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RF Modulators, are they that bad?

Old 07-13-02, 01:29 AM
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RF Modulators, are they that bad?

I'm curious really since I've never used one. But my parents have an old 25" RCA TV w/ no A/V or Svideo outputs, but they want to get a DVD player. Since the RF modulator is their only option here,
I was wondering if anybody had any expeience using them.
Can you say if there was that much sharpness lost in the picture and sound.

Thanks!
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Old 07-13-02, 01:48 AM
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better than connecting through a vcr, which makes the macrovision kick in
my $30 radio shack RF modulator hooked to my creative encore 6x dvdrom drive results is some slight picture fading in and out, but it isn't very noticeable. cheaper than a new tv, and imo not enough quality lost to justify buying a new tv if their current tv is still working fine
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Old 07-13-02, 02:00 PM
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Yeah, their TV is almost 10 years old :O but it still works perfect.

How is the sound thru the RF mod? It would come out as mono on the TV?
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Old 07-13-02, 03:06 PM
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Many RF modulators let you run stereo through it. My tv doesn't really have ANY inputs, and I don't have the money for a new tv; therefore, I use an RF mod because I enjoy dvds. It really isn't that big of a deal. The picture won't be as great as through component or A/V but for the short term, I don't care.
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Old 07-13-02, 05:26 PM
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RF mods really are that bad. I'm no perfectionist, but the image is really awful. If you're gonna spend 30-50 on an RF mod, you're better off putting that money toward a new TV.

The TV is already 10 years old, and it's an RCA, so it's just a matter of time before something goes on it. If you get an RF mod and the TV dies shortly after, then you've wasted the money on the RF mod (since they'll have to purchase a new TV anyways)

I suggest selling the TV, or donating it to a charity (and using it as a tax deduction) and purchasing a new one.

I've learned that spending money to prolong the life of obsolete equipment is throwing good money away.
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Old 07-13-02, 08:27 PM
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I would also have to say stay far away from a RF mod. But then again it really depends on alot of other factors. Best thing to do is hook it up and take a look at it. If you like it keep it if you don't return it and put the funds towards a better tv.

What size tv do you have? I know you can pickup a 25 inch apex at Kmart for something like 250.00. It comes w/ a svideo and audio.
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Old 07-13-02, 09:11 PM
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You all have good points. I think they will want to try the RF mod first (It was only $25 at WalMart). We definitely can and will (if needed) return the rf mod if its not what we're looking for.

Trust me, I've spent a lot more than $25 trying to revive old stuff like ancient computers.

Anymore advice?
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Old 07-15-02, 01:13 PM
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If they are watching a TV that has never displayed composite or better picture signals, the image from an RF modulated DVD player will certainly blow them away. It will be a step above broadcast quality, and noticeably better than VHS.

The sound, however, will be pretty compromised and would be better if routed through a standard stereo receiver. I wouldn't be surprised if the audio was mono only -- perfectly listenable, but not very dynamic (especially in comparison with a suround sound setup). Again, if they've never owned anything better, they won't mind.

$25 versus $250 seems like a no-brainer. Spend the $25 now to whet your appetite and $250 when you think you can afford it.
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Old 07-15-02, 09:09 PM
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Originally posted by DigIt
If they are watching a TV that has never displayed composite or better picture signals, the image from an RF modulated DVD player will certainly blow them away. It will be a step above broadcast quality, and noticeably better than VHS.

The sound, however, will be pretty compromised and would be better if routed through a standard stereo receiver. I wouldn't be surprised if the audio was mono only -- perfectly listenable, but not very dynamic (especially in comparison with a suround sound setup). Again, if they've never owned anything better, they won't mind.

$25 versus $250 seems like a no-brainer. Spend the $25 now to whet your appetite and $250 when you think you can afford it.
Pretty much what we were thinking about the cost. They certainly want to get a new TV, just not now, maybe in the Spring. Okay, so far what we've decided to do is:

1. Get the $30 RF modulator from Radio Shack, because: it can modulate stereo since it has the whole three A/V set (one yellow/composite and two audio red and white}.

2. Get a $15 Acoustics three wire A/V set from Bestbuy.

3. Get either the $99 Magnavox or $119 Samsung since I don't like those cheap generic dvd players.

We plan to do this next weekendor this one. So anybody with anymore advice?

I will update this thread when we get it.

Last edited by Ranger; 07-15-02 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 07-20-02, 06:53 PM
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An update

Well, we when went to blockbuster, we saw the same Magnavox model from Bestbuy for the same price ($99) AND Blockbuster threw in 10 free DVD rentals!

I got them the RF modlualtor from Radio shack for $30 and hooked it up for my parents, let me tell you that the picture is AWESOME! The sound is pretty good, not DD like I'm used to but quite listenable.

Looks like they're going to stick with their old TV for a bit longer.

Thanks, everybody.
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Old 07-20-02, 07:58 PM
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Originally posted by DigIt
If they are watching a TV that has never displayed composite or better picture signals, the image from an RF modulated DVD player will certainly blow them away. It will be a step above broadcast quality, and noticeably better than VHS.

The sound, however, will be pretty compromised and would be better if routed through a standard stereo receiver. I wouldn't be surprised if the audio was mono only -- perfectly listenable, but not very dynamic (especially in comparison with a suround sound setup). Again, if they've never owned anything better, they won't mind.
Heh, that is exactly what I was going to say. The picture will be much better than broadcast and VHS, but it won't be as good as S-Video or composite, obviously. Of course, at $25, I'd say it's worth the price if you are getting it for a 20" or bigger t.v.

However I would really recommend against using it for sound. Send the audio cables from the DVD player to an independent receiver, if at all possible. DVD improves the sound quality of movies much more than the picture. An investment in a relatively cheap stereo receiver and speakers will really improve the experience (we are talking about $150-$200 for something that will BLOW away the sound you get from the T.V.).
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Old 07-20-02, 09:56 PM
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the tv will limit the quailty in that case not the modulator, it should look better than cable or vhs.
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Old 07-21-02, 01:05 PM
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Ok, I found that the dvd player has several audio capabilities available, when I first hooked it up, the sound was in mono and there was no soundtrack. But I pressed the audio button, and tried other audio modes like 3/4 Ac3 5.1, which had the best sound and we could hear the sound in stereo and be able to hear the soundtrack. That is why I stayed away from the modulators that only had a mono (white) output, so I had to get one with both channels (red and white).

My parents are not big on home theater, they just like to watch a movie once in a while with a simple setup without the audio receiver and speakers.
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