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Cable jack --> HD Monitor?

Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
edited August 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
My fiancees parents got an old Plasma HDTV monitor from work. They get basic cable through a coax jack. What do they need to buy...

1.) If all they want to do is watch SDTV cable on the plasma?

2.) If they also want to receive OTA HDTV channels?

Bonus points if said items are available at a reputable retailer (Amazon, Buy.com, etc)
more bonus points if the manufacturer of said device is reputable themselves.

I remember this used to be a big thing before HDTVs always came with tuners, but I can't find Jack Taco now from like normal retail sites.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Monolithic_Dome on

Posts

  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    First, determine if the TV has an RF input in the back marked OTA. If it does, all they need is a set of $5 bunny-ear style antennas to get broadcast HD (assuming they are in range of a transmitter).

    For cable, they will need a set-top decoder from their provider to get the digitally encoded channels (most national cable channels like TNT, USA, etc). Then just run component video and audio from the box to the TV.

    Some older digital displays don't have a built in digital tuner for OTA, so you may have to buy one for that. Not sure how much they are.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    The monitor's only inputs are VGA, DVI, and rs-232. Not sure what the serial port is doing back there, but whatever.

    They just have basic cable, not digital.

    Monolithic_Dome on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Hate to be the "bump guy," but any suggestions from the people-who-post-at-work crowd?

    Monolithic_Dome on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Sounds like they have an older plasma display that does not have a built-in digital tuner. It's unfortunate that it doesn't have a component input. A basic analog-to-digital (component in, DVI out) converter is going to run you about $200 if that's the route you go.

    If they pay the extra money for an HD set top box, those usually have a DVI-out. They all will have an HDMI out, and you can buy an HDMI to DVI adapter.

    I think that no matter what they will need to switch to digital cable service, and possibly HD cable just to get the correct outputs. You can find out what model digital set top box their cable company uses and check to see if it has a DVI output.

    Pulling down the OTA signal is probably not going to be possible without buying a stand-alone digital tuner, and I'm not sure how much those cost.

    Edit: If they really don't want to change their cable, they probably should just give up on the display. Hooking up a digital display to an analog signal is an uphill battle and will bring them nothing but misery and visits from the wire monster.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    To get that SDTV cable programming to display on the monitor you want a box which converts RG-6 to VGA or DVI (DVI requires an Analog-to-Digital conversion so maybe look for VGA), and I'm having difficulty finding this. If it's out there it's probably not cheap and made by some company you've never heard of.

    OR you could possibly daisy-chain several converters [(RG-6 to Component) into (Component to DVI)] or somesuch. The output might be crap and the video will likely not be synched with the audio, and for the cost and effort involved they might as well buy a new flatscreen with a built-in tuner and the proper inputs.

    OR you could build (or convert an existing PC) into an HTPC. I bought an HD tuner card (software included) and in addition to the OTA HD RG-6 input it included an additional RG-6 input for SDTV (which would work for you, assuming the SD cable source is already descrambled). You'll also need an antenna to pull in the HD signal.

    My setup HTPC never quite worked right (much antenna fiddling to get certain channels, which would cause other channels to be lost), but I went pretty cheap. Those who are used to the simplicity of a set-top box may not enjoy the experience of working an HTPC. I've abandoned it in favor of digital cable.

    Djeet on
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