Forum etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

"PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

ATSC converter boxes were engineered to fail

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    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.


      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


        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


          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


            Just stop watching propaganda


              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.


                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.