Sansonic FT300A DTV Converter Box - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 96 Old 03-16-2008, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Sansonic FT300A DTV Converter Box
Features:
Receiving and Presenting Audio/Video Formats Contained in ATSC A/53E
Support 4:3 and 16:9 Video Format
Process and Display ATSC A/65C Program and System
Information Protocol data
Receiving RF Channels 2 through 69 inclusive
Include a female 75 ohm F-Type Connector for VHF/UHF Antenna Input
Include a female 75 ohm F-Type Connector with User-selectable Ch3 or 4 NTCS RF Output
Composite Video and Stereo Audio Output
Full Compliant with ATSC A/74, Receiver Performance Guideline
Support Channel Display, Closed Caption, EAS and Parental
Control (V-Chip)
Full Compliant with Energy Standards
Display Antenna Level and Signal quality on the TV
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post #2 of 96 Old 03-16-2008, 01:44 PM
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will be interesting to hear from anyone who got this box and the tivax too. Both have external ac to dc power supplies which is good for cooling as well as 12v mobile application with out an inverter. Specifically want to know how sensitive this will be compared to the others.
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post #3 of 96 Old 04-03-2008, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
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It's supposed to start shippng this month, April.
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post #4 of 96 Old 04-03-2008, 05:32 AM
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SolidSignal and FreeDTVShop have this unit listed and are taking pre-orders. The FreeDTVShop has the arrival date as Friday, 4/4. These dates slip on a regular basis but the owner of FreeDTVShop keeps is as up to date as possible.
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post #5 of 96 Old 04-03-2008, 07:58 AM
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Is anyone going to order this tomorrow?

I am also wondering how this box does with its double tuner
Also as with any other box I would like to see its EPG
I would also like to see how this Displays the Antenna Level and Signal quality
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post #6 of 96 Old 04-03-2008, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterTheGeek View Post

SolidSignal and FreeDTVShop have this unit listed and are taking pre-orders. The FreeDTVShop has the arrival date as Friday, 4/4. These dates slip on a regular basis but the owner of FreeDTVShop keeps is as up to date as possible.


Sorry folks -- the date is now 4/10, but that's a hard date! The boxes were apparently held in customs for a week for some reason, which has delayed shipment.
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post #7 of 96 Old 04-03-2008, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosquito View Post

Sorry folks -- the date is now 4/10, but that's a hard date! The boxes were apparently held in customs for a week for some reason, which has delayed shipment.

John, have you seen a sample unit yet? Is it worth a hill of beans?
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post #8 of 96 Old 04-06-2008, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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it doesn't read like a bad box, who is Sansonic
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post #9 of 96 Old 04-06-2008, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagger666 View Post

... who is Sansonic

Sansonic Home
http://www.sansonic.net/

Sansonic: Consumer
http://www.sansonic.net/consumer/

About Sansonic
http://www.sansonic.net/about/

Contact Sansonic
http://www.sansonic.net/contact/

Avio
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post #10 of 96 Old 04-09-2008, 09:04 AM
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I ordered the Sansonic from FreeDTVShop yesterday. When I get it, I'll test it with both a large outdoor antenna and a rabbit ears. Hopefully the units will get through customs on time and ship soon.
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post #11 of 96 Old 04-12-2008, 01:12 PM
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FreeDTBShop cashed my coupon yesterday, so I'm assuming that means that the box has been shipped.
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post #12 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 03:08 PM
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The Sansonic arrived today and it works. My initial impression is that it seems well built (metal case), has minimal features, but outputs a great picture. I'll post more later after playing around with it more.
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post #13 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

The Sansonic arrived today and it works. My initial impression is that it seems well built (metal case), has minimal features, but outputs a great picture. I'll post more later after playing around with it more.

MikeBiker if possible please include pictures.
I would particularly like to see the EPG and the Signal meter.
Thank You.
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post #14 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 06:33 PM
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Sansonic FT-300A Initial Review:

The unit has a black metal case with large vents on top and bottom and small vents on both sides.

Only control on box is the ON switch. A red LED light illuminates when the unit is on.

The box is 7” x 5” x 1” and weights a little over 1/3 of a pound.

It uses an external 5V power supply.

Batteries (2 AAA) and an RF cable are included.

There is an error on box. The box says that RCA cables are included but they are not.

The manual is twenty two pages, but it is poorly translated and leaves out some information.

The warranty statement has no mention of how long the warranty actually is.

Auto channel select is the only method for entering channels.. No manual method of channel add or delete is available.

The Signal Strength/Signal Quality function does manually tune channels (not documented in manual). This function is well done and both the strength and quality are displayed as a bar and as a number (0 to 100). When I put a splitter in the input RF cable, the signal strength reading appeared to be about ½ of what it was before. When the signal quality was 25 or below, the display would start breaking up. I was obvious that I need an antenna pre-amplifier to get all the Denver stations as I will be using a couple of splitters before the box's RF input.

The program information only provides information on the present show/channel. It doesn't even provide information on the next show.

There are three screen mode choices: 4:3LB, 4:3PS, and 16:9.

Both the RF and composite outputs are active at all times.

Picture quality and sound seemed to be really good with the composite input selected. I do not have any other conversion boxes to compare the signal quality with, the quality is much better than I have seem with an analog input and seems to be DVD quality.

The Channel Scan button is only way to enter or exit the menu (such as it is).

The menu has four items:

RF Channel Selection (3 or 4)

Audio Mode (Stereo or Mono)

Time Zone

Auto Scan

Running the Auto Scan took about 2 ½ minutes.

Once the channels are found, they can be directly accessed by entering three numbers 302 for 30-2., or the channel +/- buttons can be used to scroll through them all. There is no method to delete any channels that were found during the auto scan.

The remote does not have any way of toggling between two channels.

Closed Caption is the standard white letters on a black background. The selections available are Service 1, Captions 1 through 4, Text 1 through 4 and Off. The manual lists Service 1 through 4, but only Service 1 shows on screen to be selected.

There are two buttons for the Parental Control (V-Chip) and most of the manual is devoted to explaining how to use them. I did not try this function out.

The remote has a mute which works, but the unit displays a mute graphic on screen the entire time the mute is on.

The remote keys are not well organized and the menu choices are very limited.

According to the manual, the remote codes are the same as a Toshiba TV or DVD. The various codes for each key are also listed in the manual. I didn't try to get one of my remotes to operate the unit.

Internal Chips:

The large controller chip is marked Ali in large letters. The marking numbers are M3601C A1 and XP40644000GA (as best as I could read them, they are very light).

The memory chip is HYS 561622ETP-5.

The tuner metal box is marked Falcon TAATM02-H01F3T and FD0807AT3.

Overall, the unit worked well in displaying the selected channel video and audio but it is very limited in features and the remote is awkward to use. The signal strength/signal quality function was really good. I would not recommend the Sansonic as a primary unit, but it would work well as a converter for a secondary TV and for signal strength functions (antenna positioning).

I will be getting another box that has the ability to manually add/delete channels and that has the ability to toggle between two stations.

(I do not have a digital camera, so I cannot include pictures. I will try to borrow one this weekend at take some photos.)
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post #15 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 06:52 PM
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Thanks, MikeBiker!

Sounds like a bit of a disappointment re EPG and adding channels. I thought it was going to be the first one using Microtune's tuner, but it sounds like there was a change?
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post #16 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 10:05 PM
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Yes, thanks for the detailed review MikeBiker!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

Auto channel select is the only method for entering channels.. No manual method of channel add or delete is available.

The Signal Strength/Signal Quality function does manually tune channels (not documented in manual).

Once the channels are found, they can be directly accessed by entering three numbers 302 for 30-2., or the channel +/- buttons can be used to scroll through them all. There is no method to delete any channels that were found during the auto scan.

I will be getting another box that has the ability to manually add/delete channels and that has the ability to toggle between two stations.

I'm a little confused, (my fault there!), so a couple of questions if you don't mind ....

If I am understanding correctly, in the poll at following thread, you would choose option #3 (Autoscans DON'T find all receivable stations, isn't a way to manually input channel info.) for the FT300A ?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post13619177

For instance, Let's say I need to "punch in" a Physical channel number, let's say in this case that is channel 30, (the actual channel # the signal from a particular station is broadcast on)for a station not found via the autoscan, then I need to look at the meter while adjusting antenna for this particular station so that I can achieve a good enough signal such that #1), I can watch the station, and or #2). so that the virtual channel mapping information is decoded(let's say in this case the Virtual channel is 45.x), and "somehow" store the virtual channel info for this station so from then on I can "tune" to 45.x to watch this station(assuming antenna is adjusted properly for it), ...

Are you saying(as I think you are) none of that can be done on this box and perhaps that the manual tuning with the signal meter up only work for stations that are already "scanned in?"

Or instead, are you saying that I can do #1 but not #2 (or can do both) with use of the undocumented manual tuning function with the signal meter ?

Also -- Does each "autoscan" wipe out everything found on the previous autoscan, or is there autoscan option available which will "add" channels(such as any found with a different antenna orientation or adjustment), rather than wipe out everything you scanned in on a previous autoscan ?

Thanks!

Jeff
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post #17 of 96 Old 04-16-2008, 10:59 PM
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I already have an email in to SanSonic about the differences between these two models and the RT release date.

I will post upon receipt.

The MicroTune Tuner was how I noticed this model...

Falcon Digital (FalconDGT.com)Designs and
manufactures that Sansonic brand box set btw.

Tuner = Microtune MT2131 MicroTuner high-performance tuner IC
Decoder = Auvitek AU8515 ATSC demodulation and channel-decoding IC
Main Chip = ???

James Clerk Maxwell spins in his grave,
not along his long axis,
but head over heel
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Doppler Effect: Effect of stupid ideas appearing smarter when they come at you rapidly!
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post #18 of 96 Old 04-17-2008, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitewatchman View Post


If I am understanding correctly, in the poll at following thread, you would choose option #3 (Autoscans DON'T find all receivable stations, isn't a way to manually input channel info.) for the FT300A ?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...7#post13619177

For instance, Let's say I need to "punch in" a Physical channel number, let's say in this case that is channel 30, (the actual channel # the signal from a particular station is broadcast on)for a station not found via the autoscan, then I need to look at the meter while adjusting antenna for this particular station so that I can achieve a good enough signal such that #1), I can watch the station, and or #2). so that the virtual channel mapping information is decoded(let's say in this case the Virtual channel is 45.x), and "somehow" store the virtual channel info for this station so from then on I can "tune" to 45.x to watch this station(assuming antenna is adjusted properly for it), ...

Are you saying(as I think you are) none of that can be done on this box and perhaps that the manual tuning with the signal meter up only work for stations that are already "scanned in?"

Or instead, are you saying that I can do #1 but not #2 (or can do both) with use of the undocumented manual tuning function with the signal meter ?

Also -- Does each "autoscan" wipe out everything found on the previous autoscan, or is there autoscan option available which will "add" channels(such as any found with a different antenna orientation or adjustment), rather than wipe out everything you scanned in on a previous autoscan ?

Thanks!

You can use the signal strength meter to manually go to a physical channel. This will allow you to adjust the antenna for best signal strength. You would then have to do the auto scan to see if the signal is strong enough for the box to detect it and include it with the other channels that it found on that scan. The previous autoscan stations would be gone. That, of course, would cause a problem for those who use a movable antenna. I did find two station signals that showed less that 10% signal strength but zero signal quality. These were obviously not acquired by the auto scan, but would be suitable to use to adjust the antenna to attempt to get some signal quality and then rerun the autoscan. My antenna is not presently pointing at the antenna location that those two stations are using. Those stations transmitters are going to soon (hopefully, by next week) move to the location that my antenna is (mostly) pointing toward.

This is not a particular concern to me as I will use the signal meter to adjust my ,normally, fixed antenna to get the best strength on the channels I am interested in. My problem is that there is no way to delete an acquired channel. I now have station data acquired for stations that I will never watch. When I flip through the channel selections to see what is on each station, I have to go through the unwatched channels.

The autoscan did acquire all stations that showed any signal quality at all. I have no way of knowing what the unit would do if I manually entered a channel number of an unacquired channel that now has a valid signal. When I manually enter a channel number for an unacquired channel, I get the error message "No Channel".

The signal meter provides the actual physical channel data and by using the channel increment or decrement buttons, I can step thorough all physical channels and see what their signal strengths and signal quality readings are. The channel number buttons do not work when the antenna signal function is selected, so you cannot go directly to a physical channel, but rather, you must use the increment/decrement button to get to the channel of interest.

The autoscan did find all the stations that I expected it too based upon the TVFool data for my location and one station that I did not expect.
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post #19 of 96 Old 04-17-2008, 01:30 PM
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Thanks again for explaining that MikeBiker. I was mainly interested in the performance of the unit, reception wise(involving the microtune double conversion tuner mainly) , but those issues regarding not being able to manually "add" channels not found via autoscan with antenna adjusted differently/etc, or potentially not being able to directly tune to physical channel # for channels not found via autoscan and decode the video/audio streams means I wouldn't even consider this box, anyway. Note - I already used my two coupons on the Zenith DTT900's, but at some point I may also need or want at least one more converter box I'll have to pay full price for.

Update:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

I have no way of knowing what the unit would do if I manually entered a channel number of an unacquired channel that now has a valid signal.

FWIW, If you want to test that, I assume you could disconnect antenna, run autoscan (wiping everything out). Then Reconnect antenna(don't autoscan), tune to physical channel # for one of your local signals a autoscan would find, and see what happens ...

Jeff
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post #20 of 96 Old 04-17-2008, 02:46 PM
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FT300RT has the Dual Conversion IC Tuner, the FT300A is different.
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post #21 of 96 Old 04-17-2008, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by satpro View Post

FT300RT has the Dual Conversion IC Tuner, the FT300A is different.

Interesting. Can you provide some sort of source or reference/etc. for that information ?

As at following link, one of among many available refrerences on this issue it says :

http://www.auvitek.com/News.html#15

Quote:
Originally Posted by press release at link above View Post

.... Based on Microtune's MicroTuner(TM) MT2131 high-performance tuner chip and Auvitek's AU8515 ATSC demodulation and channel-decoding IC, the manufacturing-ready system solution has been implemented in two Sansonic DTV converter boxes (models FT-300A and FT-300RT) that have achieved certification from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Same info here as well :

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/tic...31&Symbol=TUNE

And in the "product spotlight" box near middle of page here :

http://www.microtune.com/

MT2131 info/specs here :

http://www.microtune.com/products/pdf/mt2131_11.pdf

Jeff
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post #22 of 96 Old 04-19-2008, 09:42 AM
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I have followed this thread on the Sansonic since I learned that it is supposed to have the Microtune double conversion receiver.

Having had an old Hallicrafters SX-100 shortwave receiver back in the 60's I am well aware of the advantages of double conversion. It did a great job of knocking out image frequencies comparred to 455khz single conversion units. As I recall it had 1610 and 50 khz IF's.

I received my coupons yesterday and went to this thread . I see there is some discussion on the FT-300A and FT-300RT. After doing some searching I found this website selling the FT300RT but they don't give very many details.
http://www.summitsource.com/product_...oducts_id=6773

As soon as I can figure out the differances of the A vs RT units I intend to purchase one.
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post #23 of 96 Old 04-19-2008, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

The Signal Strength/Signal Quality function does manually tune channels (not documented in manual). This function is well done and both the strength and quality are displayed as a bar and as a number (0 to 100). When I put a splitter in the input RF cable, the signal strength reading appeared to be about ½ of what it was before. When the signal quality was 25 or below, the display would start breaking up. I was obvious that I need an antenna pre-amplifier to get all the Denver stations as I will be using a couple of splitters before the box's RF input..............Overall, the unit worked well in displaying the selected channel video and audio but it is very limited in features and the remote is awkward to use. The signal strength/signal quality function was really good. I would not recommend the Sansonic as a primary unit, but it would work well as a converter for a secondary TV and for signal strength functions (antenna positioning).

From your description, the Sansonic might actually have better weak-signal reception performance than the LG (Zenith/Insignia) CECBs. The LG's signal-strength meter is less detailed, and certainly you don't get ANY picture when signal strength appears to be below roughly 40%.

We all will be VERY eager to see a head-to-head performance comparison between the LG and Sansonic CECBs!
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post #24 of 96 Old 04-20-2008, 06:27 AM
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Update on my evaluation of the Sansonic FT300A.

I have found out how to manually add a channel to the automatically generated channels. You have to be in the antenna level operation (signal meters) and use the CH+ and CH_ buttons to scroll through the channels. If you find a channel with enough signal strength to show a picture, push OK button and exit the antenna level function. The new channel will have been added to the list. Press OK to see the list.
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post #25 of 96 Old 04-20-2008, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for the update on that Mike Biker. Personally, I've yet to run into a receiver that doesn't have some way to manually add channels, although it's not allways described(or described properly) in the user manual/etc.

But I have seen reports regarding some receivers where folks have said there isn't a way to do it on that particular model of receiver, hence why I asked about this one because of my interest in it, and because this sort of info usually isn't detailed in the manufactuer's provided specs/etc, and I don't think it is specified in A74 or the CECB requirements, either.

Can't say I like that way of doing it, though, which sounds almost identical to Zenith DTT900's "Manual tuning" function -- Except it is accessed via a "Manual Tuning" menu option, where you "up/down" button through the RF channel numbers and a signal quality meter is provided. It does not allow you to directly access a particular channel number via 0-9 buttons on remote. The signal meter on it is also accesable at any time via a "signal" button on remote, but without the rest of "manual tuning" option.

It's probably undocumented, but the Zenith DTT900 will also, however allow you to "tune" directly to a physical channel # at any time by "punching in" the major number and a minor channel # ... That is a feature on it (and something similar via other receivers I use such as ZenithHDV420 HD receiver) I already have often used while "dx'ing", and personally I would prefer it if all receivers supported this ..... And, if for instance, you have a virtual channel # already stored in memory that corresponds to the actual physical channel # you are tuned to, on the DTT900, for anything I've tried so far you can "get around this" by punching in a minor Channel # that's different from any that are stored ...

For instance, WPTO-DT 28 (maps to 14.2~14.6) is one of my local stations. But occasionally, I can receive WCMH-DT 14 (maps to 4.x) As well. Since WPTO isn't using "14.1" or "14.7", I can aim antenna at WCMH and punch in either "14.1 or 14.7" and it will decode WCMH-DT and display the mapped channel # (4.x) ... However, in order to get WCMH into channel memory so I can "surf" through their channels on future occasions, I'd need to either run autoscan(auto tuning or EZ add), or use the Manual tuning option(adding RF channel 14) ... I think I'd tested the "channel edit" function with this, but If I recall correctly(may not be) I don't think any channels show up there(even one's you are tuned to) unless they are already "scanned in" via autoscan or the manual tuning function - when they are there, they show up by the virtual channel #'s, then for any specific subchannel, you can delete them or mark them as "favorite", or mark them as "added" (so they show up while your "channel surfing" .....)

Jeff
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post #26 of 96 Old 04-22-2008, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeBiker View Post

I do not have a digital camera, so I cannot include pictures. I will try to borrow one this weekend and take some photos.

MikeBiker did you ever get to borrow a camera?
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post #27 of 96 Old 04-22-2008, 06:11 PM
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No, I got busy and totally forgot.
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post #28 of 96 Old 04-22-2008, 10:01 PM
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post #29 of 96 Old 04-23-2008, 08:12 AM
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Malouff,

With just the name change, that is the manual.

The only EPG that I can find is the display shown in page 11 of the manual as paragraph 6-2 Channel Information.
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post #30 of 96 Old 04-23-2008, 10:16 AM
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MikeBiker you mean this image?


This is just Channel Information/Program Information

Models like the Zenith show both this Program Information

They also show the Electronic program guide (EPG)


Most boxes have a dedicated button to show the EPG
I see however that the Sansonic only has a info button.

The RCA DTA800B also only has a info button and its
What's on Now/What's on Next EPG is in accessed only through the Menu


Does the Sansonic have a EPG that is accessible through the Menu also or just the Channel Information/Program Information?
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