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Discussion Starter #1

We have a DirecTV HD-DVR, but I think it would also be good to have a TV tuner that I could plug our antenna into. Probably wouldn’t be used much, but it would be good to have as a back up in case the satellite ever went out, or maybe to have something to watch if we were recording two shows at the same time on the DVR.

Problem is, I can’t find anything except those digital TV converter boxes, and none of them seem to be hi-def. The best thing I’ve been able to come up with is perhaps use a DVD recorder instead. Don’t have much use for a recorder, but it actually might come in handy sometime if I ever wanted to make a permanent copy of some TV show.

Problem is, I’m having problems determining if the tuners in these things are hi-def, or standard def like the converter boxes. Their specs really give no indication, and even reviews I can find don’t really say for sure. I would assume I might be the right track if the recorder has component video outputs, but it occurs to me that those might be only for the DVD playback section, not the tuner.

Can anyone shed any light on this – either recommend a DVD recorder with a HD tuner, or how to tell for sure if a recorder has one?

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Discussion Starter #5

Came across this, a comment left for a review of a DVD recorder. Now I'm back to wondering...

QAM is the Digital Tuner needed for Cable digital broadcasts. It is a variant of the ATSC OTA standard, but is not as HD as OTA due to the bandwidth limitations on cable transmissions, which also carry internet data and telephone transmissions. The QAM Tuner in this Recorder is used to receive digital cable channels from Basic (out-of-the-wall no set-top-box) Cable Service. Cable STBs (set-top-box) does the digital to analog conversion for scrambled/encrypted Premium Service. Cable HD Digital broadcasts on local VHF stations 2-13 are not typically scrambled, or legally cannot be -not sure, by Cable Services so at least these would be receivable by this Recorder, as well as some digital UHF channels as well.

Regards,
Wayne
 

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Discussion Starter #7

Well apparently the QAM designator refers to cable TV, not whether or not the OTA tuner is hi def. Being ATSC apparently doesn’t indicate that the OTA section is hi def, because those DTV converters have ATSC tuners and they aren’t high def.

So – how can you be sure the DVD recorder has a hi def OTA tuner?

Or maybe all ATSC tuners are high def, but with the converter boxes they downgraded the video circuits because they were intended for use with non-HD TV’s? :dizzy:

Regards,
Wayne

 

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Got it. Same holds true with over the air, just because it's capable of HD resolution, doesn't mean that it is being broadcast as such. As long as the Recorder is capable of recording in 720/1080, and it is using an ATSC/QAM tuner, it's as good as you'll get. The broadcasters and cable company's will still send SD content over those lines/airwaves, but you can't do anything about that except call and write them letters.
 

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Discussion Starter #9

I expect that the recorder itself is only capable of 480 (if that) - which is fine. I'm just wondering if the tuner sections are capable of full HD, or if they're "dumbed down" to SD because that's all the recorder can do.

I guess I'll just have to get one and see...

Regards,
Wayne

 

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I'd say that it's likely they are dumbed down, otherwise, they'd make great tuners for those clinging onto HD-ready sets. If you wanted to post a specific model, we could take a look at it.

I wish I had a good recommendation for you, but I don't. The DTVPal from dish looked great until it turns out that it was plagued by bugs and instability. Stand alone tuners cost as much as a Tivo since modern TVs have a tuner built in. If you have an HTPC, you could buy a PCI tuner for cheap.
 

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Wayne,

Why don't you use your DirecTV HD-DVR? If it's not the model with the OTA tuner built in (HR20), call them up and tell them you'd like the AM21 add-on for your receiver. They may try to charge you for it. But I believe it's only around $20. Is it a silver or black receiver? I record all of my shows OTA from the networks so that there's no chance of rain fade issues.

You'd still need a tuner for that third signal though - recording two shows while watching a different show. :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Thanks for the tip, mjg. :T

Mech, I think our DVR is the latest HR23, in black.

BTW, I noticed in the specs at the back of the manual for a Philips combo hard drive / DVD recorder that my parents have, with component video outputs. It only does at best 525p (or whatever the figure is). I imagine that most if not all DVD recorders are going to be the same way...

Regards,
Wayne
 
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