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ATSC converter boxes were engineered to fail

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    #16
    I have one a simple RCA converter box, the first one I had up and died for no explicable reason. I bought another off of ebeh and it is still working. I also bought a spare that was a slightly different model, but annoyingly that one does not show preview information for anything but the current show. (The one I use those the current one and the next one). Although that reminds me that some channels were one in a while stuffing SOMETHING in there that would cause the box to crash and shut off if I tried to view a particular programs preview information.

    My little 15" TV is all I need to turn on once a day at 5:00pm to find out what I am supposed to be afraid of today. Watch DVDs on a Windows 95 computer with a 17" CRT, but those ultra-ultra-ultra-ultra-widescreen (AKA shortscreen) formats greatly reduce the resolution.

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      #17
      Originally posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
      4K TVs look amazing when you're in the showroom right up next to the screen and it's playing a high-bit-rate demo, but I know I'm personally far too blind to tell the difference from the ten feet-ish away I'd be watching from in my living room. Clearly I need to invest in a larger TV.

      (65" seemed YUGE when I bought it in 2013 and at the time that size still cost as much as a functional used car. That latter bit makes me reluctant to get rid of it as long as it's working and it still looks fine to me, but I'm sure saying that outs me as some kind of unsophisticated technological hillbilly.)
      I have a 55" LG in my basement area bar which I purchased back in 2008. This is the one everyone huddles around for football. I mentioned something about going with a 65" smart tv and everyone said "don't change a thing". so I guess that I won't. The picture is crisp and clear and my crew is in the late 70's - early 80's. 4K to me is Kellogg, Kleenex, Krispy Kreme, and Krogers.
      Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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        #18
        My 2013 "Smart TV" stopped being "smart" sometime around 2017 or so after it stopped receiving software updates, causing it and YouTube/Netflix/et al to start growing apart. Considering how much an external dingus like a Roku stick costs I'm fine with that.

        2013 isn't a bad vintage for a 1080P TV; it's when things like adaptive LED backlighting and whatnot was becoming mainstream so a decent LED panel was no longer obviously outclassed by dying tech like plasma, and it's overall a huge improvement over the 2005-ish rear-projection model it replaced. (Its predecessor was one of the first Sony WEGAs to come with an ATSC tuner built in; a friend of mine had a slightly older model of the same chassis that didn't have one because it sufficiently predated the 2005 "all TVs bigger than whatever need to have one" mandate. Granted I'm enough of a cheapskate I probably would have milked more miles out of that TV, especially since I'd ponied up for a new lamp for it recently, but the LCD projection module went bad.) It still looks "fine", it has lots of inputs, and although I don't make a lot of use of it it's a nice bonus that its tuner/scaler can handle NTSC and its processing engine does a remarkably good job of turning the terrible output from unmodified RF-out game consoles into something tolerable.

        (The one thing it kind of chokes on is the output from an Apple II, but pretty much everything not a real CRT TV has problems with that.)
        Last edited by Eudimorphodon; April 6, 2021, 01:33 PM.
        My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

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          #19
          My latest one is a Roku HiSense (made you know where) but has 3 year's worth of warranty. Since it has Roku built in there's one less box that needs to be attached. It's a 43" with a 28" base legs which just makes it on the sunroom's 32" stand. Very cheap at $234. 'She' likes it. Another thing that we like is when you go OTA the tuner has a full descriptive menu.
          Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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            #20
            Just stop watching propaganda

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              #21
              I really doubt they were designed to fail. However, they were designed to meet a price point ($40) which was pretty remarkable at the time (compared to the handful of standalone ATSC tuners available before then). Also, they were crippled by design -- to be eligible for the coupon, they had to limit their features in certain ways; e.g., IIRC, their best video output could only be composite. That was actually written into the law.

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                #22
                The common thread in the failures seems to be with the rendering chip itself. Different manufacture; different part, but all have a cheap heatsink glued on and the result is that the chip eventually cooks itself. You'd ordinarily expect the caps to go first, but that's not the case here.

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