Low priced ATSC modulator, non rack mount design. What's available? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for a lower cost ATSC/8-VSB modulator. I did see this thread, but that didn't solve anything;
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243464

Inputs: component & DVI/HDMI (at least component),
Output: 8-VSB w/ selectable channels (at least more than one channel),
Non rack mount with a price to reflect that.

What are you MATV/CATV guys doing to upgrade older analog installations?

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post #2 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 06:15 AM
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Nothing new and cheap that I'm aware of. I can mix off-air 8VSB with analog cable so that a few enterprising viewers can enter half a dozen keystrokes to access them, or I can frequency-shift the broadcast 8VSB to cable STD channels, and a substantial minority of TVs can view them while in cable STD mode, or I can transcode them to QAM, but then, the CECB boxes can't tune them.

I have more need for unencrypted modulated digitized DBS satellite programming, because when the modulated analog pictures are blown up to 30-something inches, they are inferior to what the cable company can provide. That could be done cheaply if the DBS providers would make protection-stripped MPEG-2 outputs available. I doubt that the content providers would preclude the DBS services from making their standard definition data streams that accessible.

I still don't know when the patent on 8VSB expires, but frankly, there is so little demand for MATV that I don't know how much longer the most prominent manufacturers of affordable products (Blonder Tongue, Pico, Holland, etc.) can continue to furnish even existing products, like amplifiers and analog modulators.
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post #3 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

I still don't know when the patent on 8VSB expires, but frankly, there is so little demand for MATV that I don't know how much longer the most prominent manufacturers of affordable products (Blonder Tongue, Pico, Holland, etc.) can continue to furnish even existing products, like amplifiers and analog modulators.

Yep. Over here it is now commonplace for new residences to come with built-in satellite distribution to each flat (apartment) - with two feeds in the main living rooms for dual-tuner PVRs and single-feeds to bedrooms. RF Aerial (antenna) feeds (for OTA) are also usually provided.

In the UK all the main satellite programming is on a single satellite position (28.2E) and this slot has both encrypted pay-TV (Sky) and unencrypted FTA (Freesat) feeds (with the main OTA network channels also available FTA on satellite)

TVs with built-in FTA satellite tuners are now appearing in the UK (my dad's Panasonic G20 has both a Freesat HD satellite tuner and a Freeview HD OTA tuner) - and FTA Freesat HD PVRs are available (no monthly fees for EPG access or programming) - alongside TVs with just OTA HD tuners (and OTA HD PVRs are also available)
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post #4 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, how about the home market that still has a ton of analog (NTSC) modulators available? You know, the ones that say "digital" just because they have a digital channel readout of the front.

No one sees a need to update any of this to the 21st century?

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post #5 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 09:31 AM
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But why would it have to be 8VSB rather than QAM? Only the cheapskates who are dependent on their subsidized, CECBs need their digital signals to be in 8VSB.
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post #6 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 09:53 AM
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Only the cheapskates

Ouch, says a person who owns nothing but converter boxes outside of computer receivers and an HDV420 with no QAM ability. Why replace something that works just fine?

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post #7 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 12:45 PM
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How much longer are we going to be saddled with RF modulators that only output NTSC? Is it that hard to get QAM or ATSC modulators in a box, so that distant TV's can get a digital signal?

I'm quite tired of seeing stretched analog 4:3 in sports bars, hotels, etc.
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post #8 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Falcon_77 View Post

How much longer are we going to be saddled with RF modulators that only output NTSC? Is it that hard to get QAM or ATSC modulators in a box, so that distant TV's can get a digital signal?

Yes, it is that hard. At present, none of the satellite TV signal providers will make available an unencrypted MPEG data stream that we can modulate to ATSC or QAM, and so, at present, we have to at least buy an analog to MPEG converter, coupled with a QAM modulator, as 8VSB modulators, when available, can cost the better part of $10,000 each.

There are products made by ZeeVee that "only" cost a couple of thousand per channel to convert component HDTV to MPEG2 modulated in QAM format, and these can be used in sportsbars but not in multiple dwelling units or "hospitality" accounts.
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post #9 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

I'm looking for a lower cost ATSC/8-VSB modulator. I did see this thread, but that didn't solve anything;
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1243464

Inputs: component & DVI/HDMI (at least component),
Output: 8-VSB w/ selectable channels (at least more than one channel),
Non rack mount with a price to reflect that.

What are you MATV/CATV guys doing to upgrade older analog installations?

It's not that simple anymore like it was with NTSC. The ATSC modulator is less than half of the solution you are asking for. You also need a realtime MPEG2 compression engine. These are still expensive. They typically only accept HDSDI input but there are converters for DVI and HDMI. Note that HDCP encrypted HDMI/DVI cannot be converted to HDSDI or component for that matter.

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post #10 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

Zee Vee.. these can be used in sportsbars but not in multiple dwelling units or "hospitality" accounts.


Why? I spec'd one for a NFL team to use in their stadium.. they are very pleased with it.

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post #11 of 39 Old 12-29-2010, 07:59 PM
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Why?

Because they say so. The DirecTV CSRs tell the dealers that the programmers require encryption right up to the TV in residential multiple dwelling and hospitality accounts. Since they have the power to say yes or no, the question of whether that is really the reason is academic.

It is within the realm of possibility that DirecTV has given Thomason an exclusive for some interval to induce them to develop their (edit) Pro Idiom system. I remember when DirecTV was first being launched, they gave RCA the exclusive on the manufacture of the first million receivers, which let them sell most of them for $600 to $800 each, which made it worth their while to develop them. It could be that Thomason has been given a similar, monopolistic interval.
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post #12 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 03:59 AM
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I think you're referring to the LG Pro Idiom System, right?..Here, the cable company is doing custom Idiom feeds that feed most of the hotels downtown..they were able to undercut DuhwreckedTv by quite a bit I am told.

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post #13 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 04:29 AM
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You got that right, I have some paper work for about close to 100 this year, with the Cisco Gateway's in the hub it makes the amount of channels available easy to configure, add CWDM on the fiber and I can feed 4 nodes on one fiber.

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post #14 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 05:59 AM
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BTw.. I now have one of these that works very well.

http://www.computermodules.com/broad...Modulator.html

A few issues with it tho:

$5k
Only 310m or ASI input
Requires PC App to operate,will not work standalone.

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post #15 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


But why would it have to be 8VSB rather than QAM?

All TV's are required to have a ATSC tuner, but not required to have QAM. It would work with a broader range of 'sinks'.
Quote:


You also need a realtime MPEG2 compression engine. These are still expensive.

Why? Seems almost everything is on a chip or two now days.
Quote:


Note that HDCP encrypted HDMI/DVI cannot be converted to HDSDI or component for that matter.

But, I'm talking about component.

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post #16 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

All TV's are required to have a ATSC tuner, but not required to have QAM..

I have yet to see a current model Tv that does ATSC that doesn't do QAM, the exception being some portables.

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post #17 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Many 1st generation HDTV's (not HD ready) only had ATSC tuners.

Ok, how about something like this (even though it is rack mount);
http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/10...D_Encoder.html
Quote:


- Supporting HDMI input interface for high-definition video compression.
- Supporting ASI andanalog RCA input interface
- Supporting component andHD-SDI input ports


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post #18 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 06:42 AM
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[quote=videobruce;19732274]Many 1st generation HDTV's (not HD ready) only had ATSC tuners.


Oh,those were few..and ancient history now..which is why I said "current model" ;>) ...a lot of those were quite picky with the transport streams with errors..sharp's were really bad..if you're gonna add digital modulators you need tv's with real tuners.

I have a Samsung Tv here in my office that has dual RF inputs, and will tune ATSC on one and QAM on the other..so it works nicely with OTA ATSC's mixed in with QAM modulators. But it upchucks with some of the funky QAM's that ybsane sends out at times..

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post #19 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Many 1st generation HDTV's (not HD ready) only had ATSC tuners.

Ok, how about something like this (even though it is rack mount);
http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/10...D_Encoder.html

I have never heard of them, first and foremost make sure their return policy is good, second run your RF output into a tuner card or something running TS-Reader and see how the compression works out. I am curious how the MPEG is converted and how many null Pids it creates with it depending on your insertion content. Also wondering if the audio ouput is AC-3.

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post #20 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Neither have I.
I just was doing a search through that supplier website and came across that. I e-mailed them for specs, price & manual.
Quote:


...a lot of those were quite picky with the transport streams with errors..sharp's were really bad..if you're gonna add digital modulators you need tv's with real tuners.

That's why I said 8-VSB along with MATV.

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post #21 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
Neither have I.
I just was doing a search through that supplier website and came across that. I e-mailed them for specs, price & manual.That's why I said 8-VSB along with MATV.
It is imported into Canada

http://www.advanceddigital.ca/produc..._modulator.php

The LPTV forum on yahoogroups noted that the encoder doesn't do AC-3 audio encoding.
http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/lptv/message/14257
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post #22 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 07:56 AM
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...Here, the cable company is doing custom Idiom feeds that feed most of the hotels downtown..they were able to undercut DuhwreckedTv by quite a bit I am told.
Can you confirm that the encryption is Pro Idiom rather than whatever the cable company normally uses? I don't see how a cable company would have a significant cost advantage if it had to encrypt to Pro Idiom on-site.

I stayed at a hotel in Philadelphia last year that appeared to be distributing digitally in QAM to CRT TVs. I assumed that these TVs had cablecard decryption capability. In my opinion, that system was clearly superior in picture quality and in guide and surf capability to anything I could provide using DBS satellite as my source.

Since the hotel did not have HDTVs, I can't determine from that whether "the programmers" would allow cablecard encryption/decryption to satisfy their encryption demands in hotels, but I really don't see why not.

NACE is now seeking guinea pigs to test a system that massively encrypts 8, 12 or 16 inputs in one or two black boxes, which looks to me like a $10,000+ part that I won't be able to afford to inventory a spare unit of, and that I wouldn't be able to test other than by shot-gun swapping, and that would knock out a hell of a lot of channels if it ever failed, but which still couldn't possible be cost-competitive with a cablecard system, so I am not volunteering to test one, nor am I interested in intensively studying it. I paid $295 to get certified for Pro:Idiom but I presently do not ever expect to use that certification.

We now return to our originally posted topic...
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post #23 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
...What are you MATV/CATV guys doing to upgrade older analog installations?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
Many 1st generation HDTV's (not HD ready) only had ATSC tuners...
Oh,those were few..and ancient history now..which is why I said "current model" ;>) ...a lot of those were quite picky with the transport streams with errors..sharp's were really bad..if you're gonna add digital modulators you need tv's with real tuners....(
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
....That's why I said 8-VSB along with MATV.
With hotels, all of the rooms will have the same model or couple of models of TV, so you can establish whether its needs can be met with a hybrid system consisting of QAM modulated "cable TV" programming to be mixed with heterodyne, frequency-shifted 8VSB. That wll work for lots of situations, but if you want to incorporate DBS satellite-based HDTV, you would have to get the DBS provider to activate HD model receivers in a hotel headend, and I have a hunch that DirecTV would not do that.

I've been told that DISH Network, on the other hand, allows model 211 receivers, which have component HDTV outputs that are compatible with ZeeVee, to be used in headends, and their standard hotel customer contract explicitely includes the right to viewing in HD, so my literal reading of that seems to indicate that the hotel customer would have a valid contractual right to have that programming distributed in reconstituted, encrypted digital-to-analog-to-MPEG encoded but unencrypted digital-to-viewingscreen (phew).

As far as multiple dwelling unit mixed MATV is concerned, I really need 8VSB modulation for the lobby camera, but otherwise, I don't see any strong need for additional digital signals in those systems. If you are talking about systems that have DBS satellite analog bulk mixed with broadcast HDTV, and if you want to get the residents access to those bulk signals in digital 8VSB form, I can't imagine the customer demand ever justifying the capital cost even if DirecTV opened up its unencrypted MPEG2 transport stream tomorrow. For mixed systems like that, it is far superior and more economical to simply install a DBS backbone and let the customers who really want digital basic to become individual subscribers, with their own subscribed tuner boxes in their units.
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post #24 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Tower Guy; Ought to know someone is selling it. According to the specs on the cover page, the audio encoder supports AC-3.

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post #25 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:25 AM
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We now return to our originally posted topic...
Yea... but some just can't accept that due to Zenith and Dolby licensing costs..coupled with high mfg costs and low demand ..there will in all reality never be one.

You would think that by now there would be some cheap QAM modulator knock offs from China. They make everything else..

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post #26 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:32 AM
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We now return to our originally posted topic...
Bruce, did you find this 8VSB modulator? Unfortunately, it requires an ASI input.

http://www.advanceddigital.ca/downlo..._datasheet.pdf
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post #27 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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I past by anything with just USB or anything that didn't have a consumer video input. Where does the USB port come in??

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post #28 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post
Can you confirm that the encryption is Pro Idiom rather than whatever the cable company normally uses? I don't see how a cable company would have a significant cost advantage if it had to encrypt to Pro Idiom on-site.

I stayed at a hotel in Philadelphia last year that appeared to be distributing digitally in QAM to CRT TVs. I assumed that these TVs had cablecard decryption capability. In my opinion, that system was clearly superior in picture quality and in guide and surf capability to anything I could provide using DBS satellite as my source.

Since the hotel did not have HDTVs, I can't determine from that whether "the programmers" would allow cablecard encryption/decryption to satisfy their encryption demands in hotels, but I really don't see why not.

NACE is now seeking guinea pigs to test a system that massively encrypts 8, 12 or 16 inputs in one or two black boxes, which looks to me like a $10,000+ part that I won't be able to afford to inventory a spare unit of, and that I wouldn't be able to test other than by shot-gun swapping, and that would knock out a hell of a lot of channels if it ever failed, but which still couldn't possible be cost-competitive with a cablecard system, so I am not volunteering to test one, nor am I interested in intensively studying it. I paid $295 to get certified for Pro:Idiom but I presently do not ever expect to use that certification.

We now return to our originally posted topic...
Yes, we do Pro Idiom feeds here in Charlotte, Yes I have done several dozen, PM me off line if you want to know how its set-up,delievered and what channels we are pushing out.

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post #29 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
I past by anything with just USB or anything that didn't have a consumer video input. Where does the USB port come in??
It looks like that's the power source and an alternate video input, but it's not explicit.
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post #30 of 39 Old 12-30-2010, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post
Where does the USB port come in??
Config and control, software updates.

Bob

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