Samsung DTB-H260F ATSC tuner - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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HDTV Technical > Samsung DTB-H260F ATSC tuner
arxaw's Avatar arxaw 09:56 AM 11-22-2006
Have you tried changing the audio output in the menu?


windycitystyle's Avatar windycitystyle 10:46 AM 11-22-2006
yup. no luck
jmdomini's Avatar jmdomini 05:58 PM 11-22-2006
I suspect the audio on the channels in question is encrypted. At least on my local Comcast system everything but the locals are encrypted. My STB pickups up the video for most of the Standard package stuff, but the audio is encrypted. You'll notice that closed captioning is still present, so if you don't mind reading your TV you can still watch these channels.
Dmon4u's Avatar Dmon4u 08:42 PM 11-23-2006
Just got an E-Mail notice that it's avialable at JR again.
mikecazzx's Avatar mikecazzx 08:19 AM 11-24-2006
I picked up the Samsung on a whim to watch the thanksgiving football games in my home theater - they looked amazing.

I am using a very large vhf/uhf antennae from RatShack and I am about 40 miles out of Chicago.

My question is this - it seems the easiest option for OTA recording is the Tivo3. Will the Tivo3's internal reciever be as good as the Samsung?

Also - I am looking for rock solid recording with ease of use and scheduled recordings of OTA HD - is Tivo my only real option?

I would have to get the Tivo to find out its tuner is not as good as Samsungs and I would also hate to set up a recording option thats a pain in the rear like using a computer as a DVR etc.

I also have the ability to playback .ts files over my network.
wilsonsoohoo's Avatar wilsonsoohoo 12:24 PM 11-25-2006
I picked one up at the Circuit City in Roseville, CA. It was the last one at their store, but they said there are two at the CC at Arden Way in Sacramento. The BB at Arden Way also has one.
Doug G's Avatar Doug G 06:42 PM 11-25-2006
I just found out about this new receiver yesterday and read this entire thread with great interest last night. I've been searching for a replacement for my archaic Panny TU-HDS20 STB for several years. Despite some less than glowing comments here, I checked and eventually found one at a local CC which I bought today (their only one in stock.) I hope you'll all indulge me a bit since it's been a bit of a journey to get to this point.

I'm a "late" early adopter of HDTV. As I was current DirecTV subscriber, back in 2000 I decided to purchase a Panasonic TU-HDS20 to use with my new Pioneer Elite 510. The irony here is that I've only ever used it for OTA HD. I waited probably a year for all the issues with this box to be worked out and when it finally hit store shelves at $999 I waited until my local Tweeter had them discounted to $799. There weren't many choices available for STBs at that time, pretty much RCA DTC-100, a Panny TU-DST50/51 (if you could even find one), and the HDS20. No way was I paying $2k for Pioneers plug-in HD tuner which was mediocre at best. Several years ago, and after many antenna/pre-amp upgrades, in an effort to improve my reception I took a chance and purchased a TU-DST52 (OTA only) from 1-call. For now, suffice to say its been sitting, practically new, boxed in my basement for 3+ years.

But after reading this thread all those years of dealing with lousy reception, constant reboots, quirky slow menus, and returns for HW/SW upgrades finally boiled over and I decided to try this one out.

I'm in New England, so the terrain is very uneven, lots of trees and of course, weather. I'm on the north facing slope of a valley, about 1/3 way from the top, which is roughly 25-30 miles from the towers which are due south. As if that weren't enough there's a several hundred foot high "hill" directly in my LOS (if you can even call it that!) so all I get are reflections and multipath signals. Currently running a CM4228 in the attic using a Winegard AP-4700 19dB moderate gain pre-amp, all mounted on a CM rotator. Even with all this setup to say my reception is challenging is an understatement. If air traffic gets routed so its flying over my house, even at several thousand feet, it creates enough multi-path interference that the HDS20 drops out. Wind and rain? Fogettaboutit. If I had a dollar for every time my wife nagged me to just "switch to satellite already!" because of the constant dropouts....

The DST52 I tried out several years back offered no real improvement in reception capability for me and was an utter disappointment in terms of PQ. A quick A/B comparo with the HDS20 revealed a horrendous amount of over-sharpening and lack of high-frequency response which made the picture lose all its three dimensionality and did horrible things to fine detail. Call it a $369 failure. (BTW, if anyone wants it, I'm open to any and all reasonable offers.) So back in the box it went and I returned to using my HDS20 as my OTA receiver, bugs and all.

I thought about trying another STB, but recently there haven't been many around as all new HDTVs are shipping with integrated tuners. Dual 8VSB/QAM interested me, especially after installing my folks new Panasonic plasma and seeing that the bandwidth limited QAM stuff actually looked pretty good. (But then again, it is only a 37" set so that will help out in that area.)

So when I returned home today I hooked it up alongside my HDS20 and began some critical viewing and evaluation. Please keep in mind I've had this unit for a grand total of about 8 hours at this point so my observations here are based on only my use in that time period.

Reception - To say I've been amazed would be putting it mildly. The tuner in this unit blows away the HDS20. Stations I could only receive before if my antenna vector was perfect (within 2-3 degress) now hold lock +/- 40 degrees!! Signal strength meter is a plus, HDS20 has none. It even picked up every station out of NH with my antenna facing the Needham towers (due south)!! Weather conditions are very good today (no wind or precip) and I've had no dropouts to speak of at all. The HDS20 on the other hand has been its usual finicky self, even more so being 3dB down on signal due to the splitter. But at the same signal levels the Samsung has been flawless. The only issue I've had was early on the box did hang when I tuned to a sub-carrier on one particular channel and required a reset to clear, but I was unable to reproduce this. As one previous poster commented, it won't pick up any QAM channels from my local cable operator but I'm not to sure about their availability in my town. I tried all three cable modes but something tells me the fact that no unscrambled channels above cable ch 25 are available is the reason. Or could be they're using the high band and this box can't tune those frequencies. I need to do more investigation here, I've got no real experience with QAM short of using the auto-program functionality which "just worked" on the Panny plasma at my folks house. (Incidentally, their cable system does deliver ch 26-125 unscrambled so now I really wonder if this is it. A quick check of cable frequency mappings would seem to indicate this is the problem, I get nothing beyone ch 23 - 217MHz.) But the OTA reception is so good if it keeps up I'll be happy to just use that. Besides, I found using an A/B coax splitter decreased the sensitivity enough that some stations wouldn't scan and its a pain to switch back and forth anyway. If I can get it working for QAM that will just be gravy, certainly not returning it with such superior OTA reception.

Menu/GUI - Anything would be an improvement over the HDS20 here. I've found it to be perfectly usable. Never had Dish-anything so its new to me. Response is good and things are nicely organized. Does what it needs to do.

Features - I like the aspect control, although as others noted I wish it would be smart enough to memorize a mode for each source signal type. (480i SD in full doesn't make much sense.) I'm ambivalent about the volume control, although glad I found it since it explained why my audio was sooooo loooow, but I do like the mute feature. Saves me a macro on the Pronto to mute every possible audio device I could be using. Freeze is neat, but I wonder what this will ever be useful for. Info provides more info than the HDS20. I'm also intrigued by the guide, my current receiver is probably so out of spec in terms of PSIP SW that I had no idea stations were actually sending out scheduling info beyond the current program! That said, some do still report "No information." Boot time seems a little on the long side, about 7-8 seconds, but no big deal.

Picture quality - Ah, at last we arrive at that great conundrum which has dogged me until this very day. You see, even though the HDS20 sucks at pretty much everything, the one area where it completely excels is analog component video. At $1k MSRP in y2k, this was a high-end unit and it was designed accordingly. Digital interfaces hadn't yet been standardized or even offered on HD-ready sets. The HDS20 was designed and marketed at the early adopter videophile. It uses a custom reference design video ASIC. It incorporates a high-end scaler capable of any of 6 different modes using any input format. It even includes an option to use RGBHV if to be connected to a high-end RPTV or CRT projector. With an ISF'd Elite 510 and the HDS20, when I do get HD reception, I've been basking in reference quality HD component video for the last 6+ years. As I've watched the digital interconnect revolution grow at astonishing pace, I've been resigning myself to the fact that I'd probably never get to replace the HDS20 until I ended up replacing my 510 since quality analog component video just wasn't available in consumer grade video gear these days - it simply wasn't needed. The DST52 proved that. But this is where I was pleasantly surprised by the Samsung unit. When I saw that ATI was at the heart of this unit, I held out some guarded optimism that the analog video quality would be very good since their video cards are constantly reviewed as having some of the best video quality available today for PCs. I wasn't disappointed. While not able to match the exacting fine detail of the HDS20, it does offer about 90% of the PQ at nearly 20% of what I originally paid for the HDS20. There's no excessive EE like the DST52 and while there does seem to be some slight high-frequency rolloff which dulls the finest details ever so slightly by comparison, by no means is it poor in any regard. Color is quite good. So, not on par with the HDS20 but a very admirable performer indeed. Of course, if you're planning to use the HDMI output, you really don't care about any of this analog video stuff....

Sorry to ramble on a bit, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to give a little perspective. Its always the negative or not-so-perfect stuff which seems to get emphasis around these parts, and that's not a bad thing. But I hope my experience helps illustrate how good these devices have actually gotten in the last 5 years. I got more functionality, 1000% better reception, and 90% of the PQ for about 20% of what I originally paid for the "reference quality" HDS20 only 6yrs ago, and that's saying something!
ekb's Avatar ekb 06:52 PM 11-25-2006
Liked your story Doug.

Ed
Dmon4u's Avatar Dmon4u 09:48 PM 11-25-2006
Thanks for the review !
akron05's Avatar akron05 10:40 PM 11-25-2006
Anyone else noticed some GREAT DXing last few days?
Doug G's Avatar Doug G 05:32 AM 11-26-2006
I forgot to mention to mention above that at the first CC I went to looking for the unit, the presumably senior sales associate in the displays area was actually surfing AVS looking for information and comments on a new display they had just received. This was encouraging!

One last thing about the Samsung unit, the boot time is fairly long at about 7-8s. I haven't measured it but its considerably longer than my previous unit. No big deal, though.
rrroae's Avatar rrroae 08:22 AM 11-26-2006
I've been following the OTR threads for about 6 months and thought I'd finally register to post my observations. Unfortunately, me experience has not been as good as Doug's.

Where to start. Ok, first tried going the SDTV route. Sanyo 27" SDTV was my first attempt at receiving digital OTR signals. Using a Radio Shack 190 VHF/UHF antenna and a 25db Radio Shack amp(all new), I was able to see my first digital OTR signal. After watching fuzzy analog for years, I was shocked at the picture quality. I was able to get 2 digital signals in the morning until about 11 am and 3 channels after 8 pm. This gave me hope.

I went on to purchase 27" SDTV's made by Sony, ILO, RCA, Emerson(LCD), Sanyo(LCD) and RCA. Ironically, the best digital OTR reception I got was with the cheapest TV, the 27" ILO. It pulled in signals better and longer than any of the other TV's I tried.

After countless hours reading topics here on antennas and OTR stb's, I bought a huge Wineguard UYHF/VHF antenna, along with their 25 db amp. The antenna gave me marginally better analog reception but the wineguard amp made a huge difference from the Radio Shack model. From here I bought my 1st otr stb, a Pro Brand 3150. The first thing I noticed was how much later into the evening it took to get a signal. 2 weeks later it went back.

Next after unsuccessfully attempting to get an LG 4200, I was told by the owner of my local mom and pop store, how sensitive the Panasonic stb's were. Bought a Panny hd-52 off Ebay and tried it out. Yes it was sensitive but only in picking up bad otr signals.

After trying all these different option, I thought I would never be able to get reliable otr digital signals until I saw Samsung was coming out with a supposed 5th gen stb that utilized the Gemini chip. Waiting patiently, I read all the speculation concerning this revolutionary stb and how it was going to defeat everything from multipath to week signals. After countless calls to Best Buy and CC
I finally got the 1st one they had. Rushed home and got ready for the big event.
Before I hooked up the Samsung, I checked out the reception with the Panasonic so I could do a comparison. What I found was the Panasonic would see digital signals that the Samsung wouldn't detect. They wouldn't come in but they were still detected. On the other hand, the Samsung would detect stations I had never previously detected but they wouldn't come in either. The Samsung would show a signal from 68 that would go up to 94% for a brief second and then drop out.
It would not lock onto the signal until late at night, the same as my Panasonic, with no discernible difference. This was significantly worse performance than the cheap 27" ILO TV I had previously tried and thru my experience, was the most able to pull in digital signals. I know that a TV with a built in digital tuner will outperform a stb but still disappointed. Also of note, the stb's were run thru a 14 Sylvania TV and the only way to show the menu screen on the Samsung is to go from the Samsung component video to the Sylvania composite video. Also, I am on a S facing slope 88 miles to my stations so my situation is iffy at best. Just want to let people who have long distances/sensitivity issues know that in my opinion, the Samsung is probably not the cure to your problems. Sorry for the long post but I've really enjoyed this forum and felt I should finally contribute something
Rick0725's Avatar Rick0725 08:37 AM 11-26-2006
Doug.

Ducting has been rather strong in your area (and here also) since mid last week. It will settle down midweek (Wednesday).

http://www.dxinfocentre.com/tropo.html

Check your reception again then when ducting is less of a factor and more of an indication of everyday reception.
jtbell's Avatar jtbell 09:19 AM 11-26-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrroae View Post

I am on a S facing slope 88 miles to my stations so my situation is iffy at best.

That's for sure! I have the same antenna as you, and the only station that I can receive reliably at 80+ miles is on top of a 5000+ foot mountain (I'm down in the piedmont at about 700' elevation). All other stations in that range come in only sometimes at night, when atmospheric conditions are favorable.

You might improve your reception sufficiently by switching to a top-line UHF only antenna like the Channel Master 4228 or Antennas Direct XG91, which I think provide about 4-5 more dB in signal strength than the Radio Shack. I've been thinking about doing this myself, to improve some of those marginal stations. It hasn't been a pressing problem for me, though, because I can reliably get all the stations from my primary city, and the marginal stations are all from other cities.
rrroae's Avatar rrroae 09:39 AM 11-26-2006
Jtbell, Switched from the Radio Shack 190 to the Wineguard 7084. The only marked improvement came from using the Wineguard amp vs the Radio Shack amp. Already tried the 4228 with no difference in reception. Is the Direct XG91 an improvement over the Wineguard 7084? Are there channel Master amps better than the Wineguards?

Besides a good antenna/amp setup, I think people who live in fringe areas would be better served using TV's with built in ATSC tuner's than seperate STB's. I'm on solar so I think I'll have to wait until they come out with 20" TV's with integrated ATSC tuners or I may give the mythical 5th gen LG stb tuner a try if they ever appear(stand alone version).
Davinleeds's Avatar Davinleeds 09:41 AM 11-26-2006
Getting a signal over a hill/mtn at 40 miles is even difficult for this Samsung, but it locks in a little better than the PB3150 I have, over level land - no problems. Better at night, diffraction/refraction, the atmosphere cools off. Thanks Rick0725 for that bookmark. BTY, I'm getting that XG91 you have recommended on other posts. Of the 4 stb's, this samsung is better. The next step is an antenna sweetspot.
rrroae's Avatar rrroae 09:50 AM 11-26-2006
Davinleeds, would you mind posting the results of the XG91 if you get it? I've tried the Radio Shack 190, Wineguard 7084 and Channel Master 4228 and am looking for something a little better.
Davinleeds's Avatar Davinleeds 09:54 AM 11-26-2006
Sure, It's in transit. Since I'll be using the Samsung, I'll post here.
Doug G's Avatar Doug G 08:14 AM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick0725 View Post

Ducting has been rather strong in your area (and here also) since mid last week. It will settle down midweek (Wednesday). Check your reception again then when ducting is less of a factor and more of an indication of everyday reception.

Great link! Yes, I definitely will. The experience at my present location for the past 5yrs is that weather (wind/rain) and leaves on trees (which I can't get above) tend to affect my reception using the HDS20 more than anything else. With both boxes simultaneously hooked up to the my AP4700/CM4228 over the weekend, even with the better DX'ing, the differences were remarkable. But that's probably to be expected going from a gen1 to gen5 tuner.

There's supposed to be some nasty weather moving in late week and combined with the decreased DX forecast, I agree it should give me a worst case scenario test. I'll be sure to post results!
John Mason's Avatar John Mason 09:23 AM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrroae View Post

.
After countless hours reading topics here on antennas and OTR stb's, I bought a huge Wineguard UYHF/VHF antenna, along with their 25 db amp. The antenna gave me marginally better analog reception but the wineguard amp made a huge difference from the Radio Shack model.

Interesting tale. Thanks for the description. Couldn't help but wondering if you tried the maximum practical antenna elevation; suppose, but not sure, that a rotatable antenna wouldn't make much difference for extreme ranges.

Believe it or not, you're getting better reception than I am only ~10 blocks from mid-town Manhattan transmitters. I rely on signals reflected from an adjacent building, so multipath rejection is key here. Can't tune any HD signals on my year-2000 RPTV's built-in tuner, but have a wide selection of cable TV. Before the World Trade tower disaster, could tune several distant HD stations. -- John
DonB2's Avatar DonB2 01:07 PM 11-27-2006
rrroae,


"Also, I am on a S facing slope 88 miles to my stations so my situation is iffy at best"

So the stations are to the North of you on the other side of the mountain?

"I know that a TV with a built in digital tuner will outperform a stb but still disappointed. "

Really ? I never thought this to be the case. Always figured the built in ATSC would be a older version or a version with less features and quality.

-DonB2
arxaw's Avatar arxaw 01:16 PM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrroae View Post

...I think people who live in fringe areas would be better served using TV's with built in ATSC tuner's than seperate STB's.

Being integrated or standalone is not why certain tuners are better than others. It's the chipsets used in the tuner that make the difference. Generally, the newer the tuner, the better.
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski 01:17 PM 11-27-2006
It would be interesting to see someone actually do some comparison testing. I have on occasion read in reviews of expensive displays some mention of the built-in digital tuner's overall reception abilities, but not really in the cheaper HD and SD sets.

I also kind of believed that at this stage of the game, TV tuners were probably inferior to standalone tuners in general, since your paying a premium for the separate box, and it's a specialty item. Other than the chipsets, the other parts to the tuner may be cheaper or corners may have been cut. Depends on the quality of the TV in general, I suppose. Somewhere down the road they'll probably catch up though, I would think - like when they are included in all sets, and they are making no more standalones.
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski 01:32 PM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Generally, the newer the tuner, the better.

At least, up till the 4th gen. chips, for sure. I've heard talk of the 5th giving up some sensitivity at distance reception in order to be better with multipath (may have even been mentioned at one point in this thread - I'm too lazy to look now). Don't know yet how true that is, but I heard that one of the reasons it's been taking so long to be released on a larger scale so far is that they have brought the design back to the drawing board just because of that.

I seem to remember a couple of posts around here where people actually compared the two and said that generally, the 4th gen. came out ahead at distance.
DonB2's Avatar DonB2 02:06 PM 11-27-2006
I remember asking awhile back if there were any improved STB OTA ATSC tuners and I was told the LG was an improvement over the SAMSUNG SIR T450, but the LG was a built into TV only model. So I guess it can be true. But now I see that LG will be coming out with a STB OTA ATSC DVD combo unit.

I do know that my built in Pioneer 43 inch Plasma ATSC tuner is nothing great. It really suffers with Multipath issues. I won't even talk about its lousy TV show guide that takes many minutes to build and the second you touch any key it loses the guide and you have to have it rebuilt all over again.

By the way I drove 1200 miles last week and picked up one of the new Samsungs in NY. Could not find any locally here in Raleigh , NC but just happend to see one on the shelf in Bingo NY while I was there over Thanksgiving.

-DonB2
rrroae's Avatar rrroae 05:10 PM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I also kind of believed that at this stage of the game, TV tuners were probably inferior to standalone tuners in general, since your paying a premium for the separate box, and it's a specialty item. Other than the chipsets, the other parts to the tuner may be cheaper or corners may have been cut. Depends on the quality of the TV in general, I suppose. Somewhere down the road they'll probably catch up though, I would think - like when they are included in all sets, and they are making no more standalones.

It would only make sense that a stand alone stb would be of higher quality than a TV with an integrated ATSC tuner. What I can't explain though, is why did a cheap $207 27"ILO TV not only outperform comparable Sony, RCA and Sanyo SDTV's but also hands down outperform my stand alone Pro Brand 3150 and Samsung 260 stb's. I also kept each unit for at least 2 weeks to compensate for bad atmospheric conditions. In my experience, all the SDTV's except the RCA outperformed these stb's for my situation(long range, multipath). If the ILO wasn't such a lousy TV besides its digital reception, I would have kept it.

I'm trying my best to get even 1 digital signal reliably. Thats all I need and I think if I keep up to date with this site eventually I'll work it out. I know my situation is only relevant to a small segment so if you guys feel that my info could confuse or lead people in the wrong direction, please let me know. Everything I have learned
about hdtv reception has been from all of you, so I want to help not hinder.
SnellKrell's Avatar SnellKrell 05:25 PM 11-27-2006
In my experience, it's all in the chip!!!

Until recently, my over-the-air reception was picked up using the highly directional Silver Sensor indoor antenna. The Silver Sensor fed my Sony SAT HD300 DirecTV receiver.

I live in the canyons of Manhattan with an apartment surrounded by taller buildings.

The Sony, with a 4th generation chip, has done what I have believed to be an admirable job dealing with all the multipath problems I have.

About three months ago, I installed a Sharp LC-37D90U HD set with an unadvertised 5th generation chip.

I've split the signal from the Silver Sensor antenna to the two separate tuners.

The difference is extraordinary!!!

On those occasions when the Sony can't produce a signal or a stable one, the Sharp tuner locks on and provides a rock-solid picture!

So, I vote for chips being more important than if the tuner is a STB or built into a television set.
sungek's Avatar sungek 07:32 PM 11-27-2006
I just recently got this tuner and the reception on it is great. However, the sound seems to come in abnormally low compared to my last tuner. I used to watch TV on a volume setting of 30-35 and now i have to get to 70-75 to get the same result. Is anybody running in to any similar issues and is there any way to fix it?
Davinleeds's Avatar Davinleeds 07:53 PM 11-27-2006
Volume is lower than other stb's . I have to set box at 90% then use tv remote.
gadzby's Avatar gadzby 10:38 PM 11-27-2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by sungek View Post

However, the sound seems to come in abnormally low compared to my last tuner. I used to watch TV on a volume setting of 30-35 and now i have to get to 70-75 to get the same result. Is anybody running in to any similar issues and is there any way to fix it?

Out of the box, the volume control setting on my 260 was much less than 100%. Did you try boosting the 260 audio output level using the remote?
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