RF HDTV Modulator for DVHS VCR with built in ATSC tuner - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I know DVHS is dead technology but being dead technology enthusiast, I have recently obtained brand new JVC HM-DT100U VCR with built in ATSC tuner. Lots of fun with playing back pre-recorded DVHS movies, etc., recording through Firewire or recording from antenna. It's an interesting exploration of the technology that was already doomed at the time it was perfected, something I never had a chance to use at it was current and available on the market.

One last exercise I wanted to go through is to try external HD modulator to do some recording through ATSC tuner as alternative source to FTA broadcast. I went through several threads about such modulators but they all seem to be outdated, and was wondering whether there is reasonably priced single channel HD modulator out there capable of producing RF signal compatible with ATSC tuner that could be fed into my JVC DT100U unit. Reasonably priced meaning it should not cost more than $300-$500.

Any suggestions regarding this are very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 12:52 PM
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A $500 ATSC modulator does not exist. Channel Plus does make one (Channel Plus 5415HD), but it's more that your looking for.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #3 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for reply. Yes I have stumbled upon this modulator but was not able to confirm this is indeed ATSC, not QAM type. Amazon $609 price tag is acceptable as long as it produces ATSC signal.

Does it?

One other thought I had was to use PC graphics card equipped with HD ATSC compatible RF output. But nothing I could find googling. Anyone heard about such card?
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post #4 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

A $500 ATSC modulator does not exist. Channel Plus does make one (Channel Plus 5415HD), but it's more that your looking for.

I just Googled 5415HD and price and the first page I accessed had that product for $609+, but I suspect that what esdwa wants is an 8VSB modulator, since the specs page I found for his tuner says it will record broadcast HDTV but otherwise needs a cable box.

There is a consensus that there will never be an affordable 8VSB modulator available at least until the patent on 8VSB modulation runs out.
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post #5 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 01:33 PM
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Linear's Channel Plus 5415HD only outputs HD Digital Clear QAM (NOT ATSC) signal, which may or may not be compatible with your HDTV:
http://www.linearcorp.com/pdf/literature/5415HD_Lit.pdf

Fol. is about as close as you're going to get at your desired price point...LOW-REZ only ATSC Modulator:
http://www.markertek.com/CATV-Headend-Interface/RF-Modulators/Thor-Fiber/H-VQAM.xhtml

Call Thor re price for H-HD-8VSB, which has usual assortment of HD inputs and ATSC RF Modulator output :
http://thorbroadcast.com/sklepodm-220/produkt-139
Also verify that they support both 720p and 1080i, since I've seen products that only do the first.


FYI: Although I have no experience with it, USED Sencore HDTV998 ATSC Modulator cards for PC's are readily available for under $20:
http://www.sencore.com/product/8vsb-modulator-card#.UbI3_px_bf0
http://www.sencore.com/sites/default/files/HDTV998E.pdf
Be sure you get the SDK (Software Developer Kit) with Drivers and other associated Software....
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post #6 of 155 Old 06-07-2013, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Linear's Channel Plus 5415HD only outputs HD Digital Clear QAM (NOT ATSC) signal, which may or may not be compatible with your HDTV:
Guess that's what I get for not thoroughly reading the spec sheet, isn't it? wink.gif

Plus, it only does 720p.

CIAO!

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post #7 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Linear's Channel Plus 5415HD only outputs HD Digital Clear QAM (NOT ATSC) signal, which may or may not be compatible with your HDTV:
http://www.linearcorp.com/pdf/literature/5415HD_Lit.pdf

Fol. is about as close as you're going to get at your desired price point...LOW-REZ only ATSC Modulator:
http://www.markertek.com/CATV-Headend-Interface/RF-Modulators/Thor-Fiber/H-VQAM.xhtml

Call Thor re price for H-HD-8VSB, which has usual assortment of HD inputs and ATSC RF Modulator output :
http://thorbroadcast.com/sklepodm-220/produkt-139
Also verify that they support both 720p and 1080i, since I've seen products that only do the first.


FYI: Although I have no experience with it, USED Sencore HDTV998 ATSC Modulator cards for PC's are readily available for under $20:
http://www.sencore.com/product/8vsb-modulator-card#.UbI3_px_bf0
http://www.sencore.com/sites/default/files/HDTV998E.pdf
Be sure you get the SDK (Software Developer Kit) with Drivers and other associated Software....

Thanks a lot for great input. Not sure where you got $20 for HDTV998E pc card because it sells for $1600. Twenty, fifty dollars pc cards sold in ebay are all tuners not modulators.
Seems like the idea of getting even single channel atsc modulator make sense only if you want to broadcast around the building like store or other business. Spending two grand just to get stuff recorded is just too expensive.
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post #8 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 08:54 AM
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Last time I checked, it was about $18K to produce an ATSC HD signal, by the time you buy a (cheap) HDTV Encoder, and the ATSC Modulator and RF Up-converter.

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post #9 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 01:00 PM
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Sencore HDTV998 is an ATSC RF MODULATOR which requires an MPEG2 input data stream:
http://www.sencore.com/sites/default/files/HDTV998E.pdf

There's a bunch for sale on ebay at give away prices:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=SENCORE+HDTV998+ATSC%2FNTSC+Video+Editing+Card+DELL+X1828&_sacat=See-All-Categories

I haven't checked them out;, but Sencore HDTV998 drivers appear to be found here..note that it was apparently carried as a Dell Computer product:
http://www.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?driverid=1374068&action=filfo
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post #10 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 03:58 PM
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For $6.36 plus the free driver software download, why don't you buy one and tell us how it works, or better yet, package them up and sell them as a unit for say $500 each?

The last time someone reported here that there was someone selling off $7,000 Sencore 8VSB modulators on eBay for $150 each, Buy-it-now, they had inputs that no one could source. I would have bought all of them if only someone had come up with a way to make them display my surveillance camera video.
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post #11 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 04:30 PM
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The ones on eBay look to be the 998C, not the 998E. The 998C only outputs ATSC on 14-21. (It does NTSC on 3-13, according to the spec sheet.) http://www.sencore.com/product/8vsbntsc-dual-modulator-card

That said, I just pushed the buy button on one. We'll see what, if anything, I can do with it.

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post #12 of 155 Old 06-08-2013, 08:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

That said, I just pushed the buy button on one. We'll see what, if anything, I can do with it.

- Trip

Now, there is two of us. Lets share what we will find out.
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post #13 of 155 Old 06-09-2013, 09:44 AM
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The contractual impediment that seemed to explain the fact that no one was manufacturing consumer grade 8VSB modulators was that, since 8VSB is patented, anyone wanting to make an 8VSB modulator had to incur the cost of buying an initial license in addition to paying the marginal product licensing royalty. The per unit royalty must be fairly small, since TV manufacturers are profitably selling small TVs with 8VSB tuners in them for $80, but I have heard figures of $25,000 and $50,000 for the initial license, which a licensor really has to charge to assure that licensees are substantial and serious, as well as to defray the cost of getting them up to speed on the proprietary technology. Since QAM is royalty free and is in fact a better modulation format for cable distribution, there just didn't seem to be any prospect of any manufacturer being able to sell enough units of an 8VSB consumer-grade modulation product to make it worth entering that market.

But in Sencore's case, they already are licensed to manufacture 8VSB products, so insofar as their pricing of their 8VSB products is concerned, the biggest factor that has heretofore held up their prices is that since they manufacture a grade of product used only by broadcast industry professionals, any product they develop will only sell a few thousand units at the most. Nevertheless, those 8VSB products that they did manufacture would eventually become available used or as closeouts at prices that are affordable to consumers and that may now be the case.

So then the remaining obstacle to using a Sencore manufactured 8VSB modulator in a consumer application is the availability of a suitable, compatible MPEG encoded, unencrypted transport stream. A decade ago, knowledgeable forum members here were insisting that it costs at least $10,000 in that era for existing encoders that had that capability. But you know the cost rules of thumb with technology, and a few years ago, the cost of producing a component-to-MPEG2 encoder had dropped to the point where ZeeVee could offer an integrated MPEG2 encoder/QAM modulator for a little over a thousand dollars per channel, and now they are commonly available for half that price.

I don't know the technical aspects of the encrypted MPEG streams that are processed within PC-based recording equipment, but in order for them to be suitable to serve as an input to an 8VSB modulator for unencrypted distribution, I'd say that they would have to have had their encryption stripped and include sufficient ATSC channelization information such that a consumer TV could recognize them as TV channels. If the MPEG stream in PC based systems is never in a suitable form, then maybe some very enterprising engineer could see if there is a "break-out" point in an off-the-shelf ZeeVee or ChannelPlus product where a suitable, "8VSB modulatable" stream can be highjacked.
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post #14 of 155 Old 06-12-2013, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Where can we find drivers for PCI Sencore 998C card? Anybody?
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post #15 of 155 Old 06-12-2013, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esdwa View Post

Where can we find drivers for PCI Sencore 998C card? Anybody?

You might as well try contacting Sencore directly.
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post #16 of 155 Old 06-12-2013, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esdwa View Post

Now, there is two of us. Lets share what we will find out.

I gots a bunch of HDTV 996 player-servers laying around if you want one Trip..smile.gif

I also have some ATSC987's, but will keep those.

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post #17 of 155 Old 06-12-2013, 06:00 PM
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I got a hold of the software from Sencore, esdwa. Shoot me an e-mail or PM and I'll send you the link.

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post #18 of 155 Old 06-14-2013, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome. Thanks, I look forward to install and try my card tonight.
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post #19 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 12:46 PM
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So I got my card and stuck it in my computer. I then successfully fed in a 30-second long transport stream file from WOOT-LD in Chattanooga and it came out and decoded on my HDHR tuner. So the card itself definitely works.

Now I just need to find the time to try to tinker with getting it to run with a live transport stream...

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post #20 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I got it installed as well just an hour ago. Driver 7021 installed successfully as well. But I do not see Demo Player in zip file.

How did you feed your card? What software can be used for this? Can't wait to test it on my ATSC tuner equipped HDTV. Let me know.
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post #21 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 02:11 PM
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Most (?) Video Capture Cards have on-board MPEG2 Encoder to save in MPEG2 format (otherwise they would quickly fill up your hard drive)...(usually?) embedded into the same TS (Transport Stream) format that D-VHS uses for Recording via both ATSC and Firewire inputs. Try fol. search engine:
http://www.videohelp.com/capturecards

Some will also save in MPEG4 (H.264) and perhaps other (DIVX) formats, (usually?) within Transport Stream that you might want to consider using for local captures....but is incompatible with D-VHS.
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post #22 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, the Board1089app works under XP but it shows error message about Invalid Playlist. When I try to edit it using Playlist Editor button, I get

Runtime error 372. Failed to load control \CommonDialog from COMDLG32.OCX.Your version of COMDLG32.OCX may be outdated. Make sure you are using the version of the control that was provided with your application.

Ideas?
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post #23 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 04:40 PM
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Do you have a copy of COMDLG32.OCX on your system? If so, what's the version number when you look at the properties? Mine is 6.0.84.18.

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post #24 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I do have it but how can I check it's version? It is binary file.

BTW,
I read HDTV998.chm file which seems to be help document. Based on this I manually created playlist file according to help, for example:

Filename=C:\Playfile\file1.trp
Starting=0
Ending=100
Program Index=0
Clip Count=1

and saved it in Playlist0.ini file in the same folder where Board1089app is located. But this time, when I run this app, it shows error message: Missing File: Board1089.dll while this file is present and seems to be ok when running app with playlist file missing. After pressing OK for this error message, I get another message: Shut down system and put a HDTV998 card in. After which application starts but with no Card0 listed on Select Card dialog.

Whenever I run app without playlist file in folder, application starts and I see Card0 listed in Select Card dialog.

I appreciate suggestions.
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post #25 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 05:04 PM
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You should be able to right-click and go to properties and I think it will give you the version number in one of the tabs.

I haven't tried to manually create a play list. But I've seen an error about not having a 998 card when I had another instance of the software already running.

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post #26 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 05:12 PM
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Doesn't the original material enter into your system in encrypted MPEG2 form. Doesn't it have some form of copy protection incorporated into it? Once it is decompressed from the MPEG2, what is the data format called? Is it ASI or something else? In that decompressed form, has the encryption been stripped?
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post #27 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip in VA View Post

You should be able to right-click and go to properties and I think it will give you the version number in one of the tabs.

I haven't tried to manually create a play list. But I've seen an error about not having a 998 card when I had another instance of the software already running.

- Trip

Can you email me PM with your version of .ocx file? Thanks
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post #28 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 05:39 PM
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Surely card is limited to Atsc rates, if one could tune a "feed" with a technotrend or similar DVD-$/$2card and forward the stream....that would be neat. Go for it trip, as I have a few around.

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post #29 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
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HDTV998C ATSC only is exactly what I was looking for and $6 price tag was unbeatable.
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post #30 of 155 Old 06-16-2013, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

Doesn't the original material enter into your system in encrypted MPEG2 form. Doesn't it have some form of copy protection incorporated into it? Once it is decompressed from the MPEG2, what is the data format called? Is it ASI or something else? In that decompressed form, has the encryption been stripped?

??? You've lost me here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by esdwa View Post

Can you email me PM with your version of .ocx file? Thanks

Done.
Quote:
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Surely card is limited to Atsc rates, if one could tune a "feed" with a technotrend or similar DVD-$/$2card and forward the stream....that would be neat. Go for it trip, as I have a few around.

Yes, this is exactly what I want to do with the OETA satellite feed. It's already prepared for ATSC, just need a way to modulate it! smile.gif

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