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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning on getting a new home theater system and have been reading this forum most of the weeked to get myself up to speed. I have preliminarily decided on some equipment. I'm looking at getting the following:


Encore Energy 6 Speaker System

Denon AVR-3802 Receiver

Denon DVD-1600

Panasonic 50" Plasma

HDTV RCA DTC-100 reciever

RCA Oval Dish two dual LNB

RCA Ultimate TV Receiver


What's kind of funky is the HDTV setup that is required. It looks like I have to get two satellite recievers if I want to record DirectTV AND have the ability to view HDTV. I'm ok with not being able to record HD signal but prefer to have the option available to me. Also, the HDTV out from the DTC-100 is VGA and because there's no VGA input on the AV receiver I need to punch the HDTV output directly into the TV and bypass the reciever which makes for a pain in the ass configuring settings. (Maybe I'm just anal but I'd like to run everything through the AV receiver to have central control.) Anyway I'd appreciate any input from both a configuration perspective or suggestions on components. In particular this scotch tape HDTV configuration seems rather lame to me. There's gotta be a better way. Thanks in advance and thanks for all the wonderful information in this forum.
 

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If you have the budget, you may want to consider the 4802 (or newer model. I think Denon announced a couple of new 480x and 580x models). HD Component switching requires a good amount of bandwidth; people will give you different values depending on who you ask. Generally though the 4802 and higher models are good compoent switchers. I have the 4802 and have been very satisfied.


Regarding the DVD player: There are some good values available for progressive DVD players. The Denon might be fine; I'm not really familiar with it, but (for instance) the Panasonic DVD-RP56 and DVD-RP91 are highly regarded on this forum as great values.


I would get a VGA->RGB break-out cable and run it through your AV switcher for your HD signal. For all your SD signal, hookup your DirecTV receiver's SVideo input directly to your DVR and run the DVR's output through the switcher to your display. That way your DVR (ultimatetv) always has a signal and can do your timed recording. I have a Tivo (highly recommended by the way) and use my cable box's setup this way. It works well.


If you would like more detail on signal routing through your AV switcher, let me know.


Good luck with your new system! --Karl
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
If you have the budget, you may want to consider the 4802
What am I getting with the 4802 for that huge boost in cost? We're talking more than double the cost. I've been in Good Guys and other audio places to listen to really high end vs. mid high end audio gear and for the life of me the differences seem marginal at best. Now video...that's a different matter. I don't think I'd even go plasma if I couldn't get HDTV.

Quote:
I would get a VGA->RGB break-out cable and run it through your AV switcher for your HD signal.
You can do this? I don't suppose there's an HDTV capable recorder on the market that accepts RGB for input. Nah, that's probably too easy. Any degredation of the VGA-RGB conversion?


Thanks so much for your responses.
 

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Hi Patrick,


There are actually quite a few differences, but (at least for me) the important ones were:


1. More inputs/outputs.

2. Wider bandwidth for HD component switching (50Mhz).

3. THX


I especially needed the extra inputs since I have an XBox, Tivo, DVD play and Cable box, three of which use Component inputs. I'm not sure what I'll do if I decide to start playing with D-VHS.


I don't know how dramatic the difference might be between wider and a more Narrow bandwidth component switched signal, but reading around this forum made me decide it was important enough to get at least the 50Mhz.


Some of the other features like RS-232 control ports and the higher power amp were really not important to me, but these and other features might be of value to you. See here for feature listings.


The 4802 also comes with the Aktis remote. It works some and even comes with a PC program for configuring it, but I eventually replaced it with a ProntoNeo. It just wasn't flexible enough for me.


I hope I don't sound like I'm selling the 4802; I just thought you might have some of the same concerns as I did when I was shopping for an AV receiver. If the other works for your needs go for it. Saving money is a good thing. =)


Btw, Widescreen Review magazine did a review of the AVR-4802 in their May issue. Its quite detailed and might also help you decide for or against it.


Yes, you can buy the VGA-RGB cables, though I've no experience with these beasties. I seem to recall some folks having to make adjustments; something about the signals are slightly different. I think there is a lot of information on this if you can craft the right search in the HDTV hardware forum.


Whatever you get I hope it works well for you for a long time. Good luck!


--Karl
 

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Hi Patrick,


I have a setup similar to what you are proposing and I don't connect my DTC100's HD output through my receiver and it's really not a problem. Let my try to clarify a few things. First, even though there are VGA to RGB cables they will not work with an AV receiver because they use 5 wires (RGBHV) and the receiver only switches 3. There are RGB to component transcoders available (about $100) that convert the signal from RGBHV to a 3 wire component YPrPb. With a transcoder you can route the DTC100 through your receiver (although I don't recommend it). BTW, I have an Onkyo 898 receiver with 50Mhz component switching bandwidth that I am currently not using.


You can achieve all the ease-of-use you desire with a decent remote control that does macros assuming your equipment has discrete codes for power on/off and input selection. The DTC100, 3802, and UTV have these. I am not sure about the Panny TV but it probably does. With my setup I have all progressive video sources (DTC100 and progressive DVD player) going directly to my TV and all other devices (SVHS VCR, 2 - UTVs, S-video of DTC100, etc.) going to my AV receiver. I use either a Pronto or a Radio Shack 15-1994 remote to control everything with "one button" device selection macros and it is easy enough for my wife and children to use.


You will have to set your UTV to use the "AUX" remote control setting, otherwise it will conflict with the DTC100. Also, you might want to double check that the Panny TV will work with the DTC100. I have read (and experienced) that many models of Panasonic do not work well with the DTC100. If you have any specific questions I will be glad help. Good luck.


Jay
 

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Patrick,


As far as component selections, you might want to take a look at the Onkyo 898 receiver. It's cost (about $1000-$1100) is a little more expensive than the Denon 3802 but it has most of the features and performance of the Denon 4802 for a lot less money. It is extremely easy to configure and operate. You might also want to consider one of the JVC progressive DVD models. They are very inexpensive and produce excellent picture quality on most film based DVDs. They also scale non-anamorphic letterbox DVDs very well. The only negatives of the JVC is that some consider the picture quality of video based DVDs to be less than optimal and on film based DVD that are not flagged properly, you sometimes need to manually set the deinterlacing mode to get the optimal picture. But, for 99% of the popular DVDs (major studios) there is probably no other players that product a noticeably better picture. Good luck.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wow the DTC-100 might not work with the Panasonic plasma? Ouch. I'll check out the Onkyo. (I wanted to make sure the optical output was compatible so that's why I had same brand dvd and AV.) There is another reason that I only want one connection on the plasma though, it's mounted to the cieling. This means that cabling is going to be running through the cieling and walls and I'd rather not run both VGA and composite video if I can help it. As a matter of fact since I'm thinking of running a a home PC on it for surfing and video games I'll be one VGA slot short (panasonic has one VGA input port). Does somebody sell a switch box with 2 VGA inputs that converts to composite output? Automatic switching would be nice but I'd setting for a manual dial or something.


Thanks again for all the help.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jerryez
Rather than buy a second receiver, you should buy a DirectTiVo. You get a DirecTV receiver and a TiVo built into one unit. Checkout this url for more details.

http://www.tivo.com/flash.asp?page=exp_index
He indicated in his first post that he was getting an UltimateTV, although I'm not sure why he indicated that he would have to "have to get two satellite recievers", since both the DCT-100 and the UltimateTV are satellite receivers.


But I'd have to say that a DirecTiVo would be a better choice, if he can find one. And I'd go with a better HD receiver than the DCT-100.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jerryez
Rather than buy a second receiver, you should buy a DirectTiVo. You get a DirecTV receiver and a TiVo built into one unit.
You are missing the point of this thread "Looking for HDTV Configuration Suggestions". Directivo has no HDTV capability. A second receiver IS required because of Patrick's requirement "I want to record DirectTV AND have the ability to view HDTV". None of the currently available HD Directv receivers output s-video/composite while you are viewing HDTV. So there is no way to watch HDTV and record at the same time without a second receiver.


Regarding which PVR to use, UtimateTV works great. I have 2 UTVs and highly recommend it. Especially since they are practically giving them away. Patrick, you might want to start another thread with the appropriate title to see if there are any other forum members that have experience with the DTC100 and the Panasonic 50" plasma TV. BTW, other than the fact that the DTC100 does not have an integrated guide (OTA and satellite) it still competes very well with the other Directv STBs. Good luck.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Exactly right. The system would be a snap if I ignored HDTV. Of course that would be like buying a Porsche just to drive it around the block. I'm hearing good things about the zenith 1080 so I thinking maybe do that instead of the DTC-100. Besides, it looks like the DTC-100 can't do 720p. Weird, I assumed that HDTV meant it could output all HDTV resolutions and would mean I'd need to scale everything that was 720p.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Grinsel
Besides, it looks like the DTC-100 can't do 720p.
The DTC100 receives 720p fine, but converts it to 1080i for display. If your plasma TV displays 720p natively then you probably want a STB that can do 720p (very few do). You may want to consider the Panasonic unit. Crutchfield has them for $425. It does 720p and should work well with a Panasonic TV. Good luck.


Jay
 

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I'm currently running a DTC-100 into a Panny plasma (42" not 50") and the VGA connection works great for HD. However, the caution that it might not is well taken. Panasonic will tell you that the VGA port is not intended for HD and that application isn't supported. (It is intended for use as a computer monitor.)


Some Panny owners over in the Plasma forum have had a problem with horizontal "seams" in the HD picture when they try to use the VGA input. (You could search on that to find more.) Most of us have been able to get rid of these seams by veeery careful diddling of the vertical size control. Others haven't been able to make this work.


All things considered, your Panny would probably be better off with a stb that has a component output for HD. (and yes, if you want to tape a program while watching it in HD, you will need a second stb.)
 
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