Any converter boxes offering seventh-generation ATSC chipsets? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-06-2015, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Any converter boxes offering seventh-generation ATSC chipsets?

I'm told that some newer television sets include a more advanced ATSC tuner set than the sixth-generation chipsets used in the Government-regulated CECBs. Does anyone have information on advanced tuner chipsets in current-model converter box units - including those which display in HD which the CECBs legally could not render?

Come to think of it, it's now been just short of seven years since the first CECBs started showing up on store shelves, and the FCC NTIA $40 coupons started arriving. Many of the standard-definition CRTs in use back in 2008-2009 have been replaced by newer ATSC-equipped HD television receivers, but there's still many of them in use even though entry-level ATSC-tuner-equipped LED televisions can be had for very cheap prices today.
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-06-2015, 01:56 PM
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I've not heard of anything called a "7th" gen ATSC chipset. Do you have any references for such a device?
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-08-2015, 09:44 AM
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The only STB that might be what you are interested in are the ones based on the MStar processors--the company is relatively new so they are not really 7th gen chip for that company. The same processor that is in boxes like the Sunkey SK-903H and the Axess equiv (and others too) are in STB for DVB-S2 satellite use--that means HD out, mpeg4 decode, usb ports and lots of other stuff that we don't have data sheets about. I've seen ads for a newer chipset than the one I've played with so maybe more advanced stuff as well.
The CECB chips have not really changed, you still see older Broadcom and STMicro processors that can't do mpeg4 and that seems to be the satellite STB generational change. They have chips to do that and lots of other newer things, but no reason for them to show up in ATSC decoding boxes AFAIK.
BTW, the diff between the MStar sat box and the ATSC box seems to be the decoder chip on the tuner as most of the rest of the innereds are the same with minor board layout changes.
Also the board of the newer Zinwell might indicate they might have usb port--the data sheet for the Broadcom processor says that it does have a built-in usb port and there is a 4 pin header that looks a lot like one that could be for usb. I did a flash dump for the box code and see lots of stuff in the code that seems to be support for stuff that the box menu does not let you get to (like the factory test screens that I did do a mod to get to). But the processor in the box is an older one--Broadcom like to build the tuner decoder into the processor so the chip has to have ATSC decode in the chip.
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-09-2015, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post
I've not heard of anything called a "7th" gen ATSC chipset. Do you have any references for such a device?

One 7th Generation demodulator that has come to light is the LGDT3305. First saw it mentioned here:

http://www.tvtechnology.com/conferen...ceivers/209899

A seemingly unofficial release of the LGDT3305 datasheet is available here:

http://www.doc88.com/p-771445458374.html


It would be interesting to know which, if any, TVs include this LGDT3305 demodulator.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-09-2015, 09:45 AM
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I think we are talking about two different things. The above chip will only decode the signal to a transport stream. While the OP was asking about chips that take the signal all the way to something that is to be displayed--ie has a processor core or host processor chip that can do mpeg2 and output to HDMI.

AFAIK no TV or converter box actually tells you what chips are inside, you have to buy the gizmo and take it apart to figure that out. Although I have seen a little info about processor in the specs part of manual--but again not something you know unless someone has bought the gizmo and put the manual info on-line and even then it might just show speed of processor.

I don't see that the above LG chip is that much different from the built-in decoder part of the Broadcom processors, or the external ATSC MStar decoder chip. But I am happy that they continue to build chips for ATSC.

Do we know if the older LG design did much the same and they just added QAM? I have played with an LG based CEBE box (Digtal Stream) and it did fine--maybe a bit of an issue with overload of front end, but not sure if that is decoder chip issue.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-09-2015, 01:19 PM
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Well the OP asked about 'tuner' chipsets, making me think he's concerned with reception properties. Of course we use 'chipset' loosely here, really it's a set of chips for a specific function; normally from the same manufacturer but sometimes packaged up by distributors of multiple vendors as a package or suggested field app deal.

There's this ol' fav:

http://web.archive.org/web/201102260..._of_CECB_units

I don't see where it explains how they got the info other than there's a long list of references.

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post #7 of 17 Old 12-10-2015, 10:01 AM
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I was in Walmart the other day and saw that there is a new RCA convert box with record to usb and HDMI out--DTA880. I found a screen shot of the menu on-line and it looks like the MStar's standard menu system so I'm guessing MStar inside much like the Axess and Sunkey...
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-12-2015, 07:44 AM
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Speaking of HDMI versions, I've been observing a rash of oddball brand boxes on CL lately (search term = tv converter). Seems odd this soon, i.e. new models but not CECBs; makes me wonder if they're crap...

Probably a dumb question, but is the HDMI full HD? Well I suspect they still market them as "dtv converter" boxes since they have RF and composite outputs. Hey I've got a couple of once very expensive dtv converter boxes in the form of HDTV receivers!

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post #9 of 17 Old 12-13-2015, 01:15 PM
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The MStar processors seem to let you pick the output resolution. I have a ch with 2 720 and 1 480 and with 1080 selected for output all show up as 1080--letterbox or overblown full screen but 1080.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-15-2015, 08:31 AM
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Clear as mud on the RCA here:

http://rcaav.com/shop/video/dta880-d...ith-recording/

Interesting bullet items though, especially the recording DVR function. And based on the car adapters shown below it, it looks like it may be vehicle usable.

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post #11 of 17 Old 01-19-2016, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post
Well the OP asked about 'tuner' chipsets, making me think he's concerned with reception properties. Of course we use 'chipset' loosely here, really it's a set of chips for a specific function; normally from the same manufacturer but sometimes packaged up by distributors of multiple vendors as a package or suggested field app deal.

There's this ol' fav:

http://web.archive.org/web/201102260..._of_CECB_units

I don't see where it explains how they got the info other than there's a long list of references.
Correct, I was wondering if the newer converter boxes have better tuner reception performance than my the Zinwell and Zenith boxes. I only use a converter box on one TV set, and I slightly prefer using the Zinwell ZAT-970 over the Zenith since the Zinwell's signal-quality meter is helpful when I need to reposition the antenna to receive our local ION station. (I don't know the whereabouts of my old Channel Master CM-7000).
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post #12 of 17 Old 04-24-2016, 11:56 AM
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Back when CECB's were first coming on the market, I put together my First Spread Sheet [12Feb2008] summarizing various CECB's....and when I could verify via personal inspection or LEGIBLE photos posted by other users, I added the ATSC DECODER Chip information....which in many later designs was ABSORBED into a single SYSTEM-ON-A-CHIP (SOC). To see mfr specs, someone would have to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)...which would prohibit them from saying anything about what was contained in those specs...so we learn almost NOTHING from the mfrs. See my "CECB FEATURES" link at bottom of this post, which I LAST UPDATED 26Mar2010. Since 2008, various people (I don't think it's just ONE person) have used that info directly to post and many times UPDATE the subject Wiki Article....incl additional info and newer CECB's or other STB's as they become available. More info found if you read back and forward in fol. [pre-CECB in 2005] thread:
Any recent 5th generation receiver chip news?

To be eligible for the $40 Coupon from the Gov't back in 2008, Low-Rez CECB's were the First (and ONLY) ATSC Tuners ever REQUIRED to meet specific performance Specs...including a one of two different Success Criteria for On-Air RF Captures [ATSC A/74 RF Test Ensembles] representing the "Worst-of-the-Worst" Multipath signal conditions captured at various OTA locations [and mostly NOT with a Rooftop Antenna]. There have been NO specific mandated specs since then, other than non-mandatory "Guidelines" found in ATSC A/74:
What is the Current State of ATSC Tuner Development? [CECB Tuner Sensitivity was the SAME +/- 1 dB.]
Samsung DTB-H260F ATSC tuner [Summarizes RF Test Ensemble percentages for various CHIP and/or mfr types.]

Since a significant number of the RF Test Ensembles will NEVER be decoded, performance was not quite MAXIMIZED in ALL CECB's and incorporation of that same ATSC DECODER technology [with perhaps a few minor improvements] in [some/many/most?] 2009 and later HDTVs (and HD-STB's). IF there was any improvement in performance, it would have been SMALL...and NONE of the mfr's has provided ANY info as to the ACTUAL performance of their Tuners....

Last edited by holl_ands; 04-26-2016 at 10:43 AM.
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post #13 of 17 Old 06-22-2016, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post
Back when CECB's were first coming on the market, I put together my First Spread Sheet [12Feb2008] summarizing various CECB's....and when I could verify via personal inspection or LEGIBLE photos posted by other users, I added the ATSC DECODER Chip information....which in many later designs was ABSORBED into a single SYSTEM-ON-A-CHIP (SOC). To see mfr specs, someone would have to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement)...which would prohibit them from saying anything about what was contained in those specs...so we learn almost NOTHING from the mfrs. See my "CECB FEATURES" link at bottom of this post, which I LAST UPDATED 26Mar2010. Since 2008, various people (I don't think it's just ONE person) have used that info directly to post and many times UPDATE the subject Wiki Article....incl additional info and newer CECB's or other STB's as they become available. More info found if you read back and forward in fol. [pre-CECB in 2005] thread:
Any recent 5th generation receiver chip news?

To be eligible for the $40 Coupon from the Gov't back in 2008, Low-Rez CECB's were the First (and ONLY) ATSC Tuners ever REQUIRED to meet specific performance Specs...including a one of two different Success Criteria for On-Air RF Captures [ATSC A/74 RF Test Ensembles] representing the "Worst-of-the-Worst" Multipath signal conditions captured at various OTA locations [and mostly NOT with a Rooftop Antenna]. There have been NO specific mandated specs since then, other than non-mandatory "Guidelines" found in ATSC A/74:
What is the Current State of ATSC Tuner Development? [CECB Tuner Sensitivity was the SAME +/- 1 dB.]
Samsung DTB-H260F ATSC tuner [Summarizes RF Test Ensemble percentages for various CHIP and/or mfr types.]

Since a significant number of the RF Test Ensembles will NEVER be decoded, performance was not quite MAXIMIZED in ALL CECB's and incorporation of that same ATSC DECODER technology [with perhaps a few minor improvements] in [some/many/most?] 2009 and later HDTVs (and HD-STB's). IF there was any improvement in performance, it would have been SMALL...and NONE of the mfr's has provided ANY info as to the ACTUAL performance of their Tuners....
Thank you for this information. Given the dramatic rate of technological change and specmanship wars in consumer electronics devices - how many of you actually owned and used a Smartphone back in early 2009? - it's strange indeed that there's no FCC requirement to publish tuner performance specifications, and the manufacturers refuse to do so. I realize the industry wishes to drop the existing ATSC system and replace it with ATSC 3.0, but we don't know what will happen in the near future (i.e. the FCC Broadcast Spectrum Auction is a "wild card"). Again, thanks very much for answering my question.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-05-2016, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvvh5897 View Post
The only STB that might be what you are interested in are the ones based on the MStar processors--the company is relatively new so they are not really 7th gen chip for that company. The same processor that is in boxes like the Sunkey SK-903H and the Axess equiv (and others too) are in STB for DVB-S2 satellite use--that means HD out, mpeg4 decode, usb ports and lots of other stuff that we don't have data sheets about. I've seen ads for a newer chipset than the one I've played with so maybe more advanced stuff as well.
The CECB chips have not really changed, you still see older Broadcom and STMicro processors that can't do mpeg4 and that seems to be the satellite STB generational change. They have chips to do that and lots of other newer things, but no reason for them to show up in ATSC decoding boxes AFAIK.
BTW, the diff between the MStar sat box and the ATSC box seems to be the decoder chip on the tuner as most of the rest of the innereds are the same with minor board layout changes.
Also the board of the newer Zinwell might indicate they might have usb port--the data sheet for the Broadcom processor says that it does have a built-in usb port and there is a 4 pin header that looks a lot like one that could be for usb. I did a flash dump for the box code and see lots of stuff in the code that seems to be support for stuff that the box menu does not let you get to (like the factory test screens that I did do a mod to get to). But the processor in the box is an older one--Broadcom like to build the tuner decoder into the processor so the chip has to have ATSC decode in the chip.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvvh5897 View Post
I was in Walmart the other day and saw that there is a new RCA convert box with record to usb and HDMI out--DTA880. I found a screen shot of the menu on-line and it looks like the MStar's standard menu system so I'm guessing MStar inside much like the Axess and Sunkey...
Yes, the hardware on these boxes is all very similar. Other common brands for these boxes are iView, HomeWorX, and eMatic.

They are light-years ahead of the original CECBs, with true HD output, (clear) QAM tuning capability, MPEG-4 decoding, and recording/playback via USB-attached storage; all for about the same $40 as one of the original CECBs - often even less! (Unfortunately the firmware is often quite buggy, which detracts from what would otherwise be a great value.) But the tuners aren't true "7th-gen" as the OP was inquiring about. They perform about the same as, or slightly worse than, the typical CECB tuner.

There is one STB that's a bit different: the iView 3100 is based on a different SoC and has different firmware and a different menu than the other MStar-based boxes. I only know of one person who's tried this box, and I don't know whether it uses a different tuner chip than the others.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-10-2016, 01:09 PM
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These days the tuner is little more than downconvert step with a little selection to it (maybe a comb filter too). All the key elements are in the processor and are digital A-D and software run. And the decode software is largely proprietary and not something that the manuf can play with. As consumers (and experimenters) we are stuck with little public info--I've taken a number of box's code apart and played with what I can figure out (and posted info on what I've done at this site and largely in this section ) but is not much--no processor data sheet is the biggest obstacle.


BTW, I suspect that the password reset will end up locking me out of the site soon and I'm not going to bother getting back on. So, this is about the last you will hear from me--Bye.

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post #16 of 17 Old 09-22-2016, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvvh5897 View Post
These days the tuner is little more than downconvert step with a little selection to it (maybe a comb filter too). All the key elements are in the processor and are digital A-D and software run. And the decode software is largely proprietary and not something that the manuf can play with. As consumers (and experimenters) we are stuck with little public info--I've taken a number of box's code apart and played with what I can figure out (and posted info on what I've done at this site and largely in this section ) but is not much--no processor data sheet is the biggest obstacle.


BTW, I suspect that the password reset will end up locking me out of the site soon and I'm not going to bother getting back on. So, this is about the last you will hear from me--Bye.
Anyone here familiar with the new-in-2016 Channel Master replacement for its venerable CM-7000 CECB, the new CM-7003?

http://www.channelmaster.com/Digital..._p/cm-7003.htm
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post #17 of 17 Old 09-23-2016, 02:48 PM
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Unfortunately it looks an awful lot like the cheap Chinese built iView/Homeworx/eMatic/etc.
Don't get me wrong, they are a bargain for the price but don't expect a quality built product for $50.
I'd imagine like the other clones this one can sort of record things to a USB device using it's USB socket. I say sort of because while the ones I've tried to mostly record, they have a nasty habit of occasionally missing events. I'm not saying the CM-7003 would do this but it looks an awfully lot like the others, that do have issues. The remote looks very similar, the metal case looks similar, the inputs/outputs, etc, sure seems like another clone to me, someone prove me wrong
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