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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I'm just entering the world of HD by just buying a HDTV monitor. Now I need to buy my STB and an antenna. I've been reading a lot of the threads concerning these pieces of hardware and I've narrowed my field down to 2 models. The Sony HD200 and the Samsung TS-160. I've read about the 165 (in threads) but I only find the 160 in the stores here- in Richmond, VA.


Here's my question to you: which do you recommend? I'm primarily directing this question to people who have owned and used both models. I've read a lot of negative posts about both models so thats why I'm a little confused as to which model to go with.


I live about 25-30 miles from the towers in Richmond where the locals broadcast their signals if that is a factor in buying a STB. And my plan is to hook up an antenna to receive the OTA locals 1st (now) and hook up a dish next Spring or Summer.


Thanks in adavance

Mark
 

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I am by no means an expert on either unit, but I have owned the Sony HD200 for about a week now. One thing that I am starting to get annoyed with on this unit is if you are using the DVI output to your Television, none of the other video outputs will send a signal. That really stinks, if, for example you are watching HDTV using the DVI cable to your Television and you also want to send the video signal to a VCR, or a PVR, or a HDPC.


Basically you are completely limited with what you can watch. I do know

the Samsung will send signals to multiple outputs, and in my opinion this is the way it should be. I am probably going to do some more research on the Samsung, and see if the issues that it has are some that I can live with. I think Sony is shooting themselves in the foot by not allowing any other video outputs to go through.


One more thing that I though was odd, and it may be worthwhile asking someone that ones a Samsung if Samsung also does this: when you switch the format to 480i (standard non-HD) the picture will get resized to a smaller picture, and you cannot size it up. So if you are taping a show on a PVR for example, you get letterboxing above, below, and on both the left and right sides.


It seems to me that none of the set top boxes are perfect, but if I were you I would probably lean toward the Samsung, if the issues I mentioned would bother you. I know I will.


Good luck


Michael
 

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I have the HD-200 as well. I just got the DirectTv service up and running over the weekend. This is when I discoverd that there is no way to hook up my Stand Alone Tivo, due to the either / or outputs. You can run Component / DVI / RGB OR Composite, RF, S-Video - NOT both.


This is pushing me to the Samsung. I plan on returning the HD-200 as soon as I can find a Samsung box...
 

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OTA reception with the Sony is very good since that is one area you asked about. If you need only one output, I would lean toward the Sony. If you need multiple outputs at the same time then forget the Sony. Your distance from your broadcast towers is close enough that either STB should receive plenty of signal if you use the correct antenna combination.
 

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I'm not defending Sony or Hollywood, but sending digital/DVI signal out to something that can make a direct digital copy (DVD recorder, HDVCR, PVR, HTPC) is what all the studios want to prevent either thru copy protection or limiting our output options as has been described on the HD200.


I don't have the Samsung, but isn't its output limited just like the Sony? There's a switch on the back of the Samsung that "determines the signal type output by either DVI/HDCP OUT and RGB OUT, or COMPONENT OUT jacks " (page 23 of the manual). This switch looks and sounds like the one on the back of the Sony.


amarzano: The HD200 switch puts Component output on the same side as Composite, S-Video, RCA, and RF -- rather than on DVI-RGB side.
 

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I hope you have a cabinet for the Samsung becuse if it is in full view...it is one butt ugly looking box. The design engineers who came up with its appearance missed the boat in a major way. Its UGLY.
 

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..another set decoder box to consider is Directv-type box (I have the MIT STB and have had zero problems for 18 months). I understand in about 6 months there will be a new STB from the manufacturuers who use this type of decoder. There may still be a few models sitting around in stores.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by randall
I don't have the Samsung, but isn't its output limited just like the Sony? There's a switch on the back of the Samsung that "determines the signal type output by either DVI/HDCP OUT and RGB OUT, or COMPONENT OUT jacks " (page 23 of the manual). This switch looks and sounds like the one on the back of the Sony.
Yes, but that ONLY controls the DVI/RGB/Component outputs. The Samsung is the only box out there that simultaneously outputs the signal @ 480i through the S-video, composite and cable outputs. So you can watch a HD show on your TV while recording it at the same time on your Tivo/VCR.
 

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Having already purchased the Sony hd200, I needed a second receiver and tried to save a few bucks by buying the Samsung.


I spent about an hour in an A/B test runing the same signal into each and then through a video switcher. (Component outs). The set is a tightly converged Sony 53" 700.


The Sony had a brighter picture, sharper edges, better color saturation as well as more accurate colors in my opinion. The difference wasn't hard to see. The only negative about the Sony picture was there was a bit more video noise probably due to the sharper picture.


Don't know how high on your priority list picture quality is (on mine its at the top) but after this test, I returned the Samsung for another Sony.


Duaneadam
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the good input guys. I plan to install an antenna first (ASAP)to retreive my local HD stations. And maybe switch from cable to dish next year after our house is finished being built. Here's my delima: what if DirecTV goes away next year? I've heard that DirecTV and Dish Network are trying to merge or one is trying to buy the other out. Does anyone know whats going on with these 2 companies?


I'm starting to lean towards the Samsung 165 or whatever their model is that's antenna only. I plan on staying with cable untill at least next Spring. Does anyone know if Sony has a antenna only model?


Thanks,

Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Brauma
what if DirecTV goes away next year? I've heard that DirecTV and Dish Network are trying to merge or one is trying to buy the other out. Does anyone know whats going on with these 2 companies?
The merger has been cancelled.

I think that Rupert is lickin' his lips again...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jsalemi
...The Samsung is the only box out there that simultaneously outputs the signal @ 480i through the S-video, composite and cable outputs. So you can watch a HD show on your TV while recording it at the same time on your Tivo/VCR.
This sounds right if you mean, for instance, watching by Component and recording by Composite, S-Video, RCA or RF. But my earlier quote from the SIR-TS160 manual (page 15 -- or page 24 of the pdf version I have) would seem to indicate you cannot get DVI or RGB into this mix. Perhaps I'm reading the "or" wrong; or perhaps even the manual is wrong/written poorly? If you are saying you can watch via DVI and record via Component ..., then I'm sold.


If, on the other hand, you can only watch and record by some combination of Component, Composite, S-Video, RCA, and RF, then I think the Sony can do the same thing. Again, I actually haven't tried this (because I'm on DVI), but I assume the HD200 switch means all these outputs are switched on at the same time (while switching off DVI and RGB).
 

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If, on the other hand, you can only watch and record by some combination of Component, Composite, S-Video, RCA, and RF, then I think the Sony can do the same thing. Again, I actually haven't tried this (because I'm on DVI), but I assume the HD200 switch means all these outputs are switched on at the same time (while switching off DVI and RGB).


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


As I stated, you cannot get output thru DVI, RGB, Component AND S-Vid, Composite, and RF at the same time.


The problem is that a 1080 /720 signal is being sent thru the first set of jacks, and a 480i would have to be sent thru the second set. The box does not do this. If you want output thru the S-Vid, Composite, and RF, you would have to select Video 1/2 on the format menu. This turns off the component / DVI, and RGB outputs. Vice versa, if you select anything but Video 1/2, this turns off the Video 1/2 jacks.


Hope this helps clarify...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by amarzano
Hope this helps clarify...
Not really. You have stated twice that Component is on the same switch as DVI and RGB. The switch on both the Samsung and Sony would seem to indicate otherwise -- Component being on the same side of the switch as Composite, S-Video, RCA, and RF in both cases.


On the Samsung, can you confirm that you can output to DVI and any of the other outputs simultaneoulsy (besides RGB)? If not, I don't see any edge for the Samsung over the Sony on outputs. Thanks.
 

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Let me clarify the component/RGB/DVI question about the Samsung.


There is a two position switch on the unit. In one position, the component outputs are enabled and both the RGB and DVI inputs are disabled. In the other position, the component outputs are disabled and both the RGB and DVI outputs are active.


Regardless of the setting of the switch, the composite and S-video outputs are always active, outputting a 480i signal.


There is a second switch on the 160 that allows you to select what resolution the 160 will ouput via the RGB/DVI/component outputs. You can choose 480p, 720p or 1080i. All programming output will be up/downconverted to whatever resolution you select.


The multiple active outputs is an important feature to me. Soon, I'll have my 160 connected as follows:

DVI - to HDTV in den

RGB - to projector in theater

S-video - to TiVo

composite - to modulator for distribution to all other analog TV's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, lots of indepth info here. I'll print this thread and save it because I'm sure I'll need it later.


Is anyone out there using the Samsung 160 or the Sony HD200 for just the antenna at the moment?


Steve - would you recommend going with the Sammy 160 even though I'm unsure about dish in the future? looks like there's not a big price difference between the TS-160 and the 165 or 151.


Thanks,

Mark
 

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Mark-

If by "unsure about dish in the future" you mean you're still worried about a Dish/DireTV merger, you should take that worry out of your buying equation. That merger is officially off the table. Both companies said so yesterday, and Dish paid DirecTV $600 mil as required.


If DirecTV merges with somebody else (say News Corp) and the merger renders existing equipment obsolete, they're going to have to have a provision in the merger to give you new usable equipment. And any possible merger and equipment change would be at least a couple of years away.


Buy what you want now, and don't worry about what MIGHT happen in the future. Besides, you'll want an upgrade in a year anyway! :D
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Brauma
....I've read a lot of negative posts about both models so thats why I'm a little confused as to which model to go with.
With all those negative posts, why are you considering EITHER ONE???
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Steve13
Let me clarify the component/RGB/DVI question about the Samsung. . .

Soon, I'll have my 160 connected as follows:

DVI - to HDTV in den

RGB - to projector in theater

S-video - to TiVo

composite - to modulator for distribution to all other analog TV's.
Thanks Steve. You have confirmed that the Samsung shares one of the limitations of the Sony: neither being able to output DVI and Component simultaeneously.


In trying to parse out how close the Sony comes to the Samsung, I'm not sure if the Sony can send DVI and RGB simultaneously. They're on the same switch but the manual reads: "DVI-HDTV has higher priority than RGB port when both are being used" (HD200 manual, p.21). I think they're refering to when both are connected to the same TV. If so, then maybe the DVI and RGB can be connected to different monitors/projectors like the Samsung. Can anyone with the HD200 confirm this?


From this and another thread ( http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=199235 ), I now understand that the Sony disables S-video whether you use DVI or Component.


That leaves Composite. One possible Sony workaround is to use DVI out from the HD200 to the TV, and then use a video out from the TV to a recording device/another monitor. For instance the GWII has a Monitor Out port which "let's you record the program you are watching to a VCR" (GWII manual, p.23).


In this best case scenario, the Sony may be able to replicate 3 of the 4 Samsung outputs.
 
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