Using an American TV in Sweden (ATSC and DVB-T) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 62 Old 02-06-2008, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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I posted this yesterday but it was lost...To the person who left the detailed response could you please post a summary of what you wrote. Thanks (and of course any other input from people)


I am looking at buying a tv in the US and would like to use it in Sweden where they use DVB-T. Does anyone know if this is possible and, if so, how?
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post #2 of 62 Old 02-06-2008, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregge View Post

I posted this yesterday but it was lost...To the person who left the detailed response could you please post a summary of what you wrote. Thanks (and of course any other input from people)


I am looking at buying a tv in the US and would like to use it in Sweden where they use DVB-T. Does anyone know if this is possible and, if so, how?

'Twas me I think.

Basically - you HAVE to make sure any TV you buy in the US is compatible with the following European signal formats :

576/50i (the Swedish - and European - SD and DVD TV standard)
720/50p and 1080/50i (The European HD standards.)

There are no PAL analogue broadcasts in Sweden any more - they switched off analogue last year.

Any modern US HD TV will be compatible with 480/60i (the US SD TV standard) and 720/60p and 1080/60i HDTV. However these are not used for broadcast TV in Europe - though our HD-DVD and BluRay players DO output 720/60p or 1080/60i.

Your US TV MUST support 50Hz video - converting 50Hz TV to 60Hz will not be cheap or good quality. (A decent frame rate converter will cost a lot more than a new TV...)

You don't need a DVB-T tuner to be built in to your US TV - you won't find (m)any TVs on sale in the US with one anyway.

However DVB-T (and -C for cable and -S/S2 for satellite) set-top boxes are on widespread sale and SD models are peanuts. (Cheapest DVB-T box in the UK is now less than US$40)

Region-free DVD players are on widespread sale - so you shouldn't have any problem getting a player that plays both European and US discs. Your US player is likely to only play US discs - though it may be region-free AND multi-standard.

You may well still be better off buying a TV in Europe - as the "HD Ready" standard used near-universally here ensures that any "HD Ready" licensed TV is guaranteed to work with all widespread US and European SD, ED and HD formats via both component and HDMI or DVI+HDCP.

I've just returned from a trip to Sweden and have quite a lot of literature on their Pay-TV platforms - cable, satellite, OTA (which is partially pay-TV) and IP. If you want more specific info - please feel free to PM me.

By the way - if you move to Sweden and want a lot of English TV you will be able to get the main UK TV networks via satellite with a modest dish as Sweden is on the edge of the UK/Ireland beam they are broadcast on. (Stockholm gets them with an 80cm dish) BBC and ITV are free-to-air with no subscription - as are CNN International, Sky News etc.
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post #3 of 62 Old 03-13-2008, 09:46 AM
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Thank you for the post.

I have a few questions and would greatly appreciate if you can reply to them one by one. Thank you in advance.

1) As far as I understood, the only MUST for an HDTV bought in the U.S. is to have 50Hz video support, right? Please correct me if I am wrong.

2) The reason I reached the conclusion in question no. 1 is because you say in your post that we don't need a DVB tuner to be built in to our US TV. In this respect I was wondering;

a) As in many US HDTVs, if my US HDTV has a built-in ATSC tuner (and not a DVB) tuner, then would this effect/change your opinion or can I still acquire HD broadcast regardless? In other words, is there a way to counter the ATSC tuner built in to the U.S.-bought-HDTV?

b) Assume there is only one cable company in my country that offers a box for HD broadcast and that box has (only) DVB tuner built-in. In this case, how will this combination work? (Combination of a U.S. HDTV with ATSC tuner built-in and a cable box with DVB tuner built-in)

3) My last question is about the PAL-NTSC or vice versa converters. I was wondering whether these would work the same for ATSC-DVB or vice versa. When I google PAL-NTSC converter or vice versa, my search yields quite a few results/products. However I couldn't find anything for ATSC-DVB converter.

I was wondering, since, for analogue broadcasts, NTSC was developed for the frequency used in the US and PAL was developed for the frequency used in Europe, and similarly, for digital broadcasts, ATSC was developed for the frequency used in the US and DVB for the one used in Europe, then why would not be a ATSC-DVB converter in the market? Perhaps NTSC to PAL also serves for the conversion of ATSC-DVB.

Interestingly, Samsung US's website's FAQ section has a question-answer regarding NTSC-PAL converter, it even says that "though we cannot recommend any converter for you, you may search them on the Internet by typing in PAL-NTSC converter". However it does not have a question-answer regarding ATSC-DVB conversion, nor it says that NTSC-PAL converters will also serve for ATSC-DVB conversion.

BTW, there is another product I found which, I guess, would add to the complexity of the discussion.

Since I am not yet allowed to post links, please google CMD-HDX5 on the Internet and you will find the product.

It is the most expensive and the top-of-the-line converter sold by them and allegedly the only one that converts HD broadcast. The unit has one HDMI input and one HDMI output ports.

One of the bullet points reads as follows: "Digital Line (525 <-> 625 Lines) and 50<->60 field conversions", which seems to be good new at the first glance.

On the other hand it says the following: "Take your NTSC (American) HDTV to an overseas PAL country. Using the high definition quality conversion of the CMDHDX5 you can convert PAL HDTV signals to NTSC HDTV for viewing on your existing NTSC TV. Eliminating the need to buy a new multi-system TV set. Local PAL HDTV tuner like a Cable Box or Satellite Receiver is required. This converter does not tune channels."

I simply did not understand what it meant with the last sentence! What does "this converter does not tune channels" mean??

Anyhow, before I finish, I may need to add that, the product never mentions ATSC, DVB or their conversion et cetera.

4) How about adding this converter to the combination in question 2b? Please remember that I would not have any other option apart from the HD box I mentioned -the one that has DVB built-in, which is compliant with DVB-S and S2.

I will really really appreciate your reply and any comments from other people.
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post #4 of 62 Old 03-13-2008, 02:17 PM
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MG,
There are two different things going on here: broadcast format and video format. I'll start with the latter.

1) This is the first part of sneal's post. Video format is what the TV is able to display, regardless what the source might be. These are the 480i60/576i50 kind of numbers. Conversion between these formats is non-trivial. This is what the HDX-5 box would do, but nothing else.

Put another way, it converts 50Hz video sources available in Sweden into 60Hz video that the TV can properly display. However, it just makes it an "HD-ready" or "monitor" display. But without this step, nothing else matters.

2) This is the second half. Broadcast format is ATSC vs. DVB-T, or QAM vs. DVB-C (if I understand the suffixes properly). These are video sources, OTA or cable. You'll need a second box, either a TV tuner or an cable interface, to be the source of video into the converter. The converter people want to be very clear, thus the note you don't understand - the converter does step 1, it DOES NOT do this step 2.

Bottom line: you need two, very different STBs: one to provide a signal from cable/satellite/dvd/ota/etc. sources and the other to convert that 50 Hz format signal into a 60Hz-based video format. There might be a market for a combo box, but I doubt it.
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post #5 of 62 Old 03-13-2008, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

MG,
Bottom line: you need two, very different STBs: one to provide a signal from cable/satellite/dvd/ota/etc. sources and the other to convert that 50 Hz format signal into a 60Hz-based video format. There might be a market for a combo box, but I doubt it.

Perhaps not. Take a look at the Coship product line.
http://www.coship.com/CoshipEn/Defau...CatalogID=6864
They seem to have DVB receivers with selectable PAL/NTSC outputs. I have no first hand knowledge about these units, but they look promising.
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post #6 of 62 Old 03-14-2008, 04:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnold R View Post

Perhaps not. Take a look at the Coship product line.
http://www.coship.com/CoshipEn/Defau...CatalogID=6864
They seem to have DVB receivers with selectable PAL/NTSC outputs. I have no first hand knowledge about these units, but they look promising.

Quite a few European SD FTA satellite receivers will do this for SD signals - but the conversion is SD only (PAL and NTSC are SD only formats) and whilst it is useful as a monitoring facility if you have a 60Hz only display (or have a very rare European 50Hz only display) you wouldn't want to watch the conversion for very long. It is almost universally only just about as good as an early 1970s digital broadcast converter - using frame dropping/frame repetition and poor vertical filtering to convert between 576/50i and 480/60i - and it usually mangles the interlaced motion as well.

If you compare native SD viewing with the conversion (as I can on my DVD player - which also has a consumer quality standards converter in it) you wouldn't want to watch the conversion.

If you care enough about picture quality to want to watch and subscribe to HDTV services - you won't want to watch a consumer standards conversion -and I'm pretty certain that DVB receivers with NTSC/PAL conversion (rather than 50Hz PAL output of 50Hz content and 60Hz NTSC output of 60Hz content) are SD only and don't do an HD 50/60 conversion (and if they did it is likely to be VERY poor)
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post #7 of 62 Old 03-14-2008, 06:23 AM
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Good points; DVB-x receivers converting to NTSC are more likely available than ones converting to ATSC, and that's the biggest piece of the need - he'd get stations.
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post #8 of 62 Old 03-14-2008, 07:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

Good points; DVB-x receivers converting to NTSC are more likely available than ones converting to ATSC, and that's the biggest piece of the need - he'd get stations.

Yep - but not in HD and not in quality you'd want to watch on an HDTV.

If you've ever watched a standards converting DVD player you'll know how bad the quality is. Interlaced 60i/50i video loses pretty much all the motion between fields and ends up as juddery 30p/25p motion with nasty judder - and in the really cheap cases there is little or no vertical filtering - just line dropping - so you get jagged edges or just a really soft picture.

Another issue is that more and more of the DVB-S pay TV platforms are going to "sealed box" receivers, rather than CI (Common Interface) receivers with separate CAMs (Conditional Access Modules - a bit like CableCards) - which means that you have to use the receiver supplied by your Pay TV platform, rather than buying the CI receiver you like and then putting your Pay TV operator-supplied CAM in it. None of the sealed boxes will have 50/60 (aka PAL/NTSC) conversion.

Similarly most (but not all) European cable platforms do the same - with a sealed box DVB-C receiver. I can't remember if Kom Hem - the main cable operator in Sweden - have a sealed box system or not.

I've not seen any DVB-T receivers with 50/60Hz output either.

Effectively the only DVB-S/S2 receivers which are likely to offer the poor quality PAL/NTSC SD conversion are going to be FTA or CI models. ISTR that one of the two dominant Scandinavian Pay TV platforms (Canal Digital I think) is Conax CAM + CI friendly (though you have to get the CAM from Canal Digital and not on the open market) - whilst the other (Viaccess I think) is VideoGuard (same as Sky in the UK) which is sealed box.

None of the FTA HD boxes I've seen do frame rate conversion in HD.

I really do have to emphasise that the cost of purchasing a converter that will do the job in something approaching average quality, and the cost of transporting the TV, combined with the hassle of it all is very unlikely to make sense compared to selling the TV in the US and buying an HD Ready model in Europe - which will happily work when taken back to the US and fed a 60Hz HD or SD HDMI/Component/Composite/S-video feed from a US cable, satellite or OTA digital set top box.

A European display won't have an ATSC tuner for digital OTA or QAM for digital cable, and it is unlikely to have an analogue NTSC-M compatible tuner for analogue OTA or analogue cable either - so set top boxes only when imported back to the US - but it will be fully compatible as a monitor display.

However most HD Ready TVs sold in Europe WILL have DVB-T integrated tuners for DVB-T OTA in Sweden - there is no analogue PAL OTA any more - as well as a slot for an OTA pay-TV CAM for use with the Boxer pay-TV services on DVB-T in Sweden (or TopUp TV/Setanta in the UK)
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post #9 of 62 Old 03-14-2008, 07:36 AM
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Sneals2000's advice is spot on, with two minor exceptions (TVs with integrated DVB-T are still an option/Canal digital is also closed box unless you can take over an existing subscription). The main advice about buying a TV in the US, i.e. DON'T DO IT, remains.

My suggestion would be to buy a set top box and a "TV as monitor" with enough inputs in the EU.
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post #10 of 62 Old 12-08-2008, 11:38 AM
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I read this thread with interest. So what about the about from a Blu-Ray player? (Ignore the region code issue for now). Does it output a different signal in Europe v. North America? I know that standard DVD players output NTSC v. PAL; I was wondering if Blu-Ray outputs are different.
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post #11 of 62 Old 12-08-2008, 03:46 PM
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If you are moving to Sweden, keep things simple.

Sell all your U.S. TV gear and buy new stuff there. No joke. It is way too complex trying to figure out TV formats, line voltages, etc.

Keep it simple and you will be happiest.
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post #12 of 62 Old 12-09-2008, 09:07 AM
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I'm not moving. I just want to be able to play European Blu-Ray discs on a multiregion player and view them without using a video converter.
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post #13 of 62 Old 12-09-2008, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotte_john View Post

I read this thread with interest. So what about the about from a Blu-Ray player? (Ignore the region code issue for now). Does it output a different signal in Europe v. North America?

In the main - no. The only occasional exceptions are SD extras.

European and US DVD movies are almost universally mastered in 1080p - which is 1080/24p on-disc. These are then replayed and output at either 1080/24p (for new 24p compatible TVs) or 1080/60p, 1080/60i or 720/60p for non-24p displays. All European "HD Ready" TVs have to be able to display 60Hz HD sources (just as US TVs do) - even though we have no 60Hz broadcast HD in Europe - so there is no compatibility issue here.

Non-movie discs can be mastered in 1080i - but these are all 1080/60i. Yep - BBC HD series shot and broadcast in 1080/50i or 1080/25p are all converted to 1080/60i or 1080/24p for UK/European release. The same encodes can be used for US releases - and if regional encoding isn't required, and there are no edits required for legal/censorship reasons the same discs can be sold across the world (possibly with different printing!)

SOME European discs (Paris, Pan's Labyrinth - both foreign language releases) have 576/50 extras which will require 50Hz compatibility - but most European mainstream movie releases have 480/60 extras - same as the US releases.

Quote:
I know that standard DVD players output NTSC v. PAL; I was wondering if Blu-Ray outputs are different.

Yep - European DVDs are 50i (from 25p masters in many cases) whereas US DVDs are 60i (from 24p masters in many cases) but Blu-rays are much closer to being universal.

Also - many Blu-rays are NOT regionally encoded, certainly far fewer are than DVD releases.

I believe SOME multi-region Blu-ray players are now appearing (and PCs can be region-free for Blu-ray replay)


For info - for many years - certainly since the early 90s - European SD TVs have accepted NTSC and RGB 480/60i inputs - and most European DVD players will output NTSC 3.58, NTSC 4.43, PAL 4.43 @ 60Hz or RGB 480/60i - so our region-free players have played R1 DVDs and our TVs displayed them with no standards conversion required. The line structure on our CRTs may have been a bit more visible as our CRT spot size was optimised for 576 lines and a bit small for 480 lines. VHS machines sold in the UK since the late 80s have had "NTSC playback" - usually with chroma transcoded to PAL 4.43 but at 480/60i "NTSC" resolution. We've been 50/60Hz compatible for decades now - probably because so many Europeans go on holiday to the US and either buy VHS/DVDs - or have relatives who send home movies?
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post #14 of 62 Old 02-25-2009, 02:36 PM
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You can also do it simple by buying a Multi System TV
e.g. 220-electronics or 220depot
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post #15 of 62 Old 09-09-2009, 12:57 PM
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When I am overseas, I bypass entirely TV signal compatibility issues. I use NationPhone&TV's USA TV Abroad service. http://www.usatvabroad.com I get a 200 channel US Cable subscription with all major networks plus HBO and Showtime. Their set top box connect right to my US TV and the other end plugs into the internet. I never have to worry about hooking up local cable.
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post #16 of 62 Old 07-08-2010, 01:53 AM
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Hi ,

I read the posts. I would like to come to one conclusion here

- The difference between ATSC tuner vs DVB-T tuner is only the frequency ? ( ie 50Hz PAL region vs 60Hz NTSC region )

If this is the only difference , then , if the DVB-T STB has a HDMI output setting as 1920x1080i@50Hz & 1920x1080i@60Hz , and if the output is set as 1920x1080i@60Hz , will it work with 'HD Ready' or 'Full HD 1080' certified NTSC TV models which has HDMI-in ?
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post #17 of 62 Old 07-08-2010, 07:05 AM
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I think it should work, although the quality of the 50Hz --> 60Hz conversion by the DVB-T receiver may leave something to be desired.
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post #18 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 04:25 AM
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I am also considering purchasing TV in the US, mainly because it is much cheaper, also, due to lack of new 70' TVs in Europe.
I also own HDI Dune HD Max + DVB-T dongle. HD Max can have fixed output through HDMI, be it 1080p/50Hz or 1080p/60Hz.
My idea is that HD Max shall handle all the conversions and I will just plug the TV through HDMI.
Am I missing something here?
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post #19 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 04:36 AM
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If you are receiving 50Hz DVB-T broadcasts but fixing the output refresh rate at 60Hz to ensure compatibility with a non-50Hz compatible display, then expect to have lots of motion artefacts.

I don't think any of the media streamers like Popcorn Hour, Dune etc. do any form of motion compensated or vector adaptive frame rate standards conversion, I don't think they even do motion adaptive. What you'll probably get is what you'd get if you used a DVB-T receiver on a PC, with the PC running a 60Hz refresh rate but the DVB-T tuner receiving a 50Hz broadcast. And that is a LOT of motion judder.

To get a 50Hz signal to 60Hz, every 10th image is repeated, so you get 10Hz motion judder as there will be a repeated frame 10 times per second (assuming you are watching 50i de-interlaced to 50p, or 50p native, displayed at 60p) This is pretty obvious on lots of content. Whether it matters to you will depend how important picture quality is to you and how much DVB-T TV you are likely to watch.

If I were looking for a solution for mainstream viewing, then I'd go for a display with 50Hz support, even if it is smaller than ideally I'd chose in an ideal world.
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post #20 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 04:40 AM
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I am specifically looking at Sharp LC70LE734U. Any idea whether it supports 50Hz?
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post #21 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muralia View Post

Hi ,

I read the posts. I would like to come to one conclusion here

- The difference between ATSC tuner vs DVB-T tuner is only the frequency ? ( ie 50Hz PAL region vs 60Hz NTSC region )

Yes - though this is a really BIG difference.

Quote:


If this is the only difference , then , if the DVB-T STB has a HDMI output setting as 1920x1080i@50Hz & 1920x1080i@60Hz , and if the output is set as 1920x1080i@60Hz , will it work with 'HD Ready' or 'Full HD 1080' certified NTSC TV models which has HDMI-in ?

I haven't seen any DVB-T set top boxes sold in Europe with 60Hz outputs. However some media streamers with DVB-T tuner dongle accessories may allow this.

Any conversion is likely to be very crude - probably just frame repetition to pad the 50 frames per second to 60 (assuming 50i de-interlaced to 50p or 50p native) This repetition of every 10th frame is really obvious on 60Hz content.

You get the same issues in Europe if you use a DVB-T tuner to receive 50Hz TV on a PC that is feeding its display at 60Hz (which is why European HTPC owners run at 50Hz display refresh rates for TV)

If you look at how many people are concerned at one repeated frame every 40" or so with Blu-ray players in HTPCs (23.976Hz vs 24.000Hz), you can imagine how annoying 10 repeated frames every second is.
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post #22 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MindaLT View Post

I am specifically looking at Sharp LC70LE734U. Any idea whether it supports 50Hz?

I've seen references to a lc-70le732-5 multisystem model - which I suspect will support 50Hz.

Finding out about 50Hz support on US displays is often tricky.

(In Europe 50 and 60Hz compatibility a given for any HD display with the European "HD Ready" or "HD Ready 1080p" licensed logos - and these are effectively universal. I've not seen a mainstream HD display sold in Europe that isn't "HD Ready" or "HD Ready 1080p" for about 5 years)
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post #23 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 05:04 AM
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Thanks guys - this is realy informative.
Guess it won't work for aired TV programs, but it should be ok as a media display.
Also, pardon my lack of technical knowledge, but I wonder where from does the US TV derives its 60Hz. Is it from mains or from internal clock?
What happens when it is fed 120V/50Hz mains instead of 120V/60Hz?
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post #24 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 05:16 AM
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Quote:


I wonder where from does the US TV derives its 60Hz.

...from the vertical sync, which is 59.94 Hz.
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post #25 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 05:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MindaLT View Post

Thanks guys - this is realy informative.
Guess it won't work for aired TV programs, but it should be ok as a media display.
Also, pardon my lack of technical knowledge, but I wonder where from does the US TV derives its 60Hz. Is it from mains or from internal clock?
What happens when it is fed 120V/50Hz mains instead of 120V/60Hz?

The TV will synchronise it's display refresh rate to the signal that it is fed from, using the sync information in the signal.

It's not locked to the exact mains supply voltage. However the choice of TV standard is usually linked to the dominant mains supply voltage, so that fluorescent and other discharge lighting (common at sporting events) doesn't flicker.

However you do need to be careful with some PSUs - to check that the power supply is compatible with 50Hz as well as 60Hz power. It would be good to check that it is known to work. Any model that is sold for use in Japan will be - as Japan has both 50Hz and 60Hz power (the country is split in two in power terms)
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post #26 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 05:22 AM
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Something else to keep in mind with a US TV over there. It might be almost impossible to get it repaired if it breaks down,

Since you are looking at large size, have you considered a front projector?

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post #27 of 62 Old 07-29-2011, 05:32 AM
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Yep. 70" Direct View displays are pretty rare in Europe.

There's lots of choice at 50" and 55", with one or two 65" sets, and some other sizes in that range.

Once you go over 65" you're really looking at a projector solution in Europe. Historically, we've always bought smaller TVs than the US. Some say this is because rooms are smaller, others because TV viewing hours are lower, so the display is more often switched off and needs to be less dominant?

It really depends what you want to do.

Any HDTV you buy in Europe will work with US set-top boxes, games consoles, DVD and Blu-ray players, and US set-top boxes for cable, satellite and OTA IF they have HDMI, Component or Composite outputs. The only thing European HDTVs won't have in them is a US ATSC or NTSC-M tuner (and they may not do closed captioning via analogue).

So if you want to take an HDTV back to the US - then as long as you can power it, you'll find a European "HD Ready" or "HD Ready 1080p" model pretty useful if you want to take it back.

Buying a US display for use in Europe is pretty much a niche thing to do. Because US displays don't always (usually?) have 50Hz compatibility, they're only useful for watching Blu-ray, US DVDs and with games consoles, and any streamed media you might have from US sources. They're close to useless for decent quality viewing of any local TV broadcasts or watching European DVDs (though European movie Blu-rays are usually fine as they are 24p, same as the US)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

Buying a US display for use in Europe is pretty much a niche thing to do. Because US displays don't always (usually?) have 50Hz compatibility, they're only useful for watching Blu-ray, US DVDs and with games consoles, and any streamed media you might have from US sources. They're close to useless for decent quality viewing of any local TV broadcasts or watching European DVDs (though European movie Blu-rays are usually fine as they are 24p, same as the US)

My interest is exactly the above. Primarily it will be media player display, only very rarely (if at all) used for broadcast TV.
It would still be useful to know whether LC-70LE732 supports 50Hz content. There are some bits of info that it does, but nothing certain. Also, can not find any info about LC-70LE732-5 model mentioned in this thread.
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post #29 of 62 Old 07-30-2011, 06:11 AM
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Finding out about 50Hz support on US displays is often tricky.

I'll say! In my unscientific survey of about six TVs, I found NONE that would play 50 Hz content via the HDMI connection, and only two that would play 50 Hz content via the analogue "PAL" connection. (And those two TVs were 19-20" models, not the big, expensive 50" models.)
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post #30 of 62 Old 07-30-2011, 07:47 AM
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I'll say! In my unscientific survey of about six TVs, I found NONE that would play 50 Hz content via the HDMI connection, and only two that would play 50 Hz content via the analogue "PAL" connection. (And those two TVs were 19-20" models, not the big, expensive 50" models.)

Have you tried any Vizio TVs?
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