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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone direct me to a link comparing/contrasting STBs, dishes, and Satellite programming packages? My newly purchased HT gear will be arriving soon and I need to get cracking. I really have searched for such in this forum and all I came up with is the thread having to do with recording HDTV suggestions (entering STB Comparisons). Sorry, you all have probably been through this countless times already. I just need to get educated to the hardware and satellite company HD installation package differences. More so I would guess on the STBs. Samsung and Sony appear to be popular based on the threads I've read so far but I'm struggling getting a handle on each one's advantages/disadvantages. About all I know so far is the Samsung has HD & SD outputs functioning concurrently and the issues with the Samsung that ReesR's thread has dealt with. Any help or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
 

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Were it only that easy. You can simplify the process by identifying your needs. If you're committed to satellite programming, that eliminates the staight-OTA boxes. I'm a Directv subscriber and am generally satisfied. I cannot comment on Dish, but I seem to remember that at one point they required two dishes instead of the one, eliptical dish needed for Directv.


The next question is whether you want to record from the box while watching HD programming. If not, then you do not need to be concerned with simultaneous output.


Another question is audio. If you're connecting the unit to a receiver/pre-amp, do you have both coaxial and optical audio inputs available on the receiver/pre-amp? If you have only one or the other, make sure the STB you buy offers that output.


Finally, do you have a widescreen display? If so, you want a unit with a progressive stretch of 4:3 programming material (stretches the center less than the sides). I know that the Sony and Zenith have it. I recall that the Samsung initially did not.


That being said, I've had a Zenith 520 for nearly a year and am very satisfied with the performance (NB: the Zenith and the Sony boxes are identical, except for a few features). I'm dissappointed that it is designed to lose its custom program giude information when power is disconnected for longer than 15 minutes, but I can live with it.


I know that you were looking for something more definitive by way of a reply, but I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks,

I've got a JVC SX-21 pj coming in and an Anthem AVM-20 which accepts pretty much any audio input you can throw at it. I also have a JVC D-VHS deck coming but I think I can only record via firewire and to the best of my knowledge the entertainment industry is not allowing outputting of HDTV via firewire, so I may be stuck there. I've heard there's a $1500 mod on an RCA box that will allow for that, but I'm not sure I want to record THAT much. I'm more concerned with getting the maximum HD content reliably and compactly as possible. Do the Sat. services provide the local channels that provide HD as well as other OTA HD Broadcast material? It would be nice not to have to deal with both the dish and an OTA antenna I would think. Or is it not that big a deal? I'm planning for now to have two SD setups with the TVs in the house and one HD setup in the HT.
 
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