll try to give you some bonus info I learned this week while very nearly purchasing the HLR5067W (50").

    In a nutshell, the NTSC/ATSC should mean that it can play existing analog TV AND Digital signals (HDTV).

    Basically this is a "True" HDTV. When the air goes all digital in 2009 - it'll still work. But the NTSC side allows you to buy it now. This set will bridge the change.

    And now the bonus: I had my hand on my wallet, ready for "Credit Card Blamo" for the HLR5067W when a shoe dropped: This set and the one you are looking at are 720p - though they'll accept 1080i transmissions. All sets in the future will be 1080. The 1080p version of the HLR5067W is $1500 more right now.

    I can wait.
     
  9. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    Jan 8, 2004
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    Maryland
    #9
    You need Digital Service to use cable card and some TV providers charge you to use one of their cable cards because you cant use your own. So you would need to subscribe to digital cable then either buy or rent a cable card depending on your provider. Almost all digital cable subscriptions already come with rental of the box already included into the package. And as of now CableCard 1 is very primative only offering Digital channels and program guides. So you would probably pay less just using their box and you would get the extra PPV and OnDemand Features available.

    If you get a digital cable box for you HDTV you DO NOT need to get a cable box for every other tv in your house. Its not like DBS where you need a receiver for each tv. You other TV's can still get their analog signals while you HDTV gets its digital HD signals.
     
  10. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

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    Gone but not forgotten.
    #10
    This is interesting to me. I got a 37 inch LCD HDTV monitor over the holidays because my parents got a new t.v. with pretty much everything built-in.

    The old (my) t.v. has a resolution of 1366x768 but it says that it can play 1080i. This seems a bit strange since I believe that the vertical number is the important one: 240, 480, 720, 1080. I suppose they just throw away (hopefully, intelligently) what can't be displayed similarly to how they interpolate to put SDTV on the HDTV display.

    Even though the information is better every year and the prices and equipment improve, this transition is certainly confusing.
     
  11. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

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    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #11
    What TV do you have? I've been reading the recent reviews of the latest 1080p TVs, getting ready to take the plunge into HDTV-land :))), and it seems like only one brand so far (HP) actually takes 1080p input.

    The sets may do the upconverting internally to 1080p from 1080i, but was curious about how your experience with direct 1080p in or the upsampling was.

    Thanks :)
     
  12. patrick0brien macrumors 68040

    patrick0brien

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    #12
    -bousozoku

    Yeah, very nearly got me. It was as if the specs, and labels said:

    Accepts1080ibut really is 720p display

    Sneaky

    -Rower_CPU

    I was looking at the HLR5067W (720p 50") right next to a monstrous 64"(I think)@1080p tuned to the same Baskeball game in HD.

    The resolution of the 64" was stunning. I could count the hardwood floorboards.

    Other than the size and resolution, the specs on them were pretty much the same. Oh, both were Samsung.
     
  13. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #13
    Well, what does it mean on the website for my cable provider that says with a CableCARD you can acess analog cable? I thought it only accepts digital cable:confused:
     
  14. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #14
    So, I am told you can't receive digital channels through a CableCARD with analog cable, right? So then how would my picture look on this TV with analog cable? http://www.samsung.com/Products/TV/DLPTV/HLR4266WXXAA.asp (scroll down to see specs)
     
  15. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #15
    The cable card works as a digital box so you are seeing digital cable as long as you pay for the Cable company to take the digital blocks off of your service.
     
  16. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #16
    OK let me elaborate, analog cable and digital will work together, On my dig box the analog signal is channels 2-99 and digital takes 100-945 so you can see analog with a dig card it will just look analog.
     
  17. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #17
    Yes I know I can see analog with a CableCARD, I wanted to know if I could see digital with the CableCARD with analog cable.
     
  18. aloofman macrumors 68020

    aloofman

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    #18
    This assumes that all-digital transmission will be required by 2009. The date has been pushed back before and it probably will be again.
     
  19. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #19
    You can only see digital cable if you pay for the service.
     
  20. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    New England
    #20
    Perhaps this would be a good time to review:

    Analog Cable/TV (NTSC/480i)

    This is what was simply known as "TV" until recently. Analog cable just added more channels than over the air by using the fact that in the cable there is less interference and more frequency bandwidth available than over the air. This works out of the box with a "cable ready" TV or may require a set-top box.

    Digital Cable/DTV (480i/480p)

    This is just a way that the cable operators can cram even more channels into the same wire, and force you to use a set-top-box or CableCard and can provide more individualized services like PPV and various premium packages. These channels are often compressed using MPEG2 and decoded in the STB to the same, plain 4801/NTSC signals by the time they get to your TV.

    At this point the only difference between the two is the need for a decoder/cable box/cablecard and how the signals degrade. Analog signals get "snowy" digital gets "blocky" and may not keep up with fast moving action.

    I oversimplify since 480p signals can also be sent over over the air DTV using ATSC, and set top boxes that have pregressive output could also output 480p from digital cable.

    HDTV/HD Cable (720p/1080i)

    Similar to DTV, except that it is higher resolution and can be decoded to 720p or 1080i and displayed as such on HDTVs/monitors. Over the air this uses ATSC, while on cable or satellite the signals would be compressed using MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 and decoded by a set-top-box or cablecard.

    So, unless you're talking HD, digital cable and analog cable will both look pretty much the same on an HDTV since they both are converted to a 480i signal. The 640x480 interlaced picture needs to be scaled up to the resolution of the HDTV, and you might be slightly more sensitve to the pixelation/blockiness of the MPEG compression of Digital Cable on an HDTV than on an analog TV or with Analog input due to the higher resolution of the HDTV. Since the 480i signal has a 4:3 aspect ratio, you will also have black bars on the sides of the picture, unless you scale the picture further up, potentially cropping or distorting the picture to make it fit the 16:9 screen.

    B
     
  21. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #21
    Why do cable companies and for that matter, almost everyone say that digital cable is so much better? It is the same resolution except for some DTV is 480p, why is it so much better? Isnt the only difference that DTV allows for interactive programs?
     
  22. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #22
    Digital Cable Has less noise and better pic quality when its on a regular 480i tv.
    The same reason there is a noticeable difference DVD's and VHS, Even on 480i.
    Also most digital cable boxes also make the non-digital channels look better aswell.
    If you want the full HD experience you Need digital cable, satellite, or over-the-air.
    Not getting HD for an HD-TV is like driving a Porsche down the Autobahn at 75 Miles an hour.
     
  23. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #23
    Hardly noticable though, right? HD is a whole different story though.
     
  24. Laser47 macrumors 6502a

    Laser47

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    #24
    COMPLETELY Different.
    For instance at my local Best Buy they have tons of HDTVs but some of them are only connected to the HD box through RG-6 (Coaxial) so its really getting a 480i picture. Its really easy to tell just on the way the picture looks which tv's are hooked up right and which are not
     
  25. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

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    #25
    Im not talking about a difference between HD and DTV. I meant between SDTV and analog. I must say for a kid exactly one year older than me, you know quite a lot. :D
     

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