Why aren't better CECB's available, and why can't the coupon buy a better DTV tuner? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 11:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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IMO every converter box sucks. No manufacturer has made a box worthy of being called "the best". Big fat ZERO to all converter boxes.
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post #2 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 11:21 AM
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Can't really expect all that much from something the government's mostly paying for.
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post #3 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Can't really expect all that much from something the government's mostly paying for.


Why not? Yes, you can. If a feature can be included within the price range, then yes, you should be able to expect it.
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post #4 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by NYCLA* View Post

IMO every converter box sucks. No manufacturer has made a box worthy of being called "the best". Big fat ZERO to all converter boxes.

Yeah I noticed that too. For months I looked and looked and all of them had problems. At least the cheaper ones did, or the CECB's did. I didn't even look at the really expensive ones since I have cable.


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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Can't really expect all that much from something the government's mostly paying for.

I can't remember.....didn't the boxes come out first? Even if the coupons were first, I can understand how the CECB's would be "cheaper" and of course have less features, but they should still at least work as intended. Or better yet there should be lines of more expensive better boxes on the CECB list. If the Gov't wants to cover $40, that's great, but at least give the consumer the option of still being able to use the coupons on better boxes. I know if I didn't have cable and had to use a box on all of my older TV's, I'd really be PO'd at this kind of selection. But then again I'd be willing to pay more for a fully working/more featured box since I'd be using them all the time, but I would expect to still be able to use the coupons on said higher end boxes.

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post #5 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

If the Gov't wants to cover $40, that's great, but at least give the consumer the option of still being able to use the coupons on better boxes.

?

Since when has the government ever been in the business of subsidizing people's higher-end video hobbies?

Up until the OTA analog cutoff, people had to pay good bucks for that stuff for years.

Yeah, sure....it would've been "nice" - but you really can't expect them to have anything more than the most basic features, like some people that have started coming around here since about the time the CECB's first started coming out do.

Write the manufacturers and tell them what you'd like to see in a box. But if it ever does come out, don't expect it to be priced anywhere as cheap as these basic CECB's are. They never were for years before this. That's just the way this stuff has always been priced.
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post #6 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

?

Since when has the government ever been in the business of subsidizing people's higher-end video hobbies?

Up until the OTA analog cutoff, people had to pay good bucks for that stuff for years.

Yeah, sure....it would've been "nice" - but you really can't expect that, like some people that have started coming around here since about the time the CECB's first started coming out do.

That's such a stupid argument. What difference does it make? The government gives you forty bucks to spend on a converter box. You should have the choice to spend it on whatever box you want. You want to buy a box that the coupon would fully cover? Great. You want to spend it on something that you're still going to have to pay more for after using the coupon, that's your choice. There's NO logical, rational reason why it had to be artificially limited (other than some government bureaucrat "doesn't like the idea" - yeah toss off). And as for this "Oh it's a Government subsidized box, so you can't expect it to be good" that's a crutch. The Pal+ could have had AFD override built in, and it wouldn't have made the box cost more than it did with the coupon. The Zenith could have had a comprehensive program guide like the Pal+ does, but Zenith just didn't bother. "Oh it's a government subsidized box" is just an excuse for manufacturers laziness and/or "bad behavior" (whichever way you want to look at it).
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post #7 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 10:56 PM
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Where did I ever say "you can't expect it to be good"?

It should at least do the job it was intended to do, and do it reliably (that's why I never rated the Pal very highly. At least the Zenith does everyting it's supposed to do well, and without the erratic behavior that the Pal sometimes exhibits that could drive someone like JSP or Grandma crazy).

I do criticize regularly the way most of these boxes are so cheaply constructed, are buggy, have lousy QC, and often don't last very long (but then it's really been that way with all cheaper electronic for the last few years - since they've mostly been manufactured in China. If you'd have been following the electronics industry at all, or the state of the stuff that's been available, you'd know this. Most of the stuff worth owning these days you have to pay a good price for. You used to be able to occasionally find a gem cheap - but it hasn't been that way for years now. That's why I have very little sympathy for the DTV Pal DVR owners - at least the ones who have actually researched the model first (especially here), but have selectively chosen to ignore the thousands of complaints - while I might for a TiVo HD owner having problems).

I'm just talking about upscale features. As far as no one box having everything that a person would want, that's really the way it's always been with electronics. There isn't a person alive that has ever bought a piece of electronic equipment that doesn't think it could've been improved in some way. or wished it would've had some feature that it didn't.
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post #8 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

?

Since when has the government ever been in the business of subsidizing people's higher-end video hobbies?

What does that have to do with anything? A $40 coupon is a $40 coupon no matter how you look at it! It's irrelevant to the Gov't if it's used on a ~$40 box or a $140 box! 40 bucks is 40 bucks. Consumers should have the option of using the coupon on whichever box they chose.


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Yeah, sure....it would've been "nice" - but you really can't expect them to have anything more than the most basic features

You're still totally missing the point. As I said: Even if the coupons were first, I can understand how the CECB's would be "cheaper" and of course have less features, but they should still at least work as intended. Or better yet there should be lines of more expensive better boxes on the CECB list. If the Gov't wants to cover $40, that's great, but at least give the consumer the option of still being able to use the coupons on better boxes.


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But if it ever does come out, don't expect it to be priced anywhere as cheap as these basic CECB's are.

That's exactly to what I alluded!! "Or better yet there should be lines of more expensive better boxes on the CECB list. If the Gov't wants to cover $40, that's great, but at least give the consumer the option of still being able to use the coupons on better boxes."

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post #9 of 169 Old 07-21-2009, 11:47 PM
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Anything other than replacing what they took away with these boxes is really regarded as a "hobby" by the govt., and all I'm saying is that when it comes to upscale, home theater-type equipment, it's all on you. Always has been, and always will be.

When the govt. "gives" you anything (i.e., "subsidizes"), there are strings that go along with it - control, rules, restrictions (the coupon program money was taken from the sale of the frequency spectrum - not the taxpayers).

As far as the boxes doing what they're supposed to, that part was really directed towards the other poster. I should've probably used his quotes there - sorry. I was actually responding to a mixture of what you were both saying.
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post #10 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Anything other than replacing what they took away with these boxes is really regarded as a "hobby" by the govt., and all I'm saying is that when it comes to upscale, home theater-type equipment, it's all on you. Always has been, and always will be.

I don't know this time if that's for me or "NYCLA". I understand all that, but you're still missing what I have been saying. I don't know how else to put it. Hobbies, HT equipment, etc., are irrelevant. They are (apparently) putting a restriction on HOW or ON WHAT the coupons can be used--since there are no high-end or better CECB's on the list. What we are saying is why can't the consumer use the coupon on ANY box of their choice? It should be up to us whether or not we want to spend more than ~$40 on a box (free), or if we want a $140 box and have to pay $100. The CECB list is limited, why not expand it to include expensive great boxes and allow the consumer to deduct the $40 from those.


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As far as the boxes doing what they're supposed to, that part was really directed towards the other poster. I should've probably used his quotes there - sorry. I was actually responding to a mixture of what you were both saying.

So I guess that's for me? I gotcha.

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post #11 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by NYCLA* View Post

IMO every converter box sucks. No manufacturer has made a box worthy of being called "the best". Big fat ZERO to all converter boxes.

So bitter. Maybe if you hadn't purchased that crappy DTVPAL converter... Anyway, I'd say the Zenith boxes I have are worthy of being called the best. For $49 at Sears, which ended up costing just a little over $10 w/ coupon, I can't complain. It does everything it is supposed to do plus it is a huge step up over analog OTA or analog cable.

Why is there any need for a "better" converter, especially one that costs $140(as said in another comment)? If I had that much money to drop on TV equipment, I'd just buy a new HDTV set instead. Why keep polishing an old CRT turd when you can have a shiny, new flatscreen?

Also how is it WNBC's fault you cannot change picture size? WNBC is broadcasting the same AFD data as every other NBC affiliate.
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post #12 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 12:41 AM
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They are (apparently) putting a restriction on HOW or ON WHAT the coupons can be used--

Right - and because they're giving you that $40.00, they can.

They're not giving you that money with the option or freedom to be able to do anything you want with it. That's not how the program operates, and that's not really how any government program where they give you money works. They all have restrictions or rules.

I'm not "siding" with anybody - I think it would be nice, too, if we could use that $40.00 any way we wanted to. But we can't. The sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can all move on.
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post #13 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Right - and because they're giving you that $40.00, they can.

And the question is why do it? It's 40 bucks to them either way, regardless of on what the coupons are used. So why would it matter to them. I can only guess that most of the manufacturers tried to target the ~$40 mark +/- (usually +), so they would be free or close to it, and maybe those where the first boxes and only boxes when the CECB list came out. ?

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post #14 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 12:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Right - and because they're giving you that $40.00, they can.

Exactly. Notice all the restrictions on the coupons. This is a program to provide affordable reception equipment to those who have analog TV sets, not a FREE CASH program.
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post #15 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 01:01 AM
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Why is there any need for a "better" converter, especially one that costs $140 (as said in another comment)?

There's PLENTY need for a better box! Come on, there's only one that I know of that has S-video, even which is primitive. They all should at least have that, plus APT, extended program guides for days instead of just hours, universal remote capability, a few others. At least some should also have component video. You're forgetting there are millions out there with NTSC only HDTV sets that do not have an ATSC tuner. I happen to have one, and that's why I had to get the CM7000 for it (for when cable is out) because it's about the only one available with S-video.

The $140 comment was hypothetical, I just made that up. I don't know if they're are any out there for that price, but I know there are some out there for a lot more than $40. But that's still a lot cheaper than having to buy a LCD or plasma TV for a living room.


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If I had that much money to drop on TV equipment, I'd just buy a new HDTV set instead. Why keep polishing an old CRT turd when you can have a shiny, new flatscreen?

Because CRT's look much better on SD. There are still way too many SD channels still going on. Cox cable for example only has 1 movie channel in HD per network (only 1 HBO, 1 Cinemax, 1 Showtime). So that "turd" is going to have its uses for a long time to come; until the affiliates, networks, and cable co's get with it. (I never imagined I would ever say that in a sentence. "That turd is going to have its uses for a long time to come").

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post #16 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 01:21 AM
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Because CRT's look much better on SD. There are still way too many SD channels still going on.

And to me that's really a more legitimate thing to be fretting over - the fact that they're phasing out 480i CRT's.

I don't like the way they're forever further degrading the digital signals - but at least leave us those types of displays to fall back on for watching.

At least everything still looks from excellent to good to reasonably presentable on them.

But that's a topic for another thread.
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post #17 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

They're not giving you that money with the option of being able to do anything you want with it. That's not how the program operates, and that's not really how any government program where they give you money works. They all have restrictions or rules.

I'm not "siding" with anybody - I think it would be nice, too, if we could use that $40.00 any way we wanted to. But we can't. The sooner we all accept that, the sooner we can all move on.

It's "accepted", we have no choice. But again, the question is WHY those restrictions?? I didn't say consumers should be able to use the coupon any way they wanted to, I said they should be able to use it on any BOX they wanted to. As I keep saying, it's 40 bucks for a box either way, so why is that. When the insurance company gave me a check for Katrina and Rita damages, they didn't tell me I had to get the cheapest ugliest walling and flooring. It's my choice if I want to use the check for cheap crap and pocket the rest (to buy a GOOD converter box, HAA!! ), and if I want to use tile, ceramic, brick, black, white, brown, etc., plain basic or gold plated, etc.

No restrictions because once the funds have left the Gov't hands, we are free to do with it as we please. So I fail to see why we are not free to use a $40 coupon on the box of our choice, and why we are relegated to a specific list. I'm curious.

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post #18 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 01:39 AM
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First off, I don't think you can compare a private insurance company with a government program.

When they were putting together the coupon program, the government specifically designed it so they could not be used "on anything" like the debit cards given out for those disasters (they didn't want people using them for things like paying hookers like they were doing).

So that should answer your "why" question. It's the potential for fraud.
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post #19 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

And to me that's really a more legitimate thing to be fretting over - the fact that they're phasing out 480i CRT's.

Exactly, believe me that's been covered in many threads to which I'm subscribed!


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I don't like the way they're forever further degrading the digital signals - but at least leave us those types of displays to fall back on for watching.

At least everything still looks from excellent to good to reasonably presentable on them.

But that's a topic for another thread.

I hate the whole AtoD transition. Billions of dollars of countless millions of now useless portable TV's, (and tossed in the landfills by idiotic consumers); new uhhh......."portable" DTV's that can't pick up crap without an external antenna, defeating the "portable" namesake. It should never have been done until HDTV's were made to look great on any content. There should be some kind of (for lack of a better term) "backward degrading" processing that "softened" SD and poor quality signals. Also not until all channels were available in HD. Now we have various networks that appear to be in no hurry to broadcast in HD.

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post #20 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

First off, I don't think you can compare a private insurance company with a government program.

"First off", that was not my intent. You didn't grasp the context of the analogy.


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When they were putting together the coupon program, the government specifically designed it so they could not be used "on anything" like the debit cards given out for those disasters (they didn't want people using them for things like paying hookers like they were doing). So that should answer your "why" question. It's the potential for fraud.

How many times must I say, "I didn't say consumers should be able to use the coupon any way they wanted to, I said they should be able to use it on any BOX they wanted to." There's no fraud in a homeowner getting "flooring model ABC in brown" instead of "flooring model DEF in black." Nor would there be any fraud in a consumer getting "a Pioneer Elite converter box" for only $40 off the price, instead of a DTVPal or 901 for free if that's what they wanted.

The plastic credit-card-like coupons cannot be used for anything other than a CECB, everyone knows that, no potential for fraud. So, for the last time, why limit the selection? What's the harm in letting the consumer get the (hypothetical) high end expensive Pioneer Elite box with their $40 cards if that's what they wanted? There would be no more fraud in that than getting a CM7000 instead of a cheap RCA.

I don't know what happened to your post that replied "Control", but that's what it sounds like to me. That's (hopefully) the last I'm going to say on that, I have websites I have to move.

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post #21 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

So bitter. Maybe if you hadn't purchased that crappy DTVPAL converter... Anyway, I'd say the Zenith boxes I have are worthy of being called the best. For $49 at Sears, which ended up costing just a little over $10 w/ coupon, I can't complain. It does everything it is supposed to do plus it is a huge step up over analog OTA or analog cable.

Why is there any need for a "better" converter, especially one that costs $140(as said in another comment)? If I had that much money to drop on TV equipment, I'd just buy a new HDTV set instead. Why keep polishing an old CRT turd when you can have a shiny, new flatscreen?

Also how is it WNBC's fault you cannot change picture size? WNBC is broadcasting the same AFD data as every other NBC affiliate.

I'm bitter about one thing and one thing ONLY. A. F. D.

Otherwise other than some minor issues, I'm happy with the picture quality and I actually do love the EPG. The EPG is actually what made me buy that box.

I probably would have bought the Zenith, if it had more than a lousy "Now" and "Next" as it's "Program Guide".
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post #22 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

Exactly, believe me that's been covered in many threads to which I'm subscribed!



I hate the whole AtoD transition. Billions of dollars of countless millions of now useless portable TV's, (and tossed in the landfills by idiotic consumers); new uhhh......."portable" DTV's that can't pick up crap without an external antenna, defeating the "portable" namesake. It should never have been done until HDTV's were made to look great on any content. There should be some kind of (for lack of a better term) "backward degrading" processing that "softened" SD and poor quality signals. Also not until all channels were available in HD. Now we have various networks that appear to be in no hurry to broadcast in HD.

PLEASE, and America would still be in the dark ages. **** Analog. I'm GLAD the United States finally kicked that dinosaur technology to the curb. NTSC was always inferior to PAL as it was. I'm GLAD crap ass 480i tube televisions are no longer sold. America should have done this TEN YEARS AGO - AT LEAST.

P.S. and "Backwards Compatibility"? NO thank you, that always just hobbles any good new technology.

P.P.S. What networks are in "no hurry" to broadcast in HD? The major broadcast networks all are, be it 720p or 1080i. Cable channels, well, who cares?
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post #23 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

Exactly. Notice all the restrictions on the coupons. This is a program to provide affordable reception equipment to those who have analog TV sets, not a FREE CASH program.

Still no reason to limit what box you can buy with it.
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post #24 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

its that could drive someone like JSP or Grandma crazy).

No one gives a **** about "Grandma" - you know I don't. I made that clear in the other thread. I also don't give a **** about retired Al and Edna in Kansas either. Grandma, Al and Edna still have brains and can deal with things like pushing buttons to change an aspect ratio. It's not that hard.
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post #25 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just talking about upscale features.

The ability to override AFD is not an "upscale" feature. And obviously neither is a comprehensive EPG, or by your logic, the Pal+ wouldn't have that.
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post #26 of 169 Old 07-22-2009, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

Also how is it WNBC's fault you cannot change picture size? WNBC is broadcasting the same AFD data as every other NBC affiliate.

You want my answer to that? Go read the "denied letterbox" thread. The broadcast engineers at NBC are jackwads who implement AFD willy nilly even on shows that are shot in 16:9. If something stupid like AFD is going to be used, than use it ONLY on shows that are shot in 4:3, but if something is shot in 16:9 then I EXPECT IT to be broadcast in 16:9 without some 4:3 forcing flag.
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post #27 of 169 Old 07-23-2009, 04:34 AM
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PLEASE, and America would still be in the dark ages. **** Analog. I'm GLAD the United States finally kicked that dinosaur technology to the curb. NTSC was always inferior to PAL as it was. I'm GLAD crap ass 480i tube televisions are no longer sold. America should have done this TEN YEARS AGO - AT LEAST.

Except for CRT TV's are superior to HDTV's on SD, I agree, but as I said, it's problematic and I hate it because ".....Billions of dollars of countless millions of now useless portable TV's, (and tossed in the landfills by idiotic consumers); new uhhh......."portable" DTV's that can't pick up crap without an external antenna, defeating the "portable" namesake. It should never have been done until HDTV's were made to look great on any content. There should be some kind of (for lack of a better term) "backward degrading" processing that "softened" SD and poor quality signals. Also not until all channels were available in HD."

If all the powers that be would have started this transition several years ago, and did it intelligently and logically, there would not be these problems today because of it.

I guess if you never watch SD programs; never have any use for a portable TV to use outside, or in your car or boat; don't have any NTSC only TV's; and have another planet in mind on which you and your descendants can live once this one is overrun with electronic waste, then I guess I'd be glad too.


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P.S. and "Backwards Compatibility"? NO thank you, that always just hobbles any good new technology.

Be that as it may, that also comes as great cost to those with older equipment who cannot afford new equipment. There's no reason it should "hobble" new equipment if it's done correctly. (But I didn't say anything about backward compatibility. If you're referring to "backward degrading" processing, I think I could better describe that as maybe downward processing that "softened" SD and poor quality signals. Such as, many say that SD looks better on component video than HDMI because component "softens" the bad PQ).


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P.P.S. What networks are in "no hurry" to broadcast in HD? The major broadcast networks all are, be it 720p or 1080i. Cable channels, well, who cares?

Obviously more care than do not. Many millions do. (TLC, TDC, Discovery Science, NatGeo, History, SciFi, ESPN, Comedy, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, dozens more). Network TV generally sucks, they're showing as many reruns as cable. Because of that, is all the more reason for cable use even with their 99% reruns.

There are many many shows on network TV (as well as cable) that are not in HD.

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-Clint
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post #28 of 169 Old 07-23-2009, 09:06 AM
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Subsidizing the replacement of flooded flooring is not the same as subsidizing ATSC tuners. It's easier to limit funds to flood-affected homes, so you are not subsidizing upgrades in areas that have no flood damage. It is a tough job to design a digital conversion program limiting the benefit to analog TVs. How do you discourage people from using the funds to 'upgrade' their older digital sets? They did it by restricting the bells and whistles that analog owners didn't have to begin with, but DTV owners expect.

Getting a CECB did not restore full functionality to my analog TV. PiP is awkward, closed captions marginal, and VCR recording twice the effort and not as reliable. But that these features work at all is cause for cheer. I've got better PQ than digital cable delivered, an EPG that gives me a full program description, and a lot more channel options.

If I had to pick an analogy, it would be a joint replacement. It's designed to restore functionality, and it is an amazing thing, but rarely is it as good as the well working real thing. There is no such thing as a best design. There are tradeoffs and compromises and it takes research and good counsel to make the best choice. And in spite of all the hassle and the sometimes painful and slow transition, it's got a high satisfaction rate.
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post #29 of 169 Old 07-23-2009, 10:21 AM
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Subsidizing the replacement of flooded flooring is not the same as subsidizing ATSC tuners. It's easier to limit funds to flood-affected homes, so you are not subsidizing upgrades in areas that have no flood damage. It is a tough job to design a digital conversion program limiting the benefit to analog TVs. How do you discourage people from using the funds to 'upgrade' their older digital sets? They did it by restricting the bells and whistles that analog owners didn't have to begin with, but DTV owners expect.

Getting a CECB did not restore full functionality to my analog TV. PiP is awkward, closed captions marginal, and VCR recording twice the effort and not as reliable. But that these features work at all is cause for cheer. I've got better PQ than digital cable delivered, an EPG that gives me a full program description, and a lot more channel options.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...3#post16866953

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If I had to pick an analogy, it would be a joint replacement. It's designed to restore functionality, and it is an amazing thing, but rarely is it as good as the well working real thing. There is no such thing as a best design. There are tradeoffs and compromises and it takes research and good counsel to make the best choice. And in spite of all the hassle and the sometimes painful and slow transition, it's got a high satisfaction rate.

Yeah that makes sense.

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-Clint
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post #30 of 169 Old 07-24-2009, 10:33 AM
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I suspect the gov't worked in conjunction with mfgers to determine requirements capability in that $40ish range (in fact I think that was detailed in the freelabs CECB document). But they forgot about the lowly VCR which are 'partly' becoming obsoluted in a flash due to lack of timer recording. Makes me wonder why the coupon can't be applied to recorders that contain a digital tuner?

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