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HDTV hookup - no cable input on the TV - best options?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Deanster, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Hi all!

    I purchased a nice-ish 37" Vizio LCD for my mother for Christmas, replacing her older 17" portable TV.

    She has basic cable, but no converter box - the current 'cable ready' TV has a coaxial input on the back, and the cable simply attaches there.

    I'm going over there today to set up the new TV, and I checked the specs on the new TV - it appears NOT to have a coaxial input. HDMI, DVI, component, s-video, etc., yes. Coax, no. I'm modestly surprised, as both of my HD sets have coaxial inputs - never occurred to me that this one wouldn't.

    Sooooooo, what's the best way to approach this? I'm pretty tech-savvy overall, and have good experience in setting up other HDTV's - but am new to trying to do this with a 'basic' setup - I'm more accustomed to trying to chose among MANY choices for inputs, rather than not having one available. :whistling:

    What occurs to me, in order is:

    a) just have her upgrade to expanded basic, and get a converter box - she'll be annoyed as heck, though, and giving a gift that requires her to spend $10 a month extra makes me feel kinda crappy.

    b) procure a tuner/Tivo to act as the converter box. Certainly do-able, but adds cost and complexity to the setup.

    c) ??? any other options? there aren't converters for coax-hdmi, obviously.

    Thanks in advance to the GT brain trust.
     
  2. JMag

    JMag

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    Here are some options, excepting the last one I suppose:

    1. HDMI - handles audio and video digitally.
    2. DVI - handles the video signal digitally (similar to HDMI), but with no audio (requires separate audio connection).
    3. Component Video - typically 3 RCA-type cables bundled together, labeled red, green and blue. This handles the video signal in the analog domain, but still supports high definition resolution (requires separate audio cable).
    4. S-Video - does not support high definition resolution, but does separate luma and chroma video signals on the cable, so it can look OK for standard definition sources (requires separate audio cable).
    5. Composite Video - standard RCA-type single connector for video. Does not support high definition, but can be acceptable for SD sources (requires separate audio cable).
    6. Coax Cable - this screw-on type connector is sometimes used between a cable box or VCR and a TV. You tune the TV to channel 3 or 4 in order to receive the signal. This is the worst possible way to connect a source to a display device. The source has to modulate the audio and video signal to a VHF output on channel 3. The display then has to tune this signal in and separate the components back out. Not only does this not support high definition, but you won't even get stereo audio. Use coax cables where they should be used - between your satellite dish, roof antenna or cable service and the satellite box, cable tuner or HDTV built-in ATSC tuner. Then connect the cable or satellite box to the TV properly.
     

  3. fireguy129

    fireguy129

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    Isn't that the RF connection?
     
  4. UTKEngineer

    UTKEngineer

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    It sounds like a cheapo vcr/dvd player might be your best bet. This would allow you to take the coax into the vcr/dvd player and run component/RCA connections to the TV.

    This is assuming you have standard analog component connections and not just high def components.
     
  5. F14Scott

    F14Scott Luggage CLM

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    You need some kind of box to tune the RF, unencrypted cable signal and turn it into a signal your Vizio can accept (composite, S-Video, component, or HDMI).

    From what I understand, any old DirecTV box will do this, as they are designed to take an Over The Air (OTA) or cable signal, tune it in, and use those tuned channels to supplement the DirecTV channels a customer can recieve. For instance, DirecTV probably does not have the local cable access channel, so you would use the DirecTV box to tune in local cable channel 42, but also use the box to tune in DTV channels 100 to 800+.

    I have a new-in-wrapper, never used, reconditioned DirecTV box with OTA cable in and composite (RCA) and S-Video out. I got it as a replacement unit, but never ended up using it. It's been sitting in the basement, waiting for me to eBay or toss. It has a brand new DirecTV programmable remote that can drive the DTV box and three other units (like your Vizio).

    How about if I ship it to you and you can see if it will work for your mom?
     
  6. nikerret

    nikerret Mr. Awesome

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    Damn, F14Scott seems like a standup guy. Good on you, F14Scott.
     
  7. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    It's easier for me to think of the new "TV's" as "A/V monitors", since they don't seem to be true receivers. (I've never looked deeply into them, other than to notice that there has to be something else between the unit and the source signal).
     
  8. ctrl

    ctrl

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    I own 2 vizio's, each a year or two old. I know a couple friends that also own them.

    Find it hard to believe it does not have a standard coaxal/RF connection.

    Mind listing the model number? FWIW, I enjoy my vizios a lot, they are very nice for the general price.
     
  9. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    That's a HECK of an offer, f14Scott! I may yet take you up on it!

    For the moment, I think I'm going with the 'cheapo DVD player' version, as I'd been thinking about giving her one anyhow, and it lets me handle it today.

    If somehow that doesn't work, I'll get back to you!

    many thanks.

    I LOVE GT for just this reason.
     
  10. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    There are also some "cheapo" bluray players available, which also play DVD's. Just in case the price difference isn't big enough to matter.
     
  11. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    OK - I re-read y'all's posts, and Fireguy's comment on RF made me wonder if I'd missed something.

    The RF isn't listed on the spec sheet I looked up, but I just went back to the Vizio site, instead of someone else's tech specs listing, and it's showing that it DOES have an RF connector, which ought to be the coax.

    If not, I'll go with the DVD option.

    Many thanks, guys! Especially F14Scott - I've seen you around GT for years, but that's an amazingly thoughtful offer to a near-stranger. I can't say how much I appreciate it.
     
  12. F14Scott

    F14Scott Luggage CLM

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    It's my pleasure; a little "pay it forward" for the new year!

    If your Vizio has RF in, that would be ideal.

    If that doesn't work, I'm not sure how a DVD player would help you. I have numerous DVD players and one Blu-Ray player, and none have RF in. Perhaps DVD recorders can record OTA programming, and would then have an RF input. Of course, old VCRs have RF in for recording / time shifting functions.

    Offer stands as long as I don't go on a basement cleanout binge, which means you're pretty safe.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  13. F14Scott

    F14Scott Luggage CLM

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  14. m2hmghb

    m2hmghb

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    I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to wish you the best of luck in figuring it out.


    F14, that's a very generous offer you made. I have to say thank you for offering, it is a very generous offer. I wish you the best in this new year.
     
  15. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

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    Granted their are not a lot of DVD Players with an rf (ATSC) Tuner....But you can find some and they would work as RF tuners.....At a price.
     
  16. ManNamedJed

    ManNamedJed

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    Does the TV actually have its own TUNER? Not all do these days.

    If that is the case, a DVD PLAYER won't help, only something with a tuner like a VCR.

    If it doesn't have a tuner, I'd recommend returning it and getting a model with a tuner.
     
  17. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

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    Due to some rather complex signal switching, I use the Direct TV Video outputs to one of the tv's, it works fine.
     
  18. BAILIFF

    BAILIFF Piece Officer

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    They got them thar VHS/DVD combos, that might fit the bill. Not too 'spensive.
     
  19. Deanster

    Deanster Cheese? CLM Millennium Member

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    Wrap-up. Went to mom's place, where the TV actually was, checked the list of inputs on the box, and it didn't mention an RF/Coax option.

    Opened it up, pulled it out and... there is one! Marked 'Cable/Antenna', which is not the same as on the spec list from Vizio.

    Plug and play from there.

    it did a great job of finding both analog and digital cable channels available through her basic cable service, so it had the HD versions of the local broadcast available. I was impressed - even my fairly new TiVo has some hassles with cable channel scanning...

    and the picture was quite good. this was a visio VL370m.

    Thanks!
     
  20. Fed Five Oh

    Fed Five Oh NRA Member

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    manuals and real life are usually different