Why the ZeeVee could be so cool

The embargoed lifted this morning on a device I’ve been waiting since I discovered HD about 4 years ago — well almost. As long as I can remember, we’ve had RF modulators to make our lives simple, I remember my original Atari had one, you just plugged it inline with your coax going into your TV and you were off enjoying games. Of course NTSC RF-modulators have pretty bad picture quality and most game consoles today don’t use them, but they are still very useful for sending TV around your house on the existing coax. The problem is that if you think SD quality of RF-modulators is bad in the SD world, don’t even try to compare it to HD.

But finally the first consumer QAM RF-modulator is coming. Why is this so cool? Well lets say you want to watch your HD TiVo in every room of your house, but don’t want to buy another TiVo or pay the monthly fee. You could connect a device like this — but with component inputs — to your TiVo and then in any room of the house tune to channel 3 and now you’ll have HD with AC3 sound. You could even watch it on every TV in the house at the same time.

But lets take it to the next level, you could have a few of these and put all your gear in same room  and then use the existing coax in the house to watch whatever you want on any TV you want. Blu-ray is on channel 3, HD TiVo on 4, VMC on 5 etc. Sure you can do this now, but it requires you to run expensive cables to each TV in the house and have devices to receive the signal at each TV. Not to mention have an expensive matrix switch and remotes to control it.

The biggest problem with the Zv now is that it only accepts VGA input and works with QAM instead of ATSC.  Although many TVs have QAM tuners, the number isn’t nearly as many as those that have ATSC — it’s required by law after all. But the lack of component input and the lack of audio inputs other than USB is the real kicker. This makes the box unable to do exactly what I want it to do, but I’m sure what I’m after wont’ be far behind.

4 Responses to “Why the ZeeVee could be so cool”

  1. Utah says:

    This is great news and hopefully a starting point to what it really needs to be, and expand on the vga input. Makes you wonder if you couldn’t use a Audio Authority componet to VGA Converter (model no. 9A65) to solve that problem, to bad there is still the audio problem… But honestly i’d be happy with just stereo audio in any room I would be using this for.

  2. Kevin says:

    Just last week I was wondering why more things couldn’t use coax as an interconnect. If coax carries all of my digital channels to my house then why couldn’t it send one from my Tivo to my plasma rather than hdmi? I can make my own custom lengths and the connector will not fall out of the back of the tv. Same argument for composite, s-video, component, Toslink, XLR… I know I am oversimplifying things but it was a fun thought process. 🙂

  3. Zeevee says:

    Just to clarify that the zvBox supports ATSC as well as QAM

  4. Bob says:

    Clearly Zeevee is trying to fly under the radar of the DRM nazis that run the video industry. It’s very clever to move through an ANALOG step (VGA) and re-digitize for easy distribution! From the sound of it, the only barrier to use as a general HD Analog –> QAM modulator is the audio, drat! Hmm, maybe I should be considering a Windows Media Center PC instead of an HD TiVo. Has anyone tried ZeeVee w/WinMCE?