Built in digital tuners vs HDTV tuners?


Standard Member
This may be a dim question and may have been asked before but...

One of the differentiators I am considering when going through the maze of options for LCDs is whether there is a built-in digital tuner. However will these current tuners be able to handle HDTV when it arrives - or would we all have to buy another box to receive HD anyway?

In which case it is not worth paying the extra for a built in digital tuner if you have an acceptable external tuner already...

Any help appreciated! :lease:

David Mackenzie

Ex Member
These tuners won't handle HDTV, only standard definition digital TV (sometimes called "Freeview"). I don't even know if the specification for HDTV over the air has been worked out for Europe yet, and it'll probably be a long time we see it broadcast in that way because of a lack of space on the airwaves. It certainly won't be until 2011 (I think that's when Analogue PAL broadcasts are being shut off) at the very earliest.


Standard Member
Thanks - that helps in the LE32R41BD vs Sharp LC-32GA6E/GD7 debate! Just need to see the two side by side now...


Lyris said:
It certainly won't be until 2011 (I think that's when Analogue PAL broadcasts are being shut off) at the very earliest.

Analogue PAL will be shut off in 2006 here (Netherlands).
That will yield a lot of available channels for digital TV.
However, you are probably right that any HDTV service we can expect will only be via satellite.

Apart from that, even current HDTV satellite receivers are usually not future-proof.
Probably MPEG4 will be used by many channels.


Established Member
PC tuner freeview cards "may" be ok.

There is a slight chance that some may work with HD. I have a freeview TV tuner on my PC, it is built for both Australian and UK markets. In Aus they have HD DVB-T using mpeg2, and my PC tuner can read both these and SD mpeg2 DVB-T transmissions. So if other tuner cards are made this way, and future HD is via mpeg2, then PC tuner cards may be ok.

Clearly set-top boxes (STB) do not have HD capable outputs (usually SCART), so for STB they will probably be obsolete for HD, SD would continue to be broadcast. The STB are very cheap anyway, and you would need digtial out for dobly 5.1, only a few STB have those today.

I do agree that it is more likely that HD will be transmitted via mpeg4, which my Tuner card could not read.

There are separate forums here where freeview is discussed, you can do a search for more opinions.

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