Can 1 DTV converter box work for all my sets?

catherinetNovember 20, 2008

Hi all,

We have a bunch of TVs in our house. We live out in the country and just have an antenna on the top of the house. I think we have an amplifier in the attic, and coaxial cables that go to all the different rooms.

Could I get by with just one converter box, or will I need one for each TV?

If we can't get some satilite services out here because of our woody location, does that mean that we might have trouble getting a good DTV signal??? Cable isn't available to us either.

God this change really ticks me off. I won't be able to listen to our local TV news station in the car anymore either.

I'm fairly electronically challenged, so please talk very slowly and use simple words. hahaha


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You could use one DTV tuner for all your TVs if you only want to watch the same channel on all of them at any one time.

You would need to feed the DTV tuner before you split off the signal to the TVs.

This means it is likely you would need to place the DTV tuner in your attic or basement. Not very convenient. You don't want that.

You do really want a DTV tuner for each TV, or at least most of them. How many TVs do you really use?

Your question about getting a good DTV signal because of trees is a good one. Most people in the US have to aim their DirecTv and DishTV dishes to the Southwest. Are your TV stations the same or are they in a different direction or in multiple directions?

Over the air reception is very difficult to give an answer to. There are many variables including, distance from transmitters, quality of antenna, quality of cables, quality of amplifier, direction antenna is aimed, terrain between you and transmitters, just to name the first ones that come to mind.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:35PM
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Thanks jdbillp,
It embarrasses me to say, but we have about 6 TVs in the house. We would need to watch different channels at the same time on them.
I would hate to spend alot of money on all the converter boxes, only to find out they don't work well. I guess I should just get one at a time. But I'm not sure what the alternative would be, if that first one doesn't work well.

Yes, most signals for us come from the south-southwest, and that's where most of the trees are, plus a little valley.
There are pretty much only 3 TVs that we tend to use most of the time. Would the converter boxes be easy to move, if we wanted to watch something in another room?
We've been totally happy with our present set-up and it bums me out that we might be in store for a big hassle.
I heard one person say that their converter box works okay while watching TV, but when they tape a show, it looks horrible.
We're no where near needing new TVs, so we need to go with the converter boxes.
My mother recently went into a nursing home, and we are using one of her newer TVs. How can I know if it has the type of tuner that wouldn't need a converter?

One more question........A good working antenna will still be important, right? The motor on our rotor isn't working. Fortunately, when it died, the antenna was in a good position for most of the stations. Will that make any difference with the digital signals? Sorry if my ignorance is showing.
Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:18PM
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Proper antenna aiming is more critical on DTV than analog TV.

The converter boxes themselves are pretty easy to move and hook up.

With your mother's TV, most DTV capable TV's have some type of DTV sticker on the front or rear indicating DTV capability.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 7:39AM
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as far as the mom's tv, go in the setup and see if it has a search for digital signal option. if so, then let it do it and see what all it gets.

at my house i can pickup 2 analog stations only. my digital tuners pickup 7 digital stations, though 2 of those are subchannels of one of the analogs. my FIL and his dad each picked up 3-4 analog channels, but when they got their convertors they gained a couple new channels in addition to the sub channels of stations they already got.

call teh DTV hotline and get your coupons. then go pick up 2 boxes practically for free. this will let you know how well your signal will be. as with anything else, the cheapest boxes usually have the poorest features/reception, so get a decent box. i tried 2 different ones at my house on teh same antenna and the el cheapo did not get a couple of the channels whiel the mid price one got them all.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 10:37AM
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Which DTV tuner did you like the best?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 12:55PM
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Thanks jdbillp and davidandkasie.

When we added on to our house about 12 years ago, we got a new antenna (since our old one was destroyed in an ice storm), and a rotor and then had coaxials put to all of the rooms. At that time, it was a TV installation-type company that did the work. They aren't in business anymore. Who would I call to take a look at this antenna and maybe install a new rotor? Seems like there aren't too many antenna people around anymore.

One more thing.......after the converter box is connected, will we still be able to have a VCR and a DVD connected to the TV too?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 9:23PM
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You should be able to connect the DTV tuner in line before the VCR.

Just connect it this way.

1. Cable from the antenna to the DTV input.

2. Cable from the DTV output to VCR input.

3. Cable from VCR output to TV antenna input.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 6:58AM
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i honestly don't know what they were. it was a couple my FIL had. right after that i got a new TV with built in tuner and an HD DVR from Directv, so i don't use any convertors now.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 9:32AM
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Thanks jdbillp.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2008 at 6:28PM
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jdbillp wrote:

> Which DTV tuner did you like the best?

I can add two data points. On my older TV (32" 4:3 Panasonic Superflat), I have a Channel Master CM-7000 - which is a 'coupon eligible' digital converter box. On my newer 16:9 HD set, I have been using an older Samsung SIR-T451 HD tuner for the past few years.

A lot of the home theater types like the CM-7000 because it is one of the only coupon eligible boxes that has an s-video output. Anything 'better' (i.e., supporting high definition formats) would not be coupon eligible. It seems well made, but is a bit more expensive than most CECBs. Around here it is about $70, so with the coupon nets out to $30.

The CM-7000 is a lot more sensitive than the Samsung, in that I can get several more channels with the same antenna. But I would assume that newer Samsungs are better than old ones.

Even though the Panasonic has a decent 3D comb filter in it, it is still good to use the s-video capabilities of the CM-7000 over composite. Maybe a fluke to my set, but the comb filter adds a bit 'buzz' to the audio. So I am much better off using s-video whenever possible and leaving the comb filter turned off.

Both boxes have a wonderful picture when the digital locks up. Of course the Samsung supports full HD, whereas the CM-7000 is stuck at 480i.

Which box(es) do you use?

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 12:11AM
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Our main set is a Sony 57" RPJ with a digital tuner built in.

But our 2nd set is an old 27" Sony converted by the Best Buy Insignia NS-DXA1.

It is the same as the Zenith DTT-900 and I believe both are made by LG. It works OK but I wish it had a better channel menu.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 8:30AM
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