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HDTV Europe > North American TV in Europe > Replies - Add Reply     Sort by newest posting on top
j_offiong@email.com 10/21/2004
9:57 AM

I'm moving from Canada to The Netherlands in a few months and naturally have an NTSC TV. I'm buying a converter (TVOne CDM830T) to convert the PAL signal to NTSC so that I can use my big screen TV over there for normal TV.

In terms of HDTV, I still haven't found a satisfactory answer to whether my TV will display HDTV in Europe. My current thinking is that as long as I'm on satellite or cable, the tuner will convert whatever transmission standard that they use over there, with the MPEG2 compression scheme currently in use into a standard 1080i signal that my TV will display. Does anybody know otherwise?



5:19 PM
Umm, I think you need more than an NTSC/PAL converter. Canada's E.C. (electrical current) is about the same as in the US (abt. 110-120V 60Hz), but the Netherlands' E.C. is 230V 50Hz, so you'll need a heavy-duty transformer to make sure that the electrical current necessary to make your NTSC TV work.

In addition, the Netherlands, like everywhere else in Europe, is using the DVB, not the ATSC standard. One advantage of the DVB standard is that it is flexible, so that, for instance, if you were living in the UK on a motorcoach (similar to a Greyhound bus) from London, England, to Edinburgh, Scotland, or if you were watching TV during a bad rainstorm, the signal would still be the same - the signal would've adapted to new propagation conditions. With ATSC, however, it is different. ATSC will only show perfect reception in ideal conditions. The signal will suffer in reception quality if conditions change, i.e., if you are on a Greyhound bus, if a repeat of Hurricane Katrina knocks down TV towers, etc. DVB also has a strong point in which each country can modify the system to their needs. In Australia, for instance, the broadcasters (ABC (Australia's CBC/PBS), SBS (a multi-lingual TV service catering to ethnic and linguistic minorities in Australia), and commercial networks 7, 9, and 10), even though they naturally will broadcast in SDTV, are required by law to broadcast a certain number of hours of HDTV programming per month; thus over there DVB has been modified to include SD and HD broadcasts. In the UK, however, the situation is different. There, it is seen in the eyes of the British public that DTV is being used as a tool of the Government (through Ofcom regulation) just to simply free up space. This can be seen in the fact that British TV is transmitted only of UHF waves, and with five TV stations (and one which broadcasts to 60% of the UK), you've have a heck of a problem. Throw in BSkyB (the sole satellite TV provider in the UK) and cable companies NTL and Telewest and you have problems.

I don't know if NOS (the Dutch public broadcaster) or any of the Dutch commercial TV networks are broadcasting in HDTV yet, but if you can pick up the TV programs from the ASTRA cluster of satellites (including Euro1080), or if your cable company offers HDTV programs, then you can pick up HDTV. Beware, though, that if you've already purchased an ATSC tuner, it will not work. Remember that DVB is the general rule of thumb for digital TV, while for analog TV, not only does the Netherlands use PAL, but (and this should be kept in mind) the Netherlands, for analog TV transmissions, also use systems B (for VHF) and G (for UHF). If your converter handles PAL B/G, then you're all set. However, I would actually buy a TV once you're in the Netherlands that can pick up DTT (digital terrestrial television) via an STB (or, if using cable or satellite, through whatever equipment they offer) because importation rates will be brutal. Although VAT is high in the Netherlands (as well as everyplace else in the EU), in the long run it's better to buy a TV in the Netherlands rather than to import your NTSC TV into Europe.

Why? Although the compression scheme is MPEG-2 for both ATSC and DVB tuners, I haven't heard of any DVB-to-ATSC converters for your ATSC STB yet. In addition, ATSC uses the 8-VSB modulation format, which is uncompatible with DVB's COFDM modulation format, so you're out of luck.

That's as much as I know off of the top of my head, but if you want to know more here are some articles from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_television (this actually gives you an overview of digital TV in general)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVB (about DVB, which is what is used in Europe for digital TV)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_digital_television_deployments_by_country (self-explanitory)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_networks_in_the_Netherlands (gives you an idea of the Dutch TV system)


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