Some thoughts on terrestrial digital broadcasting...

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Post by bodgy » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:19 pm

I realise that this is money still has to be spent answer, but this talk about having to replace television sets seems slightly scaremongering to me.

Unless your government has passsed some extremely restrictive rules or manufacturers and their agents have decided on a strange marketing ploy, the televisions that people have are still of use, just a converter box i.e. set top box is required. People can go on watching a slightly squished picture for as long as their t.v. set lasts.

I would be amazed if, considering the size of the US market the set top boxes SD or HD (especially the SD type) wouldn't be in the sub U$80.00 market. Here being a much smaller market SD boxes started off at around AU$300.00 and within 12 months were half that price and as I type the crap shops such as the Australian Target and K-Mart etc have boxes for AU$49.00 with HD boxes still around the $180.00

What hasn't been mentioned here and might be of consequence is the possible requirement of upgrading antenna cabling, connectors, power supplies (if active amplifiers ) and the aerials themselves.

If people have an aerial that is a coat hanger and get a grainy picture now, then it is more than likely their reception will either have lots of 'pops' , frozen screens or nothing at all. Probably more than colour (which really for most installs was just a marketing gimmick) a better quality aerial and components may be needed for those in fringe or poor reception areas .

The interesting thing is what will centrally distributed systems owners do? I imagine in the city areas many apartment blocks would offer this type of distribution, so will people have to provide their own set top box or will the building owner provide one at the head?

On a clear disk you can seek forever.

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Post by haklesup » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:32 pm

I recently read in one artical that over 50% of american households already own at least one digital capable Television.

As long as your set has an analog video input, it will still be useful in some way.

Personally I am happy and proud to trash all my analog CRT sets (and eventually all my CRT computer monitors) Not only will I be getting that junk into the recycling stream when they are ready for it but I will save considerable amounts of electricity over the next few years (not enough to see ROI on my TV but the monitors, maybe). While ones personal economy may suffer just a little, this replacement trend is keeping the semiconductor industry healthy for a while longer thereby enhancing the greater economy for us all. I said it before, I can't wait to see what's in the next generation of enhanced DTV. Probably have to wait 5 years tho.

I recaptured over 20 square feet of floor space plus some desk space in my house last year switching to LCD. I saw this coming for a long time. The TVs I replaced were all between 15 and 23 years old. no regrets , no buyers remorse.

I dunno about U, but I luv it and it's about time. To read this thread I might think someone is still hanging on to their K500 rotary dial phone just because it still works :razz: (yeah I have one but as functional retro art)

WHen I'm not watching HD via cable I use a 20 year old roof areal and it works fine. It goes through the same antenna amplifier I always have used with no problem (in fact it helps). The new frequencies aren't all that differnet from the old. I've not tried the set top rabbit ears but they are widely available. I would expect similar reception to NTSC but you won't be able to look at a marginal signal like before. No snowy pix, just something or nothing. Because of that the apparent range of a station may decrease but it you compare it to a good analog recepotion area, it should still be comperable.

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ATSC is the best kept secret in America

Post by gmclam » Fri Jan 04, 2008 2:18 pm

Let's see .. so many comments to make here.

Regarding music media; I've always felt that as long as a motor was involved the technology is archaic. Most of my music is on vinyl (that was the best media when I started collecting) and I didn't own a music CD until 1/1/2000. Now that everything is moving to FLASH or other non-moving memory, I believe it is the correct direction. That is as long as the material is not (over)compressed.

Regarding old (tube) TVs; my main TV was an RCA CTC-11 up until the late 1980s. I could have kept that thing going forever, but at some point felt the need to start over. It was great technology for its time, but requires a lot more maintanence than required these days.

When stations started to broadcast digitally in my area, I started watching. ATSC over-the-air (OTA) has been my main source for TV for several years now. It is the best picture available to a consumer. Better than over-compressed cable and DSS. And a heckuva lot cheaper too.

I live in an area where I can receive a lot of TV stations. Sure I have an outside antenna and all that, but some of the stuff I receive is not allowed to be carried by cable because it is outside of my viewing area. Ha ha. And unlike your daddy's TV (with rabbit ears), there is no snow or ghosty pictures. You are supposed to be able to pick up ATSC with rabbit ears/etc as long as there is nothing major blocking your signal path. I do get the local stuff that well, but have the antenna to get more.

Also, most stations are not broadcasting in their final configuration yet. Many will move their digital channel, increase their antenna height and/or increase their broadcasting power between now and when all is said and done. The final changes can not be made until the analog signals are removed from the air.

I've kept my eye on what's on shelves in stores for some time. I've seen the ATSC tuners come and go. People didn't know what they were, and salespeople (apparently) didn't try to sell them. Over the years the quality of receivers has gone up, quantity produced has gone up, and the prices have come down. Even with all that, it might make sense to add a tuner/converter to a 2nd or 3rd TV, but it doesn't make sense to do that to a main TV. Just get a new HD capable set and be done with it.

Happy New Year

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Post by VIRAND » Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:04 am

Television is obsolete. The internet is an advanced bypass technology.
I suppose TV will remain in some form for pay football-watching.
Modern VGA has 4x more megapixels than 1080p HDMI HDTV.
There are even pay-per-view IPTV set top boxes available
for the internet but I don't think they will be widely accepted.


Before HDTV was invented, I transmitted and projected a fully digital
3DTV image almost exactly 100 miles away, using only 9600 bps.

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Post by Droidwerkz » Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:31 pm

i deleted my post , i can rant up a storn on this topic for hours

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Post by jollyrgr » Sun Jan 13, 2008 2:25 am

One of the things I will truly miss is tropospheric band openings on TV. I can remember seeing both Chicago's WBBM channel 2 and a Houston (Texas) channel 2 station during a hot summer afternoon as a kid. In college one early morning I saw what has to be one of the best band openings.

On my 6th floor apartment all I had was OTA. (I was told I'd get nothing and would have to subscribe to cable. With rabbit ears I could get snowy pictures from Chicago and Rockford.) Tied into the ceiling tile grid and building structure above it I could get nice pictures (not perfect) from both and could sometimes get Madison and Milwaukee, very snowy. This one early Saturday morning, though, I was able to get signals from Missouri, Iowa, far down state IL, and if I recall correctly, as far away as Greenbay. These were WATCHABLE pictures and at times perfectly clear. Sometimes I'd get audio from one station and picture from another. Most of the stations were UHF. There was probably only a couple channels that did not have at least the hint of a signal on them.

I try for band openings every now and again just for the fun. I wonder how this will show up under digital. Has anyone seen this yet?
No trees were harmed in the creation of this message. But billions of electrons, photons, and electromagnetic waves were terribly inconvenienced!

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Post by gmclam » Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:32 pm

jollyrgr wrote:I try for band openings every now and again just for the fun. I wonder how this will show up under digital. Has anyone seen this yet?
Right now, 1/08, many stations are not transmitting digitally at full power, full antenna height or even on their final channels. Once analog broadcasts are gone and everyone gets their digital coverage area up to what their current analog coverage area is, we will be able to receive a lot more distant signals, similar to what we've receivied via analog.

I live in the greater Sacramento CA area. I am about 50 south of another TV market (Chico/Paradise) and 100 miles east of San Francisco. (Digital) signals from these markets come in here most of the time with amazing quality. I'm anxious to see what will happen after the transition.

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hdtv and digital

Post by electroken » Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:40 pm

Well I can only say that in my opinion (I have been in electronics for 50+ years and have a BSEE) that this whole digital mandate is about copy protection of movies and digital audio etc.
Now days you can still hook up to cable and see a hd movie on your nice new tv or expensive monitor, but in a few years (even if the mandate is moved out a year or two) it will be useless for watching a hd movie unless the whole stream from set top box to tv set or dvd is HDCP compatable. You will need to be using high def copy protection units or the digital high def signal will not be sent from the box.
I think our politicians sold out to the media on this one as there is no need to make all those sets sold prior to last year be unable to view a network hd show as it will not have the hdcp protocal in the set.
I have been reading about this in the last week and it is disgusting what is being done in the name of profit for the movie industry. Of course they are worried about content being stolen as the digital copy is identical to the original, but there must be a better way to do this. I think there is going to be a lot of outrage by the public when they find they are unable to see thier own dvds on their new big tv since the dvd will now have the hdcp imbedded in it and their new 2006 big screen hdtv will not show it.
I will watch with interest and certainly not purchase a new tv unless the old 27"dies prematurely.

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Re: hdtv and digital

Post by gmclam » Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:56 pm

electroken wrote:Well I can only say that in my opinion (I have been in electronics for 50+ years and have a BSEE) that this whole digital mandate is about copy protection of movies and digital audio etc.
Actually that is only a by-product of the situation. What happened is that the terrestrial broadcasters "complained" to the FCC that they couldn't compete with cable/etc. An analog HD TV system was approved that no one liked. Several companies got together and designed the system we have today. Fortunately they went digital and MPEG. Unfortunately they didn't really look forward at newer compression techniques.

If you'll recall, a couple of years ago the issue was about a "broadcast flag". What happened was several copyright holders said they would not allow their HD content to be broadcast w/o one. The broadcast industry caved. Later it was struck down, but for the wrong reasons. Yes HDCP (a part of DRM) is going to be a pain in the a$$. What happens is consumers connect equipment and have no clue why it doesn't work. DRM gets in the way of lawful use of material. Copyright holders need to be sued over this issue.
I think there is going to be a lot of outrage by the public when they find they are unable to see thier own dvds on their new big tv since the dvd will now have the hdcp imbedded in it and their new 2006 big screen hdtv will not show it.
The real problem is that only a few companies control creation and distribution of content. IMHO companies that create content should be prohibited from distributing it.

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Janitor Tzap
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Post by Janitor Tzap » Sun Feb 03, 2008 4:38 pm

the DTV Converter Boxes have finally gotten into some of the stores.

Insignia NS-DXA1 $59.99

Radio Shack
Zenith DTT900 (15-148) $69.99

Magnavox TB100MW9 $49.87
RCA DTA800 $49.87

There is also this news.... ... 234753.htm

But I have yet to find a retailer for the ECHOSTAR TR-40.

Signed:Janitor Tzap

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Bob Scott
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Post by Bob Scott » Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:25 pm

Dean Huster wrote:I believe that the 5U4 rectifier tube was developed specifically for television sets. At least, I'm sure that's where 99.99% of the 5U4s manufactured were used! Same with the 6AL5, 6H6, 1X2 and several other tubes.

As you can see this one is a little rusty. Developed in 1935, 6H6s were used as detectors in the old WW2 Mark 19 Military Tranceivers (before TV).

I haven't seen an octal base tube in 40 years.


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Post by rshayes » Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:17 pm

An RCA tube manual for 1940 listed the 5U4. An early data sheet for the 5U4 was also dated 1940. It could be a few years older than this.

The original use may have been console radio receivers with high powered adio sections (such as push-pull 6L6s) or small transmitter power supplies.

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Post by haklesup » Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:13 pm

AFAIK, DRM does not apply to broadcast content. The whole spirit of broadcasting is all about universal access. This is why it was mandated to come over the air before cable, so you would not be forced to use a service provider.

Now cable, satellite and any kind of pay service will likely have something eventually but probably not for content otherwise broadcast over the air.

All the fears about HDCP are what could happen. Consumer pressures have reduced the amount of protection from what the content providers would like it to have. For example the outrage over Sony's root-kit protection method and the trend of online music stores to offer unprotected content at a higher price (still stifled by the owners of said material)

They will always make it hard to male a full rez DDD copy but DAD copying should still be possible.

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