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Old 11-14-2008, 06:11 PM   #1
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Digital Television

When camping at a location without cable hook-up, we use our antenna. When camping next spring, summer & fall (2009) without cable, will we need a digital converter box, like we hear about on television?
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:16 PM   #2
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Yes you will and from what I have been reading over in RV.Net, it appears that all converter boxes are NOT created equal. SO it might be worth your while to try to research for feed back on which ones are better than others. I havn't gotten one yet, so I can't provide any insight for you.

Kitty
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #3
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Re: Digital Television

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Originally Posted by Both2Retired
When camping at a location without cable hook-up, we use our antenna. When camping next spring, summer & fall (2009) without cable, will we need a digital converter box, like we hear about on television?
If your existing TV is not DTV ready, you will need a convertor box. I posted a while back in Modifications about my install of said box in our TT. I had to build a little shelf for it under the existing TV compartment.

Every model seems to have a different location for the TV, but you'll find a place to install the convertor. Wiring it is a snap, and after Feb. 2009, unless you use the TV for DVD or Blu-Ray, you may never have to change the channel on the TV again. It's all done through the convertor remote which should be able to control both the TV and the convertor.
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Old 11-15-2008, 07:55 AM   #4
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I surfed RV.Net a little bit last night and it seems that the Zenith or Insignia converter boxes are the ones getting the best reviews. I have cable in the house, and one HD tv in the bedroom of Sunny but the living room TV is an antique, so it's either get a box or get a new tv. Maybe I need to see what Santa & KD can do for me
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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We purchased a converter box (or digital tuner) using one of the discount cards you get from the government. The 13-inch set we carried around in the popup has no digital tuner so we knew we'd need one come February 2009 if we wanted to get over-the-air TV stations when camping.

These tuners do work with a regular antenna, at least ours did. So there's no immediate need to run out and buy another one of THOSE. Unless you want to view High Definition signals... and with my older tube-type TV, that won't be a requirement.

We bought our digital tuner from the local Radio Shack. It is a DIGITAL STREAM. Works very well.

When we got the Sunline, the over-the-air reception from the existing antenna (Winguard) wasn't all that great. But we added the digital tuner and WHAT A DIFFERENCE. I had thought the old antenna was maybe problematic, but NOT SO. Clear, sharp pictures on the 20-inch tube-type TV in the coach. Absolutely no need to run out and buy a newer TV with a built-in digital tuner. Unless of course we win the lottery...

We have the digital tuner conected to the 2nd input on the TV and the DVD player connected to the 1st input. They can co-exist. The only thing I needed to add was a small surge suppressor (NOT A POWER STRIP) in the entertainment center. This gave me enough outlets to connect the three pieces of equipment... TV, DVD player and digital tuner.

Yes, a newer TV would weigh less. Yes, a newer TV would eliminate the need for that extra device (digital tuner). Yes, the newer TV would be HD-capable. But right now, we don't feel the need for that in the camper. We'll save that for the home entertainment center in the house... one day.
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Old 11-16-2008, 02:29 PM   #6
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Digital vs. Analog

My understanding is that a digital picture is always good or it's not there. The fringe reception of snow and ghosting seen with analog simply will not occur with digital. So the fact that Dave & Cindy are seeing a good picture has everything to do with it being a digital signal and nothing to do with how they are actually receiving that signal, or displaying it--even on an old tube TV, although the picture may look even better on the latest and greatest LCD.

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Old 11-17-2008, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: Digital vs. Analog

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Originally Posted by henryj
My understanding is that a digital picture is always good or it's not there. The fringe reception of snow and ghosting seen with analog simply will not occur with digital. So the fact that Dave & Cindy are seeing a good picture has everything to do with it being a digital signal and nothing to do with how they are actually receiving that signal, or displaying it--even on an old tube TV, although the picture may look even better on the latest and greatest LCD.
That is fairly accurate. We live about 35 miles south of the city of Rochester, NY on a fairly tall hill. Our digital convertor with a rabbit ear antenna in the downstairs living room sometimes has marginal reception on one or two channels. The screen will pixelate for a few seconds, and the sound will drop out. If we fiddle with the rabbit ears, we can usually find a position that clears that up.

The TV in the upstairs bedroom has the identical convertor with a very simple "T" antenna laying on the back of the stand. The extra 10 feet of height is just enough to capture all the local channels with out any drop out or pixelating.

So I guess we're on a fringe. If we were just a bit further south and on the backside of a hill, we would probably need a tall rooftop antenna to pull in the same signals.

But there is no long distance reception of DTV signals as there was with analog. For the most part it is either there or not, but there is a fringe effect that can be usually dealt with by increasing the height of the antenna.
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Old 11-18-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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Good point, Steve. I have had no experience with digital yet. We bought a Samsung 22" with digital tuner to take on our last trip, but were too far from stations to get anything without cable. There's not much digital in Canada yet, except for cable, and I believe we're not switching over until a year after the US.

Do you have any sense of how far the digital signal is going compared to analog? I think there might be a bunch of disappointed people camping in the boondocks where they got a tolerable analog signal and now will get nothing.

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Old 11-18-2008, 09:28 PM   #9
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Our solution to TV on the road

When we began RVing we replaced our home cable with satellite TV. We leave one satellite receiver at home and take the other on the road with us.

This gives us Satellite tv in two locations at once for the same price.

We receive local channels via satellite at home.

Since we are RVers we are entitled to get a national feed as well. This means we get a west coast feed and an eastcoast feed. This means you can watch the same network shows early or late.

We are like full timers, 7 or 8 months a year, and TV is more important than if we were weekend or shorter term campers.

Of course this means you need to add a satellite dish to your roof, a $200 dollar expense.

Interestingly the satellite receiver draws very little power as does an LCD TV. Of course with Satellite TV there is no rease to get a convertyer box; the satellite receiver handles the conversion.

Good Travels to all,

Norm and Ginny Milliard
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Old 11-19-2008, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Do you have any sense of how far the digital signal is going compared to analog? I think there might be a bunch of disappointed people camping in the boondocks where they got a tolerable analog signal and now will get nothing.
We were about 50 miles from the 3 stations we could receive using the digital tuner. I had to swing the antenna around 90-degrees to clear up the third channel, but it came in really well once I did that.

In tests from our Camp Driveway, the signals come in really well and we're still 35 miles from the towers.

All the stations we get are multi-casting, but the PBS stations are broadcasting 4 different programs during the day but switching to a single broadcast at night. From what I've read, these multi-casts are Standard Definition and when they switch over to High Def, they broadcast the single program. Apparently you can stuff up to 4 SD broadcasts into the same bandwidth as one HD broadcast. That's cool!

According to what I've read online, the FCC is requiring broadcasters to provide the same signal coverage with their new digital signals as they did with their analog transmissions. I have also read that since digital signals utilize UHF frequencies, the footprint for the new signal is more limited than the one for analog signals, resulting in a more line-of-sight reception mode for users. I suspect this will require over-the-air users in hilly or mountainous areas to employ extended range antennas with amplifiers as well as higher mounting solutions for these antennas until the broadcasters begin deploying distributed transmission systems or DTS to get around that problem.
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