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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am about 10 miles from all my DTV towers and I live in a fairly wooded area. One night I decided to go down to Radio Shack and get the 15-1880 indoor amplified antenna for $49.99 and then went to Wal-mart and got the US Digital OTA STB for $199. I got it hooked up and after a few minutes I had good signal strength on all UHF HDTV channels and fair signal strength on the one VHF HDTV channel here which is ABC. It took a little tweaking to keep the VHF channel from dropping out but after a little more tweaking of the antenna and amplifier setting it came in clear with about 65% solid signal strength. All the other UHF channels had a solid 90-95% signal the whole time with no dropouts. Of course the US Digital doesn't give percentages on the signal so I am approximating the percentage by the bar strength. I did notice that PBS and ABC would occassionally drop out if I were to stand in certain parts of the room and this wasn't acceptable so I decided to hook up my old attic antenna I had in the garage. It is a medium-large directional antenna that is about 8 feet wide and 8 feet long. I had an alarm tech who is a professional installer that I knew split the signal from the antenna 3 ways and he ran RG-6 off of the the 2.4ghz 3Way splitter to each room with no amplifier since the longest run was 35 feet. Using the attic antenna I got the same 90-95% signal strength on all UHF HDTV channels, but this time ABC was around 85% and solid with no dropouts no matter where I stood in the house. Now this is what I am talking about!!! I did get annoyed by the high pitch popping sound the US Digital box made and it also had a lose part inside it that rattled when you shook it so I took it and the Radio Shack antenna back for a refund. I ordered 2 LG 4200A OTA STB from ********************* for $285 shipped each and got them hooked up. All channels came in flawlessly just like the US Digital with no dropouts. The only difference between the US Digital and LG is the signal strength bar is only at a solid 40-50% at all times while the US Digital was at 90-95%. I thought the 4200a was the most sensitive ASTC tuner on the market? Maybe the US Digital is reporting the signal strength wrong? All LG 4200A owners, what is your signal strength bar at and have you had other OTA STBs in your system that had a different signal strength then the LG 4200A with the same antenna setup?


I would say the PQ between the US Digital and LG 4200A is pretty close with the slight edge going to the LG 4200A for a slightly more stable image. I bought the LG over the US Digital because the LG doesn't have the popping digital output and it also has DVI and Coaxial digital output which the US Digital doesn't. I also like the fact that it outputs 480i via SVideo at the same time for recording content. The 480i via SVideo looks spectacular on my setup. The menus are perfect in my opinion on both players. The LG's menu does look like it is put together better though. The LG actually weighs more then a feather and just feels better built over all which it should be for $85 more. The LG's remote is also alot better then the US Digital remote. Again all LG 4200A please post your signal strengths according to the LG 4200A and props to LG for making a superb OTA STB once again!!!
 

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A friend of mine just got the US Digital box from Walmart and has it setup and working. He hasn't been able to figure out how to test the signal strength, and I looked at the manual at usdtv.com and it didn't mention it either. Can you tell me how you get the signal strength meter to show up? Thanks.


John
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
To see the signal strength just press in the channel info button. I can't remember off the top of my head what it was labeled as. It might be labeled as INFO.
 

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There is a link to the manual below and it has a picture of the remote. Is this just a button on the remote? Is it the prog-info button?


John

http://www.usdtv.com/pdf/usdtv_receiver_manual.pdf

Quote:
Originally posted by hurtz777
To see the signal strength just press in the channel info button. I can't remember off the top of my head what it was labeled as. It might be labeled as INFO.
 

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OK, thanks. As to your original post. I just got a 3410 and also had the new Samsung 451. The samsung's signal meter always showed the signal strength as higher than the 3410's signal meter, so I think this function is very vendor dependent and I'm not sure how much you can read into the comparisons. Now if the vendor's reading is a percentage of what their ideal or max strenght they chipsets want (at 100%) then in my case it would show the the Samsung is slightly more sensitive than the 3410. In my case I was having some pixel dropouts with the 3410 that I didn't have with the 451 on the same channel, so take that for what's it's worth. Of course if you are getting great signal strength on both units and neither has any dropouts it really doens't make much difference.


John

Quote:
Originally posted by hurtz777
Yes it is the PROG-INFO button on the remote right above the number 1.
 

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hurtz777,


My 4200A also shows a constant signal strength of 40% to 50% on the bar for both OTA and Clear QAM.


No matter though. It holds and locks the signal.


And the tuner is powerful. I used to have a Sylvania SRZ3000(which I loved by the way and if you can get one, grab it. Nice cheap intro to HDTV signals) and with the antenna(crappy indoor RCA amplified antenna) it would show a signal strength of about 90-95(out of 100) on channels that were approximately 20 miles away. It would show a strength of 80-85 on a station that was 50 miles away(operating at full power). There were two more(FOX and NBC) at this distance, but the Sylvania never picked them up.


BUT THE LG DOES!! They show a signal strength of about 40-45%, but are LOCKED IN at that level. Sometimes they drop out, but that is due to the antenna, not the tuner. If i had an indoor attic antenna like you, my signal strength would probably be the same as it is now(maybe a little higher) but it WOULD NEVER break-up at all. Bigger(most of the time, but definitely not all) and HIGHER UP(ATTIC, On roof on 10 foot pole, etc...) is always BETTER when it comes to antenna's.


So that is NORMAL for the signal strength meter. Like I said it is the same signal strength on Clear QAM HDTV/or digital through cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info I am glad to know if your actual signal strength is 90-100% then the LG 4200A signal bar is at 40-50%. Anyone else notice this behavior on their 4200A?
 

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sorry, no 4200 comparison,but my LG LST-3510 does show about 60-70% signal strength for stations which are ~15 miles away using an indoor Terk TV5 amplified VHF-UHF antenna. I had a Vinc Bravo HD1 ATSC/NTSC OTA tuner for a while which showed similar (but higher) results with 70-80% signal strength. Interestingly though, the signal did not seem to lock as well on the HD1 in my opinion, but it was pretty close. I did like that the Bravo had not only signal strength, but also signal to noise ratio listed on its signal strength info. I wish more maufacturers would offer this. The Bravo did seem to update the signal strength slowly though, so small changes in antenna placement would not show immediate results. So in my opinion I would say that you may be right that the absolute level of the signal strength meter is suspect as some manufacturers may be using higher numbers here so people will say, "Wow, almost 100% on all stations! My old tuner only got 50%". I think the true test is at what point they start losing sound or picture. For instance the HD1 would drop sound out at times when it said 50%, but the LG seems to be okay until the bar gets much lower, ~30%. I am guessing all levels for the LG since it has no numbers, only a grphic bar divided into 3 levels.


Thanks.

p.s. I think people should (if they haven't already) start a thread just comparing tuning capabilities for different tuners as they get exposed to newer models. For instance it would be nice to have a master reference where people say "tuner A worked better than tuner B in my setup with the same antenna". Could be useful for making a buying decision.
 
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