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Join Date: Nov 2000
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Well I was the lucky one that was struggling with a box that I thought had an 8VSB module. You have to see the back of the unit to appreciate how easily you can be fooled. With a UHF connector labeled "UHF", along with an antenna graphic, it sure looks like that's the UHF antenna input...it isn't.
At any rate, there are still some issues with the OTA reception. It appears my channel mapping is a bit incomplete here in the N.Y. area. ABC DT should map out to 7.1 & 7.2, but I only get 7.1. Additionally there are some audio problems with some OTA channels tuning in with picture but no sound. By using the channel up/channel down button, you can eventually get these channels to tune in with sound. I also noticed that ABC HD (a 720p channel) looked sharper on the Sony HD200 for reasons unknown. Both boxes were outputting 1080i and comparisons were made component to component. When I put both boxes in the 720p mode, the Sony still looked a bit crisper than the VOOM box.
Moving on to SD channels, I compared PQ of most SD channels tonight that showed up on both services (again component to component). Results were a bit mixed. Some channels looked a bit sharper with less color smear on VOOM and others looked a bit sharper on D*. I also noticed tonight that Discovery HD's "Extreme Machines" appeared a bit sharper on D* than it did on VOOM. It seemed that much of the material on this show was really upconverted than true HD and, as a result, didn't look stellar on either service. I still gave the edge to D* for this test. This is somewhat different than I saw last night. It's possible that D* eased up a bit on compression tonight as we've seen in the past. This is such a variable from day to day. This is why it's important to make these observations over a period of time.
In comparing Showtime HD tonight, it was really tough to pick them apart. I suspect in a blind A/B test, I'd guess right 50% of the time, meaning I'd call it a draw.
Eventually I may sit down and actually watch content! But I think it's important initially to make determinations on some of these technical issues before delving in further. BTW, I mentioned to VOOM that some SD channels have slightly improper aspect ratios. If your TV has little overscan, you'll notice that many of their SD channels don't quite have the right vertical height and, as a result, show thin black bars on the top and bottom. A handful of the SD channels are fine and show no evidence of this. If your TV has more overscan, you'll probably never notice this.
Forgot to mention, we had some pretty rough weather here tonight and I had no loss of signal on VOOM. There was also no loss of signal on D*. So I still can't say which service has less rain fade, they both made it through tonight. At the height of the storm, my VOOM signal dropped from 59 to 33 and my D* signal went from almost pinned to somewhat below the "normal" area on the Sony HD200.