• Effective immediately we will be deleting, without notice, any negative threads or posts that deal with the use of encryption and streaming of scanner audio.

    We've noticed a huge increase in rants and negative posts that revolve around agencies going to encryption due to the broadcasting of scanner audio on the internet. It's now worn out and continues to be the same recycled rants. These rants hijack the threads and derail the conversation. They no longer have a place anywhere on this forum other than in the designated threads in the Rants forum in the Tavern.

    If you violate these guidelines your post will be deleted without notice and an infraction will be issued. We are not against discussion of this issue. You just need to do it in the right place. For example:
    https://forums.radioreference.com/rants/224104-official-thread-live-audio-feeds-scanners-wait-encryption.html

Any HDTV experts here?

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W4KRR

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Hello everyone,

I just bought a new 1080p 42 inch HDTV. The picture on the demo model in the store was amazing; clear and sharp. The salesman told us we wouldn't get that same quality picture at home unless we had a set top digital box from our cable company (Comcast). Right now, the cable company coax just attaches directly to the TV, and while the picture is good, the salesman was right, it isn't as good as the picture on the demo sets in the store.

So I call Comcast, and they explain that I can get a digital set top box for around three dollars per month. Then they also start talking about an HDTV box for around seven dollars per month. Based on their explanation (and the FAQ's on their web site) I'm not sure what I really need. All I want is a better picture quality on my HDTV. Do I need a digital set top box, or should I get the HDTV box? Seeing as how I already have an HDTV, shouldn't I be able to receive HDTV programming without any additional boxes? Based on the explanation I got from Comcast, there doesn't seem to be much difference between a digital box and an HDTV box. Opinions please!
 

UFEMTFF

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I have had experience with both HDTV and Comcast, so I'll try my best to answer all of your questions.
W4KRR said:
I just bought a new 1080p 42 inch HDTV. The picture on the demo model in the store was amazing; clear and sharp. The salesman told us we wouldn't get that same quality picture at home unless we had a set top digital box from our cable company (Comcast).
I'd like to correct something right there. While it may be true that a "digital" box will provide better quality, the best you can get out of a digital box is 480i. Your TV is a 1080p, so you do the math. To get quality that your nice TV deserves, you will need a HDTV box.
W4KRR said:
Right now, the cable company coax just attaches directly to the TV, and while the picture is good, the salesman was right, it isn't as good as the picture on the demo sets in the store.
If you're running coax out of your box, you might as well not have the box. It is still an analog signal
W4KRR said:
So I call Comcast, and they explain that I can get a digital set top box for around three dollars per month. Then they also start talking about an HDTV box for around seven dollars per month. Based on their explanation (and the FAQ's on their web site) I'm not sure what I really need. All I want is a better picture quality on my HDTV. Do I need a digital set top box, or should I get the HDTV box?
You don't *need* anything ;). But, if you want to make use of your HDTV, you'll need an HDTV box, AND hook it up to your TV via component cables (good) or an HDMI cable(best). By the way, $7 a month more seems like a GREAT deal considering what I'm paying for HDTV with Comcast here in Jacksonville. I'd be willing to bet the price is going to go up a bunch more before you finally get a HD picture on your set (knowing Comast...)
W4KRR said:
Seeing as how I already have an HDTV, shouldn't I be able to receive HDTV programming without any additional boxes?
Yes, if your TV has a built-in QAM tuner. If that is the case, try one of the following. 1. Plug an antenna into your coax input on your TV. Do a channel scan and see if you get any of your locals in HD. 2. Plug your coax (directly in from the wall) to your TV and do a channel scan. If you already have Comcast service turned on, you'll be pleasantly surprised as to what HD channels they're sending you. The only thing a HDTV box from Comcast will do is allow you to receive their encrypted HD channels (Science, Discovery, etc.). But, they already send out all the locals in HD and you should be able to receive them with no problem (bypassing the box).
W4KRR said:
Based on the explanation I got from Comcast, there doesn't seem to be much difference between a digital box and an HDTV box. Opinions please!
There is a huge difference and I hope I've explained it. I have two TVs at home. I have a standard definition (hooked up to a Comcast Digital Box w/coax). From this TV, I get channels 1-70 (cable), 100-250 (digital cable) and On-Demand. Another benefit of the digital box is the menu when channel surfing (can't watch TV without it now). The other TV is an HDTV. It is hooked up to a Comcast HDTV box via a HDMI cable. On this TV, I get all of the same channels as the other TV, with the addition of channels 400-430 which are High Definition. I also get On-Demand HD programming with this box.

I hope I haven't confused you too much! Please ask for clarification if you need it. I hate seeing other people jerked around by Comcast, so I'd love to help out anywhere I can.
 

W4KRR

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UFEMTFF, thanks for your answer. It seems I should go with the HDTV box and an HDMI cable. I never heard of an HDMI cable, so is this used in place of a coax cable connection between the HD box and the TV?
 
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I do not know your area but you should be able to get ABC, NBC,CBS and FOX in HD with rabbit ears for free. Now if you do want more HD like ESPN you will need a cable box or a sat. HD receiver. Check out avsforum.com message board for people in your area talking about hd in your area

Also this is what hdmi cable look like

 
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UFEMTFF Has It Right W4krr.

Comcast Here In My Part Of CT Did It Right.

I Have A "32" 1080 HDTV HDMI Cables Etc

Got The 100 hr DVR Along With The HDTV Box Inclusive For About 10 $$ A Month More

Payed $15 To Have Them Program It Up Proper TV Etc, worth The Ching To Have it Done Right

Digital Is Nice, HDTV Is MUCH Better
 

k8mcn

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hdmi prices?????????????

W4KRR said:
UFEMTFF, thanks for your answer. It seems I should go with the HDTV box and an HDMI cable. I never heard of an HDMI cable, so is this used in place of a coax cable connection between the HD box and the TV?
Hdmi is the way to go--the picture is so crisp, but hold on to your wallet when you go to buy the cable........................maybe check different sources as the price of a 6 foot hdmi at montser cable is over a hundred dollars, but there are online sources that sell the same length for around 20.00--can anyone on the forum explain how to tell if one is just over priced, or what to look for??
 
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I've compared the Monster cable HDMI cable to the ones you get for 99c on Ebay and there was absolutely no perceivable difference on the HD Plasma monitors we tested. Test equipment may show a little more jitter or other slight degradation but it doesn't show up on the screen.
prcguy
 
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I'd like to correct something right there. While it may be true that a "digital" box will provide better quality, the best you can get out of a digital box is 480i. Your TV is a 1080p, so you do the math. To get quality that your nice TV deserves, you will need a HDTV box.

I have Comcast as well here in Baltimore County in Maryland. I also have the HD-DVR box. We use Motorola boxes here. I know on these boxes, you can press the Select button with the box turned off and you will get the Setup menu for the box. In there, you can change the default 4:3 picture to 480p. I know you said "digital box", so I'm not sure if this option is available on that box.
 

iMONITOR

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When I had Comcast's HD box, they supplied the cable as well.

Keep in mind that HD from Comcast, or any other cable provider, will not be as sharp as it should be. They compress the signal which will degrade it to some extent. But it's still very nice!
 

W4KRR

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GreatLakes said:
When I had Comcast's HD box, they supplied the cable as well.

Keep in mind that HD from Comcast, or any other cable provider, will not be as sharp as it should be. They compress the signal which will degrade it to some extent. But it's still very nice!
Thanks for all who have replied!

I notice the demo TV's in the store have the absolute best quality pictures I have ever seen. But I believe they're set up with a special signal input for demo purposes in order to sell more TV's.

The Discovery channel just had a program on that said it was being shown in HDTV, and although it looked good, it still seemed something was missing compared to the quality I saw on the in-store TV's. If I understand Comcast correctly, there's the Discovery channel (for example), and then there's a completely seperate HD Discovery channel (and other seperate HD channels as well).
 

UFEMTFF

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GreatLakes said:
When I had Comcast's HD box, they supplied the cable as well.

Keep in mind that HD from Comcast, or any other cable provider, will not be as sharp as it should be. They compress the signal which will degrade it to some extent. But it's still very nice!
I've never seen them side-by-side, but I was under the impression that satellite was the compressed signal, not cable. I could be wrong...

as far as cables go...

http://www.monoprice.com is your best bet. You can buy whatever cable you want, in whatever guage and any length. $3 for an HDMI cable vs. $50 from Best Buy??? I've purchased 2 HDMI cables and 1 VGA/stereo (computer cable with audio wire) from them and have been very satisfied.
 

UFEMTFF

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W4KRR said:
Thanks for all who have replied!

I notice the demo TV's in the store have the absolute best quality pictures I have ever seen. But I believe they're set up with a special signal input for demo purposes in order to sell more TV's.

The Discovery channel just had a program on that said it was being shown in HDTV, and although it looked good, it still seemed something was missing compared to the quality I saw on the in-store TV's. If I understand Comcast correctly, there's the Discovery channel (for example), and then there's a completely seperate HD Discovery channel (and other seperate HD channels as well).
Well, they also do things like turn back-lighting and tint all the way up. I'd recommend going on CNET and looking for your model TV. They will tell you some good baseline setting to put in and you can change them around from there as you see fit.

Also, about the "Also shown in HD messages"... I've noticed Discovery is big on them. All this means is that if you also have "Discovery HD" as one of your available channels, you can tune to that channel and watch it in HD. Even if you have an HDTV, with an HD box and an HDMI cable, if you're watch Discovery on 38 (or whatever the SD broadcast of it is in you area) you won't be getting HD quality. I have duplicates of many of my channels since I get them in both SD and HD. Sometimes the same program is on both channels, other times its different (Food Network, for instance).

Hope that helps!
 

ryangassxx

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It's been answered already but I'll pile on,.. You need the HDTV upgrade from comcast with the HDTV box.. If you call and ask for a "digital" box, you're not asking for what you need.. And it's also worth mentioning that you might find yourself perfectly happy with a $20 set of rabbit ears.. Believe it or not, you can get a top notch quality HD picture over the regular air channels for free.. Digital air reception is different.. You either get the picture perfectly or nothing at all,.. no fuzz or anything like that.. So the HDTV broadcasts over the air are every bit as good as the ones through cable, possibly even better..

My setup is standard def comcast hooked up with AV cables, and a regular antenna hooked up on coax.. When I wanna watch the baseball game in HD, i just hit the input button on my remote and it toggles to the air reception for HD... Works good for me as all I watch in HD is sports.. Plus all of the major networks simocast their shows in HD on .1, and they look really good. Oddly enough I find that connan obrien's HD broadcast is pretty much the best.. It's just a talk show, but it is SOOOO clear, it looks like you're watching the show in person through a pane of glass.. And again it's free... Comcast will charge you additional fees per month to get their HD programming, so think long and hard about what you really care to watch in HD, because you might not need to deal with comcast at all..
 
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gmclam

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Over-the-air digital TV in America

W4KRR said:
I just bought a new 1080p 42 inch HDTV. The picture on the demo model in the store was amazing; clear and sharp. The salesman told us we wouldn't get that same quality picture at home unless we had a set top digital box from our cable company
I need to jump in right there. You will NEVER get a GOOD picture from either a cable or satellite company. The problem is that they "bit starve" their digital signals. OK, a static picture might look ok; but anything with fine detail and/or action (such as sports) look horrible. If you want the best picture possible, you must acquire it either from a recorded HD source or over-the-air.

Based on their explanation (and the FAQ's on their web site) I'm not sure what I really need. All I want is a better picture quality on my HDTV. Do I need a digital set top box, or should I get the HDTV box? Seeing as how I already have an HDTV, shouldn't I be able to receive HDTV programming without any additional boxes? Based on the explanation I got from Comcast, there doesn't seem to be much difference between a digital box and an HDTV box. Opinions please!
If you insist on receiving your television from ComCast, then you at least want their HD service. Ideally you should get a CableCARD for your TV and be able to avoid a cable box. But not every TV can accept a CableCARD and they don't work with guides or pay-per-view. In leiu of a CableCARD, your only other option (if you're sticking with ComCast) is to use their box; but certainly get the HD service for the better quality pictures.

I notice the demo TV's in the store have the absolute best quality pictures I have ever seen. But I believe they're set up with a special signal input for demo purposes in order to sell more TV's.
Ironically what I've seen in stores is horrible pictures on their TVs all fed via coax from one player. If I was setting up a display to show how good things could look, I'd receive signals via ATSC over-the-air and distribute them in HD to the TVs. Although things are not yet complete, for those who can receive ATSC signals, it's the best kept secret in America.
 

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WayneH

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Before messing with OTA HD channels check to see if Comcast makes them available over the cable (I think they're required to?). Since your TV supports ClearQAM you'll find a lot of interesting unencrypted stuff out there. Your CATV company sends their channels out in QAM format, though mostly encrypted. In my area the OnDemand isn't encrypted so a quick channel scan will result in some movies and if you're lucky maybe someone order an HD version.

I also recommend Monoprice. There's a lot of debate about component versus HDMI but I would say go with what works for you. You won't see the difference. I can do 1080p over component fine. HDMI will be a lot thinner of a cable though and can carry audio.
 

UFEMTFF

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wayne_h said:
Before messing with OTA HD channels check to see if Comcast makes them available over the cable (I think they're required to?). Since your TV supports ClearQAM you'll find a lot of interesting unencrypted stuff out there. Your CATV company sends their channels out in QAM format, though mostly encrypted. In my area the OnDemand isn't encrypted so a quick channel scan will result in some movies and if you're lucky maybe someone order an HD version.

I also recommend Monoprice. There's a lot of debate about component versus HDMI but I would say go with what works for you. You won't see the difference. I can do 1080p over component fine. HDMI will be a lot thinner of a cable though and can carry audio.
Comast in Jacksonville changes the unencrypted HD lineup almost weekly it seems. I guess by law they have to provide them but they don't have to make it easy to watch them?
 

WayneH

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UFEMTFF said:
Comast in Jacksonville changes the unencrypted HD lineup almost weekly it seems. I guess by law they have to provide them but they don't have to make it easy to watch them?
My locals are actually mapped to their traditional channel numbers (Ch2 = 2-1, etc) along with passing station ID. Guess I'm lucky.....


There's also the CableCard route too. With a TiVoHD it's as easy as procuring the card(s) for a small fee from the CATV and subscribing to the HD channels, which here are like $5. You give up OnDemand and other two-way services though.
 
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