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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just moved into a living arrangement where I get Comcast basic digital free. (long story - I'll spare you the details) I have a Element 37' lcd that gets 720p or 1080i HD. My Comcast settop box does not get HD, and no I don't want to pay more for an HD STB. My view of the nearby city is obstructed, so I can't get the HD broadcast channels. Since Comcast should supply the local HD channels in QAM format, I wondered why my tv wound't find them when I would scan for them. Setting the DTV input to cable only found a few foreign-language channels in 480i. Sometimes the scan would find the local channels, but no picture or sound on the channel.

I emailed product support (Element - Proview) and learned from them that this 3 year old tv does not support QAM, only ATSC. I wondered why the tv found any unencrypted channels at all then? I'm still wondering, but after a lot of monkeying around with the setup, I found a way to get my local HD channels to display on this tv. It's tedious and I'm still not sure why it works, but it works consistently. When I turn it on, no local HD channels at all. I go to setup menu, set input type to Antenna, then scan for channels. Scan takes only a few second, no channels found. Then I change input type to cable, and re-scan for channels. It takes a few minutes, finds about 26 channels. HD channels (2.1, 5.1 etc) are now in the list, but don't display sound or picture. If I now go back to Menu, change input to Air briefly, then set it back to cable, the HD channel comes in! Sometimes when I switch to another HD channel it plays, sometimes not. If not, I repeat the Menu:Air:Cable quick switch and then that channel comes in. This will only keep working until I turn the set off. If I want HD channels again after powering on, I have to do the 2 scans as above. If I leave out A SINGLE ONE of these steps, no HD channels! This is clearly not ideal, but for now it beats buying a new tv.

I hooked up a newer 19" tv and it finds the local HD channels correctly the first try, so the problem is with the Element tv tuner. What a weird workaround, but it works.
 

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How far away are you from the nearby city that you say is obstructed? What are the obstructions? Just curious if you have tried with a good antenna?


In my case, for example, I'm on the exact wrong side of an apartment building from the transmitting towers (where "line-of-sight" to the transmitter has to not only go through my apartment ... but the rest of the apartment building).


I can still get a fine signal for OTA. Signal strength varies between mid 50's to mid 70's depending on the strength of the station ... but as long as it holds steady (which most except one does .. and even that only has an occasional problem in very strong winds) the picture looks identical to somebody who has probably a much better reception situation and signal strength in the 90's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I too am on the far side of an apartment building from the broadcast sources. Also, this building has a unique problem - it has a double layer of brick on the outside. The second layer was added years ago to change the color. The result is almost as bad as inside a steel-frame building: broadcast signals don't penetrate very well. I have an antenna that works fine with a clear LOS. But it picks up almost nothing in this building. There is a possibility of running wire to the attic where it would go above the brick walls. I may try that eventually.
 

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The demod in the TV probably supports QAM, but only the antenna channel scan enables digital support. Switching to cable sets it to the correct frequency map, but doesn't disable the digital signal scan. On a cheap s**t bottom of the barrel Chinese TV, they aren't exactly going to spend money on things like adding working QAM support, or fixing bugs like not disabling digital channel functionality when scanning cable. Good job finding and exploiting the bug though, sometimes poor design actually works in favor of the consumer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I got this Element tv at a store-closing clearance, so after 3 years I guess it may be depreciated enough to replace. The re-scanning procedure described above did not work today when I tried it. It's barely worth monkeying with anyhow. I have a couple of USB tuners for my laptop that I'm going to use to test antenna placement and cable signals.


I might contact Comcast and see what it would cost to get a HD box upgrade.
 
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