Question: Will My new HDTV work with Converter box?
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Will My new HDTV work with Converter box?


This is a discussion on Will My new HDTV work with Converter box? within the DTV | HDTV Chat forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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  1. #1
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    Will My new HDTV work with Converter box?

    Well, it finally happened: I won something! I won a new Vizio Razor LED HDTV. It's very exciting, but now I don't know what I'll need to do. I have an old, analog TV hooked up in a chain to: rabbit ears (they work great), Zenith Converter box, VCR (which is also used as the AV channel for the DVD player), & a DVD player.

    My question is: how do I hook up into my new TV? Do I need new cables? It has these inputs:

    HDMI with HDCP: 2
    RF Connector for Internal Tuner: 1
    Component YPbPr plus Stereo Audio: 1
    S-Video: 1
    Computer RGB: 1
    Tuner: NTSC/ATSC/QAM


    I'm not sure what all that means. Do I hook my chain of things into the RF connector, just like I do with my analog TV? Do I by-pass the VCR on the DVD and hook it somewhere directly into the TV? Do I even need my converter box? I do like it, because I can change the aspect ratio on it and it gets program information. Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. My new TV should be here in a few weeks, and I'm trying to figure out what to do.
    Thank you!
    Katie

  2. #2
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    Hi Katie,

    Welcome to the forum! Congratulations on winning the tv!

    I suggest doing the following:

    1) purchase a 2-way splitter (if you don't already have one)
    2) attach 3 ft cable to rabbit ears and connect to top of splitter
    3) connect one cable from output of splitter to your coax input on tv. This allows you to watch HD in all it's glory on your new tv!
    4) connect another cable from the splitter output to the antenna input on your zenith box. Leave the other existing cables the same. This will allow you to record OTA programing with your VCR or DVD recorder.
    5) what type of dvd recorder do you have? If it is one that upconverts to 1080, you will need an HDMI cable to connect your dvd recorder to your tv. If it doesn't upconvert, I suggest buying component cables (red, green, blue). This is the best video connection for the remaining options (component, s-video, or composite/RCA). Most DVD recorders will display 480p over the component cables. 480p means progressive scan which tends to provide a better image than 480i (interlaced video).

    If you're willing to wait a few days, I would purchase your new cables through monoprice.com They have much better prices than the local big box stores.

    HTH and enjoy your new HD tv!

    Rick

  3. #3
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    Katie, and congratulations.

    I agree with what IDRick said, but it would be a good idea to buy new short cables that say RG-6 on them. This newer type of coaxial cable has less loss (and probably better fittings) than the older RG-59 coaxial cables.
    Jim
    ---------------------------
    IDRick wrote:

    1) purchase a 2-way splitter (if you don't already have one)

    2) attach 3 ft cable to rabbit ears and connect to top of splitter

    3) connect one cable from output of splitter to your coax input on tv.
    This allows you to watch HD in all it's glory on your new tv! <--he's so right!

    4) connect another cable from the splitter output to the antenna input on your zenith box. Leave the other existing cables the same. This will allow you to record OTA programing with your VCR or DVD recorder.

  4. #4
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    Great suggestion to also replace the cable!

    Best,

    Rick

  5. #5
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    Okay, first I have to say I had to look up "coax" cable on wikipedia, because I wasn't sure which one that was. That is how old-school I am here. I am sorry to bug you guys with my ignorance, but you are being so helpful that I wanted to follow up on what you said.

    1) You are saying that if I was to go through my old regular chain of equipment, that it sort of "demotes" the HD to just D. And by going directly from the antenna to the TV, then all the HD comes through. So that must mean the TV also has its own digital tuner in it as well. Is that what the deal is?

    2) If I connect one output of the splitter into the TV, then the other output into the zenith set-top box/vcr/dvd chain...how and where do I connect that into the TV? My DVD is just a player, not a recorder. It's a Sony Progressive Scan DVD Player, DVPSR200P, Progressive Output (480p). You mentioned component cables, but could you tell me what a brand is, or what a name is, or what the inputs and outputs look like? I googled it and found dozens of different types, so I am again confused.

    3) It sounds like if I do this, I could actually watch one show while recording another. Is that true? Because that would be awesome.

    4) Re: new cables. So what you are suggesting is replacing one existing coax cable with RG-6 going from the splitter into the TV. But that it won't matter so much from the splitter into the box/VCR/DVD chain. Correct?

    If you decide to take the time to answer these questions, please know that I won't be offended if you make it ridiculously simple. Because I truly have no experience with the new world of HDTV.

    I can definitely wait a few days because my TV won't get here for a couple weeks. That's why I'm doing my research now, so when it comes, I can jump right into Lost and the Olympics in HD without a hitch. Yeah, I'm very excited about the TV. I won it from the Ellen Degeneres show on one of her 12 days of holiday giveaways. I also won a top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid mixer, but I doubt that would interest you guys Besides, I already know how to operate that!

    Thanks!!!!!

  6. #6
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    Katie,

    To better help you, we need to know more details.

    Do you want to replace the existing analog TV (with converter box) with your new HDTV (and yes, it has a digital tuner built in) to your antenna, or do you want to connect both sets to the same antenna at the same time?

    Do you want your VCR and DVD player to work on on the old, the new, or both TV sets?

    This may become complicated to explain in text and someone here with the ability to generate a block diagram or schematic (basically a road map for you) could explain it visually much more clearly.

    *There is one thing to keep in mind and its a warning: when you have a signal source (your antenna, your VCR or your DVD player) and you split that signal into two directions (running two TV's) each TV will receive a little less than one half of the original signal -- and that signal level may not be adequate...

    Jim

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    Quote Originally Posted by atlanta View Post
    Okay, first I have to say I had to look up "coax" cable on wikipedia, because I wasn't sure which one that was. That is how old-school I am here. I am sorry to bug you guys with my ignorance, but you are being so helpful that I wanted to follow up on what you said.

    1) You are saying that if I was to go through my old regular chain of equipment, that it sort of "demotes" the HD to just D. And by going directly from the antenna to the TV, then all the HD comes through. So that must mean the TV also has its own digital tuner in it as well. Is that what the deal is?

    2) If I connect one output of the splitter into the TV, then the other output into the zenith set-top box/vcr/dvd chain...how and where do I connect that into the TV? My DVD is just a player, not a recorder. It's a Sony Progressive Scan DVD Player, DVPSR200P, Progressive Output (480p). You mentioned component cables, but could you tell me what a brand is, or what a name is, or what the inputs and outputs look like? I googled it and found dozens of different types, so I am again confused.

    3) It sounds like if I do this, I could actually watch one show while recording another. Is that true? Because that would be awesome.

    4) Re: new cables. So what you are suggesting is replacing one existing coax cable with RG-6 going from the splitter into the TV. But that it won't matter so much from the splitter into the box/VCR/DVD chain. Correct?

    If you decide to take the time to answer these questions, please know that I won't be offended if you make it ridiculously simple. Because I truly have no experience with the new world of HDTV.

    I can definitely wait a few days because my TV won't get here for a couple weeks. That's why I'm doing my research now, so when it comes, I can jump right into Lost and the Olympics in HD without a hitch. Yeah, I'm very excited about the TV. I won it from the Ellen Degeneres show on one of her 12 days of holiday giveaways. I also won a top-of-the-line Kitchen Aid mixer, but I doubt that would interest you guys Besides, I already know how to operate that!

    Thanks!!!!!
    1) Yes, your new tv has a digital tuner so you will see HD on the new tv.

    2) See page 9 of your owner's manual for how to install the component cables between your dvd player and your new tv. I suggest purchasing this cable from monoprice: HDMI Cable, Home Theater Accessories, HDMI Products, Cables, Adapters, Video/Audio Switch, Networking, USB, Firewire, Printer Toner, and more!

    3) Yes, you will be able to watch one show live while recording another show!

    4) Basically, we're suggesting that you replace all your coax cable with new rg-6 cable. However, you may want to check the cable and see if it says rg-6 on it. Many of the newer cables have the type printed on them. If you want to purchase new, monoprice has them as well, for example see: HDMI Cable, Home Theater Accessories, HDMI Products, Cables, Adapters, Video/Audio Switch, Networking, USB, Firewire, Printer Toner, and more!

    HTH,

    Rick

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim In Seattle View Post
    Katie,

    Do you want to replace the existing analog TV (with converter box) with your new HDTV (and yes, it has a digital tuner built in) to your antenna, or do you want to connect both sets to the same antenna at the same time?
    I am replacing my old analog TV with the new HDTV. One antenna, one HDTV, one VCR & DVD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim In Seattle View Post
    *There is one thing to keep in mind and its a warning: when you have a signal source (your antenna, your VCR or your DVD player) and you split that signal into two directions (running two TV's) each TV will receive a little less than one half of the original signal -- and that signal level may not be adequate...
    I won't be running 2 TV's off one antenna. Does that still apply to a splitter running from antenna to 1) TV, and 2) to the set-top box, VCR & DVD?

    Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by IDRick View Post
    1) Yes, your new tv has a digital tuner so you will see HD on the new tv.

    2) See page 9 of your owner's manual for how to install the component cables between your dvd player and your new tv. I suggest purchasing this cable from monoprice: HDMI Cable, Home Theater Accessories, HDMI Products, Cables, Adapters, Video/Audio Switch, Networking, USB, Firewire, Printer Toner, and more!

    3) Yes, you will be able to watch one show live while recording another show!

    4) Basically, we're suggesting that you replace all your coax cable with new rg-6 cable. However, you may want to check the cable and see if it says rg-6 on it. Many of the newer cables have the type printed on them. If you want to purchase new, monoprice has them as well, for example see: HDMI Cable, Home Theater Accessories, HDMI Products, Cables, Adapters, Video/Audio Switch, Networking, USB, Firewire, Printer Toner, and more!

    HTH,

    Rick
    Rick, Thank you very much for the links to the cables. It really helps out to see them. They look fairly cheap, too. No, there's no way my cable would say RG-6 on it, it's all fairly old stuff. I'm surprised that cables could make so much difference, though. I mean, I've read that before, but I guess it has to do with HDTV, not old analog technology. I'm just even thrilled with the OTA picture I get from digital tv on my older set

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlanta View Post
    ... "I'm surprised that cables could make so much difference, though. I mean, I've read that before, but I guess it has to do with HDTV, not old analog technology. I'm just even thrilled with the OTA picture I get from digital tv on my older set" ...
    ----------
    Katie,
    If your current DVD player or any future device has an HDMI output (socket) and assuming your new TV has an HDMI input (socket) by all means buy a top-quality HDMI cable (my last one cost about $45.00) and you will instantly become a believer in modern cables. Until I bought mine, I never would have guessed how much difference it makes compared to the standard three-color wiring trio.
    Jim : ) <--impressed with HDMI!

  11. #11
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    Welcome

    Quote Originally Posted by atlanta View Post
    I'm just even thrilled with the OTA picture I get from digital tv on my older set
    Everyone here did a fine job of giving you advice, so I will let them continue. I am only here to say that if you like the picture on your old setup, you will absolutely flip over HDTV.

    Welcome aboard, and not everyone is an expert on everything, and you came to the right place for advice. No one thinks less of you, in fact most users here love to see new faces enjoying this wonderful new technology.

    Basically broadcast TV is now on par with Satellite and cable as far as items such as the channel guide, and instant ratings, time of day display, and picture quality etc. You may even be able to hear some shows in Dolby Surround Sound Stereo in some areas from broadcasters who utilize the Dolby format. If you live in a good signal area, you will fall in love with FREE HDTV.

    I do have one quick comment. You may not be actually receiving all of the possible channels that may be in your area using only rabbit ears.

    If you are satisfied with your channel line up then great, but if you are missing any channels or have problems receiving some channels, you may want to also improve the antenna as well.

    Also if you want to save money, some of these cables are available at Wally World for a lesser price, but I would recommend the higher quality cables if you can afford it, as you will be the proud new owner of a state of the art HDTV, and it deserves the best of accessories to get the most enjoyment out of it.
    Last edited by FOX TV; 01-08-2010 at 05:46 PM.
    WE ARE NOT SHEEPLE !!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by atlanta View Post
    No, there's no way my cable would say RG-6 on it, it's all fairly old stuff. I'm surprised that cables could make so much difference, though. I mean, I've read that before, but I guess it has to do with HDTV, not old analog technology.
    There's not that much of a performance difference between new RG-6 and new RG-59 cables in short lengths like 3 feet or 6 feet. Rick's advice remains the way to go, though: If you can't remember how long it's been since you bought the cable, or where you got it, then it's probably time to replace it. If you're going to replace it, you might as well get RG-6. There won't be a significant cost difference, and you'll get a higher quality cable.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don_M View Post
    "There's not that much of a performance difference between new RG-6 and new RG-59 cables in short lengths like 3 feet or 6 feet".
    ------------------
    Don,
    You referred to NEW RG-6 VS RG-59 and I agree, a 3 foot length's difference in loss would be hard to actually measure, but my point was buy new.

    I have some jumper-lengths of RG-59 from the mid-to-late 1960's here that are (comparatively) short circuits at UHF ... maybe even VHF, now.

    Remember the funny self-disintegrating aluminum foil as a shield coax days? There is no way to know how old any user's coax jumpers are and since they are relatively inexpensive I think it's wise to replace them.
    Jim

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    Thanks! You have all been so very helpful. Right now I'm researching the difference between composite video and component video cables. Looks like component are better but composite would work maybe?

    I still have one other question: if I split the antenna signal so I can watch one show & tape another, will it degrade it or make it look bad?

    On the antenna subject: when TV went digital, I bought a new antenna, but after hooking it up, then comparing it to the old rabbit ears, I didn't see any difference at all. And the new one was supposed to cancel out airplane interference, but it didn't do that, either, so I just returned it and stuck with the old ears. Being so close to town probably helps with the reception.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by atlanta; 01-10-2010 at 08:16 AM.

  15. #15
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    Atlanta,

    Just to make sure we're on the same page...
    Composite: 3 wires, Yellow for Video, the other two for Sound.
    Component: 3 wires, Red, Blue, Green, and, a side pair (2) for Sound. (total of 5)

    The Composite dumps ALL the Video signal on one wire.
    The Component separates the Video onto three wires.
    You can see that Component is going to be able to handle complex Video better than Composite.

    Splitting the Siginal...
    Anytime you split a signal, you have a loss in it.
    However, IF you have enough to start with, you may not notice any deterioration of quality. When splitting is required, and there is a noticeable loss, there are things called Amplifiers, which when properly applied, will compensate for the loss, and get a good picture again.

    On the Antenna...
    What works, works !
    It's amazing what those simple old Ears will deliver at times.
    They "favor" the VHF range of signals, but, it what you have works, no problem.

    I apologize, not having read back through all the post in this thread, but, have you looked up your Chart for your specific location ?
    Having done that, it will tell you what is available, and if the Ears are getting all the channels available.
    You can check this link, and find the...
    LookUp & Posting Instructions for finding your Free Local TV Channels

    Have a good Day !
    S.W.

  16. #16
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    I don't know if it was mentioned here as i only skimmed the thread but if your cable (RG-6 or 5 or whatever) has those 'push-on' style plugs instead of the screw-on type, DO NOT USE THOSE!!

    they suck for the antenna connection to the unit. a lot of signal loss is due to those cheap cables which usually come with converters or TVs or most other audio/video components. they're great in a pinch or for connecting an older TV to a VCR but lousy for reception and a lot of reception difficulties are from bad or extremely low-quality cable.

    i myself saw a huge difference in reception by using high-quality satellite grade weather proof cable, yes, even indoors. (more expensive but it's worth it trust me)

  17. #17
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    Excellent tips! Thanks a bunch. I'll have to wait til the TV arrives (I am anxiously scouring the street for the UPS truck every day) to see how the antenna splitting affects the picture, before I get an amplifier for it. I have some screw-on cables that I'll try - that was a good idea to not use the push-on kind. Yes, I did do the antenna station finder thing. Since the last post, I have bought a small (non-amplified) digital kind of flat antenna that is working great, and I don't have to dodge the long ears all the time now. I get all the stations I want to get, with the exception of ION tv that comes over some mountains about 75 miles away - I'd have to go with a rooftop antenna for that. But I don't care about that one. As long as I can see all my major broadcast and PBS stations, I'm happy.

    I can see that the component cables will be better than composite, but my thinking right now is that since the original signal comes from an antenna through a coaxial cable, then I may only need component cables coming out of the DVD to the TV to really get a quality picture. I plan on doing a bunch of tests to see how things look.

    I will definitely update you when the TV gets here & I can see how things work.

  18. #18
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    Atlanta,

    About the connections that you mentioned.

    I think you will get a better picture, if you go ahead and use the Component Cables between your Box and the TV.

    Yes, you input the Signal to the Box with a Coaxial Cable, but the Box decodes the signal, and will furnish the output with more definition than if you used a Coax from the Box to the TV.

    Some Boxs have a selector switch, that you can set for what they call "Native Resolution" for your TV. If you've got the Operating Manual for it, that will tell you just what that is, and you can set the box for the best picture. In any case, using those High Quality Cables, will be a plus.

    Have a good Day !
    S.W.

  19. #19
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    Man, I learn something new every post. I did look on my box (a Zenith) but there's no extra switch on it, and I searched through the menu and it didn't have anything available like "native resolution" (or any resolution, for that matter.) But I will take your suggestion about the cables to the VCR, etc., although my box only has composite outs (white, red & yellow) not component. But even that would probably be better, I imagine. I am still anxiously awaiting my new TV....I figure it should be here in a week or so, based on what they told me at the Ellen show when I won it. Thank you!!!

  20. #20
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    My HDTV is finally here!

    Okay, I am finally an HDTV user, since my Vizio came yesterday. Thanks to everybody here for helping me ahead of time, because I was ready for the hook-up, which would have been extremely confusing otherwise. I took your suggestions and split the antenna, so I can watch one channel while taping another. I used composite cables for the VCR, and went directly into the TV with component cables for my DVD player (it doesn't have HDMI.) I love my new TV, but here's what I discovered about the new digital world:

    1) The different aspect ratios are maddening! Anything that I taped in widescreen on my VCR comes up widescreen but with black around it. I can stretch it onto the HDTV, but then it looks stretched. I can see why people get DVR's, but then I wonder about the aspect ratio for Over the Air DVR's, too, because

    2)If I want to use my Zenith set-top box & record a program, it does not fill my screen. Either it's a smaller letterbox, or I can choose 16:9 and it turns it into a squeezed 4:3 box (!) which is just stupid. Anyway, using the antenna to TV bypasses all this stupidity, but it means all my taping - which I do a lot of - doesn't look its best.

    3)My TV looks great, but it has pretty lousy speakers that make everything sound squashed, hollow, muffled and tinny all at the same time. I've adjusted the bass/treble, removed the audio compression & fake surround sound they put on it, and got it sounding as good as possible, but then decided to try some small speakers. The only audio output is some optical thing (?)...so I've hooked up computer-type speakers into the headphone-out of the TV. It sounds much better but you have to turn the volume up really high (since it's a headphone-out.) Don't know why they don't have a simple speaker output.

    Overall, I'm thrilled with the new TV. I can't wait to see Survivor in high-def. I'm going to continue to experiment with the audio, and I guess I'll have to put up with just OK-looking VHS tapes for my recording option, because I'm just not ready to spend $250 for a DVR. The Vizio does have a neat function where you can "pause" live TV for up to 29 minutes (by putting a USB drive into the back of it), but it doesn't do all the things a real DVR does. But I couldn't have figured out all of this stuff without you, so thanks again!

 
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