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Using FIOS for non-HD Digital TV

Using FIOS for non-HD Digital TV

Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-21-2009
Message 1 of 3

We just had Fios TV service installed.  We have a digital TV, a nice Sony, but it is not HD, so I ordered the standard definition Set-top box.  When the technician was here, I asked him if he thought we would get a better picture if I ordered the HD STB.  He said he did not think the HD box would work with my TV, so I dropped the subject.  But once I saw the Fios picture, I was somewhat disappointed.  It did not look as bright and sharp as over-the-air through my TV's digital tuner. Also, the picture was in fullscreen mode, never in the letterbox mode that you often see when watching Tv over-the-air.  (The technician hooked up the STB to my Tv with an RF antenna connection, which surprised me.  After he left, I switched it to the S-Video connection, to get the best picture we could.)

I read the user manual for the two set-top boxes, on the VZ wire site.  It looks to me as if the HD STB can be set to 480i resolution, which is standard definition.  My TV has component inputs for 480i, and the HD STB has component video outputs.  So that is why I thought I could use the HD STB even though the VZ literature says you must have an HD TV to use the HD service.

So (1) am I correct that the HD STB can work with my TV, at 480i?

and (2) if I did get the HD STB, would the picture in fact be noticeably better with the 480i output on the component connections than via the S-video cord I am now using?  Or not.

Anyone else do this before? 


Platinum Contributor III Platinum Contributor III
Platinum Contributor III
Posts: 5,175
Registered: ‎08-05-2008
Message 2 of 3

The short answer is yes you can. And yes, the picture MAY be better, no real way to tell for sure except by trying it, but I think you will see an improvement.


When I first got FiOS TV 4 years ago I got the 6416 HD DVR but had an older SD TV, so the tech set it up to work with that TV (480i). Worked just fine, and I could see the HD channels too, of course not really in HD but letter-boxed, with a significantly better picture than the SD channels. So that convinced me to go out after 3 weeks or so and splurge on an HD TV.


You really should be able to get excellent pictures on your SD TV using the SD STB. I have no idea what it could be, but I think you have a problem somewhere, maybe a bad cable, a loose connection somewhere between the ONT and the TV, or a bad splitter.


Hope this helps.


Verizon FiOS TV, Internet, and phone
QIP6416, IMG 1.7, Build 09.82
Keller, TX 76248

Silver Contributor V
Silver Contributor V
Posts: 668
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
Message 3 of 3


The  answer is that it depends upon how you plan to connect the TV, and how good the video electronic in the TV are..


Your TV has 480i component input available. It certainly can provide a much better picture. I have my HD-DVR connected to an SD TV that has a 480i input. Can I see the difference between an SD and HD channel? No question about it. Why your tech didn't offer to hook it up that way is beyond me.


I will point out that the default component output on the HD boxes is 1080p, so you need to make sure you set the HD STB to 480i output. That should work from the front panel of the HD box, on the DVR boxes, it is actually available from the on-screen menu( and may also be from the HD STB, but since I only have an HD DVR, I don't know for sure), but you need to be able to display the on-screen menu, so don't disconnect you S-Video cable until you are sure the output has been set to 480i.


Here is how it breaks down:


With over the air (via tuner on ch3/4), you will get somewhere between 260 and 330 line resolution, depending upon how good (or bad) the comb filter , video source and tuner are. OF the available choices (4), this is the one with the worst picture.

Too many steps in generating the picture, converting it to NTSC, modulating the carrier, tuning the signal, coupled with channel bandwidth restrictions to limit the picture quality.



Composite video can provide up to 330 lines if the comb filter (and source) is good enough. Without the comb filter, about 260 lines. With high end TV's you tend to get comb filters that can get pretty close to 330 line. No modulation of demodulation of a carrier involved. Fewer steps better picture


S-Video input can provide up to 400 line resolution, depending upon the quality of the source, and how good the video electronics are in TV. (in S-Video mode the comb filter isn't involved, the Chromiance and Luminance signals are already split out at the S-Video source (in fact they may never have been combined in the first place). Fewer steps still...


480i provides 480 line resolution.


Is it as a good as 720p or 1080i? No


However on an SD STB the best you can hope for is 400line via S-Video, and of course none of the HD only channels are available on the SD STB.


With an HD STB, you can expect to get 480 lines, which beats 260-400 everytime.

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