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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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I have to agree with Mr Bunny regarding "Power conditioners". A while back I used to work in the Video department of Best Buy and knew then that the Power Conditoners were a joke. We had numerous complaints from people saying that it was degrading their signal and I have seen this first hand. Just use the gift cards to get some of the other things you need and invest in a quality surge protector.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 14:54
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Quote:

4bailey wrote:
I was looking at the APC Power Conditioners at Best Buy (we’ve both got Best Buy gift cards to use up). Do you think the “Power Conditioner” thing is just hype or can I get by with an A/V style surge protector?


4bailey,

I am not home theater expert, but I am a two channel audiophile.

If you want protection from spikes I like a simple HIGH quality surge protector. It should not be made of plastic and the best place to get one is from a high end store like Stereo Exchange in NYC. (just an example)

"Power conditioners" tend to degrade your signal unless you spend over $500 and you still have to do your research in the audio reviews to be sure that others have had positive results. The term "power conditioner" is thrown around a lot for a wide range of power products and most are as you asked, hype.

If you are adding an outlet, make it a dedicated circuit. That is, has its own circuit breaker in the main electric box. This will help keep interference from dimmer switches and household appliances out of your signal.

In the big picture the above will only make a slight difference. A little here and a little there end up making a noticeable difference in the end.

Posted on: 2008/4/17 23:59
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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I have had comcast for 8 years in JC and never once had an outage. Maybe I just wasn't home at the time, but that's just my experience. Their OnDemand service is off the hook, btw. It has everything!

Posted on: 2008/4/17 20:39
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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4bailey wrote:



3.) Although I’ve never used a dish before, a good friend of mine has and he warned me about problems with spotty reception during storms. Have you seen anything like that in your experience?...



The only time you will lose reception is during heavy thunderstorms. On a typical rainy or snowy day you have nothing to worry about. Reception issues rarely last for more than a minute or two and are few and far between. With Comcast the outages tend to be more common and last for longer periods of time.

Posted on: 2008/4/17 20:07
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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ianmac47 wrote:
If HD is your cup of tea, you might want to consider that Comcast degrades their HD signal.

Gizmodo Article


While it is true that Comcast degrades their HD signal, I think it's ridiculous to use JPEG (an inherently lossy format) for an example. That's like trying to show the difference between DVD and Blu Ray by recording it to VHS.

Posted on: 2008/4/17 18:54
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Thanks all for the tips!

I didn’t know about monoprice and already ended up buying 12 AWG in-wall CL3-rated speaker wire from Blue Jeans Cable. Although the monoprice offering is CL2, the cost savings is about half of the Blue Jeans price and the CL3 vs. CL2 difference seems to be marginal. Oh, well… I’ll definitely be buying my HDMI’ s from monoprice.
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ansky wrote:
Why don't you want a dish?...

1.) Our building faces south; to aim the dish southwest while avoiding the taller apartment building next to us, we’d have to put the dish towards the front of the building. I know there are already tons of wires in the front, but (just me) I HATE the look of dish hanging off the front of an historic building.
2.) Having just replaced a roof 2 years ago with a tear-down, we’d prefer to minimize any new holes.
3.) Although I’ve never used a dish before, a good friend of mine has and he warned me about problems with spotty reception during storms. Have you seen anything like that in your experience?...

Quote:

jclxz wrote:
...You will have to decide on surround sound, or not, and if so 5.1 vs 6.1 vs 7.1. I'm thrilled with my surround sound but if I was limited in money I would spend the money on a pair of good speakers instead. You mentioned you're buying a receiver - speakers as well? Care to share your budget for such a thing? My recommendation is a Denon receiver and Axiom speakers...

Funny you mentioned Axiom. I went though their wizard and contacted them last month to see if it would make sense to go 7.1 or 5.1. Given how small my living room is and where we want to have the couch (main seating for viewing is right at the back wall), the Axiom tech convinced me 5.1 is really the best that I could do given the room. Yes, I’ll be getting speakers from Axiom.

Receiver-wise, I still may get a 7.1 receiver in case we ever move or remodel a room for a 7.1 solution. Currently, I’m leaning towards a Pioneer receiver with the intention of getting it with an iPod dock. The model receiver I’m considering also has an Ethernet port, so I’d have the option of connecting to my PC via a home WiFi / Powerline network, more to view photos stored on the PC than gaming.

The only other components I’m considering buying are a Blu-Ray player (either the Pioneer or Panasonic) and “something” to handle/protect line surges. We’ve already had a lightning strike fry a PC Ethernet card; so I’d feel much better with something protecting the electronics. I was looking at the APC Power Conditioners at Best Buy (we’ve both got Best Buy gift cards to use up). Do you think the “Power Conditioner” thing is just hype or can I get by with an A/V style surge protector?

Budget?... not sure yet. I’m hoping that buying a TV, receiver and Blu-Ray will get me some bargaining leverage where I can at least get close to the lower internet prices I see from unauthorized dealers. When we had our taxes done this last go around, my wife asked our tax-guy about the possibility of a tax deduction for the home theater we’re planning. Since my wife is a costume designer for theater/film and has been doing that for 20+ years, he felt that he could definitely make a legitimate case to deduct a portion of it.

I feel confident about doing some of the work myself: running the in-wall speaker wire, putting in another electric receptacle, mounting the speakers, etc. However, mounting the TV has me a little nervous. Originally, I thought I’d do it myself with lead anchors and masonry epoxy, but I started reading warnings about 100-year-old brick crumbling (our brick firewall is about 150-years old) and having to use a reinforced rod-system because the shear rating on screws can’t support a 100 lb TV. 6th Ave is one of our main candidates to purchase from and they use CEDIA-certified installers. If they’ll guarantee that the TV won’t come off the wall, it might be worth the peace of mind to pay them to mount/install the TV. Any experience with wall-mounting?..

Posted on: 2008/4/17 18:28
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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I think I'm repeating most of what was said, so I'm mostly agreeing with everyone.

Whether you need a new box depends on which box you happen to have. It is in your best interests to get the newest box they have no matter what, because there are significant improvements in quality. Luckily the DVR boxes fail so often that you get an automatic upgrade every year or so.

Comcast seriously degrades their HD signal. You would only notice when comparing to a HD signal of legitimately high quality. You won't notice in comparison to standard definition TV. Basically, they increase the level of compression in order to fit more channels into the same amount of bandwidth. It seems to vary depending on the channel. This is in comparison to legitimate HD providers, not in comparison to standard definition TV.

Comcast's HD broadcasting is unreliable. I find that 5-10% of the time, I must switch to the standard def channel to have something of watchable quality. A couple years ago, it was much worse. But I have missed shows in the past week because I DVR'd it in HD, and the HD feed was unwatchable. If I -really- want to watch it and I won't be in, I record on both channels. This will depend on where you are, and I can't eliminate my building from blame.

Same cable for HD. No new cable run, no new holes. The HD box may expose problems with your existing setup, but it is unlikely if your digital channels are currently reliable.

If you must buy cables, monoprice is the only place I know that is not ripping customers off on cables. Even if you don't mind getting ripped off, it's still a big cost savings.

HDMI is probably the right solution. There are copy protection features that do not actually protect against piracy but sometimes make interoperability impossible, so you could run into issues there - but a new TV on a new cable box should be fine. Attempt to use HDMI unless you find out it is impossible.

You didn't mention audio, although you did mention that you are getting a new receiver. I have noticed that audio quality makes a big difference in my viewing experience. I don't consider it acceptable to use the built-in speakers to any TV although some of the newer ones are quite decent. It all depends on what you're willing to spend. But an HD broadcast also comes with a higher-quality audio broadcast (usually), such that good audio equipment can finally take advantage of it. Audio is a direct relationship between money and results.

You will have to decide on surround sound, or not, and if so 5.1 vs 6.1 vs 7.1. I'm thrilled with my surround sound but if I was limited in money I would spend the money on a pair of good speakers instead. You mentioned you're buying a receiver - speakers as well? Care to share your budget for such a thing? My recommendation is a Denon receiver and Axiom speakers. I can't say enough how much good sound quality has enhanced my viewing experience. If you are buying a receiver, you should consider how you will play music through it as well - for example from a computer using a digital output.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 23:50
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Quote:

cdnj wrote:
comcast for me has been just OK.

question for those with it...i recently noticed in my onscreen guide that certain channels (ie, ch 21 - food network) state "HD" as part of the programming info. there are probably another 10 like this...none of which come in as HD....

anyone know anything about this?


This just means that the program is available in HD. But whether Comcast carries the HD channel that carries the show is a different story.

There are many HD channels that Comcast doesn't carry yet.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 22:04
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Quote:

cdnj wrote:
comcast for me has been just OK.

question for those with it...i recently noticed in my onscreen guide that certain channels (ie, ch 21 - food network) state "HD" as part of the programming info. there are probably another 10 like this...none of which come in as HD....

anyone know anything about this?


I read somewhere that Comcast is preparing to increase its HD offering in NJ - maybe they re-labeled the channels ahead of time.

But if they compress the heck out of the signal in order to cram more channels in - that's not HD.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 21:27
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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comcast for me has been just OK.

question for those with it...i recently noticed in my onscreen guide that certain channels (ie, ch 21 - food network) state "HD" as part of the programming info. there are probably another 10 like this...none of which come in as HD....

anyone know anything about this?

Posted on: 2008/4/16 19:17
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Quote:

Just4Phun wrote:
Quote:

ianmac47 wrote:
If HD is your cup of tea, you might want to consider that Comcast degrades their HD signal.

Gizmodo Article


Just curious: Do you have Comcast HD or are you just pointing to an article about it?


I don't believe that HD enhances my viewing experience enough for me to worry about signal quality, but for an HD enthusiast, I thought they might want to know.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 18:59
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Quote:

ianmac47 wrote:
If HD is your cup of tea, you might want to consider that Comcast degrades their HD signal.

Gizmodo Article


Just curious: Do you have Comcast HD or are you just pointing to an article about it?

Posted on: 2008/4/16 18:26
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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4bailey wrote:
Until FIOS is a reality, I guess we’re stuck with Comcast - we’re not too fond of “dish” solutions.




Why don't you want a dish? Directv offers virtually every channel in HD now. I have been a customer for over 2 years with no complaints. Comcast's HD offerings are terrible around here. You'll only get a handful of HD channels on Comcast.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 16:16
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Also, I had a hell of a time trying to find out from Comcast what HD channels are included in what digital package.

For example, they told me that YES-HD and SNY-HD are not included in Digital Starter Package.

I have no idea if that's true or not - anybody know?

Posted on: 2008/4/16 16:02
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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If HD is your cup of tea, you might want to consider that Comcast degrades their HD signal.

Gizmodo Article

Posted on: 2008/4/16 15:24
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Keep it HDMI it is the way to go. All of my components are connected via HDMI and I think that it is a noticable upgrade on the picture. Onkoyo makes a very nice HDMI compatible reciever that I happen to really like.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 15:07
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Also, when you are looking to buy cables, goto monoprice.com
the quality is great and the prices can't be beat. stay away from monster cables (your paying for the name) and never buy cables from any of the big stores like best buy, 6th ave, etc... the markup there is just silly, but keep an eye out for their open box/display items. i picked up an $1700 yamaha receiver for a few hundred bucks. run hdmi cables from cable box to receiver and then another to tv. don't bother with rgb/component/coax cables after the cable box.

this site is great with advice:

http://avsforum.com/

the forums provide a lot of answers and tips.




good luck and welcome to the world of HD.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 15:07
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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You will most likely have to order a new box. Just make sure you ask for the HDMI cable box from Comcast. They tend to give the older (RGB)component boxes, unless you specify for the HDMI box. You will most likely need to get your own HDMI cable, since they usually just provide component. Other then that, the boxes are pretty good, I just wish HD was free like it is on Cablevision.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 14:52
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Re: HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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Let me just start by saying, I love my comcast service. I have never had a problem with them. That being said, let me answer these questions

1.) They just flip a switch. As long as you have a box that is already set up for HD.

2.) I actually did not have to get a new box when I switched. It really depends how long you have the box. But they also make that really easy. You just send in the box in an envelope.

3.) They have HDMI output. It rocks. Thats the way to go.

Posted on: 2008/4/16 14:36
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HD Experts: Questions on using JC Comcast?
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A little late to the game, but we’re planning/remodeling for a HD home theater setup in our living room. Until FIOS is a reality, I guess we’re stuck with Comcast - we’re not too fond of “dish” solutions.

For anyone who already uses Comcast HD, these will probably seem like “dumb”, simple, newbie questions, but I’d rather hear real experience from JC residents than trust Comcast customer service (I’ve already made too many holes in my walls that I need to patch )…

1.) If we already have Comcast digital coming into our living room on coax and we switch to HD service, does Comcast have to run a new wire and make a new hole or do they just flip a switch to change the signal on the existing coax?
2.) I’m assuming we’d have to get a new box from Comcast for HD. Is that true?...
3.) The A/V receiver I’m thinking of getting can take either coax or HDMI 1.3 input. What are the wiring options for “OUTPUT” from the Comcast HD box?... Would I have to go coax to the A/V receiver or is there an HDMI output on the Comcast box I can use to go to the receiver?

Many thanks in advance!

Posted on: 2008/4/16 14:22
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