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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got an HTL a few weeks ago from D* and had the 1.06 audio problem, so D* sent me a new STB today. They sent the TS-160 (1.0.10 loaded at the factory, not by upgrade), so I thought this is a perfect time to really see if one is better then the other. Here is what I found.


OTA Signals.


Using my Toshiba 65HDX82, I hooked up the Hughes to my DVI and the Samsung to my Component. I hooked both STB up to my $30 RCA OTA antenna using a y connector and 2 identical RF cables. I didn't active the D* service on the TS-160, so all my tests were with OTA.


As my Hughes was already set up, I did the channel scan on the Samsung. Got no digital channels at all. Again, with the same antenna hooked up simultaneously, without adjusting it at all, my Hughes got CBS, NBC, and ABC perfectly.


I played with the antenna and scanned again. I got NBC and a local PBS HD station. Using the scan this is all I could get, even though I could get ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and fox (by moving the antenna) on the Hughes.


The OTA signal meter on the TS only works if the channel is in the guide and you can't put it in the guide unless the scan finds it. That seems pretty stupid. Anyway, so I set up D* on the TS and the guide downloaded and all the local OTA digital channels appeared in the guide, so I was able to use the meter to tune in ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and UPN. Here is what I found:


Except for NBC, which came in perfect on both STB's. The Hughes was MUCH better at locking in the OTA signal. The Samsung either wouldn't find it at all or it was take 5-15 seconds for the picture to come on or the picture would come one and then go out and on and out.


Again, the antenna was hooked up to both STB's at the same time, so the only difference is the OTA tuner in the box. Hughes won by a ton.


Picture Quality


I made sure my inputs were both set exactly the same. Using Leno as a guide, I switched back and forth between DVI (Hughes) and Component (Samsung) and I found the Samsung picture was more life like and had better color. I tried this again with OTA PBS HD and same thing the Samsung looks better, not really sharper, but much better color.


Just to be fair, I switched the TV inputs and put the Samsung on the DVI and the Hughes on the component and suddenly both looked exactly the same. They looked like the Hughes with the color more washed out. So for picture quality, I have to pick the Samsung.


The Guide


No question, Hughes guide blows. Samsung's was MUCH faster and of course more customizable. Hughes' guide is very week. A big plus for Samsung.


Outputs


The Samsung has a switch to select from 1080, 720 or 480 outputs. The switch is on the back and can't be changed by the remote. The Hughes has thee settings, but also a Native setting. If your TV accepts 1080i and 720p inputs as mine does, this is a big advantage. What I found was that using the Hughes native output, the TV automatically goes from Natural picture size for 1080/720 signals and to Theater Wide for 480. This kept me from having to manually switch when I changed from an HD to SD channel. Using the Samsung, I either had to switch the TV setting manually or use the STB's stretch feature, which I found was not as good as the TV's. Advantage Hughes.


Audio


Big problem with the Samsung here. When switching channels the Samsung made a click/pop noise. I couldn't really tell if the STB was making the noise or if it was causing my audio receiver to click. I tried both received using their optical digital audio outputs and the Hughes didn't do it, but the Samsung kept clicking away. Now the Hughes still has the audio drop out issue, but when the firmware is upgraded that should go away, so advantage Hughes.


Misc.


I like the front LCD on the Hughes that shows the channel and the input/output signal as well as the type of connection your using (DVI, Comp, Etc.) Samsung has no display.


The TS-160 has Caller ID and an OTA antenna, Hughes doesn't yet, but will soon.


Well that's it. I'm keeping the Hughes. The OTA tuner was really the major factor. Missing the beginning of an HD show because your messing with the antenna is too big a pain. Hopefully, with 1.07 or 1.08 Hughes will improve a bit.
 

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You can add the local OTA channels on the Samsung by inserting your zip code in the Primary and Secondary air locations in the Set-up menu. You do not need to scan them to receive it. Once you insert your zip code it will download the local digital channels from the database. They will then appear in your guide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did try that. I got 4 choices for market, chose NY NY (about 15 miles away) and nothing came into the guide until I set up the D* service. Waht would you do if you wanted to use this STB as OTA only and didn't have cable or D*?
 

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I had the Zenith HDV420 and Samsung SIR-T351 attached to an antenna in a simlar fashion and discovered that their tuners perform very closely. When a station fades out on one box, it fades on the other. The Samsung tended to garble the picture where the Zenith would blank the picture. How do these receivers compare to the Samsung 160 that you had?
 

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I have both of these receivers...the Samsung has no problems pulling in the same ota signals as the Hughes....overall..I would have to say the Samsung is the better unit....The new upgrade for the Hughes ..may help the unit..but who can say for sure....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by freeness
Outputs


The Samsung has a switch to select from 1080, 720 or 480 outputs. The switch is on the back and can't be changed by the remote. The Hughes has thee settings, but also a Native setting. If your TV accepts 1080i and 720p inputs as mine does, this is a big advantage. What I found was that using the Hughes native output, the TV automatically goes from Natural picture size for 1080/720 signals and to Theater Wide for 480. This kept me from having to manually switch when I changed from an HD to SD channel. Using the Samsung, I either had to switch the TV setting manually or use the STB's stretch feature, which I found was not as good as the TV's. Advantage Hughes.

I'm assuming by the "Theater Wide" for 480 you have a Toshiba? I knew it saved the TheaterWide settings for each physical input, but didn't realise it does so for each input type on component 1080i/720p/480p/480i? I'm assuming it differentiates between 480p/480i, as I'd hate for it to use TW on my DVD's :) I'm going to have to try the native output. I currently have my HTL-HD going out via 1080i and whenever I watch ABC I get really annoyed. I'm assuming the STB is up-converting 720p to 1080i, and it does really wacky things with the on-screen guide (guide is no longer full screen, but shows up picture framed and tiny). I also see some strangeness when I watch fox's ED stuff, it likes to picture frame the image unless I change the ratio to widescreen, not sure if it's related to the up-convert or not...


Brian
 
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