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Hi -


I've had an RCA F 38310 (I think that's the part #) HDTV set with built-in DirecTV/OTA HDTV receivers.


Overall, I'm happy with picture quality/etc. I'm not too happy with the user interface in the program guide, nor with the (lack of) integration between OTA and DirecTV in the program guide (I think they should be in one guide, with seamless browsing/channel switching between Sat & OTA).


I've been looking at the Zenith SAT-520. I haven't been able to see a 'live' demonstration of one, so I'm going by info I've seen on Zenith's website and by browsing these forums.


I have a few questions, and hope that someone here can answer them. I'm sure that some of the questions have probably been asked on the forums already, but I couldn't easily find this info. I apologize in advance for 'repeat' questions.


- Overall, is the SAT-520 as good as/better than the RCA F38310's HDTV decoder, direcTV program guide, etc (forgetting about the fact that the RCA is also the monitor, how do the non-monitor features stack up)? I assume that the SAT-520 is better, but I'd like to hear if there are known problems/annoyances that aren't in the RCA.


- How 'integrated' are the OTA and DirecTV channels? It looks like they are fairly well integrated, but I'm not sure. The RCA requires me to switch to 'TV mode' in order to watch OTA, and 'DirecTV mode' for SAT. Each has their own program guide, so you can't browse between them.


- Will the SAT-520 do better at getting OTA program 'titles/descriptions' for the program guide than the RCA? The RCA has never received titles/info for OTA programs. I believe it's an optional part of the HDTV signal, and requires a tune to the channel in order to get it (I could be incorrect about this). Anyway, the RCA has never shown me this info. I'm wondering if the SAT-520 will be able to do this (and if so, how does it do it - does my local *HDTV* (not just 'DirecTV locals') OTA channel info come in the DirecTV program guide?)


- (slightly off-topic): If I get an external SAT-520, it'll use my one component video input on the RCA. I currently have 2 component video sources (DVD + Xbox), switched through a Yamaha receiver (so, I have built-in DirecTV, and a switched component input to the RCA). I'm having problems finding a reasonably priced reciever that'll switch *3* component video sources. Can someone recommend one? Or, is there a separate 'switchbox' that works well with component video (doesn't degrade signal much)? I don't want to go broke doing this.


- As I said, I'm looking at the SAT-520. Is there another similarly priced box out there that I should also be considering? (I know of the nearly identical Sony model - I'm wondering if there's a different one out there too)


Thanks in advance for any help/info you can give me!!


- Paul
 

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Paul, I have the same set and only got OTA guide info for awhile when one of the stations decided to use it. they stopped so now I get nothing. Overall this doesn't bother me too much, I know whats on and when, if I do have a question I can flip over to the Direct side and look at my locals there.


As to a switcher I recall reading here so time ago of people having great success in using a basic Radio Shack mechanical A/V switcher. This has the composite and Left/ Right inputs and was a break before make design. This would solve your video side problems but you'd have to use your receiver to switch audio.


It seems like you are going to a lot of expense to solve a problem that might go away if your local stations did what they are supposed to do, and who knows they might start doing it if you bug them enough....
 

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Paul...the DTC-100 tuner built into the F38310 is among the most reliable HD tuners that have been made. I have the F38310 and would not consider any alternative for receiving what this set can already receive. I've tried most of the DIRECTV set-top boxes for my Mits TV and I can tell you...leave well enough alone and stay with the built-in tuners. I fully realize the RCA does not integrate OTA and satellite guides but trust me, you're better off as is. All the current STB's have issues,while the DTC-100 performs flawlessly.
 
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