First, as I have mentioned multiple times (whether you are concerned or not) I have compared these units on the same evening using the exact same TV, antenna and cables and was NOT able to see any difference concerning missing or "cropped" scan lines on the DS. I'm not sure how many of the rest of you can say you've done that, but it's one thing to read what other people have read about what other people have read about certain models and actually testing them for yourself with your own two eyes and ears. (BTW, the aspect ratio is only distorted in the "14:9" video mode, which you never HAVE to use.)
Second, does it really matter if a certain unit came out before a different unit with respect to which one is better (or better rated anyway)? If anything the latter unit stands a better chance of having overcome the faults/shortcomings of the first-to-be-released unit.
Third, you CAN manually enter channels into the Digital Stream DTX-9900.
Fourth, all that these boxes are doing is lengthing the useful life of analog TVs and analog VCRs/DVD-Rs, etc. If reducing the number of "cropped scan lines" is so important then perhaps buying a true HDTV would be a more appropriate course of action.