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Any reason to keep the modulator in a 600XL?

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Years back I'd upgrade with super video for the XE or XL and keep the RF.  I also wired in RCA's for outputs and have 3 video outputs.  It allowed flexibility to have a combination of screen types.  When I'd play two player games having a screen for each player really let you both sit square to the screen and the ability to focus on a single screen for each player was great.

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20 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

PAL A8s looked on a native PAL CRT seems to indicate that they were sharper than their NTSC counterparts by quite a wide margin

The A8 is not the culprit, a lot of that poor quality is because of the way NTSC RF creates the picture, it was always inferior to PAL.

 

We always said NTSC = "Never The Same Colour Twice" :) , just a joke us TV guys had

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1 hour ago, Gunstar said:

Channel 2 is a digital broadcast in my area and cannot be used for analog RF in my area on modern TV's as far as I know.

Channel 2 is digital in my area too, but that doesn’t prevent you from connecting an RF cable to your (analog) TV and tuning it to channel 2 for your retro stuff. Particularly if you use a true coaxial cable for RF (such as those used with the original 400/800/VCS models). These have center conductors; dielectric insulation; then outer metallic RF shielding; all surrounded by more insulation. Standard RCA-type cables are typically not actual coaxial cables and allow RF signal leakage. Coax cables, by contrast, do not. Think of it as a pipe containing “water” (the signal from your Atari). It also will not, itself, act as an effective antenna to pick up competing signals.  So if you connect your 600XL to a TV with a legacy analog tuner over channel 2 with a good-quality coax cable, you should have no issues getting a picture on your TV.

 

HOWEVER ... if you have removed the RF shielding from you computer and if others close by in your area are trying to watch digital channel 2, they might get interference from your unshielded vintage computer. However, that will depend on how close those viewers are to the physical location of your computer, and how strong the signal is from the digital TV broadcaster. Conceivably you might get a visit from an FCC inspector who might be dispatched to look into things. So if it’s a concern, do some testing to see if your analog channel 2 connection interferes with digital over-the-air broadcasts on digital TV’s in your own house before you decide if you want to leave it, or jumper the RF modulator over to channel 3.

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15 hours ago, HiassofT said:

RF video quality surely isn't too great but at least it's a possibility to get a picture without investing $$$ into some analog to HDMI converter.

Depends on the TV. Both my available TVs here can’t see the Atari RF signal. They both scan to find channels and never see the A8 signal. I’m lucky they both have a composite input. 

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1 hour ago, DrVenkman said:

Channel 2 is digital in my area too, but that doesn’t prevent you from connecting an RF cable to your (analog) TV and tuning it to channel 2 for your retro stuff. Particularly if you use a true coaxial cable for RF (such as those used with the original 400/800/VCS models). T

Yes, I mentioned that in my post too!!

 

My post:

In my area, and I assumed this was across the nation (US), but maybe not, on broadcast TV there is only ONE analog station left, all broadcast stations are now digital, and that one station that is analog is an unused (static) channel that is specifically there for old farts like us to hook up our old equipment to RF. That is channel 3. That, of course, is only when using modern TV's and letting it auto-program the channels. Of course if you have an old CRT that you can manually turn to what would be an empty analog station, then channel 2 would be there to use. Channel 2 is a digital broadcast in my area and cannot be used for analog RF in my area on modern TV's as far as I know. Admittedly, I don't know much about it all though; I just recently gave up cable/satellite TV and started using only broadcast TV. Since I now use streaming services for 90% of my viewing. 

Edited by Gunstar

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4 hours ago, Gunstar said:

In my area, and I assumed this was across the nation (US), but maybe not, on broadcast TV there is only ONE analog station left, all broadcast stations are now digital, and that one station that is analog is an unused (static) channel that is specifically there for old farts like us to hook up our old equipment to RF. That is channel 3.

 

Not exactly.  Channel 3 didn't have any specific exemption: if there was an NTSC broadcast station on it, that station had to go digital.  Ditto Channel 4. There was, however, an exception to the DTV rule for low-powered translator stations.  These were typically found in rural areas, and were used to rebroadcast a station received on one channel on a different channel to make up for gaps in broadcast coverage.  They were permitted to continue broadcasting in NTSC past the changeover date, though I understand they were due to sunset at some point.  Not sure when that date was; for all I know, it's already passed.

 

FWIW, most modern TVs have really poor analogue-to-digital conversion on RF.  You might want to look into something like a Sony TU-1041U RF demodulator if you run into this; they do an excellent job of taking the A8's RF output and converting it to composite.  They're also cheap (usually under $30 or so) on eBay.

 

4 hours ago, Gunstar said:

That, of course, is only when using modern TV's and letting it auto-program the channels. Of course if you have an old CRT that you can manually turn to what would be an empty analog station, then channel 2 would be there to use. Channel 2 is a digital broadcast in my area and cannot be used for analog RF in my area on modern TV's as far as I know. Admittedly, I don't know much about it all though; I just recently gave up cable/satellite TV and started using only broadcast TV. Since I now use streaming services for 90% of my viewing. 

 

If you unplug the antenna from the TV, connect the A8 to the RF input, and have the TV autoscan while the A8 is powered up, the TV should have no real problems with finding it - the A8's RF modulator should be able to overwhelm whatever broadcast signal is on Channel 2.

 

You may see some interference from the broadcast station with the computer in use, though, and it'd be a real PITA to have to go through this every time you want to use the computer or watch TV.

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3 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

The A8 is not the culprit, a lot of that poor quality is because of the way NTSC RF creates the picture, it was always inferior to PAL.

 

Having grown up in PAL territory watching NTSC videotapes on a multisystem display, I understand completely what you mean 😆  I just don't have a good way to do a side-by-side comparison of the two systems these days.

 

Quote

We always said NTSC = "Never The Same Colour Twice" :) , just a joke us TV guys had

 

You'll be pleased to know that it also made it into the film industry - I can remember hearing that saying when I was working in it years ago.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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My LG TV tuner has settings for:

Antenna DTV

Antenna TV

Cable DTV

Cable TV

With nothing hooked up to the RF input it will scan all 4 options for available channels, channel setup can also be done manually.

 

I don't use the tuner for watching TV since I have a cable box that connects via HDMI, there are only 2 broadcast stations in my area.

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3 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

Not exactly.  Channel 3 didn't have any specific exemption: if there was an NTSC broadcast station on it, that station had to go digital.  Ditto Channel 4. There was, however, an exception to the DTV rule for low-powered translator stations.  These were typically found in rural areas, and were used to rebroadcast a station received on one channel on a different channel to make up for gaps in broadcast coverage.  They were permitted to continue broadcasting in NTSC past the changeover date, though I understand they were due to sunset at some point.  Not sure when that date was; for all I know, it's already passed.

 

FWIW, most modern TVs have really poor analogue-to-digital conversion on RF.  You might want to look into something like a Sony TU-1041U RF demodulator if you run into this; they do an excellent job of taking the A8's RF output and converting it to composite.  They're also cheap (usually under $30 or so) on eBay.

 

 

If you unplug the antenna from the TV, connect the A8 to the RF input, and have the TV autoscan while the A8 is powered up, the TV should have no real problems with finding it - the A8's RF modulator should be able to overwhelm whatever broadcast signal is on Channel 2.

 

You may see some interference from the broadcast station with the computer in use, though, and it'd be a real PITA to have to go through this every time you want to use the computer or watch TV.

Thanks for straightening me out on that stuff.👍 Though personally, I never plan on using RF for any system again in my life. Everything I own that is vintage I've already upgraded to video or S-video, including my 2600 and Bally Arcade. But still, it's important info for those who do still use RF.

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9 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

Thanks for straightening me out on that stuff.👍

 

Glad it made sense.  And I just realised that I left a couple of things out of there that are quasi-pertinent, but really don't come hugely into play for what we're doing here.  If someone asks, I'll explain :D

 

Quote

Though personally, I never plan on using RF for any system again in my life. Everything I own that is vintage I've already upgraded to video or S-video, including my 2600 and Bally Arcade. But still, it's important info for those who do still use RF.

 

I hear you on that.  My plan is to acquire two of each system that I'm interested in.  One stays bone-stock, the other gets whatever mods I feel like throwing at it (like composite out, for instance).  That way I've got a reference unit handy in case the modded one has issues - it'll give me an idea of how it should be acting post-modification.  But all of that implies having machines with working RF output, so unless my plans change I'm going to be buying a lot more of the Sony demodulators in the coming months :D

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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1 hour ago, BillC said:

My LG TV tuner has settings for:

Antenna DTV

Antenna TV

Cable DTV

Cable TV

With nothing hooked up to the RF input it will scan all 4 options for available channels, channel setup can also be done manually.

 

I don't use the tuner for watching TV since I have a cable box that connects via HDMI, there are only 2 broadcast stations in my area.

 

You should be good to go, then.  I'd kill for manual channel setup on our TVs; they're both scan-or-nothing.  Even poking around in the diagnostic menus doesn't give the option.

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Well, I finally received the RCA Male to F-Type Female Adaptor and was able to check out my 600XL. It came in without an Antic chip, but when I put in one from another machine, it boots up just fine. Now, the keyboard is a completely different issue. I don't seem to get any input from any of the keys except for Reset, Select, Option, Start, and Help, and they all stick when you press them and have to be pried up ever so slightly with a small screwdriver or something along those lines. So, basic operation looks good, but keyboard issues that need to be worked out. It shouldn't be too bad, I don't think.

 

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