Search This Blog

Friday, April 19, 2013

Low vision cable TV uDTA remote and wall mounted flat panel HDTV replaces 20-year-old ceiling mounted CRT TV

Comcast Xfinity Motorola uDTA box and remote control for low vision

PHOTO: a new Comcast Xfinity cable TV Motorola uDTA (universal digital transport adaptor or digital to analog convertor) is shown next to its new XR2 remote control and the old DTA remote control, including a version that was designed for use by viewers with low vision (right). The new uDTA is sometimes called a micro-DTA or μDTA when using the small Greek letter mu that is a standard prefix denoting micro units, such as micrometers, in the international Metric system. The new remote control buttons have less contrast and smaller print than the old one, making it much harder to see, and so I asked to keep the old one. I was pleasantly surprised when the clerk offered to also give me one of the low vision remotes, which I had seen on the Comcast Web site and had inquired about before, but I had never been able to get one in the past. Comcast is now requiring all cable subscribers use a full-sized cable box or the new Motorola uDTA (micro or universal digital transport adapter). This box is a newer version of the old cable TV DTA box that Comcast required non-limited basic cable customers start using five years ago. CableCARD tuners and unscrambled QAM tuners have been partially supported, but never fully, by cable TV providers. The new uDTA appears to be supporting more channels, including HDTV channels that the old DTA box was unable to display because it only had an analog RF output, unlike the new uDTA box that also has an HDMI digital HDTV output cable. (See previous posts Comcast kills analog cable TV in Portland (12/12/08), Comcast unscrambled QAM channels (6/19/09), and Comcast adds 29 HD channels -- kinda (3/4/09))

Comcast Xfinity Motorola uDTA box and remote control for low vision

PHOTO: an amazingly still working, twenty-year-old Sony Trinitron CRT TV set, with a 20-inch diagonal 400 lines of resolution screen, is shown ceiling mounted (left) shortly before it was recently replaced by a new wall mounted 32-inch diagonal flat panel Samsung LCD HDTV with LED backlight and 1920 by 1080 pixel display. It receives either standard free digital ATSC HDTV over-the-air or digital cable TV when it is connected with a HDMI input able to the uDTA cable box. Even when the uDTA able box's stupid default setting of 720p is changed to 1080i to see more display resolution, the over-the-air HDTV pictures are still noticeably better in sharpness and color range because it appears the cable TV company is digitally compressing the TV signal further to squeeze in more channels to the bandwidth they have available. Their only other competition, satellite TV, appears to be even more compressed than Comcast Cable. Few people have noticed the picture quality differences because there are so many variables that it makes any side by side comparisons very difficult to do accurately. Even with my low vision blindness, I can stand close to the TV and see the difference in picture quality and most people can after you point it out to them. The Sony CRT pictured was a very expensive model designed to be more durable for commercial use, such as for continuously on airport monitors, etc. Sony TV sets built for consumers often lasted less than 7 years due to their high voltage circuitry or relays failing due to arcing. The new flat panel TV sets have different failure modes and it will be interesting to see when and how they fail. I must be an optimist, despite medical evidence to the contrary, I am planning on living another twenty years to see if the Samsung LCD is still working after 20 years as the Sony has done! See previous posts Sony TV CRT ceiling mount circa 1994 still in use (12/10/11), Jetsons flying car in 1962 and World's Fair kitchen of the future in 2011 (3/1/11) and HP wall mount touch computer wet dream fulfilled 30 years later (10/12/10)