Anyone Familiar with CTARM RF Modulators? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 06-18-2002, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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A Hughes E36 system is being installed this week as my primary stb. I am planning to configure a secondary Hughes non-HD DirectTV stb. I plan to modulate its signal through the home structured wiring. I came across a line of modulators named CTARM RF Digital Agile Modulators. Does anyone have any experience with these that can give me a review? Here is a link:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=1358974101

Thanks.

Randal
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post #2 of 15 Old 06-18-2002, 11:28 AM
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Not a bad price, especially for a stereo modulator. But not HDTV, so what's it doing in this forum? ;)

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post #3 of 15 Old 06-18-2002, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Sean,

For lack of a specific forum in which such a device would fit, my money was on the likelyhood that the communicators in this forum would have experience with such devices. Find a forum that fits this device better. I'll be glad to use it.

Randal
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post #4 of 15 Old 06-18-2002, 07:51 PM
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Relax ... I'm just raggin' on ya for fun. (Note the smiley?)

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post #5 of 15 Old 06-18-2002, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Hold on...let me get my shades on and face into the headwind, then I will be relaxed too:)
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post #6 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 07:37 AM
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Cam Man

I have a CTARM-4 in my system and it works very well.

I have all of my video sources located at the home theater. I feed 2 satellite systems, the DVD and a VCR into the CTARM-4 which has a coax output going to the primary distribution point for my house wiring.

At the primary distribution point, I combine this feed with the local cable feed that goes throughout the rest of the house. Two things are critical if you are going to do this. One make sure that you use a good RG6 coax with perfect connections. It took me a couple tries before I was able to get a perfect picture throughout the house. Second, if you are going to combine the signals with your local cable feed like I did you must pick channel numbers that do not conflict with your cable company. Although my cable stations stop in the 90's, for some reason I was only able to find a few channels above this number where I was able to transmit a solid signal.

Hope this helps. If you have any questions, let me know.

Ron
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post #7 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Ron,

Thanks much for your input on the CTARMs. I will be doing precisely the same thing from the principle equipment room, although since I am out of space in my equipment cabinet, the second sat stb will be in a different room. I will use a CTARM-1 there, sending the modulated signal back to the distribution hub.

Would you consider the picture quality of the CTARMS on par with Channel Plus and other modulators?

Thank again for sharing your experience.

Randal
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post #8 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 08:32 AM
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There is one thing to consider when using these (inexpensive) RFM's: The power output may vary significantly from model to model. Often, your distribution amplifier will work better with one vs. another.

In my case, I purchased a simple RFM which did not have sufficient power to match other signal levels coming into the distro amp (e.g. antenna). I solved this problem by discovering that may particular distro amp had a "security camera" input that was boosted more than the regular inputs, and the RFM worked fine there. When I added a second RFM, I got one with higher power output and it works fine in any input.

Here are the output specs for each:

1. Original RFM: +10 dBmv (not satisfactory with distr amp)
2. Second RFM: + 35 dBmv (good to go!)

Gerald C
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post #9 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Gerald,

Thanks for that tip. If you could provide the specs of the two you used, I could compare the ones I'm considering. Thanks.

Randal
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post #10 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 12:42 PM
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Randal

I don't think the CTARM-1 is STEREO. It may have the jacks but the output appears to be MONO according to the written description with the eBay ad. Stereo modulators nromally between $200 and $300 for a single channel model. I use a Cable Electronics Theater2002 dual channel stereo and video modulator. It cost about $350 from radioshack.com a few years ago. Good unit though.

Bill
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post #11 of 15 Old 06-19-2002, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cam Man
If you could provide the specs of the two you used, I could compare the ones I'm considering.
See my post above, as edited.

Gerald C
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post #12 of 15 Old 06-20-2002, 05:57 AM
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Cam man

I do not have any experience with other modulators. I'm pretty sure that the CTARM-4 is stereo.

Ron
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post #13 of 15 Old 06-20-2002, 07:53 AM
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Ron or Randal

True MTS or BTSC stereo modulators are very expensive because of the need to license the technology from the patent holders. That is why you will not find any Echostar or DirecTV receivers with a stereo channel 3/4 modulator output.

The only way you can produce a compatible stereo/video RF output to send to your MTS equipped TV sets is to buy and install a Stereo Video modulator that uses either MTS or BTSC technology.

While there are several manufacturers making Stereo Video Modulators, CableTronix is NOT one of them. Inexpensive modulators have left and right audio input jacks, however these are mixed together to produce a mono audio signal on the RF output.

Cable Electronics IT-2001 is the lowest price stereo modulator I could find at $167 for their single channel 3/4 unit at http://www.consumer-direct.com/detai...vpartno=IT2001 Their dual channel frequency agile unit (Theater2002G) can be found here: http://www.smarthome.com/7781.html

Channel Plus has three Stereo Modulators with 1, 2 and 4 BTSC compatible stereo output channels.

The bottom line: If you want to distribute the stereo and video outputs of your satellite receiver or DVD player to the RF input of MTS equipped TV receivers, you have to use a Stereo Modulator! It the ad does NOT say stereo it is NOT stereo.

Bill
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post #14 of 15 Old 06-20-2002, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent educational post, Bill. Thanks.

Randal
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post #15 of 15 Old 06-20-2002, 01:01 PM
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Thanks Bill---my mistake.

Sean Kelly / Independent Consultant

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