RCA DTC-100 Output Issues [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-30-2006, 10:11 AM
I've been using the RCA DTC-100 as a tuner for a while in a second room but what I thought was HDTV really seems to be some lower resolution (I'm more of an audio guy, so video isn't my forte).

I have been using the RCA DTC-100 with a computer monitor hooked up to the VGA port. Some stations come in a lot clearer than others, so I figured those were HDTV. The RCA's menu shows these as "Digital" with no other description. The computer monitor, however, has a menu that shows the resolution in use and this always says 640x480, no matter what I set on the RCA tuner.

To test this, I took the tuner to the other room and plugged it up to the Audio Authority vga-to-component converter and plugged the component cable into the second input on my wide screen Panasonic TV. The AA converter supports 480i, 480p, 720i, and 1080i and just transfers the resolution that is put in w/o conversion. The Panasonic accepts 480i, 480p as well as 1080i (not 720). No matter what I set on the RCA DTC-100, I get no picture.

So how do I get the RCA tuner to:

- Show what resolution it is sending?
- Change the resolution?

03-30-2006, 12:24 PM
I'll think about this some more, but two reasons for not getting any picture at all from the DTC-100, even with a transcoder, are incompatibility with the display and multiplexed signals from a single cable (say cable and satellite--not your issue). Regarding incompatibility, the tuner has a few odd things about it that make it questionable with certain TVs. For one thing, it deviates from the HD standard in such a way that a picture is sometimes deflected horizontally; in that case, either the display or the DTC-100 would have to be adjusted. It also outputs an unconventional progressive signal on non-HD digital stations--540p instead of 480p. It's altogether possible that your computer monitor does not sync up well with the output of the DTC-100, stalling it at 640x480, and that your Panasonic TV can't handle the 540p signal either. Is it a direct-view CRT? Panasonic HD direct-view CRTs happen to be limited in the signals that they will accept. They refuse 720p; I'm willing to bet that they refuse 540p too. Anyway, that's my guess.

Edit: I should add that it might have trouble with the DTC's 1080i as well, due to its anomalies. Again, a guess.

03-30-2006, 01:26 PM

Yes the Panasonic is a CRT (model CT-34WX52), and will reject 720p and 540p outright. So is there any way to get the DTC-100 to send standard (480 & 1080) resolutions only? If not, can I purchase a device that will do this for me (the Audio Authority 9A60 obviously does't)?

Short of that, maybe I should consider a different HDTV tuner. Any other more configurable units out there with VGA output?

03-30-2006, 01:54 PM
In my understanding, the DTC will send 480i only when the original signal is 480i; it automatically converts 480p to 540p (an RCA standad at the time)--the only conversion that it does. It will send 1080i, however, whenever it is present, as it will 720p. The question is whether the Panasonic will accept its slightly anomalous HD feed at all.

I don't know of any device that will "right" the DTC's "wrongs." There are other transcoders--an RCA one, which was an attempt to get a piece of Audio Authority's action and, as such, was more or less a clone of it, and a Key Digital one, which I don't know very well, but the web does. I doubt that it scales. You could look for one of the early DVDO iscan scaler/deinterlacers, which may have a VGA input on it and scale. DVDO belongs to Anchor Bay. You could check out their website. But the usual job for these early processors was to convert 480i to 480p and little else. Once you get into asking these things to do major conversions, you get more modern and more expensive.

The trouble with looking for a tuner with a VGA output is that everyone quickly learned from RCA's mistake. As first out of the gate, RCA guessed wrong about which type of output would win the day. VGA fell by the wayside when component looked to be the connection of choice on TVs. Only a handful of TVs and projectors used VGA in the DTC's day, and many people were perplexed by RCA's decision. No component tuners?

03-30-2006, 03:31 PM
No component tuners?

Of course I'll take a component tuner, but none that I found will do anything over 480p. If you know of any, I'd be glad to switch from the RCA. It's a pain to work with and frankly that's why it was in the second room. My family would rather use the S-Video/480p Panasonic PVR than deal with all the quircks of the RCA just fro a little bit more detail.

That said, my main goal is to get HDTV 720/1080 into the component inputs of my TV, because I don't have an extra $2K laying around for another TV.

03-30-2006, 05:27 PM
I'm a little confused by the challenge. Samsung, Sony, Humax, and others make terrestrial tuners that output 1080i over component. Are you thinking that copy protection has relegated component on these tuners to non-HD feeds? That is not the case as yet, and it will be true only selectively when and if it does happen.

04-01-2006, 08:07 PM
"Are you thinking that copy protection has relegated component on these tuners to non-HD feeds? That is not the case as yet, and it will be true only selectively when and if it does happen"

Yes, I was under the impression that only VGA would get me anything above 480p because of the HDCP regulations. If you're saying that's not the case, that's great news.

However, I have another dilemna. Since my Panasonic TV does not know what to do with 720p resolution, I need a unit that will upconvert the 720p broadcasts to 1080i. Do any of these do that?

04-02-2006, 08:57 AM

VGA, as an analog format, has no advantage over component when it comes to copy protection. If content carries an HDCP flag, only a digital connection will get full benefit. Most tuners can scale so far as I know.


04-03-2006, 09:07 AM
One of the features I liked about the RCA was that it could accept both OTA HDTV as well as satellite input.

Any recommendations? Any other features I should look for?

04-04-2006, 08:55 AM
Those animals still exist. I think you'll want to consult reviews, preferably professional ones at CNET, AVGUIDE, etc., to see which tuners are easiest and quickest to set up (some routines apparently are interminable) and which ones tend to have the best reach. Some of them by now must have DVRs as well. It's not a market that I know particularly well.

04-04-2006, 05:59 PM
I'm leaning towards the Samsung SIR-T451. If I can find it for around $100, I'll be happy. For satellite reception I'll probably search for a Coolsat 4000/5000/6000 unit. I will have to switch between the two, but I just can't find a good tuner that will do both in one box.