Interesting Situation - Need an Analog to Digital converter

Mr. Sheep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 6, 2018
84
15
United States
So here's what's going on.

There's a station in my area that only broadcasts on analog, and I'm trying to use my AirTV (black box) to get channels. It only has digital tuners, so is there anything I can use to convert the analog channel to digital so I can use it with my AirTV?

Sent from my SM-G955U using the SatelliteGuys app!
 

Tampa8

Supporting Founder
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 8, 2003
17,811
7,189
Tampa/Eastern Ct
So here's what's going on.

There's a station in my area that only broadcasts on analog, and I'm trying to use my AirTV (black box) to get channels. It only has digital tuners, so is there anything I can use to convert the analog channel to digital so I can use it with my AirTV?

Sent from my SM-G955U using the SatelliteGuys app!
First make certain they are not also on a digital channel. We have a station on analog channel 48. BUT unlisted anywhere it is on a completely different digital channel 56-3.
I don't know if there is a way to watch an analog channel on a digital tuner. You may need to watch on a laptop or computer with an old analog tuner made for a computer or find an old tv.
 
  • Like
Reactions: comfortably_numb

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,350
2,577
Salem, OR
We can't really help you if you don't tell us something more about the channel in question. What is its call sign?

The chances of a fully operational domestic (USA) analog station are vanishingly small and within a year or so, they likely won't exist due to the repack and a final "sunset" on analog TV broadcast.

Do you have a TV with a tuner in it? Most of them still feature both analog and digital reception that would allow you to determine if you are chasing after something that doesn't exist.

Because the AirTV depends on getting MPEG compressed DTV signals, it cannot record analog. You would have to "capture" the analog signal to digital with a computer-based digitizer (or DVD TV recorder) and then figure out some way of introducing it to the AirTV playlist.
 

dhett

SatelliteGuys Guru
Dec 4, 2013
125
45
Chandler AZ
The chances of a fully operational domestic (USA) analog station are vanishingly small and within a year or so, they likely won't exist due to the repack and a final "sunset" on analog TV broadcast.
Harshness is absolutely correct here. The content on this analog station better be vitally important and unavailable elsewhere; otherwise, you're wasting your time and money. Most TV stations are already digital and those that are not have until July 12, 2021, to either convert to digital or go off the air.
 
  • Like
Reactions: comfortably_numb

Trip

RabbitEars Webmaster
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Jun 21, 2008
1,253
655
Alexandria, VA, US
In another thread, you commented on WWJ in Detroit. Assuming this means you're in the Detroit area, you may be referring to CKCO-TV-3 in Sarnia. If so, that station is scheduled to convert to digital when the repack occurs in the summer of 2020, if it doesn't go off the air entirely at that time as a number of Canadian analog stations have in recent years.

- Trip
 

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
6,900
1,543
Lubbock, Texas
There is no inexpensive analog to digital converter.
Try using a VCR to record what you want to record, then port it to your TV via composite or SVGA.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,350
2,577
Salem, OR
Try using a VCR to record what you want to record, then port it to your TV via composite or SVGA.
I submit that you meant S-VHS rather than SVGA.

You could run the output of a TV or VCR through one of those cheap VHS to USB converters.
 

Mr. Sheep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 6, 2018
84
15
United States
We can't really help you if you don't tell us something more about the channel in question. What is its call sign?

The chances of a fully operational domestic (USA) analog station are vanishingly small and within a year or so, they likely won't exist due to the repack and a final "sunset" on analog TV broadcast.

Do you have a TV with a tuner in it? Most of them still feature both analog and digital reception that would allow you to determine if you are chasing after something that doesn't exist.

Because the AirTV depends on getting MPEG compressed DTV signals, it cannot record analog. You would have to "capture" the analog signal to digital with a computer-based digitizer (or DVD TV recorder) and then figure out some way of introducing it to the AirTV playlist.
I don't need help with the channel. I need help with something that can convert it to digital. The digital simulcast is too far away for me.

Sent from my SM-G955U using the SatelliteGuys app!
 

Mr. Sheep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 6, 2018
84
15
United States
In another thread, you commented on WWJ in Detroit. Assuming this means you're in the Detroit area, you may be referring to CKCO-TV-3 in Sarnia. If so, that station is scheduled to convert to digital when the repack occurs in the summer of 2020, if it doesn't go off the air entirely at that time as a number of Canadian analog stations have in recent years.

- Trip
That is correct. I am referring to that one. Thanks for that information. I didn't know that was part of a repack.

Sent from my SM-G955U using the SatelliteGuys app!
 

Jim5506

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Oct 19, 2004
6,900
1,543
Lubbock, Texas
The thing is you can't economically convert it to digital.

ATSC oscillators cost thousands of dollars.

Record it analog (VCR) and port it to your TV component or S-Video.

If you want to generate an ATSC signal somehow and have the ATSC tuner on your Dish receiver pick that up, it is extremely expensive.

There are less expensive systems ($1,325) that take a signal and output it in QAM (digital cable TV format), but NONE of the Dish receiver tuners can do QAM.
 

Mr. Sheep

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Family
Aug 6, 2018
84
15
United States
The thing is you can't economically convert it to digital.

ATSC oscillators cost thousands of dollars.

Record it analog (VCR) and port it to your TV component or S-Video.

If you want to generate an ATSC signal somehow and have the ATSC tuner on your Dish receiver pick that up, it is extremely expensive.

There are less expensive systems ($1,325) that take a signal and output it in QAM (digital cable TV format), but NONE of the Dish receiver tuners can do QAM.
I'm not using a Dish receiver. The AirTV is made to be used with Sling, and it's technically not a receiver since it doesn't go into a TV. Regardless, thank you for this information.

Sent from my SM-G955U using the SatelliteGuys app!
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,350
2,577
Salem, OR
That is correct. I am referring to that one. Thanks for that information. I didn't know that was part of a repack.
Pretty much everything involving commercial OTA broadcast in North America is part of the repack. The CRTC typically harmonizes with the FCC in such things.

You can't economically use the AirTV (or work-alikes) to accomplish your goal. The VCR suggestion that Jim5506 offered is probably your cheapest shot at recording the broadcast. From there, you could digitize it to end up with a video file (MPEG2, TS or similar). An old SD TiVo might work but it would be an ongoing battle to get the data into a form you could use.

I asked the question about what the station was so that I might search for other options.
 

Trip

RabbitEars Webmaster
Staff member
HERE TO HELP YOU!
Jun 21, 2008
1,253
655
Alexandria, VA, US
I think the key takeaway here is that while you could theoretically do what you're asking, the cost would be somewhere between exorbitant and astronomical. It's almost certainly not worth it for a station that should either be digital or off the air within two years.

I'm aware of only two consumer-priced (if not consumer-grade) products that even output ATSC signals. One is a computer card which I bought on eBay at a very low price, but it would of course require a computer to be on all day with an analog receiver in it, and you'd have to find encoder software to convert that into MPEG-2 with AC-3 audio and the appropriate TSID and PSIP. I have never done that; I bought it to tinker with the idea of retransmitting an already-encoded ATSC-compatible transport stream that was available on free-to-air satellite. For a while, I was broadcasting OETA's programming around my northern Virginia home with it. It probably wasn't even worth that much trouble--I did it to prove I could, and that feed is now gone anyway. (I think the LPB feed is still available and I could use that, theoretically, but that's the only one I know of.)

The second option is a stand-alone modulator box which is hard to come by and which doesn't really work that well, from what I understand. I wasn't willing to shell out the several hundred dollars it cost, and I'm not sure it's still being manufactured. There were persistent problems with the firmware from what I recall, and it only has HDMI input, meaning you would need to find a way to get your analog signal onto an HDMI cable to make it work.

- Trip
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,350
2,577
Salem, OR
Monoprice offers a converter that goes from composite to HDMI for $52.19. The user would be on their own to provide a tuner with stereo outputs (best to use an old VCR I suppose). This would leave you with a not-very-pretty 720p or 1080i letterbox video and audio (garbage in, garbage out).

Next up would be something like the $495 VeCOAX MiniMod-2 modulator that would take the marginal HD feed from the converter and turn it into one channel (that may need to be agile due to the coming repack).

So for perhaps just under $600, you could add a DTV channel into your system that would provide you with a bunch of syndicated programs that you can get any number of other places and quite a few local news broadcasts (and presumably local advertising).

I see that the CKCO-DT out of Kitchener may be/have been carried on Streema.
 

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
16,350
2,577
Salem, OR
Would mediasonic boxes work for you?
I'm pretty sure the Mediasonic devices can't tune analog stations.

Most of the sub-$50 devices depend on source MPEG2 streams as they lack digitizers/encoders. Most standalone DVD recorders and SD TiVos could record analog but those disappeared some time ago and they were relatively expensive.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top