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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,


Sorry if this is a basic question, I've done some reading here and I believe I understand more than I did a month ago, but this is still somewhat new to me.


Here's my situation: I live in Silver Spring, MD (just outside of Washington, DC) and have lived with just OTA programming on old TVs for years. No cable, no satellite, just what the tuner/antenna could pick up. I am now in the process of building a HT room, eventually, here's what it will consist of:


- FP - Sanyo Z2 w/ projection screen

- Denon 3803 receiver

- Pioneer Elite DV-37 (I think) DVD player

- A 5.1 speaker setup (still deciding)

- Some sort of cable or satellite. I've been leaning towards satellite, but things seem to be in a bit of flux with that technology now, so I will probably hold off at least 6 months.


Here's what I'd like to do within the next month or so (when I receive my Z2). I'd like to get an OTA tuner (and UHF antenna) to pick up HD TV in my area. For the time being, I don't feel the need to get cable or satellite, that will probably come shortly thereafter.


My question has to do with how the OTA tuners work.


1. If I buy an OTA HD tuner w/out cable or satellite service, later can I use that tuner w/ cable and/or satellite? Or does it depend on the service/company I'm dealing with?

2. Do HD OTA tuners allow multiple outputs? In my case, I'd like to drive not just my Z2 projector, but an existing STV with a bad tuner.

3. Will an HT OTA tuner work w/ a STV? I imagine such a tuner will pull in standard signals as well as HD.

4. What's the typical range of an OTA remote? Will it work to change channels from 1 room to the next?

5. Any brands favored for OTA tuners? Anything I should look for given my eventual setup?

6. Finally, do most antennas have multiple outputs so I could feed several TVs or projectors? Or would I use a splitter once I bring the signal in the house?


Thanks, hope I'm not asking too many questions!


Bob
 

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1. You cannot use an OTA only tuner for Sat but you might be able to use it for cable, depending on the cable service and the tuner. I am not an expert there, as I have never and will never have cable (at current expansion rates, they will reach my house in about 100-200 years).


2. I don't know what an STV is, but most tuners will have multiple outputs but will drive one at a time. You might find one that can drive more than one output at a time, but don't expect it to be a standard feature.


3. STV? Is that NTSC? OTA tuners will have NTSC tuners in them, or at least that is my experience. The cost of the NTSC tuner is very small, so they don't generally leave it out.


4. The remote will have a range like a TV remote. If you want to use it in different rooms, you want an RF remote. You could do it with an IR remote if you have a remote repeater system, but you probably don't or you wouldn't be asking about the remote range.


5. Brands? Most brands are OEM units from somebody else and often one unit will be sold under as many as 3 different brands.


6. All antennas have just one output, which can then be split. If you try to split too many times, you might need an antenna amp, but that is probably not the case unless you are driving long runs of cables.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by bob md
1. If I buy an OTA HD tuner w/out cable or satellite service, later can I use that tuner w/ cable and/or satellite? Or does it depend on the service/company I'm dealing with?

2. Do HD OTA tuners allow multiple outputs? In my case, I'd like to drive not just my Z2 projector, but an existing STV with a bad tuner.

3. Will an HT OTA tuner work w/ a STV? I imagine such a tuner will pull in standard signals as well as HD.

4. What's the typical range of an OTA remote? Will it work to change channels from 1 room to the next?

5. Any brands favored for OTA tuners? Anything I should look for given my eventual setup?

6. Finally, do most antennas have multiple outputs so I could feed several TVs or projectors? Or would I use a splitter once I bring the signal in the house?
1) I haven't seen one, but the reverse is true, almost all satellite HD receivers now include an OTA tuner as well. If satellite is something you're considering it's actually cheaper to buy a satellite HD package and use that OTA tuner than buying a stand alone OTA tuner, IMO.


2) Dunno. Soeone help... ;)


3) Most will connect to a regular set via composite or svid and send out a regular 480i signal.


4) Depnds on the remote, IR vs RF, etc, etc.


5) I like Sammys, but again it's most cost effective (IMO) to pickup one from your sat provider.


6) You'd split it after the antenna.


Brian
 

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1) OTA tuners won't work with most cable systems. The vast majority of cable systems use QAM rather than ATSC to pass HD digital signals. An HD-capable satellite box will also receive local ota signals, but as with ota only boxes won't tune most HD cable signals. If you go with cable, the cable company will supply the box, no need to buy one, there will be a small monthly rental charge on the box provided by the cable company.


Do some research on what your local cable company offers vs what you can get ota and over satellite. All satellite HD boxes will get ota HD and SD digital signals as well as ntsc analog signals except Voom, which will not tune ntsc.


If you are considering going with cable or sat. in the future, don't waste money on an ota-only box at this time, wait until you decide on cable or sat.


Most ota-only boxes I've seen would not tune local ntsc analog--only digital, whereas the sat. boxes except for Voom will tune local ntsc analog.


If you buy an HD satellite receiver and don't activate the satellite service within a week or so, you will not be eligible for the special deals from DirecTV or Dish. I don't think Voom will sell you a box at all without sat. service.


2) All of the ota boxes I've seen also had S-video and composite outputs for hookup to a standard tv, but only a few will output thru these outputs at the same time they are outputting HD via the component or dvi connections. LG built sat boxes (Sony, new Hughes HTL, and LG brands) are among the few that will do the simultaneous output.


3) All boxes will work with a standard tv (I hope that's what you meant by STV), but not all will tune analog local ota tv. Most ota only HD boxes are digital only, and Voom boxes are digital only. DirecTV HD boxes will tune local ntsc, don't know about Dish.


4) remote won't work from another room unless it works on RF (radio frequency) rather than infrared. Sony HD-300 has RF remote, if I remember correctly, for others you need to check the mfg. specs as to which type of remote the box uses.


5) LG-built boxes and Samsung in that order for local ota reception. With your close distance to the transmitters, multipath is more of a problem than weak signal and these 2 seem to do the best job rejecting multipath.


6) Antennas don't come with cabling or splitters. One usually runs one downlead into the house from the roof antenna and you can split as much as you want once you're inside the house. Every split reduces signal strength a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Guys - thanks so much for the input. Yes, STV is my own invention, standard TV. I should have said NTSC.


I guess my dilemma stems from my reluctance to jump into satellite, as it seems that this technology is in flux right now. I'm not usually one who keeps off purchasing something because I know something new is coming out soon (i.e. PCs), but from what I've read here, DirecTV & TiVo will have some new offerings, as will Dish (and their receivers may become more stable). I am still a couple of months from finishing my HT, but once it's done, I'd love to view some HDTV. However with your input, I see it would be better to wait till I settle on a cable/satellite solution & get my HDTV through that source.


Again, thanks for the input!

Bob
 

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Sat is in flux right now, but things are always in flux because they are always getting better (or at least trying to). When your Theater is finished, buy the system that is best that will fit into your budget or increase your budget to get the one you really want.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by bob md
1. If I buy an OTA HD tuner w/out cable or satellite service, later can I use that tuner w/ cable and/or satellite? Or does it depend on the service/company I'm dealing with?

2. Do HD OTA tuners allow multiple outputs? In my case, I'd like to drive not just my Z2 projector, but an existing STV with a bad tuner.

3. Will an HT OTA tuner work w/ a STV? I imagine such a tuner will pull in standard signals as well as HD.

4. What's the typical range of an OTA remote? Will it work to change channels from 1 room to the next?

5. Any brands favored for OTA tuners? Anything I should look for given my eventual setup?

6. Finally, do most antennas have multiple outputs so I could feed several TVs or projectors? Or would I use a splitter once I bring the signal in the house?
1) If you buy a stand-alone OTA tuner, the answer is no. If you buy a satellite+OTA tuner and fail to activate the satellite part within 30 days, they sock you with an extra fee. Still, the box would then work later if you wanted to turn on satellite service.


2) Most OTA tuners will output on several outputs. Some do so simultaneously, and others will only run one at a time. You might need to throw a manual switch.


3) All HD tuners work with standard televisions. The picture is just slightly better than DVD, however.


4) Most remotes are infrared, meaning they work for line-of-sight only. Look at getting a remote extender or a UHF remote-capable unit if you want to work in multiple rooms.


5) The brands with the best reputation right now include LG, Hughes, Zenith and Sony. Others may work for your particular situation.


6) All antennas are single-output units. You would need to use a splitter to feed multiple televisions.
 

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1. Pretty much all cable and Sat companies will provide with a set top box that you will need to use for that service -- especially if you are getting any "pay" type services (i.e., HBO-HD or something). You can always use your OTA set top in addition to whatever they give u though (in case you still want to tune OTA signals -- although someone mentioned that many STB's from cable/sat will also tune OTA so it might be pointless).


2. Dunno...


3. Dunno....


4. Dunno....


5. If you are going to go satellite or cable in the near future... i wouldn't invest in anything too expensive now for OTA tuner. The two OTA boxes that i liked right now (both being fairly cheap) are the Samsung SIR-T151 (on ebay mainly) and the LG 3100A. The Sammy is around $200 on ebay and the LG is about 350 at various retailers.


6. Dunno...


BTW -- i'm definately not an expert so listen to the guys with 2000 posts before me!! Just wanted to add my 2 cents though :)


G'luck!!

w
 
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