HDTV - how do you get it?

Sideswipe001

Golden Member
May 23, 2003
1,116
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I don't have HDTV, and I was wondering what it took to get the service. Do you have to buy anything (besides the TV & decoder)? Call your cable company? What?

I was looking at geting a HDTV card for my computer and I just need to know if I need to do anything specific to get HDTV on it. Right now, I just had standard non-digital cable. Could someone who has it, tell me what else I need?
 

brigden

Diamond Member
Dec 22, 2002
8,702
2
81
Originally posted by: KLin
check here

Lots of great info on HDTV equipment, local reception, programming, etc. etc.

Cheers to you for referring him to a good website without being a dick about it.
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,107
433
136
AVSForum is great, but likely a little overwhelming for a newbie.

Basically you have two choices, OTA or service provided HD (cable, satellite, etc.).

If you're in range of OTA HD you just need an antenna & tuner.

If you aren't in range for OTA HD or want more selection, you'll need a service that carries HD + a decoder.

In some areas (not a lot) service providers are required to provide local HD unencrypted. This means that if you have a tuner you can plug your cable line directly into your tuner & it will decode it as if it were OTA. In most areas though you will need a settop decoder (which can be rented for cheap, I pay $5.99/month for mine).

Biggest problem with HD is you'll spend lots of time watching stuff you wouldn't have watched otherwise. Nature shows take on a whole new appeal when they're in HD.

Viper GTS
 

Sideswipe001

Golden Member
May 23, 2003
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Originally posted by: Viper GTS
AVSForum is great, but likely a little overwhelming for a newbie.

Basically you have two choices, OTA or service provided HD (cable, satellite, etc.).

If you're in range of OTA HD you just need an antenna & tuner.

If you aren't in range for OTA HD or want more selection, you'll need a service that carries HD + a decoder.

In some areas (not a lot) service providers are required to provide local HD unencrypted. This means that if you have a tuner you can plug your cable line directly into your tuner & it will decode it as if it were OTA. In most areas though you will need a settop decoder (which can be rented for cheap, I pay $5.99/month for mine).

Biggest problem with HD is you'll spend lots of time watching stuff you wouldn't have watched otherwise. Nature shows take on a whole new appeal when they're in HD.

Viper GTS

Thanks Viper. I needed the basics, before jumping in. One last small question:

Do you know if a PCI HDTV tuner will do "non HD" tv too? Basically, are most of them TV tuners that do HDTV as well, or JUST HDTV tuners?
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
64,862
84
91
yea, besides over the air and sat, i think theres gonna be a premium sat service for hd that has extra high average bitrate or something, forgot the name.
 

Wag

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
8,286
4
81
If you have Comcast you will be able to get their Motorola 6412 DVR box for $10/mo. With the box you will be able to receive their HDTV broadcasts even without a HDTV.

Then when you buy an HDTV you will be all set.
 

Viper GTS

Lifer
Oct 13, 1999
38,107
433
136
Originally posted by: Sideswipe001
Do you know if a PCI HDTV tuner will do "non HD" tv too? Basically, are most of them TV tuners that do HDTV as well, or JUST HDTV tuners?

It depends on the chipset(s) used. I don't pay much attention to TV cards since all my HT gear is separate from my PC. You'll need to look at the specs of the card you're considering. I don't know of any combined HD & regular TV tuners, but that doesn't mean anything - They very well may exist, & nothing (except cost) would prevent a company from using both on the same card.

Unless you're working with a very tight budget I would recommend ditching PC HD & going with proper HT equipment (including an HDTV). PC's do have a place in the HT environment, but I wouldn't use one for HD. A proper widescreen HDTV is much better.

Viper GTS
 

Deeko

Lifer
Jun 16, 2000
30,215
11
81
For satellite, you gotta get a high def box, which is very expensive. That's why I switched to cable, I got sick of having a beautiful HDTV and running standard TV on it...my cable company gives me the high def box free. Go Time Warner.
 

mpitts

Lifer
Jun 9, 2000
14,732
1
76
I have a HD Directv tuner that also accepts over the air signals.

I get all my local channels in digital/HD broadcasts from a big ChannelMaster antenna.
 

rh71

No Lifer
Aug 28, 2001
52,853
1,048
126
cable company ... HDTV receiver rented for a couple bucks a month... that's the only hardware needed on top of the HD-ready tv. After that, it's just the channels that come with the package you choose. I think cablevision / IO is up to 15 of them now. :thumbsup:
 

jpeyton

Moderator in SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones
Moderator
Aug 23, 2003
25,375
142
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I pay Comcast $5 a month for an HDTV reciever + HDTV programming.

Quite limited right now though; we get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Discovery, ESPN, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, HBO, and two INHD channels.

VOOM is much better, but much more money.
 

datalink7

Lifer
Jan 23, 2001
16,765
6
81
Originally posted by: Viper GTS


Biggest problem with HD is you'll spend lots of time watching stuff you wouldn't have watched otherwise. Nature shows take on a whole new appeal when they're in HD.

Viper GTS

Yah, I was watching a show on the coral reef the other day on INHD. There wasn't even any talking or anything... basically they just stuck a camera under water. I watched for about and hour :p
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,855
13,969
146
I get my local HD channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, WB, PBS and CBS) OTA, and the other HD channels (HBO, SHO, DiscoveryHD, HDNet, HDNetMovies, Bravo, ESPN, HDPPV) over DirecTV
 

Amused

Elite Member
Apr 14, 2001
55,855
13,969
146
Originally posted by: datalink7
Originally posted by: Viper GTS


Biggest problem with HD is you'll spend lots of time watching stuff you wouldn't have watched otherwise. Nature shows take on a whole new appeal when they're in HD.

Viper GTS

Yah, I was watching a show on the coral reef the other day on INHD. There wasn't even any talking or anything... basically they just stuck a camera under water. I watched for about and hour :p

Amazing how that happens, huh? :D
 

Dulanic

Diamond Member
Oct 27, 2000
9,949
569
136
If you have cable, see what comcast will offer you for signing up for HD. I know at Circuit City we offer $100 off your comcast bill if you sign up for Comcast HD which is $5 a month. Not too bad, basically get the upgrade for 20 Months. Right now cable seems to be the best option, DirecTV as much as I like it, is kind of expensive for HD, 10.99 no local channels, $300 box. OTA is a cheaper option, locals only for around $200-250 for the box. Cable is cheapest at $5 a month here for their HDTV option on any cable package.

That's not to say DirecTV isn't worth it, when you take into consideration their normal programming is cheaper, they still end up about the same cost or slightly cheaper than comcast. If you already have a antenna in the house, it's not a bad option at all.
 

iamtrout

Diamond Member
Nov 21, 2001
3,001
1
0
So how much total $$$ are we talking about to get the signal and the HD tuner card for the computer... if you live in a dorm?