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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to replay and don't quite understand how the live buffer works, but here is my question. When the 4000's come out, I plan on using one with digital cable/ directv. Even though the 4000 has digital audio ouput, I will not use this since it can't pass 5.1. So I will have to use the digital audio output of my cable box/ directv. With the live buffer running, will the audio and video not be in sync? The video has to go through the 4000, be digitized, then undigitized to go to my tv. Will this cause a split second delay? If so, then having the 4000 with 5.1 is useless.


For my second question- the digital audio, and progressive scan- are they even worth anything? The source is not good (video is not a quality source, audio is just digitized mpeg2). Are they basically useless? Will hooking up the 4000 to an HDTV through the VGA look any better than S-video? Did the SB engineers really just screw this up?
 

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Yes, there will be a delay between your audio and video in you proposed scenario. You probably would not be happy with the results.


Replay says that a feature called iChannels will be able to send content over the Internet to the 4000 boxes to take advantage of the digital audio and progressive scan outputs. No word on when this feature will be made available...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
so what are the suggestions? Isn't this the only way to get 5.1? I can't pass it throught the replay, right?


The sales guy at SB said that I-channels will be mpeg4. I have heard that mpeg4 can be even better quality that DVD, if the original source is better. But the file will probably be pretty big, if it is really good quality. He also mentioned Morpheus when we were talking about mpeg4- I thought that was funny.


He also said that sending a 1/2 hour show to someone over the internet will take 6 hours. That is long, but I still think it is very cool. What do I care if I am sending a show overnight, or all day when I am at work. I only really need the bandwith for a few hours when I get home from work, and before I go to sleep. I can envision this forum turning into a nice play to trade shows.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dkan24
so what are the suggestions? Isn't this the only way to get 5.1? I can't pass it throught the replay, right?
Don't use Dolby 5.1 for anything you watch through the Replay. The only PVR's that support this are the DirecTV combo boxes... UTV and Tivo have these.
 

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Digital cable is basically worthles as far as dolby digital goes.



I post this every time the issue comes up:


1) YOU DO NOT GET DOLBY 5.1 FROM YOUR DIGITAL CABLE BOX.


except POSSIBLY for cable HDTV, the audio you get is dolby digital 2.0.


2) YOU DO NOT GET DOLBY DIGITAL 2.0 FOR EVERY CHANNEL


You only get dolby digital for "digital only" channels.


I will expound.


First statement:


Dolby digital comes in many flavors, from 1.0 (mono), 2.0 (stereo), up to 5.1 (DVD). Read the FAQs on the dolby website for details.


Cable TV, and most satellite TV, is broadcast in dolby digital 2.0. Your dolby digital receiver will decode this and process it through a pro-logic receiver to get 4 channels. You can't tell the difference between this sound and the sound you get when you take the regular A/V stereo output and run it through a pro-logic receiver. The D/A converter in the cable box is just as good as that in your receiver.


Some satellite channels (STARZ!, for instance) and some satellite PPV is broadcast in DD 5.1. As far as I know, NO digital cable carries DD 5.1. Special channels like HDTV SHOWTIME and HDTV HBO might carry DD 5.1 -- I can't test this. Back when I first got digital cable (three years ago!) I was VERY disappointed to find this out -- but there is a reason they say "CD quality sound" in the advertisements and not "DVD quality sound". On the dolby site, there was a FAQ which suggested that the cable industry needed major infrastructure upgrades to go beyond DD 2.0.


Statement 2:


Another BIG disappointment for me was to find that digital cable wasn't really digital. Generally, cable companies use the same cable to carry both analog and digital services. To save bandwidth, if they send a channel in analog, they do not resend it in digital (except for premium channels). The digital box acts as an analog cable tuner for channels that are provided in regular service. So ESPN, TNT, USA, AMC, MTV, ABS, NBC, CBS, etc etc etc, were not digital, and did not have a digital audio signal.


If the cable you use ONLY carries digital broadcasts you'll get all digital channels.


*******


I guess what I am trying to point out is that for non-integrated receiver/PVR's, like TiVo, ReplayTV 1/2/3/4000 series, there isn't a big bonus to recording dolby digital. There isn't a difference between the digital audio and analog audio that you can detect by ear. Theses PVR's are inherently analog -- they record analog sound and video and store it digitally.


You start making gains when you store the digital A/V feed directly, and for that you still need DirecTiVo/UltimateTV/Dishplayer. Unfortunately (and the "announced" Motorola 52xx digital cable box/PVR aside) ReplayTV doesn't store the digital video feed directly -- the tradeoff it it is much more flexible than any of the integrated recorders.


Satellite television is starting to broadcast more 5.1 broadcasts, but cabe TV is not. Until it gets to the point where a significant number of broadcasts are 5.1, don't worry about dolby digital inputs on ReplayTVs.



Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wonder this: when the 5000's come out, or even the Motorola STB, they will probably be able to record a direct digital feed, either from dig cable or sat. Networking them to my 4000- I could watch them with the 4000, but with the higher quality record from the 5000. It would probably make the VGA and dig audio outputs useful then!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dkan24
I wonder this: when the 5000's come out, or even the Motorola STB, they will probably be able to record a direct digital feed, either from dig cable or sat. Networking them to my 4000- I could watch them with the 4000, but with the higher quality record from the 5000. It would probably make the VGA and dig audio outputs useful then!
Now that is some nice speculating there! That could be a nice possible bonus down the road, but I don't think you should base your purchase of a 4000 (when they are released) on the future features (and unknown backwards compatibilty) with a unannounced product... for all we know, they will use an MPEG-4 encoder, which the 4000 series decoder couldn't decode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree- basing my purchase of a 4000 on that alone would not be good. I already ordered a 4000 b/c I have wanted a PVR since they first came out. But I waited for one to be networked, or at least give me the opportunity to burn to DVD. The share over the internet is a nice bonus.


The SB salesguy said that I-channels will be mpeg4. This leads me to believe that the 4000 can decode mpeg4. He could be wrong, but who knows.


Also, if you read the B2B features of the 4000, they mention mp3, and a few other goodies. I wonder if the 4000 can handle mp3. It can handle images, so maybe a software upgrade could handle other formats. They say it has a powerful proccessor in it. When I asked the SB guy about this, he said they were probably going to release an mp3 player that could be networked like the 4000. They picture it as a product we would stack on top the 4000.


SB could have made the 4000 a lot more powerful, but i think they are holding back to make us buy their other product lines.
 
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