Will this cable box rescue my project?


Old 12-02-14, 09:41 PM
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Will this cable box rescue my project?

My eyeglass prescription is complex, and the only place on earth I don't need
eyeglasses is my bedroom. Years ago I purchased an industrial mobile cart
and mounted a small Philips/Magnavox (CRT style) TV.

A mobile cart meant I could actually watch TV in bed without eyeglasses. For
me, this was a minor miracle! The TV was a high end model. Color and picture
clarity was really good. The audio is monaural, but external speakers vastly
improved sound quality. I have two HDTV flat-screens in other rooms, but
junking this old CRT model was a difficult decision.

About two months ago I went into my shop and built a furniture grade cart/cabinet
with built-in external speakers. The top can be adjusted to any viewing angle.
Unfortunately, I did make a significant error during construction. I added a
compartment for a Comcast DTA or Digital Transport Adapter. Essentially, it's a
mini cable box with RF-IN and OUT ports. The DTA was more than adequate with
my old TV, but it's a complete disaster with the 22" LG HDTV I just purchased!

Most full feature cable boxes are too large for my cart. You can see the shelf
dimensions in the attached image. This web page lists all the Comcast HDTV

Cable Box User Manuals

Motorola DCX3200 is 10.5 x 10.5 x 3 inches. Here is a good description of this

Motorola DCX3200 Review | Tech Tips and Toys

If I removed the DTA compartment and added an acrylic shelf divider there should
be more than enough room for the Motorola box. DCX3200 has HDMI-OUT and
AUDIO-OUT ports. I really need those L & R AUDIO-OUT phono jacks because
my new TV (LG 22LB4510) does not have a simple 3.5mm (1/8") jack for external
speakers. I could add a jack, but that would void the warranty.

Before I checked Comcast's list of cable boxes, I thought about adding a second
box mounted behind the TV that might work with a DTA. For example, I could
buy an HDMI Audio Converter so I can plug-in external speakers. The problem
is you lose volume control with the remote. DCX3200 may be the best solution.
Do you agree?

The review for DCX3200 warns that this box might overheat. It does not have an
internal cooling fan. If I cut ventilation slots into the acrylic shelf divider, will that
prevent the box from running too hot? Adding an external USB powered fan is
recommended if needed, but there isn't enough shelf space for the box and fan.
I'd have to cut a hole to mount the fan.

Guys, I'm really motivated to resolve these problems. I don't want to donate my
newly constructed cart to Goodwill!
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Old 12-02-14, 10:04 PM
PJmax's Avatar
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I'm not sure why that block convertor (DTA) is not compatible with your TV. I have many customers that use them on HDTV sets via the coax input jack. You do need to make sure your TV is set to cable channels for proper programming.

I really need those L & R AUDIO-OUT phono jacks because my new TV (LG 22LB4510) does not have a simple 3.5mm (1/8") jack for external speakers.
The audio out jacks on the cable box are line level output and would require an amplifier to drive speakers.

Cable boxes only have line level audio output jacks.
Old 12-03-14, 03:58 PM
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Thank you for replying, PJmax.

When I said the DTA is a "disaster" I didn't mean that it failed to deliver a signal
to my new LG flat-screen. It works like it should, but modern digital TVs are
optimized for HDMI. I can play with the TVs menu options for hours, but the
results will always be mediocre without a cable box that supports High-Definition
Multimedia Interface.

I must use a box that outputs HDMI to optimize the picture quality and the sound
from the internal speakers. I connected LG 22LB4510 to one of the cable boxes
used with my larger HDTVs. The results were 1080p resolution and improved

Yes, I am very aware that audio from a cable box is line level. I have several
pairs of compact speakers with seperate subwoofer/amplifiers. They are used
with computers, TVs, etc. I have an old set made by Altec Lansing. If I turned
the volume to maximum they would probably shake the table I'm sitting at right

I was hoping someone would tell me which cable box to ask for when I visit my
local Comcast office. It's really a large warehouse where they keep tons of

The cart/cabinet I built is a piece of high end furniture. I used expensive wood
and it's stained to match the furniture in my bedroom. There is a hidden mechanism
inside the cabinet that adjusts the TV to any comfortable viewing angle.

I still cannot believe I designed this cart without a proper shelf for a full feature
cable box. You cannot imagine how bad I feel about this screw up.

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