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PCInTech
keeping art alive since 1953
Premium
join:2004-06-07
Massena, NY
kudos:9
Reviews:
·VOIPO

Dumb question about CRT TVs

I have two Sony Wega flat screen CRT TVs, with pre-digital tuners. I get just "Basic" service from my Cable company, TW, and it misses channels that people with the same package get that have newer flat screen LCD and Plasma sets with digital tuners. Is there an external tuner I can get that will get these stations that I'm paying for? I do NOT want to upgrade to a higher tier package to get their set-top box, nor do I want to go out and buy new TVs, when mine work perfectly well.

b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

1 edit
What you need is a QAM tuner box, not to be confused with the DTV converter boxes that tune the new digital over the air broadcasts (ATSC).

They are out there but not as common as the aforementioned DTV converter box.

--
Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/

BoulderHill1

join:2004-07-15
Montgomery, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service
reply to PCInTech
What he ^^ said.

Perhaps your cable company offers a type of convertor box for your application.

Comcast uses a DTA device and issues them free in most markets for people with your situation. IE ... You have the basic service package and are using older pre digital television equipment.

The issue is that the cable company is providing a digital signal to you. This is digital cable, not the same as digital broadcast OTA.

There are obviously some analog channels coming across and your tv is able to tune these no problem.

However as you have found out there are channels you are missing. IF these are being delivered "in the clear" then a tuner with clear QAM will be able to tune these is for you.

IF they are scrambled then it will require the use of a company issued device such as the DTA. CLear QAM tuners only tune clear digital cable channels and do not work for encrypted or scrambled channels.

External clear QAM tuners do exist.

b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..
BoulderHill1 is right, I totally forgot about the cable company supplied DTA boxes.

If I am not mistaken they are required to provide these for free to basic cable subscribers.

Besides free they are simpler because the channels map to the numbers you are used to seeing. With a QAM tuner you might find that your "Channel 7" is now "QAM Channel" 326.2 or 1000.1

Also cable companies will change the QAM channel every now and then just to make you have to rescan and save the new channels on your QAM tuner.
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Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/


PCInTech
keeping art alive since 1953
Premium
join:2004-06-07
Massena, NY
kudos:9
Reviews:
·VOIPO
Yes, this info IS helpful. The situation is, people with newer TVs that have the same level of service as I CAN get the stations, without a company provided box, so they must be "clear". I've been trying to convince TW to give me DTA boxes, which they are offering for people in the NEXT level of service up, but not mine, even though in my level, there are channels that can't be received without a new TV w/ a QAM tuner. Any suggestions where I can get one of these gizmos besides TW, who is not cooperating?

BoulderHill1

join:2004-07-15
Montgomery, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T DSL Service
Most likely because of the nature of the DTA box, it has to be activated to your account, you will not be able to source one from somewhere else and make it work.

The people that have the same level of service as you but have newer TV's get these additional channels because of the QAM tuner.

The cable companies position is going to be that those customers do not pay for those channels, just as you do not pay for them, but due to the nature of their system and the QAM tuner they essentially get bonus channels. These channels are not guaranteed and can disappear from the lineup without notice.

I do find it odd that TW only offers tthe DTA for the next level up. But I am not familiar with TW or their services.

It sounds like the service level you subscribe to is what could be referred to as "antenna" tv. Meaning you get the same channels as what is being broadcast over the air in your area. In other words the main major broadcast networks. These are the only channels that the cable company is obligated to ensure you get for a basic package. Either by providing them in analog form or providing a DTA at no extra cost. Such as ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, and maybe CW and MyNetwork and ION.

If you are able to get those main broadcast channels with your old TV, then you are getting what you pay for.

I suspect the extra channels that others with newer TV are receiving are stations or programming not available over the air such as private TW programming, OTA sub channels, or a select few cable network channels that do not require encryption.

AZinOH

join:2007-04-25
Swanton, OH
kudos:1
reply to PCInTech
I went looking for "standalone QAM tuner" and found this:

»www.avsforum.com/t/179095/the-of ··· synopsis

whether or not this is useful, I don't know. Even if it is, if you chose to get one for each of your 2 CRTs you will have spent nearly enough to buy one new flat panel. Doesn't sound worthwhile to me for such a minimal change on an old tv, but to each his/her own.

On the other hand, if you had a new flat panel you'd be able to see the superior picture quality via the QAM tuner on your CBS-NBC-ABC-FOX-PBS stations. This is how I use my TW service ( I have only basic/extended analog cable). Now, I could never be satisfied with a CRT again.

b10010011
Whats a Posting tag?

join:2004-09-07
Bellingham, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast Formerl..

1 edit
Yeah, stand alone QAM boxes are few and far between these days.

It has been a long time since I looked for one. There are a couple on E-bay for about $80.

Now that I think about it PCInTech you might be out of luck as the few QAM tuners that are out there do not have standard video out, but only HDMI. I am betting your old TV's do not have an HDMI input.

E-bay or your local Craigslist might be your best bet.

I have a box here and recommend you to keep an eye out for it used.

Samsung DTB-H260F
Tunes (clear) QAM and ATSC.
HDMI, Component, and Composite video outs.
Selectable 480p/i 720p, and 1080i output format.
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Bellingham Scanner Kicks Ass! »bhamscanner.kicks-ass.org/


drjim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-06-13
Long Beach, CA
kudos:3
reply to PCInTech
I had one of the 34" WEGA sets, and it had a DVI connector. IIRC, you can get DVI/HDMI converter/adapters for very little money.
--
One man's Magic is another man's Engineering.


PCInTech
keeping art alive since 1953
Premium
join:2004-06-07
Massena, NY
kudos:9
Reviews:
·VOIPO
reply to b10010011
Thank you so much everyone for all the information. My problem was, that some of these stations are local OTA stations, that in their infinite wisdom, they chose to place in channel numbers out of range of analog tuners. TW's position, was that they're only required to give me channels 2-13, period. They also chose to populate those numbers with ridiculous shopping channels, and ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS. After fighting with them for many hours online and on the phone, and threatening to involve our US Congressman over false advertising practices, they gave in... and are sending me FREE (until 2014, then I have to pay 99 cents a month if I still need them) Digital adapters for all my sets, and even an extra for my LCD PC monitor that has an HDMI input. Perseverance is the key, I guess when dealing with a monopoly. The unit appears to be a nifty little Cisco box. Will let you all know when I get them how it works out. The standalone QAM tuners I found online were a little pricey, and really can't justify the expense. So, these things should tie me over until I can afford to upgrade my TVs, which for now, still work really well. Thanks again!