There's a couple of really big reasons why the cheap CECB's exist.
#1 The FCC said such inexpensive converter boxes had to exist so us proles could continue to get our prolefeed.
Y'know, like "American Idle" and soap operas.
#2 Great heaping gobs of "government money". The $40 from each of those coupons gets split between the retailer and the manufacturer, plus there's money above the $40 for CECB's with a price higher than $40.
The transcripts of the meetings and the manufacturers' input while the CECB specs were being hashed out is interesting reading. IIRC the FCC wanted to make some more advanced features *optional* but Funai convinced them to specifically prohibit them. Fortunately some manufacturers insisted on being allowed the option of S-Video, though few chose to include it.
They even got as nit-picky as discussing whether or not batteries for the remote had to be included.
The bit about requiring auto power off/sleep and having it enabled being the default is in there, so is mandating the option to disable that "feature".
I'm from the BRS school of power control. On is ON and Off is effing OFF.
BRS = Big Red Switch, like the giant toggle on the IBM PC/XT power supply.