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# 19744 28-Feb-2008 20:00
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Hi

I am a complete novice at this stuff, but I do know that component is better than composite - I had both connections from a DVD to TV and the difference was very noticable.

I am not so sure between SCART and component.

On considering this issue I obviously googled and came across the following thread: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?ForumId=34&TopicId=17418
Unfortunatley I missed it by a few weeks.

A quick comment. Sky are still a pain about the $39.90 to 'swap decoders'. I am particularly pissed off given I have had two decoders replaced in the last 2 months (due to the other ones crapping out). I am awaiting (but not expecting) a phone call.

Ok, on with the questions:
1) Which decoder should I be asking for to make sure I can do SCART to component or SCART to SCART - is it the Pace DS-230?
2) My signal strength is generally around 60-70%. Is this normal? Will it affect the picture quality? (The signal quality moves between about 85 and 100%)
3) If Mattmannz is reading (or anyone else who can help) - what is MCE? Are you saying that putting MCE (using  S-video and DVI) between the SKY decoder and the TV improves the picture over connecting directly from SKY decoder to TV using SCART to component?
4) Again for Mattmannz - Are you saying that TV1 TV2 and TV3 are clearer using Freeview rather than SKY? If so, which Freeview decoder box do you use and do you think this makes any difference?

I hope someone can help.

Cheers

Dave

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  # 113620 28-Feb-2008 20:06
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PomDave: 4) Again for Mattmannz - Are you saying that TV1 TV2 and TV3 are clearer using Freeview rather than SKY? If so, which Freeview decoder box do you use and do you think this makes any difference?

Sky heavily compresses everything, so it looks like rubbish. Freeview isn't as compressed so it looks better. The zinwell should work fine unless you want scart, then get the hills.



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  # 113629 28-Feb-2008 20:31
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Thanks for the speedy response ExDee. I see from their website that Freeview is going HD in April. I have a 'HD ready' TV. Will the current Freeview set top boxes deal with HD or should I wait for some new ones to come out in April? On related note, am I likely to already have a UHF arial (as required for HD) or are these pretty uncommon.
Told you I was a novice.
Cheers

 
 
 
 


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  # 113654 28-Feb-2008 22:09
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Current set top boxes are DVB-S mpeg2 and are completely incompatible with the DVB-T H.264 system going public in April. DVB-T boxes should be around the $450 to $550 mark. As to whether you have a UHF aerial only you can tell us.




Ross

 

Spark FibreMAX using Mikrotik CCR1009-8G-1S-1S+

 


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  # 113673 28-Feb-2008 23:01
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PomDave: Thanks for the speedy response ExDee. I see from their website that Freeview is going HD in April. I have a 'HD ready' TV. Will the current Freeview set top boxes deal with HD or should I wait for some new ones to come out in April? On related note, am I likely to already have a UHF arial (as required for HD) or are these pretty uncommon.
Told you I was a novice.
Cheers

Wait for the HD boxes that will come out. You probably have a UHF aerial, it looks like this:

If you can pick up prime clearly then you have one.



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  # 113742 29-Feb-2008 11:59
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Thanks again eXDee.

I do indeed have a UHF arial but it is smaller than the one in the picture (it only has 6 of the 'cross pieces). I can get a picture for Prime but it is very fuzzy. I can also get Maori TV but that is much clearer. As far as can tell my arial is pointed at the tower in Waiatarua but I live in a bit of a dip. Am I right in understanding that both Prime and Maori TV use UHF signals. If this is the case does it make any sense that one is clearer than the other? Will a bigger arial (or a signal booster of some variety) help? Will I need to do this to get the best from HD on Freeview?

Just to add the full picture (no pun intended), the VHF arial appears to point in the same direction and the recption for TV1,2 & 3 is pretty good (a bit of ghosting, but not too much) - better than either of the UHF channels.

Thanks loads.

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  # 113819 29-Feb-2008 17:08
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Yes Maori TV is UHF too. Prime is owned by sky so assume sky broadcasts it off the same equipment as sky UHF which is fairly old, while Maori TV is proabably coming off a newer, better transmitter due to it being a more recent channel, but thats just a guess.
Go for a bigger antenna if you think its necessary, remember digital is either you have it or you dont, no fuzzyness.

VHF really isn't really relevant to what DTT will be like, perhaps try what you have and upgrade it if necessary?




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  # 113830 29-Feb-2008 18:26
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Hi exDee.  Thanks for continuing to answer these questions. Your comments with regard to Prime and Maori makes sense to me. There are other channels I have now found which are UHF based and clearer than Prime. I think you are probably spot on. At the moment it is not an issue since I watch Prime on Sky anyway. I am just trying to prepare for HD Freeview.

But now I am confused about your comment that digital is all or nothing. Some of my Sky channels seem worse than others - particularly 'The Box' (formerly Sky 1) which seems a bit blurred and part of the picture seems to 'jump' sometimes (is this what is known as leaving artifacts?). It is not 'snowy' but it is what I might call fuzzy/blurry. Also Sky has a signal strength and quality meter you can access. What does the quality meter measure if it is all or nothing? Sorry if I am being a bit dumb about this. Finally, I assume an 'inline signal booster' will only improve the signal strength and not the quality so would only be useful if I wasn't getting any picture at all.

Could anyone else help please:
Will a component or scart connect improve the clarity or will they just provide a brighter warmer version of the same (a bit blurred) picture?
Do the newer Sky decoders have better internal workings and provide a better picture than earlier ones when comparing directly (ie composite connection for earlier decoder v composite connection for newer decoder)


Just a further note on the Sky customer service issue; they still haven't given me the promised call. Next time I'll ask for something easier - like World Peace.


 
 
 
 


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  # 113847 29-Feb-2008 19:59
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PomDave: Hi exDee. Thanks for continuing to answer these questions. Your comments with regard to Prime and Maori makes sense to me. There are other channels I have now found which are UHF based and clearer than Prime. I think you are probably spot on. At the moment it is not an issue since I watch Prime on Sky anyway. I am just trying to prepare for HD Freeview.

But now I am confused about your comment that digital is all or nothing. Some of my Sky channels seem worse than others - particularly 'The Box' (formerly Sky 1) which seems a bit blurred and part of the picture seems to 'jump' sometimes (is this what is known as leaving artifacts?). It is not 'snowy' but it is what I might call fuzzy/blurry. Also Sky has a signal strength and quality meter you can access. What does the quality meter measure if it is all or nothing? Sorry if I am being a bit dumb about this. Finally, I assume an 'inline signal booster' will only improve the signal strength and not the quality so would only be useful if I wasn't getting any picture at all.

Could anyone else help please:
Will a component or scart connect improve the clarity or will they just provide a brighter warmer version of the same (a bit blurred) picture?
Do the newer Sky decoders have better internal workings and provide a better picture than earlier ones when comparing directly (ie composite connection for earlier decoder v composite connection for newer decoder)

Just a further note on the Sky customer service issue; they still haven't given me the promised call. Next time I'll ask for something easier - like World Peace.


If your signal strength isn't above 90% strength and 70% quality then your dish is out, complain to sky and get them around to sort out the dish and make sure it's pointed correctly.  I live in Wellington and sometimes have to bump my dish after a heavy storm as it can get slightly moved due to wind.

The newer Sky boxes (I used to have a DS-230 when I was with sky) do have better Composite/Component output over the older boxes..... Got my mother in law to complain and she got a new box.. and the PQ did improve.

Ahh customer service... isn't that like millitary intellegence :)





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  # 113853 29-Feb-2008 21:48
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PomDave: Hi exDee. Thanks for continuing to answer these questions. Your comments with regard to Prime and Maori makes sense to me. There are other channels I have now found which are UHF based and clearer than Prime. I think you are probably spot on. At the moment it is not an issue since I watch Prime on Sky anyway. I am just trying to prepare for HD Freeview.

But now I am confused about your comment that digital is all or nothing. Some of my Sky channels seem worse than others - particularly 'The Box' (formerly Sky 1) which seems a bit blurred and part of the picture seems to 'jump' sometimes (is this what is known as leaving artifacts?). It is not 'snowy' but it is what I might call fuzzy/blurry. Also Sky has a signal strength and quality meter you can access. What does the quality meter measure if it is all or nothing? Sorry if I am being a bit dumb about this. Finally, I assume an 'inline signal booster' will only improve the signal strength and not the quality so would only be useful if I wasn't getting any picture at all.

Could anyone else help please:
Will a component or scart connect improve the clarity or will they just provide a brighter warmer version of the same (a bit blurred) picture?
Do the newer Sky decoders have better internal workings and provide a better picture than earlier ones when comparing directly (ie composite connection for earlier decoder v composite connection for newer decoder)


Just a further note on the Sky customer service issue; they still haven't given me the promised call. Next time I'll ask for something easier - like World Peace.



The all or nothing comment was one that ive seen someone else make, and i think it means you'll get a blocky type appearance and it might stall or jump for a few seconds. This is what happens with sky digital anyway, but thats sat not dtt, but i assume you'll get somewhat of a similar effect on DTT with interference or bad signal.

I'm no expert on this, i only got into this stuff about a couple of months ago, and so a lot is assumptions or what others have said. Look up digital vs analog signals, it makes sense once you realise digital is 1's and 0's and how you graph it.

Sky is fuzzy/blurry is due to the huge amount of compression they apply on their channels to fit more on the satellite i assume, if you stuck Freeview Sat and Sky Sat next to eachother on identical TV's, freeview will look a lot better, as its not as compressed so you dont get that blurry/grainy effect around moving objects.

For sky, scart/component will make it a bit better, but remember you only get out what you put in, which isnt all that great, but i myself wouldnt spend too much money on it. If your box has component capability and you can find a cheap cable, by all means get it. But we have an old pace one, and $40 for a new STB + $40 cable isnt really worth it i dont think. I cant say how well the newer decoders look, but from what ive read it looks bad because thats how its broadcast. Sky is coming out with a new Mysky HD box in a few months, theres a thread on it below.

On the note of money, shops like harvey normal will try and rip you off with $200 scart to component Monster Cables, which are a load of rubbish. The special things that monster have apparently done to a a bit of wire arent noticable at all.

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  # 113858 29-Feb-2008 22:49
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eXDee: The all or nothing comment was one that ive seen someone else make, and i think it means you'll get a blocky type appearance and it might stall or jump for a few seconds. This is what happens with sky digital anyway, but thats sat not dtt, but i assume you'll get somewhat of a similar effect on DTT with interference or bad signal.

I'm no expert on this, i only got into this stuff about a couple of months ago, and so a lot is assumptions or what others have said. Look up digital vs analog signals, it makes sense once you realise digital is 1's and 0's and how you graph it.

Sky is fuzzy/blurry is due to the huge amount of compression they apply on their channels to fit more on the satellite i assume, if you stuck Freeview Sat and Sky Sat next to eachother on identical TV's, freeview will look a lot better, as its not as compressed so you dont get that blurry/grainy effect around moving objects.


True, but you shouldn't get THAT many artefacts on the screen when watching Sky / TV1/2 channels... if it happens a lot then your dish may be ever-so-slightly out... probably because the sky installer was being lazy and didn't test the BER rate.  With Optus D1 the signal is so strong that you don't need to be that on these days... but it also means that when it gets cloudy / rains you can get more artefacts / blocky images... Worth checking signal when it's raining or not... if the signal goes down or you get errors then the dish isn't right.

eXDee: For sky, scart/component will make it a bit better, but remember you only get out what you put in, which isnt all that great, but i myself wouldnt spend too much money on it. If your box has component capability and you can find a cheap cable, by all means get it. But we have an old pace one, and $40 for a new STB + $40 cable isnt really worth it i dont think. I cant say how well the newer decoders look, but from what ive read it looks bad because thats how its broadcast. Sky is coming out with a new Mysky HD box in a few months, theres a thread on it below.

On the note of money, shops like harvey normal will try and rip you off with $200 scart to component Monster Cables, which are a load of rubbish. The special things that monster have apparently done to a a bit of wire arent noticable at all.


I can only agree on Monster cables being the best rip-off that TV sales people have been pushing for years.  I know when I started out I knew no better and says "yeah sure why not".  In anothre of my blogs I talk about scart cables this works with the Dreambox and Sky box (it's just a standard SCART connection!), and recommend the JayCar WQ7255 fpr $48 I got one for my mother in law, works great, and a good quality cable (and I would take the pepsi challenge with a Monster against this cable any day!)

As for MySky HD... Humm... I take a punt it will still be ~$700 for install, and ~$300-400 for upgrade for existing mysky customers.... lets see if I am wrong.  The small silver pace DS-230 box is worth getting tho, it's PQ is noticbly better on most TVs.





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  # 113865 29-Feb-2008 23:55
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BarTender: True, but you shouldn't get THAT many artefacts on the screen when watching Sky / TV1/2 channels... if it happens a lot then your dish may be ever-so-slightly out... probably because the sky installer was being lazy and didn't test the BER rate. With Optus D1 the signal is so strong that you don't need to be that on these days... but it also means that when it gets cloudy / rains you can get more artefacts / blocky images... Worth checking signal when it's raining or not... if the signal goes down or you get errors then the dish isn't right.

We dont usually get any artefacts, just the grainy edges around say rugby players for example.
Our STB does however randomly change channels, some times it will go to mind games, others it will go to sport. We are hightly likely getting Sky HD, so there isnt much point in getting a new STB.

I said i couldnt give any experience on new stb's, and a lot is assumption, but there you go, someone who does know. I'd assume the difference isnt massive however.

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  # 113876 1-Mar-2008 08:06
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eXDee: I'd assume the difference isnt massive however.

No it's not massive, but it is quite noticable, kinda like wiping the banana off the TV screen :), the colour depth and sharpness does improve.  Plus moving from Composite to component (if you have a component TV & buying the cable) makes a much larger difference.







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  # 113882 1-Mar-2008 08:37
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Thanks Guys (and gals?)

I got an Ixos SCART to SCART thrown in when I bought a new TV. I already had a no-name SCART to composite and SCART to component so I have no intention at the moment of throwing money into the hands of Monster or Hill Bond and Harvey Leeming (or whatever those clone electrical shops in malls are called) - but thanks for the warning.

As noted at the start of the thread I have had 2 recent visits from a Sky 'technician'. On the second visit he altered the LNB. Is this different to realigning the dish itself?

My signal level is usually 76, but is sitting at 75 in the current rain (I am sitting in Titirangi - West Auckland). I'm not sure what the BER usually is (I will check later when the rains has stopped) but is currently varying between 5.6E-05 to 8.4E-05. From your comments Bartender I realise that 76 is not an acceptable signal strength, but have no idea whether the BER is acceptable or not.

If the signal strength is not acceptable, I will get SKY out anyway but it would be good to know what a BER reading should be.

Bartender - your Jaycar link shows a SCART to component (I think). My DVD recorder accepts both component and SCART (neither of which my SKY decoder outputs at the moment, but that's another issue).

I read some technical website which (as far as I can tell) was explaining the differences between RGB, component and SCART. I read it 3 times and ended up more confused than when I started (I had thought RGB and component were the same, but now I know they are different but I have no idea why or in what way).

In practical terms, I guess the differences are irrelevant so long as the correct connectors are used and the quality differences are small. I'm sort of presuming that both component and SCART are pretty good and there would not be any noticable difference on Sky given the high compression rates. Correct?


Any help please?


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  # 113889 1-Mar-2008 09:19
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Hi Dave, if the tech came to align you dish and did the job correctly then he should have (is required to) ensure its alighned correctly. I would have thought that you should have BER levels more off scale rather than E-5ish. That said E-5 is more than enough to ensure error free decoding.

RGB and Component are similar, but quite different and not the same. RGB is RGB whereas component is three independant signals where Y is the luma channel which is a weighted sum of RG&B, Cr is R-Y and Cb ir B-Y. Regardless the black and white (Luma) info is held in the Y channel and colour in the two CrCb channels. Other than old SCART interfaces RGB never exists in a broadcast video chain except in a camera or telecinie pickup where it is immediately converted to YCrCb(aka component) where it remains right through to the final panel or CRT driver assuming you have a component interconnect. RGB is only reentred in devices such as colour graders or some special effects processors, and in SCART DVB/DVD devices. So its best to use Component rather than RGB unless your display only supports RGB.

All TVs except older 50Hz SCARTed TVs immediately convert RGB via scart back to component, process it (ie brightness, colour and contrast set) in component, then finally convert back to RGB for the CRT or panel driver. Older 50Hz CRT TVs with SCART often would bypass all processing and send the RGB signals from the SCART directly to the CRT driver, these TVs are easily idenitfied as the colour control wont work in RGB mode, most of this type of set would have long since been retired, nearly all 50Hz CRTs made in the last 10yrs immediately convert RGB back to component. All modern digital panel TVs operate in Component internally.

SCART was never designed with Component video in mind as when develped digital video did not exist or not commonly, so access to the component signal was not easily done, however RGB was common. However SCART has evolved a bit, S-Video was added in a rough fashion. Of recent times Component has commonly become carried via SCART, using channel assingments Y on G, Cr on Red, Cb on Blue. When S-Video is passed over SCART the Y channel is passed on the composite in or out channels, and the Chroma on the Red channel. The RGB channels can be either in or out, the composite are directional, ie there is a dedicated in and out channel.

SCART has five video channels, composite in, composite out, Red(which can carry Cr), Blue(carrying Cb) and Green (Carrying Y). When carrying RGB the composite channel is used to convey sync in the normal manner, when carrying Component sync is included on the Y channel as it usually is with component, however the composite channel is still present if you want to use it aswell.

Cyril



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  # 113905 1-Mar-2008 11:11
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Thanks Cyril - I think I have a bit better understanding, but let me confirm that by putting it in my situation.

I have a Cambridge Audio DVD player which has component out and obviously various audio outputs (digital coax, optical and standard stereo). I used 3 separate leads for the component output - these are red, blue and green, but labelled Cr/Pr Cb /Pb and Y respectively. I used a digital coax lead for sound to the amp (for me watching movies) and stereo audio outputs to the TV (for the kids watching movies).

I am assuming/hoping that Cr and Pr are interchangeable terms as are Cb and Pb.

I am now looking at using SCART to connect (hopefully component) to the TV. I have a SCART to component connector. The video leads at the component end read R/Pr, B/Pb and G/Y. If I understand you correctly, when being used as component, the SCART plug is being used as an alternative method of carrying the Y,Cr,Cb and L&R audio in effectively the same form as the 5 separate wires I use from the DVD player to the TV. (The SCART to component also has a 6th connector which can be used for composite instead of component or would be used for sync if the SCART was used for RGB.) Hence in this scenario the decoder will send component format (via SCART), the TV will receive component format (it has component inputs) and RGB is not involved at all.

OK, so now the dumb question. How does a vacuum flask know whether it should keep its contents hot or cold? Sorry, that's not the dumb question, but it is similar: How does the SCART know whether to use the wires to transfer data in YCrCb or RGB form? Is it driven by the connectors at the other end (ie if the TV has RGB inputs, the data is transferred as RGB and if the TV uses YCrCb then the data is transferred as YCrCb)?

If the dumb question proves that I haven't understood the first thing about your explanation then don't bother answering any of the rest of it and I will just wander on in ignorance.

Thanks.

p.s Can anyone confirm that there is in fact a Sky decoder (or perhaps even more than one) which offers component out and if it does, whether this is via SCART.

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