Originally Posted by Adam Paul
Only 1 Component input!? My 3 year old rear projection TV had two component inputs!
Yeah, I know. I guess that's one of the reasons it's a cheaper set. Do you have a home theatre sound system? If so, you could upgrade the receiver. You'd get better sound plus component video switching. That's what I did and I'm happy on both fronts. Of course, it is an extra expense....
I suppose I should head to Radio Shack...but what can I do to optimize my setup?
If you don't want to go the A/V receiver route, you can pick up a cheap manual componet switch. They don't really cost all that much ~$50 I think. For this TV, and I think someone else in this thread has said it too, all component seems to be the way to go.
The DVD player has, in addition to component, S-Video, and standard RCA outputs, an optical output option. Is there anything on the Hisense that can hook into that? I understand that optical is the best...even better than component (?)
Optical is for sound only. If you have a surround sound system, are you aware that optical or digial coax is the only way to get 5.1 ch surround sound from your device? If you have it hooked up with regular RCA audio cables then all you're getting is stereo sound. For video, the best hookups are component or DVI.
What hooks into the DVI port? Nothing on the back of either of my boxes or my DVD player seems to have anything that would hook into that. Is there a converter I should use to output from any of those items into either the VGA or DVI port...and if so, wouldn't there be a an inevitable degradation of quality?
The device has to have either a DVI or HDMI output to hook it to your tv DVI input. Only newer and/or high-end devices have these outputs. Typically, some set-top boxes and some upconverting DVD players have DVI/HDMI output. On set-top boxes the results can be spotty. I think the best use for the DVI would be an upconverting DVD player.
You can convert between DVI and HDMI, or between component and VGA. You cannot convert DVI/HDMI to Component/VGA (at least not easily/inexpensively)
I don't know what I can do to enhance the digital cable...but it looks awful!
Misery loves company : ) SD i.e. regular digital cable looks like crap on just about any HDTV. Whether it's the Hisense or some $8000 Sony plasma, SD looks bad because the source material signal is low definition. Nothing magically makes SD material look HD. For things to look great, the source material has to be HD.
Be patient! More and more programming is being recorded in HD. By 2007-2008 I would hazard a guess that mostly everything will be in HD. As it is right now ALL original network series (ER, Lost, CSI, Law and Order, Desparate Housewives, Sopranos, etc. etc.) are in HD, most sports is in HD, there are movie channels that upconvert movies to HD. SD sucks, period. Good things come to those who wait...
What I do is watch SD content on the HD channels (i.e. through component). Then at least it is progressive scan. Plus, if you always watch things on the HD channels then you never miss the HD version of anything.
I don't know anything about your cable provider or set-top box (mine is completely different), but why do you have two boxes?? Your HD box should give you the SD channels too, mine does anyway. Try posting for help on the forums for your Motorola STB. They will know over there how to get the most out of your setup.
Finally, seems ironic that with all of these newfangled conduits for outputting video that audio is STILL transmitted with standard RCA cables. How come there's been no improvement in that regard?
If you only have the tv speakers for your sound, then RCA will give you the best audio available - stereo. If you have a surround sound system then you should be using either digital coax cable or optical for your sound cable. If not, then you're not getting actual 5.1 ch surround sound. Lastly, if you don't have a surround sound system get one!! I'm not a huge audiophile or anything but the difference between stereo and 5.1 ch surround sound is almost as dramatic as the visual difference between SD and HD. These days you can pick up a cheap surround sound system with speakers for about $150. I guarantee, a VERY worthwhile investment. Pioneer and Yamaha make pretty good lower end surround sound systems.
You know, it's kind of sounding to me like you've got an inferior cable STB. A good one will do both SD and HD video, and will also have digital coax / optical for 5.1 ch surround sound.