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Digital Calbe (with analog channels) - svid still better?

367 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  kirknelson
Howdy... I have what may be a silly question for all you cable experts out there.

I am about to get digital cable from adelphia. I have heard and believe that local broadcst are carried analog rather than digital (despite what the rep told me when I speciffically asked the question...) Heck, the fact that reg cable will still work when I subscribe to the digital makes me veerrrrryyyy suspicious. Ticked as I may turn out to be after I hook up this box tonight, I still have a question tho...

My current setup is a regular coax cable going into my tivo, then feeding composite to my reciever, then composite to my tv. I could like to get a svideo reciever (thinking Sony De675 - on a budget here...) Assuming that the OTA channels are in fact analog on my cable service w/ digital cable, will I see any improvement from running the s-video from the box into the tivo then to the tv? Does the digital cable box somehow convert the analog to s-video, an pass this signal in a better manner than the final device would (i.e. my tivo, or my reciever? I realize this isn't the tivo forum, just thinking of it's reciever functionality)

The more I think about it, the more I think that extra step of translation - analog coax cable to digital convertor box to s-video to tivo - would be worse than just running the analog coax right to my tivo. Am I thinking right? I suspect pittsburgh adelphia is feeding me quite a line...

Oh well, thanks for your thoughts...

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Hey Twist:

I don't know what TV you are using and what kind of inputs it has, but why don't you forget about cable and get a dish. S isn't going to help your analog cable channels. Its only as good as the weakest link (which is definately your cable).
Mr Hookup,

Unfortunately, people who live in appartment buildings don't have the option of installing DBS antennas.


We have Time Warner here, which has some similarities to Adelphia, I think. You didn't mention which company makes the STB you'll be using. Different franchises use different models. TW uses Scientific Atlanta's Explorer 2000 STB here.

Basic CATV analog channels are carried on the same cable with the digital channels. The STB has a single s-video output (plus composite and RF) which is used for whichever analog or digital channel it's tuned to. I haven't bothered to try to get the HighDefinition version of the STB, which adds a component video output. We only get the HBO and Showtime HD channels.

Dolby Digital audio is available on a coax output for the digital video channels. Most are only DD2.0, not 5.1.

The TiVo has to generate appropriate InfraRed signals to control the STB when you want to record a digital channel. You can also use the TiVo to record from the analog cable input if you want, but there are far more digital than analog channels.

I have an S-VHS VCR (JVC HRS-7600U) connected between the incoming cable and the STB. The quality of the VCR's s-video output is noticably better than the s-video output of the STB: darker blacks, better contrast and less noise. The difference is small enough, though, that I usually use the STB instead. It's more convenient when surfing among both analog and digital channels.

Since my display device has only one s-video input, all of the s-video outputs are switched through my pre/pro.

I hope this answers some of your questions.
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Howdy - thanks for the reply. Yup, us apartment dwellers can't get direct tv or I'd have it. Aldephia told me a few more flat out mistakes (I'll pretend it was a mistake, at least) and generally I have been unimpressed. Final story - I move in 9 months, and they dont get 40 extra a month from me.

Thanks for your help though!

(Now, lets hope I can get pittsburgh locals on DirectTV next year when I move... :)


From your original post it sounds as if you may be confused as to the difference between s-video and composite. S-video is not a digital connection, it is still analog. So in this respect it dosen't matter which connection you use, your set will only receive and be able to display analog signals anyway. The only signal that will be digital is the one being received by the cable box.

The difference betwen composite and s-video is where the Y/C signal is being decoded. With the composite connection the signal is decoded in the TV (composite - passes along the Y+C signal) where as with s-video the source seperates the signal (s-video cables have seperate connections for the Y and C information). Which connection will give you better results depends mostly on which device has the better Y/C decoder (also called a comb filter) built-in. In general source components tend to have better filters and TVs so S-video connections are usually the prefered connection.

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