Thursday, April 30, 2009


We moved to Australia from the USA and shipped all our belongings from there including our 42" LCD HD TV. I was under the impression that I would be able to simply buy an external TV tuner that would enable me to watch Aussie TV. Was I ever WRONG!

There are three main analogue television systems throughout the world, PAL, NTSC and SECAM. After the introduction of High Definition TV, the old standards didn't simply go away, they influenced the new HD standards. I found this nice article about why NTSC and PAL still matter in the digital TV world. Basically, the main difference is the frame rate. HD signal based on NTSC (ie. HD in the USA) transmits 30 frame-per-second where as HD signal based on PAL (ie HD in Australia) transmits 25 frame-per-seconds. So, converting a PAL based HD signal to NTSC based HD signal is not trivial, as the missing frames have to be invented.

After painstakingly trying out different a number of set top boxes (external TV tuners) and returning them as they didn't work with my TV, I searched the web for answers. There was very little useful information out there. I decided to experiment. My TV has a PC-in VGA port. I manage to connect my old PC to the TV using a VGA cable and use the TV as a monitor. That's when it occurred to me that there should be external boxes that are capable of turning an ordinary PC monitor into a TV.

I found a couple of units that were capable of turning a PC monitor into a TV without need for a computer. One was Compro VideoMate W800F and AVerTV Hybrid STB9. As none of the major computer retailers in Australia were selling these, I didn't have the luxury of returning any of them. So I was thorough on my research. I finally bit the bullet and bought the Compro VideoMate W800F, which works perfectly with my USA TV.

A happy ending after a lot of hard work. I can now watch live games on my TV that was shipped over from the USA. TVs are very cheap over there in the US. May be, I should consider shipping a a bigger better TV from the USA in the future...

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