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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love what the Pioneer Elite 620 can do with PIP, and other features where it allows viewing multiple channels simultaneously, subdivided within the same screen. I was wondering if STB's allow this as well. I'm mostly only interested in OTA but the Pioneer receiver only handles analog not digital OTA. Thanks!


Will
 

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From your post, I could not tell if the Elite 620 is displaying 2 moving PIP channels simulatenously or a collage of still snapshots for channel selection. The Elite likely has 2 analog tuners and thus can display 2 shows or timeslices (ie. stills) of many channels.


A STB only tunes one channel at a time (versus cable where all analag channels coexist at the input). Thus, viewing PIP on your Pioneer would require 2 separate sources (STB & cable, STB & Antenna, 2 STBs, etc). You

might check the Elite 620 owner's manual to detrmine if there are any input limitatioins on PIP usage. (One exception to STBs tuning one channel, is D*Tivo units which receive 2 channels simulatanously - allows recording of 2 shows simulataneous, or view 1 channel / watch another, time shift live broadcasting, etc. Another exeption is Ultimate TV boxes which provide PIP with some limitations.


If you're asking about a channel collage feature, a STB has an interactive program guide which serves as an alternative (includes show titles, summaries and actors). The guide allows one to navigate the 100+ satellite channels better than a collage could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
I could not tell if the Elite 620 is displaying 2 moving PIP channels simulatenously or a collage of still snapshots for channel selection.
The Elite is able to do both. Many other TV's can do both as well. It probably requires having 2 tuners. But since having 2 tuners is farily common on TV's these days, I wonder why it seems to be non-existant on STB's.


PIP and POP (picture out of picture) and collages of snapshots for channels have been around for years on analog TVs, but don't seem to exist on STBs, even the fancy ones, for some reason.


Somehow I wonder if the problem is not an analog versus digital tuner issue, but rather an internal versus external tuner issue. If so, PIP and collages of channel snapshots will be supported with digital channels and not just analog channels when internal tuners commonly support digital as well as analog channels.


External STB tuners maybe aren't integrated as well into the TV's display as internal TV tuner is.


If so that's maybe reason to wait a few years until most larger TV's have digital tuners built in.
 

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That pre-supposes you will be getting your ASTC signal OTA. I suspect that most people will either get HD cable or a dish so they can watch movies on the premium channels. I don't realy use the NTSC tuners in my HD ready TV (I mostly use a tivo) so I wouldn't want to pay for an ASTC tuner I wasn't going to use either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Whether for OTA or cable, most STBs apparently don't have two tuners, so STBs can't do PIP or POP or channel snapshot collages.


Even some budget TVs have two tuners built in. But most (or even all?) STBs apparently do not, even the expensive ones.


I guess my question is, why?
 

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Seems like a reasonable product to ask for, but you would still need two seperate sat connections and I would think that would not be practical for most people. Of course it would work for OTA with one antenna connection.


I did try PIP on my set with two stb's. I was able to snake a second cable from my multiswitch up through the hole in the floor where a heater pipe comes into my family room. Then I brought up my other stb from the pool room and hooked it to this second cable. Worked pretty good for some of the NCAA bowl games. This is all moot if you want to watch HD cause pip doesn't usually work in this mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong, but chances are we shouldn't need two separate satellite connections if the STB supported PIP or collages internally.


Wouldn't we only need one connection from the STB to the TV and one connection from the satellite to the STB, like we have today? Of course the STB would need two tuners and have to create the combined picture, just like what's done today on some budget and most big TV's that show two moving PIP channels simulatenously, or a huge collage of still snapshots for channel selection.


Will
 

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Will,


The upcoming Dish 921 HDTV PVR is claimed to do PIP , but it's not clear whether PIP will be supported for two HD channels, or just two standard digital channels. The datasheet for the Broadcom MPEG2 decoder they are using seems to imply that it will output two 480i channels to the screen at once, but only one HD channel. Of course, we'll have to wait and see whether this holds true.
 

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Will,


The 721 SD PVR doesn't offer collages, so its highly unlikely that the 921 HD PVR will. Still, you'd think collages would be doable with dual tuners.
 

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I use my bedroom STB for PIP. I use the modulated output (channel 3) which goes via RG6 cable to the family room. I use the Radio Shack infrared extender ($39.95) to tune the upstairs STB. Of course the family room STB provide a sharper (and Hidef) picture but the picture is really not too bad. In addition, the modulated output prvides an audio signal as well in one coax. This is about a 100ft long cable.


This reduces the problem to tuning channel 3 somewhere in order to display it as a PIP. I have a PC with 3 video input cards so this is not a problem. For me there is no other way to get PIP on a plasma.


Of course if my wife is upstars watching the STB I am tuning.....
 

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The Sony XBR plasmas do PIP (actually P and P). It works with dual NTSC windows OR with one HD and one NTSC. You are limited to only one window being HD and it must be the lefthand window. Both windows are resizeable --- one shrinks as the other grows. The HD window is 16:9. If no HD window is present, borh are 4:3.


This works well for now. Of course, the best solution will be dual-tuner HD STB's.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Will
Do any of the newer HDTV's with built in tuners have dual HDTV tuners built in?
My guess is NO. I would also guess that this will be highly unlikely in any STB. Not only does this require two HD tuners, but also significant processing power to decompress 2 MPEG2 streams simultaneously. And the high-speed DAC circuitry used to convert the digital info to analog component video would have to double.


Then there's the audio. I know you can only listen to one program at a time, but I would like to have the second audio anyway.


Another guess: this will first be available integrated into the TV, not a separate STB. In a few years, this will be an obvious feature. Today, I don't think so.
 

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Well, it looks like the processing side is underway (or available?). Oak Tech has an IC that decodes 2 simultaneous HD streams. This is not the RF tuner, though. Note that it does support PIP, which is cool. My TV has 3 component ins, but only one is HD capable.
Oak Tech Gen9 DTV IC
 

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I have not seen any dual tuner HD STBs except the upcoming HD DirecTiVo. But it uses two tuners for recording two progams simultaneously and does not provide two outputs for viewing.


My WS-48311 Mitsubishi HDTV (without internal tuner) has 3 HD inputs and I can display any 2 of them as PoP (side by side, both in HD or both in SD or one of each). I happen to have 2 HD STBs (old and new) so I can do this. But, I don't like the horizontally compressed pictures, even if they are HD. I don't watch TV this way, but I have used this feature to compare and adjust the TV settings for any 2 inputs.


When the HD DirecTiVo becomes available, I will move one of my HD STBs to my den and have my HD DirecTiVo use one HD input, my other HD STB use another, and my DVD player use the third (progressive scan 480p).


Perhaps having 2 HD STBs will give you better options than a single one anyway. Just my opinion though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Since there are no STBs with two built in tuners for PIP and collages like what's standard with most regular non-HDTV TVs, are there any HDTVs with two tuners built in the HDTV, for HD PIP and collages?


Best,


Will
 

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For what it is worth, I am able to watch 2 HDTV sources at the same time with twin-view on my Sony set. I can input D* HDTV and BEV HDTV from each STB and it works great. Can't say I use the feature often, but would if there were 2 HD football games on at the same time! Maybe next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Does any HDTV have two HD tuners inside, to do PIP and collages on HD, like regular TVs do using two non-HD tuners?


Best,


Will
 

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None that I'm aware of. As of today, you'd need two STBs (or an HD-Enabled TV with a bult-in tuner and a STB). Of course, you're probably not getting full resolution HD in PIP mode anyway, so you could use one HD STB and one SD STB (or an SD STB hooked up to your HD-Enabled TV).


The upcoming Directv/Tivo HD STB is supposed include dual tuners that may allow you to do PIP, but that remains to be seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm not optimistic about the HD Directv/Tivo whenever it comes out. Earlier Budget_HT said he thought its two tuners are to record two programs simultaneously, not to provide two outputs for viewing.


It's funny how no product has two HD tuners for PIP or collages of HD sources even at less than full resolution.


Best,


Will
 
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