Seamlessly Merging Cable and Digital OTA - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 07-05-2012, 05:47 PM - Thread Starter
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My grandmother is still using analog cable on a 16 year old TV and I've been talking her into exploring some of the local HD digital OTA channels with an antenna (as well as getting a new TV at the same time, obviously). I must add that she is extremely stubborn and VERY behind the times.

I'm trying to find the simplest way to allow her to get both her analog cable channels as well as the digital OTO local channels. There are a few local channels broadcast in HD she is interested in that she doesn't get with cable. She doesn't want to drop cable because there are news stations she watches regularly that aren't broadcast OTA. Would it be possible at all to seamlessly merge cable channels and OTA channels into a single list? I know you simply can't use a reverse splitter to merge the cables together as analog and digital UHF occupy the same signal spectrum. I have also seen suggestions for external devices with tuners such as VCRs connected through a plain old RCA video input. A wireless A/B cable switcher could work but the TV would have to rescan for channels every time there is a switch from cable to OTA or vice-versa.

At this point there really doesn't appear to be an alternative to simply getting a TV with 2 seperate dedicated coax inputs, one for cable and another for an antenna. I've seen a setup like this before and surfing through channels is really simple as the TV merges them into the same channel list for you as well as scan for both analog and digital channels if you so choose.

She is specifically looking for a 24" flatscreen and doesn't want to go bigger than that. She has a small living room. The problem I have with the size restriction is 100% of the TVs I've been looking at online are technically PC monitors with digital ATSC tuners built in. I'm not sure if it's possible to find at least a 720p monitor with dual coax inputs with a size like 24". Has someone seen something like this? Thanks a lot for your help.
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post #2 of 23 Old 07-05-2012, 06:16 PM
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The cable company cable out of the wall contains both the free analog and all of local SD and HD local stations for the minimum cable service (about $20).
No antanna needed just buy a new TV that supports QAM digital as well as ATSC digital and NTSC analog and use only her existing cable with no changes required. AFAIK almost all/if not all current TVs sold in the US will meet this requirement., Small TVs that are PC moniotrs with tuners added normally have better picture quality then just TVs.
Not you would need about a 27" widescreen HDTV to replace an 24" old standard screen in order to have the same screen height.
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post #3 of 23 Old 07-05-2012, 06:34 PM
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You would have to use an external tuner or an A/B switch, as normally antenna and cable signals cannot be combined. The TiVo will very nicely combine both antenna and cable signals in one box without an A/B switch, but it is a bit pricey for your needs and such a small TV set up. There is also a PHD-VRX DVR dual tuner box that will work, but the cable and antenna channels are not merged in the same menu as on the TiVo. You will have to switch between tuner 1 and tuner 2. But, as previously noted, your basic cable should tune your local network channels in HD through an unencrypted clear qam signal. Just get a newer model TV. But I would get at least a 32 inch.
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post #4 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 05:29 AM
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Sometimes trying to explain to an elderly person the new technology is frustrating. I have been through it many times with my family members.
But one thing I will suggest is try to get at least a 32" TV, otherwise your grandma will need binoculars for anything less. You can get a half decent 32" these days for less than $200.
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post #5 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 05:40 AM
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I would leave things alone. You're going to win the battle, but lose the war. After everything is setup, she won't care about PQ. Not only that, you'll be constantly deluged with "What button do I push to get what channel?"

I setup my parent's TV for OTA and a DVD (they refuse to have cable...). I still get questions about a year later. frown.gif
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post #6 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Well the idea is to upgrade her TV and somehow get digital HDTV channels as well as her existing cable at the same time. A switch would work, even if it has to be a more expensive wireless one, but the TV would have to be reprogrammed every time she switches. I'm wondering if any TVs exist in a 24" size or around there with dual cable/antenna inputs. That would solve the problem but I'm not sure they exist in that size.
 
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post #7 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 06:22 AM
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Years ago they used to make TV's with 2 ANT inputs, like my 2006 Mits 57" DLP. Today however most TV's are built with only 1 ANT input . Certainly not in the 32" size.
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post #8 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 06:27 AM - Thread Starter
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We used to have one with 2 analog tuners and that seems to create confusing terms. They make TVs with 2 coax inputs, one for plain old analog cable and another one specifically for a digital antenna.
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post #9 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 07:11 AM
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It's been my observation that TV sets with two coaxial inputs were stopgap models produced around 2004-2006 just as digital tuners were being implemented. I haven't seen a newer set with dual inputs after that.

Tech support for Antennas Direct
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post #10 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 07:22 AM
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Get a TV with a QAM tuner (which the majority have today). Most HD locals are sent unencrypted with a basic cable subscription. No muss, no fuss, no switching.
And.... I agree that 32" is the size to go with.
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post #11 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 07:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan91 View Post

Well the idea is to upgrade her TV and somehow get digital HDTV channels as well as her existing cable at the same time. A switch would work, even if it has to be a more expensive wireless one, but the TV would have to be reprogrammed every time she switches. I'm wondering if any TVs exist in a 24" size or around there with dual cable/antenna inputs. That would solve the problem but I'm not sure they exist in that size.
 

You imply she has cable. Most cable companies have the local broadcasts available in HD. So do why you need to even set her up with an antenna? What size is her current TV? If she is using a 24" in TV now she'll need a HDTV larger than 24" since the dimensions are different.
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post #12 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan91 View Post

We used to have one with 2 analog tuners and that seems to create confusing terms. They make TVs with 2 coax inputs, one for plain old analog cable and another one specifically for a digital antenna.
As I stated before all you need is a new TV since the cable company currently comning out of the wall contains both the analog channels and the local(OTA) digital channel signals. Tv's now often only have one connectore and the signal is split between the analog and digital signals inside the TV.
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post #13 of 23 Old 07-06-2012, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan91 View Post
There are a few local channels broadcast in HD she is interested in that she doesn't get with cable.

 

If that's the case, and there are absolutely no TV's of your preferred size available now with dual inputs, then the best suggestions here would be in post #3. I'd also add that you can get a remote-controlled A/B switch from Radio Shack, then get a Harmony remote and program the switch into the equation, so it will automatically change inputs.

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post #14 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 10:20 AM
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Cable companies are not required to carry more then one sub-channel from each local broadcaster and they do not have to carry some low powered local channels.
Csn you provide the identification of one of the specific local HD channels she is interested in?
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post #15 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 12:43 PM
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Go to: www.silicondust.com/support/channels/

and enter your zipcode to see which subchannels your local cable company carries. They may have the subchannels your grandmother wants to watch. If so, you would not need to hook up an antenna to receive OTA stations.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Ultimately after considering the limitations we both agreed that sticking to cable would be best. She's getting a newer TV from a family member anyway. Thanks for the help.
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post #17 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 03:14 PM
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When you get the new TV (HDTV?), just upgrade to an HD capable cable box. Should be around $10 per month. You'll get analog and digital (HD) channels with no problem.
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 03:36 PM
 
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Might of helped if you told us what cable company grandma has.
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post #19 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 04:12 PM
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And that changes what? And how much?
If that's important... you should also ask the location.
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 04:53 PM
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If we knew her zip coce and the make/model of the TV that a family member is going to give her and the specific HD station she wants to watch we could tell if a cable box of any kind is required.
Since she is going to stay with cable it is probably best to not get anything else from the cable company until the new TV is installed and she what she can get at no additional cost.
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post #21 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 05:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

And that changes what? And how much?
If that's important... you should also ask the location.

When people ask for help with OTA and cable tv, LOCATION is actually pretty important. If he stated his grandma's location and cable company we could have told which channels they offered via clear QAM. We also could have helped him determine how easy or hard getting OTA in would be.
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post #22 of 23 Old 07-07-2012, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ADTech View Post

It's been my observation that TV sets with two coaxial inputs were stopgap models produced around 2004-2006 just as digital tuners were being implemented. I haven't seen a newer set with dual inputs after that.

TV's were produced with two coax inputs (Antenna and Cable) long before 2004, and at least as recently as late 2009. Maybe you're not very observant? wink.gif

Don't ever make the MISTAKE of buying a Samsung TV..
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normal on a two month old set..
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post #23 of 23 Old 07-08-2012, 04:17 AM
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I guess you guys missed my point.

She already has analog cable (which probably are soon to be converted to digital), so it's probably safe to assume that she has a "basic" subscription (not lifeline).
With that assumption, just by having a TV with an internal QAM tuner, she should continue to receive NTSC/analog channels as well as probably getting HD locals.

Now if there's one particular sub-channel that is not provided via digital cable and only via OTA, Granny didn't have it all these years and probably won't miss it. wink.gif
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