ATSC Tuners in Satellite, FTA, or Cable Receivers - Page 22 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums

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post #316 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-14, 01:54 PM
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A read through this thread will show that there are many FTA PVRs and receivers that also contain ATSC Tuners for Digital OTA reception. The BEV receivers with ATSC Tuners are also covered here.

The topic of this thread is strictly about the use of such machines for Digital OTA reception. We don't discuss FTA or Satellite viewing here.

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post #317 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-14, 03:54 PM
 
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I currently have an ATSC and NTSC tuner built into my Sony Bravia XBR4 TV. I primarily use the TV's tuner for OTA viewing.

However, I also own a SV 8000 HD (Rev. 2) FTA Receiver which I use for recording programs and viewing the EPG. I like the SV 8000 HD as it is easy to use. It does have a downside that it contains a fan which is very noticeable in my quiet TV setup (i.e. when the only noise I hear is the TV playing through my external speakers and and the receiver fan). I used the receiver extensively this past summer to record the overnight Olympics broadcasts from CBC onto an external USB harddrive (formatted as EXT2 (it can also be formatted as FAT32)). The quality of the broadcasts is quite noticeable as I think the overall file size of the recordings is over 500 GB. I also frequently use it to record various CBC TV shows such as Doctor Who.

Having the combination allows me to record one OTA broadcast using the receiver while watching a different OTA channel using the TV (or recording TV while watching a DVD movie).

The CW 3000 and 4000 HD receivers advertise that they can also be used to watch internet TV on your TV, along with other internet video such as YouTube, play DVDs and more. I have heard the CW receivers are more difficult to use than the SV receiver so I have not tried them.

Ideally, the receiver would contain multiple ATSC tuners capable of recording from many OTA channels at the same time. Unfortunately, I don't know of any such receiver.
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post #318 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-15, 09:29 PM
 
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Some Bravia TV has DMEx function that enables to watch internet TV (DMEx module needed). I wonder if you have DMEx function in your TV. Then you won't have to buy CW reciever
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post #319 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-15, 11:09 PM
 
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DMex

My Sony TV does support DMex but rather than purchasing the module, which is rather expensive for the limited functionality it provides (it costs the same as an inexpensive TV and only provides access to a few Sony approved content providers (no Canadian providers to my knowledge)). I have instead connected a laptop to the TV using an optical (for audio) and DVI to HDMI (for video) set of monoprice cables.

This works rather well although it is somewhat ugly and has allowed me to watch various shows, such as the recent World Juniors hockey games broadcast on TSN.ca on my TV. I have also watched other internet shows on my TV via CBC's website, such as Doctor Who.

Unfortunately, this setup doesn't provide PVR capabilities which is why I purchased the SV FTA receiver for recording OTA programming. Originally I had purchased a Pioneer PVR from Futureshop but upon discovering that it did not allow the recording of ATSC broadcasts only NTSC, I returned it and began looking for other solutions.
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post #320 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-16, 06:04 PM
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if have a HD-ready tv, you won't want a cheap and plain ATSC tuner. They don't output anything but 480i over composite and sometimes s-video.

You'll want something like a Samsung DTB-H260F or a SIR-T451 (the predecessor product to the H260F).
I know, I'm not looking for a HD to SD converter, but for a real ATSC tuner - component is enough for now, since my TV doesn't have HDMI. Since I'm in the test mode and failed to find any Canadian seller for DTB-H260F (I know I can buy it from US, but I don't like the uncertainty of the brokerage fees), I hoped that I can find a cheap satellite receiver for the job. But all of them are in the 300+ range, and I learned that some even restrict you to use the ATSC tuner without a subscription to their satellite service (I don't intend to install a dish).

For now I gave up the hope, but if somebody has any idea other than eBay/craiglist/kijiji, I'm all ears :-)

Regards,
Vasile
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post #321 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-16, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by icabrindus
Since I'm in the test mode and failed to find any Canadian seller for DTB-H260F
See the Save & Replay ads here at this site - they carry it and they're Canadian.



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post #322 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-17, 12:04 PM
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Anybody know what generation of ATSC tuner is in the Bell TV 9242 receivers?
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post #323 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-17, 12:05 PM
 
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SV8000 HD

In looking at OTA recorders, you can use DTVPal DVR, Multimedia HD with tuner like TVIX, or FTA PVR. For Canada, ease of obtaining and returning in case of DOA points to FTA PVR's. In looking at the manuals for these devices, they are all very vague on ATSC capabilities. For example, channels scanned are they 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 or some other designation, can the channel designation be renamed so its no so confusing to some, what does the EPG look like, matrix like H260F or channel by channel list, how are recordings identified, with EPG description or something like channel date time name. I see on the SV8000HD that it is MPEG2 HL so that means 1080i support. For the external USB HD, what is the limitation of size? I see some only support up to 160 GB. If HD is moved to a computer can files be viewed there? Can Sonicview be set up without a dish connected and only OTA antenna?
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post #324 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-17, 01:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by RustyHD View Post
In looking at OTA recorders, you can use DTVPal DVR, Multimedia HD with tuner like TVIX, or FTA PVR. For Canada, ease of obtaining and returning in case of DOA points to FTA PVR's. In looking at the manuals for these devices, they are all very vague on ATSC capabilities. For example, channels scanned are they 2.1, 5.1, 7.1 or some other designation, can the channel designation be renamed so its no so confusing to some, what does the EPG look like, matrix like H260F or channel by channel list, how are recordings identified, with EPG description or something like channel date time name. I see on the SV8000HD that it is MPEG2 HL so that means 1080i support. For the external USB HD, what is the limitation of size? I see some only support up to 160 GB. If HD is moved to a computer can files be viewed there? Can Sonicview be set up without a dish connected and only OTA antenna?
In regards to your questions, I only have hands on experience with the SV8000 HD. When I scan channels, I use the DTV Scan option for OTA as opposed to the Dish Setting option if I wanted to look for FTA. The channels appear as 02-01 CBUT-DT, 05-01 KOMO-DT, etc and you can rename them by selecting the channel and choosing the 'Channel Edit' button. You can also update your channel listings by uploading a text file with the full name of all of your stations to the receiver. I don't see any reason why you would not be able to use the receiver without a dish connected. It appears you may also be able to scan in the DTV Scan option for FM radio stations but as my antenna (Antenna Direct DB-8) is UHF, I haven't detected any.

The EPG is fairly easy to use. At the bottom left of the screen, there is the current time, and it also displays the channel name and current program as per the manual. Pressing the info button on the remote displays the program information (if available). To set up a timed recording, I simply choose the program I want to record and press the record button. I can set up 30 recordings that way, manually or by going into the event options screen and setting it that way (that screen is similar to the VCR recording screens although is more advanced). You can also choose to repeat the recording daily, weekly, etc. You can also search for the specific station by pressing the search button on the remote and typing in the station code (i.e. CBC). It will then display all of the stations that contain what you typed allowing you to select the one you want. The EPG feels very similar to me to the Bell PVR's and is a bit easier to use than the Rogers EPG. (You can only setup a recording when a hard drive is attached). There is also a timeshift option (i.e. pause live TV) but I have never tested that so I am not sure how well it works.

For the external hard drive, you connect it via USB2 to a port on the front of the receiver. You have the option of either FAT32 or EXT2 (Linux). I use EXT2 as some recordings, specifically the overnight CBC Olympics recordings, are much larger than the FAT32 4 GB file size limit and averaged 45 GB each.

According to Wikipedia, ext2 supports up to 2 Terrabyte files and and up to 16-32 TB hard drives. I use a 500 GB hard drive and in the past I've used a 1 TB hard drive and I have not had a problem. I format the drives using the 'Format Drive' command on the PVR. It doesn't support NTFS or HFS+.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext2

To view the files on a computer, which are saved in .TRP format (transport stream format), you need to first install an extension letting you view ext2 file systems, such as Ext2IFS (I assume FAT32 displays normally on Windows, Mac and Linux but I have never tested that). Nero seems to open the files without issues and VideoRedo (Windows) or MPEG Streamclip (Mac) lets you convert the files into a standard MPEG file format file.

The recordings are identified by choosing the USB File list, choosing the SVHD directory, and then choosing your file. If you recorded it by using the EPG, it will be displayed with the program name (_1, _2, _3 if there are multiple recordings of the same program) with the program information available via the Info button. If the EPG guide information was not available when you set up the recording (i.e. it was too far in advance) you will see the station name (i.e. CBC, CBC_0, etc.). You can rename the files on your computer or via the receiver to something easier to read using the on screen menu.

One last note. The receiver does not tune NTSC but as your TV should, that should not be a problem. Remember that the fan is noticeable in a quiet room (rated at 19 dB) but is quieter than most computer fans.
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post #325 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-17, 04:14 PM
 
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SV8000HD

Thanks for all the info. I'm not seeing a downside to this unit. I don't like the front USB connector for the external hard drive but I assume others would like this for FTA mod's. It looks like an internal SATA HD option is in the works anyway. For the outputs do you need to select or are they on all the time? I assume HDTV output in the manual is HDMI. I don't see anything in the manual for setting output to component or HDMI or changing 720p to 1080i. I would have the TV connected to HDMI 1080i and a projector on component video 720p. Currently I use a Samsung DTB-H260F as my projector tuner and would replace with SV8000HD if both outputs on. The Samsung has switches on the back to set output and resolution. The DTVPal DVR is a good deal for the price but getting to Canada and warranty issues make it a no go for me. I also don't like their HD format and difficulty to upgrade HD size. This looks like a good option.
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post #326 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-01-18, 02:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyHD View Post
Thanks for all the info. I'm not seeing a downside to this unit. I don't like the front USB connector for the external hard drive but I assume others would like this for FTA mod's. It looks like an internal SATA HD option is in the works anyway. For the outputs do you need to select or are they on all the time? I assume HDTV output in the manual is HDMI. I don't see anything in the manual for setting output to component or HDMI or changing 720p to 1080i. I would have the TV connected to HDMI 1080i and a projector on component video 720p. Currently I use a Samsung DTB-H260F as my projector tuner and would replace with SV8000HD if both outputs on. The Samsung has switches on the back to set output and resolution. The DTVPal DVR is a good deal for the price but getting to Canada and warranty issues make it a no go for me. I also don't like their HD format and difficulty to upgrade HD size. This looks like a good option.
Your welcome.

Some of the downsides to the unit are the following:

1) To me, the fan makes the unit noisy. The fan was added in the latest rev to handle an optional add on board. Apparently, with the add on board, the unit tended to overheat. For OTA purposes, the add on board isn't required and therefore you can probably disconnect the fan. I haven't tried that yet simply due to concern over the unit overheating. (There are many other suggested modifications on various websites to reduce the fan noise, such as using a laptop cooling pad or riser rather than the fan).

Also, the fan is on all the time, even during standby (sleep) mode. Turning off the unit via a switch at the back is the only way to turn off the fan. Unfortunately, this also causes the unit to forget the EPG meaning that you then need to tune again to each OTA station to regain the schedule after power up (I don't think any OTA station only broadcasts their schedule at certain points during the week but that is another issue if that is the case).

2) Front USB port: There are no USB ports on the back which means that if you have a USB hard drive connected, you likely won't be able to close the door of your TV cabinet.

3) No ability to watch a recording while recording a different program at the same time. The PVR also makes it difficult to scan the EPG (it only shows a few random stations) when you are recording compared to the normal use where it shows all stations when no programs are being recorded. This makes it difficult to see if you are missing a program on a different station while recording on the primary station.

In regards to your questions:

1) At the moment, I haven't heard of an internal SATA HD option although there is space in the unit for a hard drive, although a mount would have to be added..

2) The HDTV option is HDMI.

3) Under A/V settings, you have the options of 720p or 1080i, NTSC or PAL (or auto), letterbox or pan and scan or full screen, and a few other options such as aspect ratio (16:9, 4:3), closed captioning and OSD display type.

4) I don't see any option for selecting output and therefore I assume everything is on all the time.

5) There's also a favourites option allowing you to set up to 8 groups of 8 channels or music stations each. However, I've found this difficult to use and now tend to ignore it.

In the end, the unit is decent although I would have preferred it if they could have used a heat sink rather than a fan. Also, the manual could be much more extensive and it would be nice if they offered some screenshots on their website. Finally, to update the unit via USB key (I recommend loading the latest factory firmware if you do buy the unit as the original firmware was missing some features such as EPG and recording support) you need to make sure your USB key is FAT32 and not NTFS. Otherwise, the PVR will not recognize the key (I fortunately have a 64 MB key as all of my newer/larger keys are NTFS).
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post #327 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-03-15, 01:25 AM
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Question regarding OTA DTV on a Coolsat..

Hey all.

First of all what I am trying to do is to get my tv to go directly to my computer by my capture card.

The capture card works great as it gets the video and audio from my dvd player, xbox360, camera and all that but my tv only has audio-out and no video-out (like most tv's).

I found out theres nothing i can do to get video out except with a separate box that will also display tv channels like a vcr..

Then i realized that a fta reciever has an tv-anttenna thing so i was wondering.. my friend can give me his extra Coolsat 6000 for free.. and I dont have the money to spend on a full fta system like the dish and all that.. so I was wondering if I couuld pluug in that antenna in the coolsat6000, and have that coolsat on my tv and get channels directly from the coolsat and have that with its rca-out to my computer?

and would it capture dtv signals, cuz I do with my TV.. thanks!
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post #328 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-03-15, 02:47 AM
 
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Question regarding OTA DTV on a Coolsat

You have to check to see if the Coolsat 6000 has a ATSC Digital tuner or not. I looked up the spec's and looks like this model doesnot have one. Sorry I think your out of luck

I look at the Coolsat 8000 hd which tunes & decodes all 18 ATSC broadcast formats, this one looks like it will do the job.

If you only want DTV just purchase a converter from the Source, FS or BB. If you want HD you will have to purchase a receiver with a ATSC tuner.
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post #329 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-03-15, 02:49 AM
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yeah i juts figured that out by googling a bit.. only some of the hd recievers have that

and hmm well you think just adding an antenna to a reciever, nothinge lse attached and have it plugged in my capture card will work? thanks a lot
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post #330 of 511 (permalink) Old 2009-03-17, 04:47 PM
 
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I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned in this thread already, but the SonicView HD8000 FTA receiver has an ATSC tuner built in.

I picked up one of these units a few days ago, and added a 1.0 TB external USB drive, and I've been testing out the PVR functions of the unit. Here are my initial thoughts (pros - cons)

+ EPG works decent for recording, just flip to an upcoming show and push the record button and it'll set a timer for it
- EPG isn't the best for regular viewing, it doesn't use TVGOS (obviously) and the PSIP data isn't handled as well as the EPG in my samsung TV. SD sub channels in some cases get the EPG data while their HD counterparts show "No Information". Hopefully this will be resolved when they get rid of the SD channels in the future.

+ the channel finder doesn't delete old channels. This makes using a rotor possible, while it wasn't with the samsung tuner.
+ the signal meter is out of 100, vs. 1-10 bars on the samsung, a little better for fine tuning.
- the action with the USB drive is a little "clunky" to say the least. The drive works fine, but when going from watching a show, to going to your recorded show list, it takes about 10 seconds to scan the drive and allow you to move around. This isn't really a flaw, as I have had no freezes, corrupt data, or anything like that, it's just a little slower than I'd like. I guess that's what you get for using USB instead of eSATA or a built in drive.

Overall I'm happy with the unit, we'll see how I like it over an extended review.

FWIW, I paid $350 at Canada Computers (which incidentally isn't listed as an authorized dealer on sonicviews website).
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