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How to get tv signal to my AVR without HD cable box

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
So I'm new to home theater and trying plan to set up a midlevel system before I order the AVR and the speakers. We don't watch a lot of TV but use streaming Netflix so we have only the "local channels" cable package needed to get cable internet. I therefore just have a coax cable connected to my brand new family room tv. It seems that all of the channels are digital as digital is standard now but some channels are 480P, some are 720P and others are 1080i. For every 480P channel there is a corresponding 720P or 1080i channel it seems. Now assuming the cable provides 5.1 sound I am trying to figure out how to get the tv signal to go through the receiver given no HD set top box. I already have mostly HD channels it seems. Since the AVR isn't a tv tuner, and I'll have to then use the tv tuner built into the tv, I'm not sure how to accomplish this. I plan on getting the AVR soon but want to get everything wired up first since is is going to be a big job to get the cables into the walls and under the floor to the other room where the avr will be 25 feet from the tv inside a cabinet for the appropriate WAF. The genesis of this is to not pay for a monthly HD box given I don't really care about HD and that the channels are in HD anyway. Normally as I understand it, you would run an hdmi from the hd cable box to the AVR, then run an HDMI from the HDMI-out on the AVR then back to the tv if I had an hd set top box. What do you all suggest?

Thanks
post #2 of 18
Many (not ALL) HDTV's have a Digital Audio Output (usually Optical aka TOSLINK....or Coax aka SPDIF) which feeds Stereo or Surround (DD5.1) sound to the AVR. If equipped with this interface, you can hear Surround (DD5.1) through the speakers attached to the AVR.

Some pesky details: You probably want to turn down the sound from HDTV when listening thru AVR. Also, HDTV probably has a setup menu control to change Digital Audio Output from PCM (Stereo) to DD5.1 (Surround), which you'll need to check and change if necessary.

Very few HDTV's will OUTPUT audio and/or video signals via an HDMI Interface, so if your HDTV does NOT have Digital Audio Output you may need to get an EXTERNAL OTA HD-STB Tuner.
post #3 of 18
Don't expect your setup to work for long, FCC has given Cable Co's permission to encrypt all channels. If you are with one of the major providers I would expect this to be deployed before the end of the year. After encryption cable set top box or cable card enabled device will be required to receive all video channels. The plus side will be more channels, all digital and 8 channel bonding DOCSIS 3 for Internet.
post #4 of 18
Although it will probably vary for each system, most systems going "ALL DIGITAL" plan to leave the bottom 20 or so channels (e.g. very low cost "Lifeline" or "Basic") as (unencrypted) low-rez Analog NTSC that can be viewed by any old TV or new HDTV. The names vary (e.g."Expanded" or "Standard" & even "Basic") for the next up Analog Tier from about Ch21 to about Ch70 (should definitely be under Ch100). THESE are the channels that are being converted from Analog to Digital and will require "low-cost" DTA's on each TV or HDTV you want to receive that extra cost Tier:
http://www.cedmagazine.com/news/2013/04/time-warner-cable-deploys-hd-dtas-across-new-york-city

Although they usually have remotely activated Filters that can turn ON/OFF the "Extended" Analog Tier, many/most systems don't have the ability to block the bottom 20-ish channels while also passing thru the Cable Modem frequency for Internet Services....so those channels will probably continue to be passed thru. It's up to you and your conscience where you think you should be paying for this service....and perhaps the cable systems assumes it's included in your Internet Services fee...cuz it isn't worth the cost to deny the (shrinking, remaining) service.
Edited by holl_ands - 5/3/13 at 8:13pm
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

(1)Although it will probably vary for each system, most systems going "ALL DIGITAL" plan to leave the bottom 20 or so channels (e.g. very low cost "Lifeline" or "Basic") as (unencrypted) low-rez Analog NTSC that can be viewed by any old TV or new HDTV. The names vary (e.g."Expanded" or "Standard" & even "Basic") for the next up Analog Tier from about Ch21 to about Ch70 (should definitely be under Ch100). THESE are the channels that are being converted from Analog to Digital and will require "low-cost" DTA's on each TV or HDTV you want to receive that extra cost Tier:
http://www.cedmagazine.com/news/2013/04/time-warner-cable-deploys-hd-dtas-across-new-york-city

(2)Although they usually have remotely activated Filters that can turn ON/OFF the "Extended" Analog Tier, many/most systems don't have the ability to block the bottom 20-ish channels while also passing thru the (3) Cable Modem frequency for Internet Services....so those channels will probably continue to be passed thru. It's up to you and your conscience where you think you should be paying for this service....(4)and perhaps the cable systems assumes it's included in your Internet Services fee...cuz it isn't worth the cost to deny the (shrinking, remaining) service.

1) The majority of cable systems going all digital are eliminating analog altogether. One of the main reasons (aside from security) for going digital is better bandwidth management. You can put as many as 10 or so SD Digital programs in the space of one analog carrier.

2) I've been in Cable TV since the late 70's and have never seen a successful large scale addressable analog implementation. Most filters have to be physically inserted and removed from the cable and hence the switch to digital. With a digital feed and a control device like a Set Top Box or Cable Card the Cable Co can turn channels on and off at will.

3) The frequencies selected for High Speed Internet are not at all tied to the low channels. Here in Olympia my modem uses 567 through 591 MHz, hardly considered low channels.

4) The Cable Co would (and will) gladly charge you for the locals. I hear they are already scrambling the locals in NYC and the FCC is poised to allow such shenanigans in other markets, too.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Many (not ALL) HDTV's have a Digital Audio Output (usually Optical aka TOSLINK....or Coax aka SPDIF) which feeds Stereo or Surround (DD5.1) sound to the AVR. If equipped with this interface, you can hear Surround (DD5.1) through the speakers attached to the AVR.

Some pesky details: You probably want to turn down the sound from HDTV when listening thru AVR. Also, HDTV probably has a setup menu control to change Digital Audio Output from PCM (Stereo) to DD5.1 (Surround), which you'll need to check and change if necessary.

Very few HDTV's will OUTPUT audio and/or video signals via an HDMI Interface, so if your HDTV does NOT have Digital Audio Output you may need to get an EXTERNAL OTA HD-STB Tuner.

Well, the good news then is that amazingly it does have an optical digital audio out. So then since the tv signal will not pass through the AVR, I won't get to utilize any of the video processing then? What would I be missing out on...just the upscaling from 720 to 1080P or are there other features that everybody takes for granted that I won't have?
post #7 of 18
Your HDTV does everything than anyone could possible ask for that is compatible with your HDTV.

There is NO BENEFIT to passing a Hi-Def HDMI signal thru an AVR, whether from Blu-Ray or HDTV.
The HDTV is best suited to enhance these signals, matching it to the internal characteristics of the HDTV,
such as 600 Hz refresh in a Plasma or 120 Hz or 240 Hz refresh in an LCD/LED "filling-in" the in-between
frames so that moving objects such as thrown footballs or text scrolls are less blurry.

I also doubt whether passing a LOW-REZ HDMI signal throu an AVR would result in any visible benefit,
compared to the very fine job an HDTV will do on the signal from it's built-in ATSC Tuner...it is ALREADY
doing an internal upconversion, deinterlacing (where required) with improved display of text scrolls and
other signal processing enhancements as described in your HDTV's User Guide or on the manufacturer's
website (you didn't say which model).
Edited by holl_ands - 5/4/13 at 10:35am
post #8 of 18
+1 on allowing the TV to do the scaling.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

1) The majority of cable systems going all digital are eliminating analog altogether. One of the main reasons (aside from security) for going digital is better bandwidth management. You can put as many as 10 or so SD Digital programs in the space of one analog carrier.

Charter is going to turn off analog signal very shortly.

This is a little off topic, but what used to be called "Basic Cable" were those lower 20 or so analog channels. Somewhere along the way, "Basic Cable" became packages of a 90 or so digital channels. The super-cheap option is going bye-bye.

But frankly, how many people want those crappy analog signals anymore? They are designed to look good on a 1995 CRT TV. High Def LCD TVs are now so affordable, and a lot of people get great picture quality free OTA.
post #10 of 18
dp
post #11 of 18
Have you considered getting an OTA antenna instead of paying for basic cable? Most likely you can get the same channels you are getting now ( the major networks) with an antenna for free. And you will still get 5.1 out of your receiver. If you post your tvfool results, we can get an idea of reception in your area ( your address will not be shown).

Of course, if your provider requires you to get basic cable to have internet, then that would be a problem.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
So if I my TV has an HDMI ARC port, can I skip the Digital Audio Out cable from the TV to the AVR in order to get the audio to the AVR? (again given I have the raw cable plugged into the tv since I don't have a hd box because I'm getting hdtv without it)
I'm ordering all the cables and equipment today. Thanks
post #13 of 18
Both devices must support Audio Return Channel (ARC) functionality...and a special "ARC" compatible HDMI cable MAY not be required, but if you are buying new you should make sure it is advertised to support ARC....and perhaps also the new embedded Ethernet I/F capability if both devices support that functionality:
http://hdguru.com/what-is-hdmi-arc-and-what-does-it-do-for-your-hdtv
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Both devices must support Audio Return Channel (ARC) functionality...and a special "ARC" compatible HDMI cable MAY not be required, but if you are buying new you should make sure it is advertised to support ARC....and perhaps also the new embedded Ethernet I/F capability if both devices support that functionality:
http://hdguru.com/what-is-hdmi-arc-and-what-does-it-do-for-your-hdtv

Great, thanks I just ordered what I think are all the cables and wall plates I think I will need. I got a 40 foot, In-wall, High speed HDMI with ARC and Ethernet to cover the HDMI need. The tv has one HDMI ARC port, and I'm still shopping for the AVR and so will be sure it has it. If this works, the ARC will have really come in handy. I even ordered a 50 foot (needed 40 but didn't come that way) 3.5mm IR extender cable for the AVR remote even though I haven't ordered the IR extender or AVR yet.
post #15 of 18
I hope you got a RedMere HDMI cable or similar 40 ft is pushing the limits of nonamplified cables.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1025506&p_id=9431&seq=1&format=2
post #16 of 18
I just use rabbit ears because I absolutely don't want a cable box, it's a lot cheaper and the PQ is better. Granted I only watch about 6 of the 30+ channels I get but that's ok. They're all in HD.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RollTide2011 View Post

I hope you got a RedMere HDMI cable or similar 40 ft is pushing the limits of nonamplified cables.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10240&cs_id=1025506&p_id=9431&seq=1&format=2

Thanks, yes, I did buy a decent one that also gets good reviews.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I never finished this off but I did use the ARC setting to accomplish this when I set everyghing up. Using ARC requires turning on CEC on the TV and a soft reset of the AVR after switching ARC on it as well. It took me a bit to figure out the soft reset. The TV handles the upconverting and the AVR processes the sound. I haven't seen any lip sync issues but the AVR will correct up to 800MS. ARC is great when you don't want a cable box because the channels from the coax are already 1080i HD. This is a $10/month savings and pays for my Netflix subscription.
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