OTA tuners in new TVs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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If there's one thing I've learned over the past couple of years with our 32" Aquos TV/computer monitor and DIY HD antenna, it is that OTA HD PQ beats satellite HD hands down, and can even approach that of a good BD movie.

Because my wife and I will continue to view our local OTA HD stations, I want whatever 65" TV we now buy to have a good tuner and a good ADC that will put an image on the screen that is every bit as good as the signal it recieves.

Are all TV tuners and A to D coverters created equally and, if not, which manufactuers have the highest quality hadware and software components in this regard?

This used to be an important consideration when buying tube-type TVs. For those of us who want to capture and display present-day OTA signals, it still is.
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post #2 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 10:29 AM
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All OTA HD channels are digital so no ATD conversion is required. There are a few low poser SD analog OTA but they will be gone by 2016. A 1080i OTA digital channel should have just as good if not better then its cable or satellite or BR disk counterpart.
I have not seen a comparison of HDTV internal tuners for a couple of years.
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post #3 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by walford View Post

All OTA HD channels are digital so no ATD conversion is required. There are a few low poser SD analog OTA but they will be gone by 2016. A 1080i OTA digital channel should have just as good if not better then its cable or satellite or BR disk counterpart.
I have not seen a comparison of HDTV internal tuners for a couple of years.
Isn't electromagnetic radiation analog? But maybe I did misspeak. I shoud have said the sensitivity of whatever component in the TV receives the signal and its ability to amplify and faithfully put that image on the screen. (As opposed to the circuitry that receives the digital video data over an HDMI connection, for example. But maybe the circuitry is the same and I am just ignorant.)

I have compared local OTA stations to their counterparts on satellite. OTA PQ is generally better than satellite and, as far as I can tell, about equal to that of a good BD, although it's a bit difficult to compare the PQ of a live cooking show to the PQ of BD "Apocalypto".
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post #4 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 09:38 PM
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I think most modern tv's nowadays have good ATSC tuners. Back in the day before the digital conversion, when a lot of us were using HDTV STBs on their HDTV-ready sets for OTA television, LG probably made the best ATSC tuners around. When I finally bought my first HDTV, I bought an LG because my LG HDTV STB worked flawlessly for our OTA at a bit over 50 miles distance (a good antenna helps wink.gif). Reception has continued to be flawless with the LG but again, I think any LG, Panasonic, Samsung, or Sony would be fine.
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post #5 of 21 Old 12-23-2012, 10:22 PM
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I am ONLY OTA and use both an onboard tuner on my new HDTV and the tuners on the old DTVPal DVR for watching local antenna channels and I can not tell any difference between the onboard tuner and the two on the DTVPal DVR.
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post #6 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your input .

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Originally Posted by Jack Morris View Post

I am ONLY OTA and use both an onboard tuner on my new HDTV and the tuners on the old DTVPal DVR for watching local antenna channels and I can not tell any difference between the onboard tuner and the two on the DTVPal DVR.
An OTA-only viewer's opinion carries a great deal of weight with me, so thanks to you in particular, Jack.
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post #7 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 08:42 AM
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I work in the electronics dept. of a large retail store. Our demo feed is distributed to the sets via a hodgepodge of coax cables connected to the sets' antenna inputs. There are two signals with identical content--one is 480i sent out as ntsc (analog) channel 3, the other is 1080i over atsc (US OTA digital standard) channel 14.1. In some parts of the dept. the ntsc feed is virtually unwatchable--looks like trying to receive an ota signal from 70 miles away with $10 rabbit ears. Change the same set to digital channel 14.1 and we get flawless HD, regardless of make or model of set. this is the "cliff effect" inherent in digital ota--the picture is either perfect (down to a signal strength unwatchable in analog) or it's not there at all.

Btw, like Otto I experienced the era when HD tuners had to be bought separately and also found LG built boxes to be superior at receiving OTA over other brands. I attributed this to the fact that LG had bought out Zenith when that company went broke. Zenith did most of the R&D on the ATSC broadcast system and LG bought their technology when they bought Zenith, giving them a leg up on other companies. And just as Japan's adoption of ntsc back in the 50s helped Japanese companies crack the US market, South Korea adopted the atsc system for HD broadcast.

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post #8 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 09:37 AM
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I don't have cable or satellite either. I use OTA, Netflix and Blu-ray.

The tuner "can" in the TV which receives the analog signal -- yes, the digital signal is obviously contained within an analog signal (radio waves), these cans aren't built by the TV makers themselves. They're third-party products and a variety of companies make them. So it is very difficult to comment on quality in terms of TV maker brand, because these components are subject to change.

My experience is that the technology is so mature at this point that it doesn't matter. The TV antenna and its placement matters most of all.
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post #9 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

And just as Japan's adoption of ntsc back in the 50s helped Japanese companies crack the US market, South Korea adopted the atsc system for HD broadcast.
I don't believe that the national broadcast standard of Korea makes their tuner quality better than Japan's. Sony's initial HDTV development was global, with a group in San Diego responsible for American localization and one in Barcelona which designed the TV's for Europe. More than that... hundreds of millions of ATSC and DVB sets have shipped. The issues of compatibility and quality are long-since resolved, although I'm sure that if you're determined to buy the cheapest China-built TV you can find, you may be disappointed.
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post #10 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Herve View Post

Thank you all for your input .
An OTA-only viewer's opinion carries a great deal of weight with me, so thanks to you in particular, Jack.

I don't have cable or sat either. In fact, I've never had cable or sat so we've been OTA for 30+ years.
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post #11 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Rebound View Post

I totally don't believe that the national broadcast standard of Korea makes their tuner quality better than Japan's. Sony's initial HDTV development was global, with a group in San Diego responsible for American localization and one in Barcelona which designed the TV's for Europe.

Whatever. That's why I went with an LG for the very reasons that Steve S brought up. Whether LG contracts out their tuner builds now or not is a moot point. The builder still has to follow LG's specs which seems to be as tight now as they were before the digital switch. But, as I indicated, I think all the major mfrs now make good ATSC tuners. For OTA now, it's really about the antenna placement, LOS, etc.
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post #12 of 21 Old 12-24-2012, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

................................ In some parts of the dept. the ntsc feed is virtually unwatchable--looks like trying to receive an ota signal from 70 miles away with $10 rabbit ears. Change the same set to digital channel 14.1 and we get flawless HD, regardless of make or model of set. this is the "cliff effect" inherent in digital ota--the picture is either perfect (down to a signal strength unwatchable in analog) or it's not there at all.
......................................
.
That's all I needed to read. So if a model rated 10 out of 10 for PQ for say a high-PQ BD will also rate that for OTA PQ for a high-PQ show.

BTW, I agree that antenna placement is critical for adequate signal strength.

A bit OT, but here's our DIY HDTV antenna that I made three or four years ago.biggrin.gif This rather crude-looking device works great from inside the house!
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post #13 of 21 Old 12-25-2012, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herve View Post

That's all I needed to read. So if a model rated 10 out of 10 for PQ for say a high-PQ BD will also rate that for OTA PQ for a high-PQ show.
BTW, I agree that antenna placement is critical for adequate signal strength.
A bit OT, but here's our DIY HDTV antenna that I made three or four years ago.biggrin.gif This rather crude-looking device works great from inside the house!

Can you post the directions on how you made that please? I would love to make that my self.
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post #14 of 21 Old 12-25-2012, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Herve View Post

That's all I needed to read. So if a model rated 10 out of 10 for PQ for say a high-PQ BD will also rate that for OTA PQ for a high-PQ show.
BTW, I agree that antenna placement is critical for adequate signal strength.
A bit OT, but here's our DIY HDTV antenna that I made three or four years ago.biggrin.gif This rather crude-looking device works great from inside the house!
That is SO COOL!!! I LOVE it! biggrin.gif

We live almost 60 miles from the OTA Towers, in the middle of the woods(tall trees), and our Neighborhood Association won't allow us to put up a large tower and antenna without a legal fight... but after I got so peeved at Comcast/Xfinity that I quit, I took a large(approx 10'x5') conventional UHF/VHF directional antenna and used antenna web and a compass to aim the antenna from inside my attic roof. Since then been getting every local channel and others giving me about a dozen watchable channels. My HDTV and my OTA DVR also keeps seeing channels from far away but I just continually delete them since the signal is not up to my standard and they are usually another towns version of the local channels I already get perfectly. I also get an additional dozen or so channels which are religious oriented or non-english channels which I am able to delete via the setup on both my HDTV and OTA HD DVR. I also get a handful of music only channels being broadcast OTA which most folks don't even know existed.
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post #15 of 21 Old 12-25-2012, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metalguy View Post

Can you post the directions on how you made that please? I would love to make that my self.
I followed the easy directions given in the following video (except for the base, which I designed) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw

It's simple and captures a strong signal. You will be amazed at the result. I've compared OTA channels to their exact counterparts on satellite and IPTV and the OTA PQ beats them both, hands down, especially fast-moving sporting events.

Good luck! (I'd love to read your results.)
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post #16 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 11:13 AM
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That DIY antenna is really funky looking but it does have a sort of cool looking factor about it. Gotta love ingenuity! wink.gif
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post #17 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 12:09 PM
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Most of the poor performing tuners went the way of the dodo bird. There are half a dozen or so producers of ATSC 8VSB tuners. LG always made top notch tuners from the get go. Likewise Sanyo. There are others lessor known that are just as good though.

I dont know what tuner is in the Magnavox MDR 537 HDD & DVD Recorder DVR, but it is quite good (I suspect a Sanyo). I give the nod to the LG in the Vizio GV42LF, but not by much. Hair splitting really. I had a Zenith DTT900 (Sanyo Tuner) and a Zenith DTT901 (LG Tuner) CECBs and the Sanyo actually was a tad more sensitive, but the LG kept lock (avoided breakup on the digital cliff) a little bit better.

I live 45 - 50 miles from the towers and have this beauty up on the roof, chimney mounted with a nice Gemini Orbit 360 rotor.


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post #18 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Most of the poor performing tuners went the way of the dodo bird. There are half a dozen or so producers of ATSC 8VSB tuners. LG always made top notch tuners from the get go. Likewise Sanyo. There are others lessor known that are just as good though.
I dont know what tuner is in the Magnavox MDR 537 HDD & DVD Recorder DVR, but it is quite good (I suspect a Sanyo). I give the nod to the LG in the Vizio GV42LF, but not by much. Hair splitting really. I had a Zenith DTT900 and a Zenith DTT901 CECBs and the Sanyo actually was a tad more sensitive, but the LG kept lock (avoided breakup on the digital cliff) a little bit better.
I live 45 - 50 miles from the towers and have this beauty up on the roof, chimney mounted with a nice Gemini Orbit 360 rotor.
Comforting to know that all TV tuners nowadays are essentially the same.

Very nice antenna. I can't help but see a strong similarity between your antenna and mine.smile.gif The differences are that you mounted your bent wires to blocks which are in turn mounted to a metal tube, and put some additional wire mesh on the back. What does the wire mesh do? Does it somehow concentrate the signal as a dish would? Does it eliminate background interference?
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post #19 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 05:06 PM
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oopps!.

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post #20 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 05:06 PM
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oopps!

Vizio VP322 Plasma / Vizio GV42LF LCD / Denon 2200 Silicon Image DVD / Panasonic S97 Faroudja Genesis DVD / Oppo 970HD Mediatek DVD / Oppo 983H Anchor Bay DVD / Panasonic LX-600 Laserdisc / Aiwa MX100 Multi-region VCR / JVC S7600 S-VHS / PS2 / Sega Genesis / Nintendo SNES / Roku 2 XS & HD-XR / Realistic STA-90 Reciever / Realistic Minimus 7 / Antennacraft G1483 Hoverman / Belden 7915A RG6 / Channel Master 7777 Titan 2 UHF/VHF / Panasonic AX-200u / Optoma Graywolf 92" / Draper Luma 92"
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post #21 of 21 Old 12-26-2012, 05:06 PM
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The reflector screen kind of does both. Kindof complicated to describe it more accurately. Basically it doubles gain in one direction while reducing gain from the backside.

The blocks are PVC which isolates the elements and transmission wires from the metal mast (which leads to ground) as this would short the electrical transmission of the signal, and seriously reduce the performance. It is also hydrophobic which is also advantageous on the electrical transmission side, when it gets wet from the rain.

It's pretty sweet, all Zinc Galvanized (screws and washers are plated) Steel with PVC blocks. Mounts to a mast with standard hardware...wall mounts, eaves mounts, the works. Screen is easily removed if you want a more bi-directional pattern.

It even has quick wingnut mounts for the matching transformer.

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