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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need your help...


I just found out that my newly constructed home in a newly constructed subdivision will not be covered by either of the local cable providers for at least another year... :(


I have the following TVs I want to connect:
  • Sony 61" HDTV capable RPTV in an over-the-garage dedicated Music/HT Room
  • Sony 36" XBR HDTV capable monitor in living room HT
  • Mitsubishi 27" analog in my bedroom


I also have 2 TiVo units, one Sony Series 1 hacked to 130 hours and a new TiVo Series2 80 hour I am guessing that I will place one in the living room HT and one in the dedicated HT.


I went to BestBuy and was the first in town to purchase the new RCA 455/435 system (includes the two receivers and a dish). Because I am a new customer, I was given rebate on system which makes it free! I also purchased a second 455 receiver for the other HT system.


Sales-guy stated that the dish which came with system would not feed more than 2 receivers without using splitter-box-thingy (technical term -- sorry I'm an HT guy, this sat-stuff is all new to me ;)). But for $20 more I could get a different dish that would feed 4 TVs and be capable -- in combination with the other dish --- for D*TV HDTV.


Since D*TV doesn't offer my locals, I was also told I would need an antenna, and I was sold a Terk TV55... I know I know... Me=uniformed...


I intend on using the 435 in my bedroom and the 455s with the other HDTV-capable TV's. They offered free installation on the entire system as well. Questions for you gurus:

  1. How will an antenna for the locals be integrated into my system? Will I need to have two jacks at each set, one for satellite and one for antenna? Or should I put antennas at each set for locals (both standard and HDTV)?
  2. Any antenna suggestions -- my Zip-Code is 47725 BTW.
  3. If I wanted HDTV - both locals and satellite on both my HDTV sets, I would need 2 additional/different boxes correct? (Neither set comes with HDTV tuner built in...) Any suggestions here?
  4. How does TiVo work with all of this? Will TiVo switch between the locals and Sat programming automatically? (May be better question for TiVo forum...)
  5. Will Sat guide show me locals?[/list=1]


    Bottom line... what would you do in my situation? Thanks for your help guys!
 

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Eric, some basics that will drive the answers to your questions. Your note indicates that you had the TIVO's before getting satellite. That implies that these are NOT DirecTIVO's. A D*Tivo is a Tivo with a Sat. reciever built in and will provide the Sat guide for D*TV channels. It will not do HDTV. The HD recievers (you would need two if you want HD on both sets) are available in D*TV versions and OTA versions. The D*TV versions also include the D*TV reciever as well as the HD reciever and also provide inputs for OTA/Cable inputs. The "normal" RCA style triple LNB oval dish includes a 4 output multiplexer but does not include an antenna input to allow you to multiplex the antenna input into a single coax feed.


Given this, it sounds to me like the two sat. recievers that you got with the initial package will become unnecessary if you evolve the Tivo's to D*TV versions or purchase two HD STB's. Antenna choices will vary widely depending on which locals are broadcasting HD, whether they are VHF and/or UHF, how far away they are and whether they are in very different vectors from you to the stations. From all my prior experience, I would avoid Terk and look at a higher quality antenna (such as ChannelMaster) but the distance and UHF/VHF question will dictate the nature of which antennas you consider.


In my case, I evolved into my current configuration and have a D*Tivo and an D*HD receiver operating in parallel at the RPTV. I multiplex the OTA antenna with the D*Tivo (which uses two separate coax feeds) and bring a separate feed to the HD receiver (a bit redundant but the result of evolution). Standalone (SA) Tivo's have different requirements based on how your OTA/cable feeds are run but D*Tivo's use two coax feeds (record two shows at the same time). This could get you to needing 3 coax feeds per TV if you follow that path of D*Tivos and D*HD. This may drive your choice of multiplexer (sounds like you might need a 5x8 to get enough separate output feeds). In the selection of your HD receiver, you will also need to consider the requirements of any A/V receiver that you may have to assess the potential complexity of the final configuration. If you are going to stay with the OTA Tivo's that you already have, you might want to consider the Samsung TS160 HD receiver as this unit will simultanious output HD and SD (the SD output could be used to feed the SA Tivo) but many of the newer HD D*TV receiver's have individual quirks that make this a complex choice as well. The guide for the HD D*TV receivers will show the OTA channels that have been identified so that part will be "integrated" in the HD receiver guide.


This complexity is unfortunate but it is still a fact of life at the moment. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your thorough response! Let me clarify exactly what I want to want to do with each TV and see if you could help me understand what exactly I need to purchase to do this:


Living Room HT: 36" Sony XBR Sony HDTV Capable (DVI and Comp Inputs)
Functionality Desired: I want to have full TiVo recording of both OTA and D*TV programming. This room is Dolby 5.1 capable so 5.1 sound is necessary. HDTV viewing would be a bonus but not necessarily a necessity.


Dedicated HT: 61" Sony HS10 RPTV HDTV Capable (Comp and RGB Inputs)
Functionality Desired: I want to have full HDTV access to both D*TV and OTA sources. This room is Dolby 7.1 capable so 5.1 sound is necessary. TiVo would be nice, but I understand that a HiDef TiVo unit is coming so I am willing to wait for that. I am looking to purchase JVC D-Theater VCR for HiDef recording in the interim.


Bedroom:
Functionality Desired: I want to watch standard resolution D*TV and OTA Programming. TiVo would be nice, but not necessary. No surround sound necessary either.


So based on these needs, what would you suggest, given that I currently have an upgraded Sony TiVo (Series 1) and a still in the box (i.e., returnable) TiVo 80 hour Series 2?


Thanks! This is so complex and NOBODY at the local stores knows a darn thing it seems like...
 

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Maybe i am pointing out the obvious - but to get HDTV you will need an HDTV capable tuner(s). I am not up on all of D* offerings, but at least some of their HDTV capable recvrs. include the ability to tune in OTA HDTV. The recvrs. you just got sounds like they aren't HDTV capable.


You can integrate OTA signals w. the sat. cable run. Someone else will have to tell you how that is done.


...mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks snidely... I now know this, but didn't when I let the goofballs at BB throw boxes into my cart... Now the question becomes which box :)!
 

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The best HD D* receiver right now (for the money) is the Zenith SAT520. You can buy at www.jandr.com for $579. Now, keep in mind that this receiver, like just about all other D* HD receivers has issues. For some people the issues are worse than others. One issue that you will not overcome with this box is the lack of simultaneous 480i output for recording while viewing 480p or 1080i material. This will likely be an issue for you if you plan to use one of your Tivo's with this box. You'll have to remember to manually switch the box back to 480i mode when you plan to record something. Too bad Tivo cannot control this switching!!


If you can wait a couple months RCA has a new DTC200 coming out which I'm hopeful will be the new HD receiver king. Also Zenith has a newer SAT530 coming this fall which will have the simultaeous 480i output.


BTW, the Sony HD200 and Zenith SAT520 are essentially the same receivers. You'll likely pay $100+ more for the Sony.


Samsung also have an HD D* receiver but it has even more issues than the Zenith. If you want immediate gratification get the Zenith.
 

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1st thing . Did this Dish come with the Triple LBN? If not return it now.

You will need the 3rd LNB for HDTV.


For the 36XBR I would get the Samsung TS-160 .

You will be able to feed it HDTV and and pick up the OTA locals. More importantly you will be able to feed the 480I signal out to you TV. This is in my opinion critical for watching the OTA locals. I have the DVI and the 480i S-video both connected to my Sony 36XBR800 so I can watch the Non-HDTV content on the 480i Feed and zoom so the content fills the screen. Otherwise you will end up with a really small 4:3 image on non-HDTV content. The TS-160 had some problems at first release, but I have had mine since late December and haven't had any problems except for where the Local OTA station was at fault.


As far as the Tivo goes on this one it's your call. You could use the TS-160 480i output for you series 1 SA Tivo. I run a HDVR2 (Hacked to 200 hours) on the same TV as my TS-160 and love the integrated guide and the fact you watch one recorded program while it records two new ones, something the SA's will never do. This Tivo will also give you the 5.1 you are looking for.


You need to ask yourself how much you are willing to spend?

You are looking at $200 and $500 for hardware and depending on you D* package $5 a month for the TIVo ( If you get the high end package they wave the TIVO fee) plus $5 for the extra receiver.


The bedroom is easy as most of the D* receivers can integrate analog OTA.


The big question for you is what to do with the 61". You could get the TS-160 now and when the HDTV Tivo comes out move the TS-160 to the 36XBR. Then your only problem would be OTA on the 36XBR, but you could use you series 1 SA for that. You need to be aware of HDCP.( See the post on this site's home page)


I would return the Series 2. The integrated D* Tivo is the way to go. IMHO


As far as the cable configuration , I would figure out which setup you are going to go with then ask here how to cable it together. You can also ask on the Tivocommuntity forum as well.



Good Luck there are probably about 100 different way to get what you are looking for.
 

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Quote:
Dedicated HT: 61" Sony HS10 RPTV HDTV Capable (Comp and RGB Inputs)
Functionality Desired: I want to have full HDTV access to both D*TV and OTA sources. This room is Dolby 7.1 capable so 5.1 sound is necessary. TiVo would be nice, but I understand that a HiDef TiVo unit is coming so I am willing to wait for that. I am looking to purchase JVC D-Theater VCR for HiDef recording in the interim.


[/b]


Note that with the D-VHS unit, you can only record HD with a firewire input - so if recording HD is important to you, look for a firewire enabled set top box (just one samsung unit is available w/ firewire, I believe). However, note that currently no DirecTV & firewire boxes are manufactured - but an aftermarket solution is available. Go to the HD recorders section of AVSforum to learn all the gorey details... Basically, recording HD right now is a chore left to very-early-adopters.
 
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