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JD4x4



Joined: 14 May 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2010 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth.. I understand that the FCC mandates that local stations must be broadcast in 'clear QAM' so you can hook up your cable directly to a (digital w/a QAM tuner) TV input and receive them without renting a box.

Not something our DC Verizon FiOS people volunteered, but some knew about after I brought it up! And, it works on my two digital/LCD TVs. Channels map a bit funny, but it works without the box.

I used a Radio Shack omnidirectional antenna on my roof with some success where I live, but I'm in a little valley and got tired of the intermittent freezing up of the OTA signals and went to FiOS. After 40 years of OTA. A real shame what they've done, imo.

And funny how it was supposed to be freeing up frequencies for emergency services when it was first pitched.. only to now find out that the excess will be auctioned off to comms companies for 3G and 4G networks.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, a lot has changed since this thread was written.

I'm just AMAZED at how the different markets handled all this stuff.

As we know, last October the FCC gave cable companies the right to scramble the locals.

My Comcast in Florida has done just that. All TVs need a box or cable card. Everything is scrambled. There is no longer any OTA option. The UHF just don't carry that far.

Here in Michigan I have boxless expanded basic cable from WOW. WOW doesn't carry my favorite PBS subchannels. So this morning I rehooked up my antenna, and broke out the Echostar DTA that you guys had recommended way back when. I was surprised to see how much better OTA had gotten since I last looked. Back in 2008, when I decided to subscribe to cable I could only get 6 channels, this morning I am getting 22 channels, 28 if you count the channels that I deleted after the scan. Today, when I couldn't find anything of interest on cable there was plenty on the OTA subchannels that my cable company doesn't carry.

I'd like OTA into my system, because I do like the PBS substations, and the Movies, but its not going to well.

I tried adding an AB switch to switch between Cable/Antenna isn't going well. Seems that all my digital TV's are only capable of storing channels from 1 source, so switching to Air takes 5 minutes, switching back to Cable takes an hour!

Are there any 2-tuner TVs, or any TV's that store both a cable and an antenna channel list, without having to rescan when you change sources?

Also are there any TV's that use the OTA guide? That Echostar Guide system is so nice!! Not only does it tell you whats on, but it also lets you preselect the channel so you can record from it. Of course thanks to Zaphoid I have the TitanTV App on my phone and tablet, and that really helps, but again not as convenient as a box that lets you change right from the remote.
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phb1342



Joined: 20 Oct 2010
Posts: 51
Location: Escondido. CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:01 am    Post subject: Does your TV have more than one input? Reply with quote

Hi Vicky -- thank you for all your work on this forum -- I have learned so much, and thanks especially for compiling the guide.

My Vizio TV has several inputs, HDMI, composite, a/v and coax. The TV allows you to set up each input specifically. So, on one of my sets I use an HDMI for the Cable Box, the composite for the DVD, the A/V for the old TiVo and the coax for the antenna.

So, the only setup is initially upon first connection of any input, then the INPUT button on the Remote or TV is used to switch sources.

It sounds like your TV only has one input????

I mentioned before that I was amazed that when I wanted to switch to HD that I could not find a two tuner HDTV, because I was hooked on using PIP to watch sports and the news, being able to observe and switch to avoid commercials. These Vizios do have PIP but don't allow two HDMI channels to swap, so that's why I have so many sources, especially using the TiVo as if it were a separate tuner (it is...) or SWAP to the antenna....

If your TV has only one input, though, that's the limiting factor. The HDTV tuners that I have seen will only work with OTA and unencrypted cable signals.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: Does your TV have more than one input? Reply with quote

phb1342 wrote:

My Vizio TV has several inputs, HDMI, composite, a/v and coax. The TV allows you to set up each input specifically. So, on one of my sets I use an HDMI for the Cable Box, the composite for the DVD, the A/V for the old TiVo and the coax for the antenna.

Yes, but you are using a cable box. Since everything I subscribe to is sent out in clear qam, including the main HD locals, I don't want to practically double my cable bill in order to get a cable box with hdmi output. Although it would be cool for sports, the HD service just isn't worth the cost. And then you get the complexity of having a box. The DH struggles with that everytime we go back to FL. Although next time it won't be so complicated, because we won't have the the local HD channels that we were tuning with the clear QAM tuner.

Quote:

I mentioned before that I was amazed that when I wanted to switch to HD that I could not find a two tuner HDTV, because I was hooked on using PIP to watch sports and the news, being able to observe and switch to avoid commercials. These Vizios do have PIP but don't allow two HDMI channels to swap, so that's why I have so many sources, especially using the TiVo as if it were a separate tuner (it is...) or SWAP to the antenna....

If your TV has only one input, though, that's the limiting factor. The HDTV tuners that I have seen will only work with OTA and unencrypted cable signals.


I have a DTVPal that only receives OTA, and will output AV signal. I also have 2 iview tuners that receive clear QAM and OTA signals. The iview will retain both lists of scanned data. The trouble with these is that they are DTA adapters that dumb down the signal to 480i. The only other digital tuner I have is my Magnavox DVR, again that one will tune in all the channels, and outputs HDMI, but the HDMI is 480i even for the HD channels.

I don't know of any standalone digital tuners that output HDMI. I can still see well enough to tell the difference between HD and SD. For my movies it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, but for the sports SD sucks. This is especially true of the latest LG TV I got, where the Zoom, doesn't have the MOVE option! So if you zoom in, the top score box is cut off, while there is a black bar at the bottom!!!!! If I had purchased this TV outright, it would have gone straight back to the store. However, a family member won this as a prize, and I allowed him to use it as cash to pay down a loan! It has a nice picture, but minimal input, and the lack of the zoom!move option is baffeling!
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mdavej
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vicky,

Unfortunately the FCC has opened the door for clear QAM to go away, and likely very soon. You should really look into getting a cable card tuner. It works beautifully and is much cheaper than renting a cable DVR. If you can write an extender, you can easily set up and use an HTPC and save a lot of money in the process.
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phb1342



Joined: 20 Oct 2010
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Location: Escondido. CA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: tuners Reply with quote

would anything like these work for your application?

http://www.amazon.com/TUNER-CONVERTER-OUTPUT-DEFINITION-1080P/sim/B002PB68H6/2
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave, I didn't even know there was such a thing as a cable card TV tuner.
I'm assuming a cable card is like the access card we used to have for our satellite system that is inserted into a tuner, and not a card like a PC board. And I wasn't really planning on doing an HTPC, it just seemed way over my head, although I do have a XP Media center PC with a very large harddrive that I'm planning on retiring next June when XP support ends. Hmmm.

I've been watching to much HGTV, and my nesting instincts are going into overdrive. Its driving the DH nuts! Very Happy


I see that all of my flat TV's have a USB slot in the side, would these cable cards work plugged directly into a TV? It seems to me that we've had a lot of LG Hacks for the USB port, but I never quite understood what we were doing and I don't think that applies to U.S. models anyway.

I do like the idea of having my own equipment. Every piece of equipment I bought has long since paid for itself.

If you have a cablecard, that you deactivate for 6 months out of every year, I wonder how that effects your contract. We've got a great price on our Cable/Internet up here. We pay 1.5 times that amount for cable alone in FLorida, even though it stands idle. There is no "putting it on vacation" because we pay for it in our condo association dues! If I could add and remove a cable card
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pH7_jp1



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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Location: Sterling Heights, MI

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one might do what you want: Master-CM-7001 It has both an ATSC (digital from antenna) and clear QAM tuners built in with HDMI out. It implies, but does not clearly state, that it can do a guide combining both. The price isn't bad if it solves your problem. The other possibility, is an external box for either the antenna or clear QAM connected to a TV input, then scan the other input with your TV. That way the TV won't need to rescan when you want to switch inputs.
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mdavej
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vicky,

That's exactly what I use as my DVR with my cable card tuner, Windows Media Center, only the Win7 version rather than XP, which is a requirement for cable card tuners. Add a little USB IR dongle, and it will work with your JP1 remote (remember that Ortek remote you helped me with? Same thing).

My wife is a bit like your DH, overwhelmed by technology at times. But the HTPC experience is so seamless, she still thinks we have satellite TV. Only my kids realize it's a PC, which they really like because they can do other stuff like Hulu, Youtube, BBC, Spotify, web surfing, gaming, whatever. I also use it to play my own photo/music/video library on any TV in my house. In fact, I can watch my recordings anywhere in the world.

Check out these tuners from Ceton to get an idea of your options. Granted the initial cost can be high, but it really pays off. I bought my tuners used in order to save some money, upgraded a few things on an old PC gathering dust in my closet, and viola, I've got a great cheap DVR replacement.

http://cetoncorp.com/products/infinitv/

With cable card you get everything a cable box gets except On Demand content. But you need to go the tuner route because I haven't seen any TVs with cable card slots for years. Tivos also use cable cards and work well, but they're pretty expensive. My cable company charges me $2/month for my card. Some companies are a bit more or a bit less. Comcast may even give you a small credit. Then it's just your programming package you already pay for. There are no other fees. I went from paying over $100/month for satellite and couple of DVRs to $60 for cable which runs my whole home DVR on my PC plus 4 other TVs in the house connected to it over my LAN.

I'm not sure how the 6 month hold would work. Worst case, probably just a phone call to re-authorize the card. I'm not sure how I would handle the snow bird thing. Probably just get satellite and take it with me between houses, and cancel cable TV.

In any case, I'm really happy with my system. You technically don't even need to connect the PC to any of your TVs at all, unless you want to. All my TVs can see everything on my HTPC via "extenders" like the Ceton Echo or Xbox 360. They all work with a JP1 remote, so you'd never know a PC was running the show.

If you want to stick with ATSC and clear QAM, the one ph7 mentioned is nice as well. It's basically a newer version of the DTV Pal. Didn't you used to have one of those?

If you end up going the cable card route, I'd be glad to help you out. I set mine up a couple of years ago and had a few issues at first, but it's been running smoothly ever since. I think Xnappo and a few other forum regulars do the cable card HTPC thing as well. So there are a couple of us who can help you out.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdavej wrote:
Vicky,

That's exactly what I use as my DVR with my cable card tuner, Windows Media Center, only the Win7 version rather than XP, which is a requirement for cable card tuners. Add a little USB IR dongle, and it will work with your JP1 remote (remember that Ortek remote you helped me with? Same thing).

I suppose a bunch of nextgen battery things could allow my computer to run in an out of the way place. But it still sounds very complicated. I'm not going to do anything about it, as long as my cable company runs clear QAM for SD extended basic cable. My problem is I have TV's everywhere. I have 8 TVs here, 4 analog, and 4 digital. But there are only 3 of us to do the watching.

Back when I was first planning this out, I was watching TV much differently than I am now. So I have found out that I need to be very flexible.

Back when I was scooping this out, I did most of my watching in the basement, because we were not running air conditioning and it was too dang hot to sit and watch anywhere else. However, my DH developed terrible allergies, and the allergy medical bills cost more than the air conditioning.

Now that the air conditioning is on, its about 65 degrees in the basement, just too cold to watch down here.

Quote:

My wife is a bit like your DH, overwhelmed by technology at times. But the HTPC experience is so seamless, she still thinks we have satellite TV. Only my kids realize it's a PC, which they really like because they can do other stuff like Hulu, Youtube, BBC, Spotify, web surfing, gaming, whatever. I also use it to play my own photo/music/video library on any TV in my house. In fact, I can watch my recordings anywhere in the world.

The problem here is I'm rather isolated and never get too see anyone else's systems. The people in my world are ALL overwhelmed by technology.

Quote:

In any case, I'm really happy with my system. You technically don't even need to connect the PC to any of your TVs at all, unless you want to. All my TVs can see everything on my HTPC via "extenders" like the Ceton Echo or Xbox 360. They all work with a JP1 remote, so you'd never know a PC was running the show.

Again I just can't conceptualize this at all! I'd need to see one.

Quote:

If you want to stick with ATSC and clear QAM, the one ph7 mentioned is nice as well. It's basically a newer version of the DTV Pal. Didn't you used to have one of those?

I actually had 2 of those, but when a friend lost his job and had to drop cable, I gave one away since I wasn't using it. However, its been a year, and he still hasn't hooked it up........ Like I said, they are all technophobes.
The DTVPal is really nice. However the iview 2000 does both QAM and ATSC for about 20 bucks, but no guide. Again, as long as I have an iPhone, no big deal, I'm just now trying to figure out how to show the 8 subchannels on my TitanTV listing where they are on the same list, but segregated so DH can figure out that they are not on cable. Just OTA.

The snowbird thing is really interesting. Comcast really stuck it to the condo association. All those technophobes made really bad choices. I did an educational program for a group of residents, and 99% of the 130 people in attendance had no concept at all of what onDemand was, didn't realize we all got the xfinityApp that we could watch up north. 25% didn't realize that we needed equipment, since basic cable was still arriving in analog,

And another 30% had been downgraded to limited basic cable without any financial discount, because they didn't realize they were already paying for the digital starter package. Almost all of them were helped by their techno savvy children who went in and picked up the equipment, and nobody informed them that going with limited basic cable wasn't going to be any cheaper!

Just keep that in mind when dealing with your parents. Bad decisions are made by the uninformed.

Quote:

If you end up going the cable card route, I'd be glad to help you out. I set mine up a couple of years ago and had a few issues at first, but it's been running smoothly ever since. I think Xnappo and a few other forum regulars do the cable card HTPC thing as well. So there are a couple of us who can help you out.


Thanks for that. The guys in this forum, are my only access to AV experts, and I've really had great advice.

As far as the CM7001 goes, its pretty much the same thing as my cable tuner.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently most TV's will retain 2 scan lists, the Antenna and the Cable. Last night after everyone went to bed, I did an antenna scan on our two main TVs, a Samsung and an LG, and they kept the cable list. Its just the two TV's that came into our household as "prizes" that won't, even though one is an LG.

So an IR AB switch in the main TV area , and a little JP1 work, this should be pretty manageable. I'll give it a test and see. What really is crazy is how much better the broadcast ATSC HD channels look, than the cable QAM HD channels.

Since there is no Cable Guide, and the OTA guide is only available on my DTVPal DTA that dumbs down the signal to SD. I guess I won't have a guide in my main area. Just as well, I have an old iPod Touch that is dedicated to running the TitanTV app there anyway. I did some creative editing of my TitanTV list. I added all of the subchannels that I want, changed the Channel display to 3xxy where xx is the main channel, y is the subchannel and moved them to the bottom of my list. Hopefully this won't be too difficult for my DH. I'll pick up an IR A/b switch at RadioShack, (if they will sell one to me). When I was in Chicago, there was a RadioShack where gender bias was not an issue. Now I'm back in MI and IF they will wait on me, they treat me like a woman. What is it about those stores!
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the one LG TV that doesn't keep the cable channels when you scan the antenna I was able to create a complete list by using the AB Switch and Switching when it passed the last place where it jumps from scanning the DTV channels and starts scanning the Cable channels.

This may be a no/go because the RED display on the AB box is a little annoying when you want to go to sleep. And the channel list is a little confusing with all the channels jumbled together.

And you might ask why bother. I added 8 channels of worthwhile content, have a better picture on my local HD channels, and have more HD channels.
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andyross



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On some Samsung TV's, switching between Air and Cable is pretty easy. Just hit the TOOLS button, and choose 'Change to Air' or 'Change to Cable'.

With the elimination of TVGOS being broadcast OTA, the only way to get a guide is either through an Internet connection or tuning into channels one at a time and letting the TV build up it's own guide.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

andyross wrote:

With the elimination of TVGOS being broadcast OTA, the only way to get a guide is either through an Internet connection or tuning into channels one at a time and letting the TV build up it's own guide.

You know I had read something about the elimination of the TVGOS while I had my DTVPal boxed away. I tried googling it but never found any information that helped me understand what that meant. I took that to mean that my DTVPal was not going to have its cool guide any more. I was equally as shocked by the guide still being there, as I was that the OTA offerings had gone from 6 to 22!

My DTVPal offers something exactly like the dishnetwork guide, quite similar to any cable system guide I've seen. It still works really great as long as I don't watch the channel that has the wrong time. If I look at the guide then, all the channels say n/a and if God forbid, I leave it on that timeless channel when I turn it off, it takes locks the unit up. Perhaps I should delete that indy channel from the list of services.
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pH7_jp1



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the RED display on the AB box is a little annoying when you want to go to sleep.
Black electrical tape will fix this problem. Smile
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