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My real objective here is to find out how pleased people are with Digital TV.

Personally, I do NOT like it at all. My answer is:

"Bought a new TV and am ready, but think Digital TV is NOT "better" than analog"

but I considered:

"Twinkle twinkle little toes"


I got two coupons, intending to purchase two different brands of converter boxes.

I used one coupon to get a converter from Radio Shack. NONE of the other stores... K-Mart, Wal*Mart, Target, Best Buy, or any other shops I managed to go to in the 90-days the other coupon was valid had any in stock when I was there, so the second coupon was not used and cannot be renewed despite claims by store personnel that all I had to do was send it back and request a renewal because of unavailability of units for sale.

I found immediately that my completely adequate Rabbet Ear antenna was totally useless for digital signals. For analog TV, I sometimes had to move the Rabbet Ears a small amount to improve reception of one or two stations, depending on weather conditions. But with just the Rabbet Ear antenna I had almost NO reception at all for 3 of the 8 stations I could get before. For the ones I could get a signal, it was so poor that audio dialog was mostly not understandable due to loss of every other syllable and the picture was severely pixelated and blocky totally ruining any visual understanding of what was being presented.

I happen to have purchased an outdoor antenna a couple of years ago because I found it on clearance at a store going out of business (double discounts!). I had thought that maybe with an outdoor antenna I could maybe receive another 4 or 5 stations that I could only poorly detect with the Rabbet Ear antenna, but I never got around to trying it. So... since my Rabbet Ear antenna was not working for Digital TV, I put the new antenna in the attic and aimed it in the direction of the majority of the broadcast antennas in my area. It "improved" reception, but I am still experiencing random total signal drop outs, blocking/pixelation, and other problems usually associated with low signal quality.

THEN, my TV began to act weird. The top of the picture began to fold over. It is my personal opinion that the converter box actually damaged the old TV! I believe the converter does not output the usual frequencies for the video sweep and that the old TV was just not up to working at the fringe of the frequencies it was designed to do. Granted, the problem is a common TV set failure, but it would work fine if I went back to the totally analog reception without the converter box between. But I reconnected converter box and watched Digital for a while and now the "fold over" is permanent.

Thus, I now have a brand new Digital ready TV. Yes, I like it as it is bigger than my old one, but it is an expense I would not really have had to make if it were not for the forced conversion to Digital TV. It also means the Converter Box is now a useless item.

Yes, I wanted two converters, but one was for a battery powered TV that was only used during severe storms as I cowered in the basement. Since Digital won't work without a large outdoor antenna and I don't really want to connect it to an outdoor antenna during STORMS, that small portable battery powered TV is now completely useless! Besides, if I lost power in a storm the battery powered TV would continue to work but the converter box would not, thus no TV.

Another note: My VCR is also now mostly useless. Even with the converter box, it lost a large portion of its utility as it had its own tuner and could be set to record any station at any time, but with the converter box, it could only be set to record just the channel that the converter box outputs (channel 3 or 4), so to record things on different channels, I had to be there to tune the converter box. So much for recording different stations while I am away.

I have not investigated to see if the new Digital TV has a "tuner out" that I can hook to the VCR to record things, but I doubt if there is a way to do it, so I think my VCR is now just a "Playback" only machine.


To further compound things... I think the people who are now "in charge" are not the least bit acquainted with the word "Quality".

I was watching a tense and exciting movie and just when all the story was coming to the conclusion the next show started and ran for about 5 minutes, then it switched back to the movie, missing about 2 minutes of the most important scenes at the end.

My new TV has Closed Captioning and I find that often the captions do not follow the spoken dialog... sometimes with just minor alterations (especially Live captioning) and sometimes with MAJOR alteration (even movie and pre-recorded shows), which changes the meaning of what is being conveyed to the "Reader" versus the "Listener"!

I have even seen Closed Captioning that is from a totally different show than what was being shown... I was watching "Retro TV" (one of the new digital services of one of the channels here) and the Closed Captioning was for "Kojak" while I was watching "Simon and Simon".

I was watching "The A-Team" and that signature quote from Hannibal (George Peppard): "I love it when a plan comes together!" was Closed Captioned as "Well, that worked." Mr. T's famous "FOOL! You can't get away with that!" was Closed Captioned as, "Hey, stop that."

I have also noticed that the "Guide" that is broadcast with the signal so you can see what is going to be on later in the day often updates 5 minutes after the new show has started. On one station in particular, is always off by an hour (seems to be permanently set to the time zone to the east of me). The Guide is also often just plain WRONG in what it lists is to be on.

All in all, I hate Digital TV. I HATE even more the continuous claims that it is "Better". It AIN'T "Better", it is JUNK, and a needless expense at exactly the wrong time for people losing their jobs!


I'll get off the soapbox if you will please take note the order of the last two selections in the poll!
 

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I got a coupon early, didnt know it had an %^%$ expiration date


Some networks are going ahead with the Feb switchover, I have a feeling it will be like Mr Rogers might say..


"Children can you say FUBAR?, I knew you could"

I've got a closet full of DVDs and membership to 2 video stores...Fork the networks and this complete SNAFU thats going to come, now or June

 

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Most of our TVs are on satellite but I have a couple that are over the air.
I got my two coupons and just ordered a couple of converter boxes so I have not tried them out yet.
We have one 20 inch HDTV in the office that's normally on satellite but I'll switch it to the rabbit ears to get the hi def signal for watching football and a few shows. The hi def signal is a bit iffy from the rabbit ears. I just picked up a small (about the size of a DVD case) powered outdoor antenna, the GE Outdoor Futura to try out. It was $56 at the home depot. I have only used it indoors so far and it works great. It even pulls in the Baltimore signals for me (we're in between DC and Balt, closer to DC). I'm sure it will work even better mounted outside. Nice little antenna.
I am pissed that I won't be able to use my $25 portable TV that I use to watch football while doing yard work (or running trains) anymore.

-Brian
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 02/10/2009 9:02 PM


I found immediately that my completely adequate Rabbet Ear antenna was totally useless for digital signals. For analog TV, I sometimes had to move the Rabbet Ears a small amount to improve reception of one or two stations, depending on weather conditions. But with just the Rabbet Ear antenna I had almost NO reception at all for 3 of the 8 stations I could get before. For the ones I could get a signal, it was so poor that audio dialog was mostly not understandable due to loss of every other syllable and the picture was severely pixelated and blocky totally ruining any visual understanding of what was being presented.

I happen to have purchased an outdoor antenna a couple of years ago because I found it on clearance at a store going out of business (double discounts!). I had thought that maybe with an outdoor antenna I could maybe receive another 4 or 5 stations that I could only poorly detect with the Rabbet Ear antenna, but I never got around to trying it. So... since my Rabbet Ear antenna was not working for Digital TV, I put the new antenna in the attic and aimed it in the direction of the majority of the broadcast antennas in my area. It "improved" reception, but I am still experiencing random total signal drop outs, blocking/pixelation, and other problems usually associated with low signal quality.

THEN, my TV began to act weird. The top of the picture began to fold over. It is my personal opinion that the converter box actually damaged the old TV! I believe the converter does not output the usual frequencies for the video sweep and that the old TV was just not up to working at the fringe of the frequencies it was designed to do. Granted, the problem is a common TV set failure, but it would work fine if I went back to the totally analog reception without the converter box between. But I reconnected converter box and watched Digital for a while and now the "fold over" is permanent.

Thus, I now have a brand new Digital ready TV. Yes, I like it as it is bigger than my old one, but it is an expense I would not really have had to make if it were not for the forced conversion to Digital TV. It also means the Converter Box is now a useless item.

Yes, I wanted two converters, but one was for a battery powered TV that was only used during severe storms as I cowered in the basement. Since Digital won't work without a large outdoor antenna and I don't really want to connect it to an outdoor antenna during STORMS, that small portable battery powered TV is now completely useless! Besides, if I lost power in a storm the battery powered TV would continue to work but the converter box would not, thus no TV.

Another note: My VCR is also now mostly useless. Even with the converter box, it lost a large portion of its utility as it had its own tuner and could be set to record any station at any time, but with the converter box, it could only be set to record just the channel that the converter box outputs (channel 3 or 4), so to record things on different channels, I had to be there to tune the converter box. So much for recording different stations while I am away.

I have not investigated to see if the new Digital TV has a "tuner out" that I can hook to the VCR to record things, but I doubt if there is a way to do it, so I think my VCR is now just a "Playback" only machine.!




I feel your pain. Being on cable I don't have these issues...then again, I'm paying monthly to not have these issues. I don't think the TV industry or the government did a very good job explaining the "difference" between analog and digital TV. You've hit on several of the issues.

Regarding your rabbit ears....well, HDTV is in the UHF spectrum...so unless your rabbit ears have anther loop for UHF, they're useless. Moving the long "twigs" will accomplish NOTHING as they are designed for VHF. What you need is a good UHF antenna. If your rabbit ears has the typical UHF loop on it...that's still not much antenna...and pointing becomes more important as there's no "twigs" to move.

Make SURE the antenna wire from that antenna to the converter or HDTV is RG6 coaxial cable...NOT twin lead. Twin lead does NOT pass a UHF signal for crap. My guess is that if it were twin lead...you could cut the cable with some pliers...and the picture you saw would change very little. If you have an antenna that is using twin lead you NEED a new antenna that uses RG6. The better ones look like a flat plate standing vertical.

The Digital TV acting weird is the result of a low signal level. In general, digital signals will allow operation in a much crappier environment than analog....but without a decent antenna, you may have lowered the signal level too far. All that pixelation you describe is the result of the wrong antenna...or the wrong cable from the antenna to the digital TV. When the signal level is TOO LOW, all kinds of weird things will happen. And I doubt that the TV is damaged...unless you've had some good lightning storms and don't have the TV hooked to a good (high joule) power spike guard.

The best analogy I can come up with is from experience with today's cells phones. Phone conversatioins don't get static anymore when the signal fades....the conversation just stops. Digital is 1 or 0...on or off. When you see severe pixelation on a digital TV...you've got low signal levels...and I'll bet you that you'd have problems changing channels...like it taking a long time to actually make the channel change.

Regarding the video sweep...you could be right...but if the converter is trying to generate the sweep based on a crapped up input signal...it will generate a crapped up sweep signal. Digital to analog conversion is well understood...but if bits are missing, the output is very flakey.

You're dead on regarding your VCR. It's now a video playback device unless your home to record stuff. None of the digital TVs I have have video outputs.

Regarding your "storm" TV... I think you are correct. The only redeeming issue is that a UHF antenna is a LOT smaller than a VHF antenna...so you might be able to get one up there that will actually survive the storm.

Lastly...UHF signals are way more line-of-site than the old VHF signals. So, if you have hills or woods between you and the TV transmitter antennas, you could suffer greatly from the "blockage" in terms of a lower signal level. The only good news about UHF is that it is less susceptable to weather issues.
 

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Going 'digital' has little benefit to an end user if running the old analog type of tv/vcr.

OTOH, if you have a High Def TV, then digital is awesome as the higher resolution gives me a great picture and I wouldnever go back to the old 320 by 200 picture.

I have an older Plasma set that is only 1080i and I get a great picture.

I see blades of grass moving in fields, and eyeballs in the crowds. Faces on actors have defects and scars that do not show up on the older analog sets. Now the actors want better make up!!!!

Wide screen lets me see what the viewers in movie theaters see.

SO, the poll should have included HD questions for one of the many reasons to go digital.
 

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Susan, my x, says she gets lots more channels and very clear reception with her converter box. My motel has Dish Network.
 

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Purchased my HD TV last April. While the Direct TV guy was here putting in the new dish, he saw I have a small 16" X 24" antenna on my chimney that I had not used for years. He informed me that the local channels were not uploading their signal to Direct TV in HD, they do now. Anyways, he said I could get the local HD channels with that antenna. We hooked it up and I not only had the normal local channels in HD but I had 5 other digital channels that I didn't even know about. Great picture too!

Craig

I quit using that antenna years ago because the analog signal was terrible. And I live in town... Nothing but ghosts.
 

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I bought a converter box with a coupon. I used it for a while until I
bought a 32" HDTV at a great price on Thanksgiving day. I found that
the tuner in the converter box was not as good as in the HDTV. I do
have a roof top antenna. One station the HD signal is weaker than
analog. I have been told that digital broadcasting antennas are more
directional.
 

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Charles,

1. We love TV here. It is our main source of entertainment. Always has been.
2. MB LOVES football, specifically the NFL.

3. I grew up on cable.

So, when we moved to our new house 5 years ago, the old 27" TV just didn't cut it anymore, and we got a 48" rear projection HD TV. When high definition cable came along, we skipped it at first. Then, we decided to try it and what a difference it makes. I mean really, it is a huge difference. But..we got tired of paying for Comcast and they were having more and more problems with our service. So, we switched out to one of the satellite providers, and I get an even better HD picture now. I have to say that the new TV's are nice, but I notice that for a 48"-52", the pricing is still about the same as what I paid 6 years ago. Of course, the picture is probably better, and the set does not come with casters, like mine does!! However, for it to work in my set up, I'd have to buy the piece of furniture that would support it. Then again, with the 15 month old who likes to push the buttons, I could set the TV back a little...


The other feature we like is the DVR, which records shows for me. I can set it up to record all of the "Trains and Locomotives" series run on RFD, plus I can watch one show and record another. That is a nice feature when my wife insists on watching "Dancing with the Stars"! I use that time to work on trains...


Now, as for your situation, my neighbors are getting their high definition TV over the air with a new antenna. Must be as described above. But, they have no problems with it.


We have a crappy 8" TV in our kitchen which I HATE. It has the rabbit ears, and I think it was among the very first small color TV's made. We get the local NBC station, which is all MB wants in the kitchen. I was so psyched that it wasn't going to work anymore and I could take it off the fridge and sell it for $1. at the yard sale this summer!! Alas, I have to wait a few more months.
 

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Well to be honest it must be well over 15 years since I last had a 625 line UHF analogue TV system(?) I had my flat wired with DASS2 and I was plugged straight into the Diamond Cable system via a SCART cable when I moved in. Over the years the box has been upgraded and the name of the supplier has changed as the cable companies merged and were absorbed... Now we are connected to Virgin Media with a V+ box in our living room. Daddy is resisting extreme "attack" to convert all our TVs to 1080P -just as I fought tooth and nail to resist 16:9!!!

regards

ralph
 

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Hey, this is like a (chicago) (florida) (ohio) election! I got to vote twice! Or perhaps my vote wasn't counted. Maybe the poll plug-in designed by Diebold wasn't the best choice? ;)

We're hearing from viewers almost daily with this issue or that concerning the DTV conversion. It seems for each call we get saying "DTV stinks, because I can't get you now," we get a call saying "Wow! I've never been able to get you before." It is most certainly a better technology, but it does shift things a bit in certain circumstances. That's the nature of broadcasting any kind of signal. No two transmitters broadcast the same pattern. There are places where we can park a live truck, and have a crystal clear digital picture. Move the truck 20' either way, and zippo. If we switch the transmitter to analog in those cases, we can get a passable signal, but still not perfect. The trade-off is that we can shoot a perfect digital signal much farther than we can shoot an analog one. Translate it to our back yards--why does one kind of R/C system have different reception than another? Even the most low-power transmitters should be able to broadcast over the distances we typically operate. Yet, each system is different. We have "blind" spots where the train simply can't decipher the signal.

I produce in HD, and let me tell you--there's simply no comparison. It actually changes the way we write and edit, because you want to sit on shots longer so the viewer can take in all the detail. It slows the pace down. Now, if I could get a 40" plasma display in my edit bay, I'd be a happy camper. :)

Later,

K
 

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We did two things. We bought a new TV and a convertor box with the coupon. Here in Los Angeles Metro it is great! We get a lot more channels, and it appears that it improved the Spanish/English ratio - and added some Farsi, Korean and Vietnamese! My kids watch the two all-kids-all-the-times channels (PBS and QUBO) and love them. (Actually, my wife and I love Nanaland - like VeggieTales, it is written for kids *and* adults!

I already had a roof top antenna - which is now way to big since I will not need VHF anymore.
 

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Hey Kevin

No problem, I've got a whole (or is that hole?) pocket full of "chads" if you need any.

Anyway, the biggest drawback that I see is the nature of the digital signal, it's either there or it isn't. Now for the entertainment side this can and is an annoyance, but I figure the biggest test of its worth will come on the heels of an emergency. If the signal strength is marginal, with analog you may not get the best picture or sound but you usually can get the information you're looking for, but with digital it's either all or nothing. In a broadcast environment it's nice that you have the luxury to switch between digital & analog. But for the consumer side after the change over is in place, what choice will they have.

And recollecting the troubles that all of the emergency services here in Florida encounter during that last round of hurricanes with their digital communication systems, I can't say that I am looking forward to the test, and mind you they're only dealing with voice communication.

As for an antenna, the one that I settled on using (i.e. I don't do cable or satellite) is not so very large. I chose the ClearStream2 from Antennas Direct. The reason that I settled on that brand was it also does a darn good job of picking up the VHF signals down to around channel six (6) too. Just as a FYI I've included a link below to their web site, no I'm not affiliated in any way, just liked what I got and how well it works.

http://www.antennasdirect.com/clearstream-antennas.html

Another interesting thing that was encountered here locally. Was various TV stations in an attempt to let their customers find out if the consumer's TV set was DTV capable. Would advertise a date & time when they were going to switch off their analog signal on the normal broadcast channel and only use digital. If the customer could see something they were digital ready. What they came across was the fact that many TV's with digital decoders in them would not automatically switch from decoding an analog signal to decoding a digital one on the same frequency, without manually going into the TV's setup and doing either a manual or auto-scan. The same thing had to be repeated again when the broadcast went back to analog.
 

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After years of procrastination we finally bought an HD TV. It was harder than buying a car trying to wade through all the sales BS. The sales people all pushed 1080p and 120 Hz machines, and insisted we needed a $120 HDMI cable. I spoke to both the satellite and cable companies, the best they do right now is 720i and I got no answer on the Hz question. The cable installer said the HDMI cable would make a slight improvement and suggested a $20 Phillips cable from Wal Mart.

The cable and satellite web sites were more cryptic and confusing than the TV salespeople. It took more than a week to sort through all the programming packages BS. Each day I called, the rates and stories changed, and they all pushed to sign now and save. Buy the time the dust had settled, my cable bill had doubled.

We finally settled on a 46 inch Sony from Sears as the boss had about $400 dollars worth of points to cash in. It looked small in a store, but it was a monster to carry into the house. Then the boss had me carry our 27 inch CRT TV upstairs, and our 32 year old, Sears, bunny-eared set to curb. I had forgotten how heavy old TV sets were. Then her sister bought the same HD set. After carrying that to her basement TV room, she had me lug away her 27 inch CRT set. It sure looks nice in my refurbished crew lounge. Needless to say I had the cable guy install an extra outlet there before he left.

So now the two of us have six portable phones to answer and three TV sets to watch. We’re certainly doing our part to keep the economy going. I think there are about 750 channels listed. I could channel surf all day and never watch anything. But at least the boss and I aren’t fighting over the TV when she wants to watch The Bachelor and I want to watch 24.
 

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I bought an HD tv over a year ago and hooked it to my "over the air" antenna. WOW. If some one says they can't tell the difference they aren't watching HD. (remember the original program being show must have been filmed in HD otherwise you aren't seeing HD. And I notice HD choices seem to be lacking from this pole. Within 30 days I had replaced two other TV's with HD sets. If it's over the air, it's free. I found the local stations were broadcasting different programming so my antenna surfing stations doubled. I still have DISH and receive their digital picture. I have not upgraded to DISH HD, because they want more money and my over the air HD is more than enough. And yes, some news broadcasters, shown in HD, have very obvious flaws and blemishes, like real people.

I was told up front a converter box wouldn't guarantee a better picture.
 

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totally uneffected here..
been on cable for about 30 years now..
we get about 100 channels, and watch about 10 of them..

dont know or care anything about HD..still using a 10 year old 27" CRT set..no need to upgrade! ;)

Scot
 

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Don't watch TV, spend our entertainment time with trains, baking, music, gardening, woodworking, weaving, reading, etc.
 

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Antennas are another interesting subject.

Most UHF antennas are made to receive channels 14 to 60.
It takes a special antenna to get 14 to 72, and then you have to add a second antenna for channels 73-81. So be sure to ask about antenna specs.

This is all due to the length of the elements and the frequency they are tuned to, plus the gain of the antenna which effectivly reduces the signal to noise ratio thus allowing you to get a stronger signal which gets losses as it goes down the wire. Therefore an amplifier at the antenna is needed to improve the signal before having losses in the cable.

I can not wait to see the new Digital antenna. I still remember the color antenna ads, there is no difference between black/white reception vs color reception in antennas other than the 'color' antenna was larger thus had a better signal to noise ratio. The color part was the elements were painted!!!
 

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Getting our home built so maybe we can start playing with trains again!
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We have Comcrap so we don't need the converter. Unfortunately comcrap has raised their rates with this new law since they are the only provider in town. They also consider us their ba$tard accounts since we were once adelphia and were annexed into the comcrap family just because. Anyhow I hope with the change over our picture quality will improve. Reeception reminds me of of living in the Chicago area before they added antenna to the Sears Tower. Snow, ghosts and distortions all the time.
 

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Posted By Dan Pierce on 02/13/2009 4:14 AM
Antennas are another interesting subject.

Most UHF antennas are made to receive channels 14 to 60.
It takes a special antenna to get 14 to 72, and then you have to add a second antenna for channels 73-81. So be sure to ask about antenna specs. {snip...}
Dan

What you've stated is true, however, you also have to combine that with what frequencies are allocated to what use, re the following link.

http://www.answers.com/topic/north-american-broadcast-television-frequencies
 
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