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Combining Cable & Antenna feeds

 

New member
Username: Monodex

USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-07
I have a digital cable feed from Comcast and a feed from an digital OTA antenna. Can I combine the two using a two way splitter in reverse, a combiner in effect, then connect the single feed to RF input of a Sony Bravia HDTV.

Will this work and enable me to get both cable and OTA digital channels.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 1418
Registered: Feb-04
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Monodex, there are "combiners" known as diplexers which are used to combine satellite and OTA antenna signals to feed into the house. These two sets of signals are in completely different frequency ranges, so there's no problem with overlap or multi-path distortion.

However, passively combining cable and OTA is another story. Many cable channels occupy the same space as many OTA frequencies, so you might get a few channels OK, but a lot of others will be corrupted. You could go ahead and check me out on this as the test would not cost much ($4 splitter) and would not harm the TV.

Thanks to weak-spined video engineers caving in to the bean counters, many TV manufacturers have cut back to only one RF input. This, with millions of people wanting to feed basic cable along with an OTA antenna into their TVs.

What you need is a good old-fashioned A/B switch, which will feed cable or the antenna into the TV separately. At least now they make remote control A/B switches.

Thanks guys for taking us back to the 1980's!
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New member
Username: Monodex

USA

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-07
John S thanks for your feedback. An A/B switch is a good idea, but it so cumbersome. When I pay $1500 for a TV I don't think I should have to buy an A/B switch, or have ANOTHER remote to add to my collection.

I noticed that there is a Samsung TV, same price range, same specs and it has TWO RF inputs, I'm inclined to return the Sony and try the Samsung, but must buy and try the antenna on it's own first, I'm trying to get OTA HDTV from local stations.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 1423
Registered: Feb-04
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Obviously, a TV with two RF inputs would solve your problem, but trading in what may be the best display in its class for one that's good, but maybe not as good, is misplacing priorities imo. Ask yourself, just how often are you going to need to switch RF inputs?

I'm not saying you wouldn't be happy with the Samsung. It's a good display, but in my experience doing a switch like this solves one problem and sometimes creates two others....

BTW, have you done a scan of channels on your cable? I believe all the Bravias have a QAM tuner, meaning the TV can tune in unencrypted HD channels on the cable. This means all the locals on most cable systems.
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New member
Username: Monodex

USA

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-07
John,

Yes you are right, it would not be a good decision. I love the Sony, it is one of the best displays, if not the best, plus I love the design and the remote. I really don't want to part with it. I don't know how often I would use the 2nd RF input, if at all. I am unsure whether I will be able to receive any OTA HDTV signals at my location, I am somewhat screened off by tall trees.

Yes the Sony has a QAM tuner and when I connect it directly to Comcast cable, no STB, it picks up about 20 channels including CNN, National Geographic, MHZ networks, Fox 45 and one ABC local in HD. Also receive the same 100 analog channels which I got before with old CRT set.

Have just rented an STB from Comcast, Motorola DCT 700, $6.95 per month, and it provides a host of channels, I have not been able to go through them yet. So I may indeed already have my local channels in HD, although I am unsure what the Motorola DCT 700 gives me, I have not subscribed to Digital Programming with Comcast. There info is so confusing, every time I ask a Comcast rep or look at their literature I get a different answer.

Anyway thanks for your advice, I will keep the Sony and do my homework on what channels the STB provides.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_s

Columbus, Ohio US

Post Number: 1428
Registered: Feb-04
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Since the DCT 700 lacks component/DVI/HDMI video outputs it cannot send any hi-def video signals to your display.
 

New member
Username: Monodex

USA

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-07
Yes I now understand that that is the case. When I have time I will see what STB or monthly service I need to get from Comcast to receive HDTV. Maybe the answer is contained in other threads.
 

New member
Username: Whit77

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-07
Here's a monkey wrench - Time Warner Cable ("TWC") in my area has begun to encrypt local HD channels. I have a Sony with a built-in QAM tuner as well. As of a month ago, I could watch almost every digital channel (I have the HD plan) and most of the HD channels on the Sony without a box from TWC. ABC-HD came in on something like channel 25.1 over TWC, but FOX-HD came in on 850. As of two weeks ago, my TV could still pickup 25.1, but said "signal cannot be decoded" when tuning to channel 850.

As far as I understand, this is illegal under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Of course, so is a cable company preventing a customer from using their own cable box as long as they pay for the service, but what are you going to do? Sue 'em? I think this would be a great class action for someone, but I think my firm represents TWC. I'll probably lodge an FCC complaint when I get a chance.

With all that said, I decided to go straight to HD OTA with broadcast tier from TWC as a backup (about $13/month instead of about $100/month which is what I'm paying now for my HD plan and all the HD DVR boxes). I built a Vista TV server with a Fusion HD card. The HD card only has one RF input, but can handle both cable and OTA signals, which is why I came across your forum.

HD OTA signals come in clear for me for about 2 of the important channels and not so good (choppy) for the other 2. We mostly want to record shows on FOX-HD, which is one of the clear channels, so it's not so big a problem. When we want to record shows on the other stations, we'll have to use the cable stations. Accordingly, a switch won't work for me because I won't be there when I've set the shows to record.

Do you think there's any other option (short of installing one card to do OTA and another to do cable, which will get expense -- 2 cards for every TV)?
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