MPEG-4 QAM support with a wider selection of true HD external tuners would be great - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 03-26-2008, 05:00 AM
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Default MPEG-4 QAM support with a wider selection of true HD external tuners would be great

With the cable companies now switching to new cable boxes that support MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 hopefully digital cable ready TVís and other consumer electronics devices will start offering MPEG-4 support for the in the clear unencrypted QAM channels. Most likely in about 5 years all or most satellite and cable channels will be encoded with MPEG-4. MPEG-4 at high bit rates offers better quality then MPEG-2 but most companies choose to use MPEG-4 at lower bit rates to increase the virtual bandwidth of their satellite or cable system.

http://www.motorola.com/mediacenter/news/detail.jsp?globalObjectId=9066_8995_23&pageLocaleI d=2026

http://www.screenplaysmag.com/tabid/160/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/562/Default.aspx

It would be ideal if a new downloadable Cable Card technology was developed that offered two way QAM with Switched Digital Video support for both MPEG-4 and MPEG-2.Then consumers could subscribe to any video on demand service with full interactive support without the need to rent a digital cable box.


There is also now a lack of selection of true external 1080I ATSC tuners to choose from


Every consumer electronics device manufactured for the US market since March 1st 2007 that includes a NTSC tuner is also required to have an ATSC tuner under Federal regulations (No mandate for QAM but most consumer products now support one way MPEG-2 QAM). I am all for the ATSC mandate but what is bothering me is the lack of true HDTV 1080I external ATSC tuners on the market. I see several low cost under $50 SDTV 480I ATSC tuners on the market but a lack of choices for people that own existing older models of 720P, 1080I, and 1080P displays that want to upgrade to true 1080I ATSC tuners. For example there are a very small selection of models of external dedicated 1080I ATSC tuners to choose from. Then if you want QAM the list of external HD tuners is greatly narrowed. Then if you want a IEEE-1394 interface there is no external HDTV tuners that offer that feature (It appears the discontinued Samsung SIR-T165 is the only external ATSC tuner that offers IEEE-1394 interface and without a QAM tuner.

The ideal under $200 external tuner should offer the following features

1. The external tuner should be able to receive over the air broadcast ATSC channels which are all MPEG-2.
2. The external tuner should also be able to receive all MPEG-2 unencrypted QAM cable channels.
3. As an added bonus the tuner should be able to receive MPEG-4 unencrypted QAM cable channels. Some people would even pay $300 for this feature since currently no consumer product supports this feature yet.
4. The under $200 tuner should also have an IEEE-1394 interface that supports up to 1080I bit rates (Excellent for recording onto a D-VHS or BLU-RAY recordable device in true HD quality with a perfect recording with no loss)
5. Since this box is not one of those under $50-60 boxes that only does 480I, it should have a HDMI output that supports native resolutions of 1080I, 720P, 480P, and 480I.

A HD DVR is more for temp storage of recordings and not good for achieving unless one purchases several external hard drives. If I want to record in the clear 1080I unencrypted QAM channels from my cable provider onto a D-VHS machine in full 1080I quality I am forced to rent a cable box with an IEEE-1394 interface. There are no external unencrypted QAM tuners on the market that offer both QAM at 1080I quality with the IEEE-1394 interface feature.

Hopefully a standalone BLU-RAY recorder with a built in QAM tuner will be introduced in the US in 2009. JVC the inventor of VHS no longer makes standalone VHS, S-VHS, and D-VHS machines (only cheap 480I VHS/DVD comboís). The discontinued top of the line JVC HMDT100U D-VHS machine has a built in ATSC tuner but no QAM tuner. An external QAM tuner is needed but all the external unencrypted tuners lack the IEEE-1394 interface which is required to record in true HD quality.
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