Using a satellite receiver as an OTA converter box - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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So, I want to finally be able to call cable and give them the boot. I bought an OTA antenna for my flatscreen upstairs and it works beautifully since it already has the internal tuner for HD.

I have a home theater projector in the basement that I would like to also have running OTA HD to, but this obviously has not internal tuner. What I want to do is maybe ebay a satellite receiver and run the antenna to that, then run the HDMI feed to the projector. Logically, I don't see how this won't work, but it almost seems to easy, so I have to ask. Also, if I get a DVR sat receiver, can I then even DVR the OTA HD stuff.

Any advise is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 05:08 PM
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The sat receiver, either DirecTV or Dish Network, would have to be an HD unit, that has a Digital TV tuner built into it. See the HDTV STB Synopsis for a list of older HD receivers that would do the trick, or even better, new dedicated DTV tuners, one of which is less than $100.

The sat DVR part would not work without an active subscription.

If you want a Digital TV tuner with HD DVR, the DTVPal DVR is the unit you want, it goes for $250. It's also listed in the Synopsis.

AVS HDTV STB Synopsis


The term converter box is used for standard defination output devices only. If you have a projector, it is most likely HD, and thus a converter box would not do it justice.

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post #3 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 07:50 PM
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Pretty much any Directv non DVR HD receiver besides the H10 and the H2X models will work.

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post #4 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 08:33 PM
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A basic satellite subscription with 2 year commitment would land you the equipment you need fairly cheaply. I have DISH VIP722 and it has integrated OTA tuner. Newer units have 2 integrated OTA (VIP722K) allowing you to record 2 satellite HD sources AND 2 OTA HD sources AT THE SAME TIME! You scan your channels into the box and it integrates the OTA channels right into the program guide. Highly recommended. Directv also has OTA in some of their boxes, but I don't have any experience with them. Others here could help you with those. Good luck.

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post #5 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davird_Jr View Post

A basic satellite subscription with 2 year commitment would land you the equipment you need fairly cheaply. I have DISH VIP722 and it has integrated OTA tuner. Newer units have 2 integrated OTA (VIP722K) allowing you to record 2 satellite HD sources AND 2 OTA HD sources AT THE SAME TIME! You scan your channels into the box and it integrates the OTA channels right into the program guide. Highly recommended. Directv also has OTA in some of their boxes, but I don't have any experience with them. Others here could help you with those. Good luck.

You're missing the point. He wants to dump cable, not sign up with Dish.

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post #6 of 21 Old 07-25-2009, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm looking to see if I can live without cable/satellite and see how it goes.
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post #7 of 21 Old 07-26-2009, 07:22 AM
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As pointed out, older DirecTV satellite HD receivers will work for OTA without being connected to a satellite dish. These would include the venerable RCA DTC-100 and the Samsung 160 and 360. The current D* receivers don't all have OTA capability built in and none would work without a satellite connection and active subscription.

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post #8 of 21 Old 07-26-2009, 12:39 PM
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Depending on what inputs your projector has it could be pretty straightforward to use a cheap PC and an ATSC tuner interface and either Windows Media Center (not cheap) or MythTV+Linux (free but not always that easy to set-up)

These would give you DVR facilities, multiple tuners (if you buy a dual tuner or add more than one) and a lot of other facilities (which may or may not be useful)

Not for the total novice - but a good solution in some situations.

Ion platforms with Linux and MythTV (which now has VDPAU hardware acceleration) and a USB tuner are a pretty low-cost and flexible solution. The Acer Revo Single Core comes in at around GBP£149 with 160GB HD, HDMI (with multichannel PCM audio - though no Toslink or SPDIF output) and Linux. The Asrock 330 Dual Core comes in at around GBP£220 with 320GB HD, HDMI (with multichannel PCM audio and a separate Toslink or SPDIF output and a DVD+RW drive) with no OS. Both look to be excellent small cheap HTPC candidates for OTA TV.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 11:22 AM
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I am in the same boat here as I just purchased an HD70 and my apartment has cable but it runs out of the wall and I do not have a digital box. I want cable on my projector but not via a digital converter box because that will degrade my tv signal to analog. I have a HTL-HD? (hughes) satellite box that I can use but the diagram shows cable via coaxial coming into the box and coaxial going back out to the tv as well (and dvi only for sat?). Is there any way to send the cable signal coming in the box via coaxial to the dvi or component ports for digital? I am lost, buying a projector has made my head spin with all the changes. I hope this makes sense and someone can help me!
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 12:45 PM
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The converter boxes that you see in all the stores, that you can use those $40 coupons with, won't do you any good anyway because they don't do cable, just OTA (antenna) TV.

For HD cable you have two choices:

1. Look for boxes listed as having "Clear QAM" in the Official AVS HDTV STB Synopsis (a sticky post at the top of this forum). Note carefully that these boxes give you only the channels that your cable company does not encrypt. Usually this means basically just the local broadcast channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, PBS, sometimes CW, MyNetworkTV and local independent stations).

2. Rent an HD cable box from your cable company. This will give you the other HD channels: CNN, ESPN, etc.
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post #11 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 01:38 PM
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I am a little confused, I thought these digital converter boxes had a digital tuner in them which would allow me to connect the cable service provided by my apartment complex via coaxial and output it to composite to my projector then use the converter remote to change channels. I was looking for an alternate way to do this for higher quality. I have this HTL-HD hughes box with ntsc and atsc tuners but am unable to tell if you can output these signals via the component or dvi port. I am less worried about OTA HD, more worried about getting the best signal from what I have coming out of the wall.

Also have a Pioneer BD-V1100 cable box laying around, unsure yet if it will work either.....but it just has s-video out
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhs0731 View Post

I am a little confused, I thought these digital converter boxes had a digital tuner in them which would allow me to connect the cable service provided by my apartment complex via coaxial and output it to composite to my projector then use the converter remote to change channels. I was looking for an alternate way to do this for higher quality. I have this HTL-HD hughes box with ntsc and atsc tuners but am unable to tell if you can output these signals via the component or dvi port. I am less worried about OTA HD, more worried about getting the best signal from what I have coming out of the wall.

Also have a Pioneer BD-V1100 cable box laying around, unsure yet if it will work either.....but it just has s-video out

No- the $40 coupon boxes are good for ONE THING ONLY - to convert OTA ATSC (digital) to a format your old analog TV can display. No cable facilities (unless your cable operator is actually running ATSC instead of QAM for his digital cable).

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

Being A Beacon of Knowledge in the darkness of FUD
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post #13 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 02:36 PM
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Cable provides QAM modulated digital signals and digital OTA broadcasts use 8VSB modulated signal. They are incompatible with each other.
AFAIK the Hughes HTL-HD box is a satellite receiver and satellite digital does not use either 8VSB or QAM modulation.
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post #14 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 02:48 PM
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OK, I think what I need is a stand alone tv tuner for a lcd monitor.....
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhs0731 View Post

Let me change my question, if I dont care about OTA HD at all....I should be able to use the htl-hd as a tuner so I can scan the channels coming from my wall cable outlet just dont know if it will output to dvi or component? You guys are talking way above my head here, but from my understanding the issues are all with trying to get OTA signal. If my satellite box wont work as a tuner for my projector, is there a cheap alternate box? At this point I may just try to get a cable box from the company (but I don't pay them, everything I have is provided for me already with my rent). A projector is turning into more work and expense than I imagined...

The Hughes HD HTL will only tune standard definition channels - no HD cable. So, yes, if all you want is non-HD cable, the HTL should work, if I remember correctly, and it will output that on DVI or component video - but the signal is only standard defination upconverted.

It would be highly recommended to get at least the local HD channels that your cable company carries, which you'll you need a set-top-box that has an QAM tuner. None of the DirecTV or Dish Network HD receivers have a QAM tuner.

When a cable company provides local HD on their system, they change how the signal is distributed to you. When you get the local HD channels from an antenna, the system used is called ATSC w/8VSB. When you get local HD from a cable company, they take the ATSC w/8VSB signal and convert it to QAM.

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post #16 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 03:04 PM
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Do you have analog cable or digital cable?

If you have analog cable, you can use a cable-ready VCR as your tuner, or a DVD recorder that has a tuner. Used VCRs are probably cheaper.

If you have digital cable, then in order to receive any unencrypted channels, you need a "clear QAM" tuner. The ones listed in the sticky post that I referred you to, have HD outputs. If you don't need HD, another option is to get a DVD recorder that has a digital tuner. As far as I know, all of them can do both ATSC and clear QAM, even if they don't actually advertise the clear QAM. As I noted before, the only channels you're going to get this way are probably the local channels (NBC, ABC, etc.).

To get the other digital cable channels (CNN, ESPN, etc., whether HD or SD), you need to rent a box from your cable company, or buy a Tivo HD or Moxi box and then rent a CableCard from your cable company, to de-crypt the encrypted channels.
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post #17 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

The Hughes HD HTL will only tune standard definition channels - no HD cable. So, yes, if all you want is non-HD cable, the HTL should work, if I remember correctly, and it will output that on DVI or component video - but the signal is only standard defination upconverted.

It would be highly recommended to get at least the local HD channels that your cable company carries, which you'll you need a set-top-box that has an QAM tuner. None of the DirecTV or Dish Network HD receivers have a QAM tuner.

When a cable company provides local HD on their system, they change how the signal is distributed to you. When you get the local HD channels from an antenna, the system used is called ATSC w/8VSB. When you get local HD from a cable company, they take the ATSC w/8VSB signal and convert it to QAM.

I only care about SD channels coming out of the wall, I am really getting ahead of myself. I don't quite know what the service is coming out of the wall I just assume it is analog. I guess a vcr might do the trick, that or one of these stand alone tuners that turn your lcd monitor into a tv.... It will probably take some work to get a set top box from the cable company the way our utilities are already bundled for us. Thanks for all the help guys, i guess in two weeks I will have more info and can try some things.
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post #18 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 04:26 PM
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Almost all cable companies transmit both analog and digital content over the systms so the cable out of your wall outlet contains both. It is the tuner that you use that determines what channels analog or digital thay you watch at any one time. When I search on HD70 I get an Optoma 720 DLP projector see:

http://www.projectorcentral.com/optoma_hd70.htm

So I am a little confused by your statement that you need a tuner for an LCD Monitor since not all PC monitors will accept TV resolutions such as 720p which is what you want to send especialy if you plan to also use the PJ as a PC monitor then you need a tuner that will output 720p.
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post #19 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhs0731 View Post

I only care about SD channels coming out of the wall, I am really getting ahead of myself. I don't quite know what the service is coming out of the wall I just assume it is analog. I guess a vcr might do the trick, that or one of these stand alone tuners that turn your lcd monitor into a tv.... It will probably take some work to get a set top box from the cable company the way our utilities are already bundled for us.

If you have a projector, it's most likely HD. Why would you want to waste an HD projector with just an SD signal? Makes no sense.

As noted, in most all cases, cable has local HD on it, and all you need is a QAM tuner to pick it up for free.

There are QAM tuners available for under $100.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095

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post #20 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 08:15 PM
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I bought the projector for blu-ray and ps3...but will watch cable on it and dont want to have the extra bill for HD service (I might, not sure yet) as I am a college student. Kinda got over my head quick, didnt realize how much a projector setup required over an lcd. I know there are options but I was trying to find a cheap one so I can get a good screen, but its looking like I will just have to fork up for the cable box from the provider.
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post #21 of 21 Old 08-01-2009, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhs0731 View Post

I bought the projector for blu-ray and ps3...but will watch cable on it and dont want to have the extra bill for HD service (I might, not sure yet) as I am a college student. Kinda got over my head quick, didnt realize how much a projector setup required over an lcd. I know there are options but I was trying to find a cheap one so I can get a good screen, but its looking like I will just have to fork up for the cable box from the provider.

The only difference between the projector and LCD is the tuner in the LCD, which the projector does not have. Save your coin for a QAM tuner, and you'll be good to go for at least free local HD (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, etc.). Again, QAM tuners are available for less than $100. As a matter of fact, the Centronics ZAT502HD is selling for $85.50, and should be shipping soon.

www.centronics.com/product.php?id=48

In the future, if you go with an antenna, the Centronics will also work for that.

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