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Old 12-13-2011, 05:04 PM   #1
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


My subject line is a little erroneous... But

Moved in here, got Fairpoint's high speed Internet. Got a digital phone with it, all is good. Not much of a TV viewer, but do like to watch PBS and the Patriots from time to time.

Right now I have an old analog TV with a converter box and an external antenna. Amazingly, here in the sticks, I get about 20 channels, more than enough to keep me happy. But my analog Set is going whacko, occasionally losing vertical hold so the whole screen condenses to one very thin and very bright line.

Time for a new TV! Since I am getting signals over the air, do I need anything special or does any TV today support that? For instance I get Channel 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3. Do the new TVs support that. And what about recording shows? I like my dinosaur-like VCR, but there's no way that thing will record these new signals.

Give me your thoughts please. Not even sure about LED vs LCD, but I'll tackle that another time.

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Old 12-13-2011, 06:21 PM   #2
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


All high-definition TV's sold in the US today have a built-in ATSC tuner which, when used with an antenna, will allow you to pull in OTA channels, some of which will be HD. I'm not positive if you'd need to buy a new antenna, but I am positive that you can receive local HD channels for free with the right antenna.

If you think you might consider getting cable TV down the road, look for TV's with a built-in QAM tuner. This tuner allows you to tap into your main cable feed and run it to multiple TV's without the need for additional cable boxes. The number of channels you receive may vary, although at the very minimum, you'll get the local channels.

You'll probably want to ditch the VCR for a standalone DVR. You can still connect the VCR via composite/component/S-video, but be warned: your tapes won't look as good as they do on an old analog tube TV.

As far as LED vs. LCD, they're essentially the same thing, with the the only real difference being the back light. LCD TV's use a florescent back light, while LED TV's use an LED back light. The panel of LED TV's is still a LCD. The advantage goes to LED TV's because they're more energy efficient, and lighter and thinner. In my opinion, the advantages of LED - and the higher price tags that go with them - do not necessarily outweigh the lower cost LCD sets with the more traditional florescent back light.

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:00 PM   #3
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


If you can get the channels today, with your set, then your antenna is fine, and any quality TV will be even better.

We bought a new Sony Bravia TV and were amazed at how much better the receiver worked.

No cable or satelite here, just an old antenna.

But here's a cool thing -- if you have high speed internet, then consider getting an "internet ready" Tv. You just plug an Ethernet cable in the back (or hook up a wireless receiver), and it's ready to work.

Most of the good stuff is subscription. We pay for Netflix to watch unlimited movies on demand. But there is a lot of free stuff on the internet, and it will likely expand as time goes by.

If you get a set with AV out, then you can plug the output from the TV into the input on your VCR. Or buy a DVD recorder -- but they're harder to find new than they were 10 years ago. Or get a PC with an AV in and record with it. We stopped recording shows because the world has gone to tivo and we don't have it.
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Old 12-13-2011, 10:09 PM   #4
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


All the channels you get using your antenna and converter box and old TV should come in okay using the same antenna and new TV without the converter box.

You can still use the converter box between an antenna and the VCR with a red/white/yellow video cable set connecting the VCR to your new TV. But you may need a second antenna for the VCR. Using the same antenna to feed both the VCR and the new TV )via a splitter) gives a more than slight chance that some channels won't come in as well.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:21 PM   #5
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


They are all absolutely right, all tvs where made mandatory to have atsc tuners about 3 years ago when the digital antenna boxes first came out, and recently most cable companies stopped broadcasting without digital encryptian so now you need a box for all their channels. Antenna is the way to go, and the picture is less compressed than cable, but not satellite. For recording Tivo does have a dual off air atsc tuner so you can watch one thing and record another at the same time. The only down fall is the cost, and if you ever decide to install cable or satellite it becomes obselete cause they want you to use theirs.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
All the channels you get using your antenna and converter box and old TV should come in okay using the same antenna and new TV without the converter box.

You can still use the converter box between an antenna and the VCR with a red/white/yellow video cable set connecting the VCR to your new TV. But you may need a second antenna for the VCR. Using the same antenna to feed both the VCR and the new TV )via a splitter) gives a more than slight chance that some channels won't come in as well.
Thanks. Recording seems to be the last major hiccup I will need to get over! While I do love to watch the Patriots, I like to watch them AFTER the game! Four hours of ads is a bit too much for me to take!

I have looked at DVRs and such, that may be a way to go. Thanks for the person who pointed out seeing if the TV would have an Ethernet port....interesting, it definitely does look like things are going in that direction!
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:21 PM   #7
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


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Originally Posted by Ericjsmail View Post

Antenna is the way to go, and the picture is less compressed than cable, but not satellite.
As far as satellite, there might be some channels that are as good as over-the-air (OTA), but whenever I'm at my Dad's house and watch a game I can see compression artifacts all over the screen. No where near as good as OTA.
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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Converting to Digital FINALLY - need some help


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I can see compression artifacts all over the screen.
Same with cable. There's only so much bandwidth to go 'round, I guess.

Fortunately for me, I'm a movie buff who rarely watches TV programs. Blu-Ray provides the absolute best possible picture quality, and nothing else even comes close. HD cable TV pales in comparison.

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