Are there TV RF modulators which output digital/HD on channel 3?

RF modulators are used to take composite video/audio and convert it to channel 3/4 on a coax so the video can be shown on a TV without composite ports. Are there any that will output a digital or HD signal? I have tried a couple, but it seems like they lower the resolution as if for an analog TV.

In my case, I have a DVD player which I want to go to the TV port on the back of my HD TV. I want an RF modulator which will output at at least the same resolution as if I was viewing the signal directly from the composite ports. The modulators I have output a smaller image and it’s a bit grainier. I’m not sure if it’s because I have crappy modulators or if they all work that way.

I am not sure there are any RF modulators that handle HD - maybe, but my experience is with the analog ones, which were always the very last choice in ways to get a signal to a TV. (They were also the only way, in the pre-video input days, kids.)

Unless your DVD player is ancient, it should have video output. Coupling that to your TV’s video inputs will provide the best possible signal you can get from it. If you’re fortunate enough to have component video connectors you can go one better. But nothing is going to get an HDTV/HDMI quality signal from a DVD player to a TV except component video or HDMI.

Can you explain the gear and situation a little better?

By definition - if it’s outputting it on channel 3/4 (not sure the numbering system for digital vs, but if you have a digital tv - you shouldn’t need to do this) - it’s going to be an analog signal - the same as you’d get over the air.

That is the best possible signal you’d get - it’s producing an NTSC radio wave. I’ve never seen one that does hdmi or related video.

I think the home models all work that way. The setup it sounds like you want will transform a digital signal into analog. That will cause a loss of picture quality by itself. In addition, the analog signal is set for a 525-line TV, further degrading the signal.

Now if you’re willing to go to studio quality, there are models that seem to do what you want. But they’re expensive, like in the multi-hundreds of dollars range. You’d be better off getting another TV.

FWIW - here’s a list of common display resolutions:

You’ll see that NTSC is ~ 440x486 and 1080p/I is 1920x1080

So you get almost 10x as much pixels at 1080p/i - there is simply no way to force that into an NTSC device (using and NTSC signal) and get more than that.

How do both cable and antenna deliver digital/HD signals over coax? That is, I can take the cable coax or the antenna coax, hook it up to the TV, and have HD on channel 3. I’m hoping there’s some device which can do something similar to deliver composite in a higher-resolution image similar to the signal from cable or antenna.

My TV’s have all the ports in use except for the TV input. I would use the native ports if possible, but there are none available. If I can get a good signal through the TV port, that would meet my needs.

What you’d need is an ATSC RF modulator. ATSC is the digital HD standard.

They do exist, but unfortunately the prices are not fun. Here’s one for the low-low price of $800, and that seems to be about the lowest they go for:

Because those are coming in on an HD RF port, and the TV is built to demodulate the cable/antenna signal down into digital HD.

Unless your DVD player is very new or very odd, it outputs old-style analog channel information, which newer TVs simply won’t pick up. You have to get the info out of it some way the TV understands. Any attempt to take the RF output of the DVD player and feed it to the newer TV is going to need a converter of some kind and be limited to old 525i standard - which is dismal by even “SD” (480p) standards.

Your only real working option is to go video out to video in, or component out to component in, or (sounds like your DVD player doesn’t have it) HDMI-HDMI. There’s no good way to go antenna/RF to any modern input.

Would an HDMI switch solve your problem?

Fosmon HD1831 3-Port HDMI Switch with Pigtail Cable

Unless I’m misunderstanding your issue it seems you have used all your existing inputs. Two, or more, inputs to the switch and select which one goes to the TV.

because the cable company is using different modulation (QAM, most likely) and the TV is able to receive and decode the QAM signal which is present on “channel 3.” I put that in quotes because many (most?) digital cable channels are virtual; the channel numbers you see aren’t real. the “Channel 3” you see displayed on the guide might be “stream 20.760” to the cable company.

when you get these boxes that take in a signal then output it on “channel 3” they are taking a video signal, converting it to analog NTSC, then using it to modulate a 61.25 MHz carrier (which was the carrier frequency for channel 3 of the old US broadcast system.)

the only way you can do that is to use an antenna to pick up broadcast ATSC (digital TV) or “Clear QAM” (unencrypted cable) signals. I’m not aware of any external converters which will take in an HD signal and spit out an ATSC or Clear QAM signal; they all convert it to NTSC and spit out a modulated analog signal.

The cost of those devices is surprising. I suppose it’s because it’s mostly used for commercial applications and there’s not much consumer demand to drive down prices. I’ll probably end up getting one of the devices which can input multiple component streams and allow you to switch which one is output.

I’m still very unclear on what you want to accomplish, here. Can you give us a clearer description of your setup and what you want to do with it?

I just have more devices than available ports into the TV. Between the consoles, roku, tivo, and dvd players, there’s not enough input ports on the TV for each one to have a dedicated input. However, one port I’m not using on the TV is the coax TV input. I was hoping to find a good solution to convert the component/composite output from a device into that unused TV port. Unfortunately, the analog RF modulators are just okay. They work as designed, but the image isn’t as good as the original.

So what I’ll probably end up doing is getting a component switcher. They have several input ports and one output port. I’ll hook that to the TV and then use that switcher to select which device is output.

That one’s for composite video. Doesn’t your DVD player have hdmi output?

For the same price as a modulator, you can probably get an amp that accepts multiple HDMI input and transfers it out - with the bonus that it also allows you to hook bigger, more powerful speakers to the system, to get the neighbour complaining.

The first one I looked at on the Best Buy website - 5 HDMI inputs, 2 analog (Red-White-Yellow); use the amp to select the input. This one even does 4K and 3D passthru, so you’re ready for the future.

The only downside is a more complex remote control setup.

HDMI switches are cheap and effective.

Use mine every day. What I don’t understand is the paucity of HDMI inputs on most new Televisions…I know it adds some cost, but it’s well worth it. My gorgeous samsung 60inch has 2 inputs and I need four…I guess it’s partly due to the eventuality of streaming everything

Or maybe it’s because many home setups now have the separate Amplifier unit setup I mention above. (both my TVs do). The amp handles sound and HDMI switching, 5.1 or 7.1 decoding of audio, etc. Only one HDMI needs to connect to the TV.

The number of inputs a TV has, these days, depends more on the “sub model” than the model. The plethora of inputs and switching is the second thing stripped out of lower-end models.

That is, I’ve discovered each time I went TV shopping that the magazine-cover, blog-review darling with the ultra screen qualities, enough inputs to connect the western world, extra filters and “pro” video adjustments, etc. so forth and on and on… has siblings. Cheaper ones. They lack the pro settings. They use lower-grade “glass” (for plasmas) or DLP chips. And they often have some minimum number of inputs.

If you are out to buy, say, the Samsung 6040 mega-monster review champ, don’t get excited because you find it at Best Buy or Sam’s or Costco for a thousand less. It’s NOT the same model. It’s the 6040LE, when what you really want is the 6040S or -X or something. This has become legion in middle- to upper- models.

Most truly top-of-the-line sets still have 4 HDMI or more, along with a couple of component, a video and a PC input. And more audio inputs and better setup options. And “pro” adjustments.

Don’t get fooled by the base number, the great price or blithering marketing copy. Look at the specs and KNOW what you’re buying.

(If you use a modern media amp with lots of switching… yes, you can get by with minimum TV inputs and are probably better off doing so. But if you expect to plug 4-6 devices directly into the screen, like the OP, be sure you bought that capability.)

Wow, I just looked and you are right. 2 seems pretty standard now. Maybe it is the amp reason stated below, but do many people have them, it seems like the sound bar is more common and that’s just a standard RCA audio hookup.