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Old 5-Feb-2010, 2:02 AM   #1
12step-pete
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Smile receiver

Hello I hope this is in the right section. My question is can a old sat. receiver be turned over to pick up ota stations? My tv is 7 years old and does not have a built in tuner for digital reception. Thanks for any info.
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Old 5-Feb-2010, 5:22 PM   #2
mtownsend
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No. The signals used for digital OTA broadcasts are defined in a standard called ATSC A/53. Old satellite receivers do not understand this signal format, so they will not be able to decode OTA stations.

There are set-top converter boxes available that can decode the OTA signals and then make them available to your TV via traditional video input signals like composite video, s-video, or component video.

There are several modestly priced converter boxes (typically ~$40-$60) that can do the job.
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Old 5-Feb-2010, 9:30 PM   #3
12step-pete
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Thanks for the info. I'll have to wait untill the stores in my area get some. All sold out.
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Old 6-Feb-2010, 1:49 AM   #4
mtownsend
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I'm not sure if your local stores will be getting any more. There were tons of converter boxes manufactured and sold last year as part of the big $40 government coupon program. This was done so that a lot of people could transition in time for the June 12 deadline when all major analog TV broadcasts were shut off.

Now that the transition is over and the $40 coupon program has ended, there's been very little interest in making any more converter boxes (some of the places I looked at list these as discontinued products). If you still want one, I imagine that you'll have to find a store that still has some excess inventory from last year that they are selling. There should be some around (perhaps even discounted) because there were many millions of these boxes made during the excitement leading up to the analog shutdown.

Some retailers still seem to support a few select varieties of converter boxes. For example, it looks like Radio Shack is still selling the Digital Stream DTX9950 (link). Amazon still carries the Zinwell ZAT-970A (link).

If you are interested in a box that can do the digital to analog conversion and also have recording capabilities (DVR), you might consider something like a DTVpal or a TiVo. These types of devices let you pause live TV, set up automatic recordings, stream video from select internet providers, and do much more than your basic converter box functions.
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Old 7-Feb-2010, 8:28 PM   #5
12step-pete
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Cool thanks I'll check them out. I do have another Question. If my local stations are broadcasting in HD will I still get them? My tv is older and is not HD. Will I have to get an up-converter as well or will I still get the chanels but not in HD. Thanks again.
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Old 8-Feb-2010, 8:24 AM   #6
mtownsend
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 12step-pete View Post
If my local stations are broadcasting in HD will I still get them? My tv is older and is not HD.
Yes, you will still be able to watch the HD channels, but they will down-converted into standard definition images that your TV can handle.

All of the coupon-eligible converter boxes (which has been the majority of boxes sold over the last year) were required to decode all of the currently defined digital TV picture formats (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i) and be able to display them on regular analog TVs (which are equivalent to 480i picture quality).

You won't be able to see any of the extra resolution, but you can be assured that you won't be missing out on channels just because the broadcast format is higher than your TV's native resolution.
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Old 8-Feb-2010, 11:45 PM   #7
12step-pete
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Thanks mtownsend for all the info.
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