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Do you have a HDTV w/out getting the channels?

Old 01-19-06, 12:58 PM
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Do you have a HDTV w/out getting the channels?

Just curious if any of you have a HDTV compatible television, yet don't use it for on air HDTV (cable, satellite) programming. I'm toying around with getting rid of my analog Sony WEGA (really nice 36" TV) since I think I can still sell it for close to half of my purchase price three years ago. I'd buy a 42" or bigger plasma and might only use it's full abilities with watching DVDs.

Then just take my time trying to figure out the best (ie, cheapest) way to get HDTV programming AFTER buying the plasma. Sounds like getting DirecTV w/ Tivo equipment for HDTV isn't that cheap. Maybe cable?

Anyway, just wondering if you some of you only use your sweet television for movie viewing.
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Old 01-19-06, 01:08 PM
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I use a non-HD PJ to show OTA HD signal. Does that count?

Just be aware that the bigger/better the display the more it will show problems. I would try to go see the Plasma you are interested in and ask them to show you SD TV on it. See if you like it or more likely, if you can live with it. Some TV's do a better job of showing SD then others.

Regarding DVD, yes a good DVD player will look good on a nice TV. If you are only talking resolution, then no not as good as HD TV would, but it should look very good.

Getting at least OTA HD should be pretty easy and relatively cheap. There is a thread elsewhere talking about a $90 HD Receiver from RS. If you are anywhere close to the broadcast antenna's you should be able to get a signal from a inexpensive antenna.
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Old 01-19-06, 01:09 PM
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The cheapest way is to buy an ATSC tuner and get OTA HDTV. It is what I did. I got a set-top tuner for around $150 (RCA ATSC21, I believe). Used an old antenna I had laying around. There is no cheaper way to do it and it is very worth it, IMO.
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Old 01-19-06, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
There is a thread elsewhere talking about a $90 HD Receiver from RS.
If that is the Accurian receiver, good luck ever finding it. I couldn't find one in three states I called about back in October. It was discounted and discontinued a few months prior to Oct and they sold like hotcakes.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:25 PM
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OTA just sounds like... um, like it would suck! But I'm sure it doesn't from what you guys suggest. For some reason it just sounds funny getting such a high quality signal like that.
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Old 01-19-06, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
OTA just sounds like... um, like it would suck!
Then you will be surprised. With a crappy indoor antenna, I get perfect HD signal for all the major networks (and also did in my last location: Madison, WI).
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Old 01-19-06, 02:48 PM
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Yes, I have a 36XBR400 that I am not getting HD signals for.
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Old 01-19-06, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mbs
Then you will be surprised. With a crappy indoor antenna, I get perfect HD signal for all the major networks (and also did in my last location: Madison, WI).

Yep. Same here. I use one of those double-bowtie antennas that I bought for college 14 years ago. I not only get the all the local DC HDs, save UPN, perfectly, but I also get excellent signals for all the Baltimore HDs, save UPN, where the transmitters are 50+ miles away.
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Old 01-19-06, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
Yep. Same here. I use one of those double-bowtie antennas that I bought for college 14 years ago. I not only get the all the local DC HDs, save UPN, perfectly, but I also get excellent signals for all the Baltimore HDs, save UPN, where the transmitters are 50+ miles away.
Same here. 32" HD CRT with built in ATSC tuner. With rabbit ears and I get the SD and HD channels. I found it amazing that there's often an extra HD-only channel with different programming for certain stations (PBS, ABC, etc.).

I've not had cable or sattelite though, so I'm easily impressed.

Last edited by CheapBastid; 01-19-06 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 03:53 PM
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Cheapest way to get HDTV should be cable. My HD cable box costs nothing over the cost of a regular box. Of course, if you didn't want cable or a box, then your costs increase. I pay 5/month for the DVR service, and nothing extra for HD. Plus it's quite convenient.
I will admit, SDTV, especially the real low channels, can look like crap on a 60" WS HDTV through cable.
When we first got the TV, we didn't get HD. We didn't even open it for a month, until we moved [TV was on sale, thought it would be easier/safer to move it in the box]. When we moved, we could no longer get satellite, so we went with cable and got the HD box. Getting HD through sat would have been at least 100-200 bucks at that time, even buying a [good] OTA tuner and antenna would have been the same, plus the hassle of installing.
The advantage to cable, apart from convenience is cost, is more channels. I get the networks in HD, and Discovery, and HBO and SHO; added to the built-in DVR, I'm glad I didn't get OTA. As a new customer, you should be able to get a really good deal for at least 6-12 months. Obviously it depends on what you watch, if you're fine with the networks and either watch real time or already have a DVR, the benefits of cable might not be immediately apparent or necessary to you.

Anyway, while I get HD channels, I personally primarily use the tv for DVDs and video games. There's not a whole lot on TV I'm interested in, HD or SD.

Last edited by tonyc3742; 01-19-06 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 01-19-06, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by atlantamoi
OTA just sounds like... um, like it would suck! But I'm sure it doesn't from what you guys suggest. For some reason it just sounds funny getting such a high quality signal like that.
Well that sound would be WRONG. In fact, there is debate/argument that OTA HD is the single best source you can get. Many (most) cable/sat companies compress their signal and/or offer HD "lite".

OTA HD is nothing like SD. For the most part if you get a strong enough signal it is perfect (there can be exceptions). But basically your tuner will "lock" into the signal and it. There is no fuzzy pic like on an analog channel.

As I mentioned, I don't own a true HD display devise. But my PJ will show an HD signal. And I got to tell you that OTA HD on my PJ is awesome! It is clearly better then my progressive scan DVD player (tho truly I don't have the greatest DVD player).
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Old 01-19-06, 04:06 PM
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I also get my HDTV OTA using a cheapo rabbit ears attenna that I bought at K-Mart for $15. I bought my HDTV receiver used from Best Buy for $99 and haven't ever looked back. I don't watch that much TV so I didn't want to invest in cable. I get all the major network channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, WB) as well as PBS and the local SD channels.
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Old 01-20-06, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
Well that sound would be WRONG. In fact, there is debate/argument that OTA HD is the single best source you can get. Many (most) cable/sat companies compress their signal and/or offer HD "lite".
The debate isn't usually whether OTA is the best, but whether cable/sat can match it. It is almost always the best, unless your local station compresses it, which means the local cable company may get it compressed from them, too. Which means OTA is still the best! (if not as good as it should be)

The only problem is for those who cannot receive via antenna. Behind a hill or something. Then it doesn't matter, if cable/sat is the only option.

One of the keys of the HD system is that the bandwidth for one channel is no more than ~19Mbps. This is just enough to fit into a 6MHz channel frequency capability (which is the broadcast channel standard size). HD won't be sent any "bigger" than this. So HD via OTA is as good as it gets. SD channels take about 1/6th the bandwidth, so some local stations send several SD channels instead of one HD channel. My PBS does this, I get 5 digital SD channels from one frequency. The tuner calls them 17-1, thru 17-5.
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Old 01-21-06, 01:45 AM
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My PBS does this as well. They send out 4 signals. My local NBC affiliate sends out their channel in HD and a SD signal as well. I have to agree though I thought the HD looked better on my OTA box compared to cable, but I never could do an A/B comparison so it could be my imagination.
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Old 01-21-06, 02:35 AM
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I had an HDTV receiver I got cheap openbox @ BB about 3 years ago (before my 800x600 projector had even arrived). I got rid of it after about a month - we don't watch TV - and made about $80 on the turnaround.

I just recently got the $90 Accurian from Radioshack and hooked an antenna up to it. Still, I've lost precisely which input it's on - I need to do some rewiring.

So I don't use mine, although I have it. I keep considering ebaying it off. I'll probably use it for the superbowl at least, first.
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