CECB roundup for the lazy and impatient - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 04-03-2008, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems that of all the CECBs listed in the coupon letter, only a small subset are actually available now and before the coupons expire. Here is my rundown:

#1. Zenith DTT900 - Seems to be the most prevalent box. Available at Radio Shack & Circuit City. Good performance, good remote, overall good reviews on this forum. Audio issue seems to be the only downside. Along with #2, this unit is probably the best box to buy with your coupon.

#2. Insignia NS-DXA1 - Identical clone of the Zenith DTT900, sold at Best Buy.

#3. Digital Stream DTX9900 - Available at some Radio Shack's. Supposedly has a better/farther out EPG. Remote looks a little nicer than the Zenith.

#4 RCA DTA 800A & DTA 800B - Available at Walmart. I haven't researched these units much, but from the forum, I would say the consensus is generally 'OK'.

#5 Magnavox TB100MW9 - Also available at Walmart. Not very favorable reviews. Made by Funai. Said to have very poor cooling and thus not expected to live long. Also has the same god-awful remote as almost every cheap Funai TV & VCR.

The above boxes seem to be the only choice if running out and purchasing a box with a coupon right now is desired (no Fry's where I live, BTW). Also note that these boxes lack the more desirable features allowed in a CECB, such as s-video, Analog Pass-thru, full EPG, etc.


All the rest: A few standouts, but many that seem to be vapor-ware. Many of the manufacturer's websites have "Under construction" [Access HD] or "We'll be shipping REAL SOON" messages [MaxMedia]. Must resort to buying these online from some potentially dodgy sites. Ability to use coupon is questionable. Some/many of the these boxes supposedly won't be available until summer, when the coupons are expired (Which dosen't make a lot of sense, considering the time and money spent to be CECB certified).

One potential standout from this lot: Channel Master CM-7000. Barely made it onto the CECB list. Has s-video. Possibly digital audio hackable, etc. Available from solidsignal.com. Downside is limited availably, and a recently hiked price.


So which CECB will you be buying with your coupons? Is there or will there be a CECB that has "everything" (good performace, good remote, s-video, analog, pass, EPG, etc) that mere mortals can actually get there hands on? Thanks for your input.
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post #2 of 98 Old 04-03-2008, 06:24 PM
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With my first coupon I got a RCA DTA800 and I'm pleased with the results so far. It picks up 19 stations in my area (64138) over my ariel while three others were no shows (KMBC 1 and 2, KMCI), The menus and EPG look clean and are easy to read and really I can't complain except for my missing channels and a feature limited remote. For my second coupon I probably go with the Insigina or the Echostar because of the good reviews and the favorable hype surrounding them.
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post #3 of 98 Old 04-03-2008, 07:24 PM
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I'm looking for Analog Pass Through. My coupons expire 5/23 before the TR-40 or MaxMedia may enter the marketplace. I expect I may use my own cash to purchase the TR-40. I would hope to read user comments if the MaxMedia ever materializes.

I see that there will be Zenith, Insignia and RCA variants with Analog Pass Through. These may be worth considering but I would assume that retail outlets may hold these back until the non-pass through models have been sold.

I also see several upcoming Digital Stream models with Analog Pass Through. Again this may be an inventory rotation problem.

I will not consider models with poor ventilation. Heat is a killer for electronic products. I know, I used to have a Dell Dimension 4700. I likened that Dell to the explosive Ford Pinto and GM pickups with the side saddle gas tanks. I made sure the FCV P71s I drove had the gas tank modifications/recall kits installed. No sense looking for trouble.

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post #4 of 98 Old 04-03-2008, 08:05 PM
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I'm getting at least one CM-7000 because it has S-video. I don't care about analog pass-through, there's no analog that I care about in my area after Feb 2009.

Since I only have one S-video TV, I'll probably get a cheaper second box.

I'm still waiting for my coupons.
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post #5 of 98 Old 04-03-2008, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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On the subject of analog pass-thru: Besides low power analog stations that will exist beyond the transition, it is also very useful to those of us who run in-house UHF modulators (which I am sure many on this forum do) for sending video from security cameras, DBS, DVD, Tivo, etc. to multiple rooms. Without analog pass-thru, an A-B switch or splitter would have used to get signal to the CECB and to the TV's tuner for the analog channels. I would like to avoid that if possible. And from what I have read, it looks like ATSC modulators for home use are a long way away, if they ever do become available (or affordable).
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post #6 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 06:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n4yqt View Post

ATSC and QAM modulators are available but they are very expensive. They are used at CATV/MATV and CCTV security systems. You would also need a Mpeg encoder, a MUX, combiners, etc. EXPENSIVE!

Last year, someone who develops and maintains MATV systems for hotels in Las Vegas said that it would cost him $16,000 per channel to do this using hardware that was about to become available, but about $25,000 per channel with hardware that was actually available at the time, but even then, he would also have to get a program provider to authorize a commercial satellite receiver (Motorola, Scientific Atlanta) that puts out an unencrypted data stream for his use in that application. Given the scale and pricing of Vegas Hotels, he would surely be the first among us to be able to justufy the cost of RF channelized distribution of in-house HDTV, so I was hopeful that he would continue to post hee and keep us apprised, but he stopped posting.

Leaving aside HDTV, do you know what hardware is presently available to channelize the output of a digital camera (which I believe is called ASI), such that it can be identified by a consumer television and thereby tuned?
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post #7 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 06:45 AM
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Back on topic...

The Zenith is also available at Fry's when it's not sold out.

I can't believe you left off the Philco TB100HH9. I'm sure there are a few that resell that where you live.

The nice thing about the Philco is that it is $40 locally here in Austin at area HEB's. Not everyone wants to spend an extra $20 on the Insignia/Zenith products.
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post #8 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike`L View Post

On the subject of analog pass-thru: Besides low power analog stations that will exist beyond the transition, it is also very useful to those of us who run in-house UHF modulators (which I am sure many on this forum do) for sending video from security cameras, DBS, DVD, Tivo, etc. to multiple rooms. Without analog pass-thru, an A-B switch or splitter would have used to get signal to the CECB and to the TV's tuner for the analog channels. I would like to avoid that if possible. And from what I have read, it looks like ATSC modulators for home use are a long way away, if they ever do become available (or affordable).

Bingo !

And this is why a number of US are looking for analog pass through (use of UHF modulators). It's the same idea as being able to get the LPTV stations. Myself - I use a ChannelPlus MRDDS with 2 UHF modulators, I use this to distribute DBS and my OTA signals.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...

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post #9 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Any suggestions on actual stores that would stock the philco? The analog pass-thru feature on it does not sound promising according to this thread:

www#wtfda#org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=116&Itemid=43[

"Then there's that RF pass-through that drew me to the Philco - almost useless. I was expecting that this meant that the RF would pass-through simply by turning the box off. No, the box has to be ON for the pass-through to work. You access it by going through several steps in the menus, and then the insertion loss is considerable. It is useful if I use video and audio cables for DTV, and the RF output for the pass-through, but I don't think the general public would go to this effort."

Hopefully this is not how analog pass-thru will work on all the other boxes.
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post #10 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike`L View Post

It seems that of all the CECBs listed in the coupon letter, only a small subset are actually available now and before the coupons expire. Here is my rundown: ....

Welcome to AVS & thanks. Hopefully this thread will stay on focus for a quick rundown.

Here are additional available units:
Tivax STB-T9 Set Top Box $49.99 http://www.consumerelecgroup.com/pro...p?prod=DTV-TVX - approx $30 shipped for two after the coupons (thanks tzank). Here is a thread on this unit to start (may not be the "official" or most comprehensive): http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1007580

Artec T3A $43.99 http://dtv.bsat.net/pc-17-2-artec-t3...ertor-box.aspx - approx $20 shipped for two after coupons. Here is a thread (thanks tzank) on this unit to start (may not be the "official" or most comprehensive): http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1013420
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post #11 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allargon View Post

Back on topic...

The Zenith is also available at Fry's when it's not sold out.

I could not find Frys on the NTIA certified retailer list. Are they taking CECB cards in your area? I know somebody managed to use their card, but I thought maybe that was employee error, or in the case of Frys, supervisor error.
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post #12 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 12:18 PM
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Finally a thread that kind of "sums up" all of these boxes. My coupons are in the mail, so hopefully I'll receive them in a few weeks. The only boxes I've seen available locally to me are the magnavox, rca, insignia, digital stream, and Zenith models.

Which one of these has the best programming guide and how long does it go out (two hours, 4 hours, etc.)?
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post #13 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dish-hog13 View Post

Which one of these has the best programming guide and how long does it go out (two hours, 4 hours, etc.)?

Check here [for at least the hours]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CECB_units
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post #14 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dish-hog13 View Post

The only boxes I've seen available locally to me are the magnavox, rca, insignia, digital stream, and Zenith models.

Which one of these has the best programming guide and how long does it go out (two hours, 4 hours, etc.)?


Of the boxes mentioned only the Digital Stream DTX9900 seems to have a 8 hour EPG, all the rest have only now/next. If you can find a Channel Master CM-7000 at Fry's (which is not near me) or online at solidsignal.com, it purports to have a 12hr EPG.
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post #15 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 02:41 PM
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TalkingRat,

If you're interested in the Channel Master watch the Frys ads for it to be priced around $60. They have advertised that price at least twice in the last few weeks, once before and once after the box qualified for the coupon discount. Their regular price for the Channel Master is around $80. If you see other brands at Frys be sure to let us know.

A few weeks ago the small Vern Wengler store at 5904 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy was listed on the NTIA webiste as a converter box retailer. I stopped in to see what they had. Nothing. They said that they expected to have the Channel Master as that's what their distributor has but they didn't know when it would arrive. (At that time the Channel Master was not yet NTIA certified.) Vern Wengler is no longer listed by NTIA as a converter box retailer.

Another local retailer is Standard TV and Appliance. I visited the store on SE 82nd. They had the Zenith at $59.00, a 99 cent savings from what Radio Shack and Circuit City charge. I talked with one of their salesmen who had just applied for his coupons the day before. When I mentioned that there were converter box discussions on the AVS Forum he asked what the general opinion was. I told him that the discussions favored the Zenith as the one to buy. The very next day came the first AVS postings about the audio problems with the Zenith (and Insignia). I had just visited the nearby Wal-Mart that had display Magnavox and RCA models but both models were sold out. Wal-Mart has prices under $50 for either model.

The last time I visited the Radio Shack in Kenton I found a few Zeniths with November manufacturing dates. They said they may get a Digital Stream but they did not yet know the model number. That same day I visited the Circuit City on Jantzen Beach. CC had just sold their last Zenith but they expected to get more.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #16 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 03:55 PM
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Wow, DigaDo, you have made the rounds. How depressing, to find so little choice. I was waiting for coupons before I went looking, but I may check out Frys. Outpost.com dropped the CM-7000 price -- and they do not call it a sale.

I wanted to spend the coupons first and save the full price purchase for last, in case a good non-CECB came out. After all this online time, I am no closer to a plan.
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post #17 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 05:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike`L View Post

Hopefully this is not how analog pass-thru will work on all the other boxes.

I'm amazed that this feature is so hard to obtain, and that they found a way to do it wrong, considering that it's available on almost every VCR ever made -- even the ones that sold (sell?) for under fifty bucks.

57 channels and nothing on
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post #18 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 07:40 PM
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Meiers has the philco for$49.99. the walmart in greenwood has around 100 magnavox units, not an exaggeration.
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post #19 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 08:20 PM
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TalkingRat,

Here's a more recent post with some local information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post13562540

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

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post #20 of 98 Old 04-04-2008, 08:40 PM
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Sounds like great coverage. Radio Shack online shows what's in stock for each store, but of course I plan to call first anyway. Two weeks ago only one local RS had both DS and Zenith, and now it looks like they are all well stocked with both. Maybe that's how "it's in the mail" works, it really means they give the stores a couple weeks to stock up.
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post #21 of 98 Old 04-05-2008, 11:31 AM
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DigaDo, So I went to Frys, they had only the CM-7000, 3 boxes (all open, one bulging) stashed on a shelf under a giant HDTV next to the HDTV "ask me" area. Like people would look for this among the giant HDTVs. That was all they had, not on sale, $80. They may re-stock when they run their next ad.
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post #22 of 98 Old 04-05-2008, 09:37 PM
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The Frys by me had a pallet load of the CM sitting in the aisle...of course they were by the computer motherboards and weren't anywhere near the audio-video area.
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post #23 of 98 Old 04-07-2008, 05:55 PM
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Any plans by wholesale clubs (Sam's Club, Costco, BJ's) or other retailers (Target, Sears, K-Mart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer) to peddle CECBs?
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post #24 of 98 Old 04-07-2008, 11:45 PM
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From what I've heard, Sears has had none in their stores yet; they had one model on its web site (a Philco I think) but removed it.

A couple users have noted other retailers, and while their names don't stick in my mind, your mention of Fred Meyer reminds me that one of them was Meijer's.
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post #25 of 98 Old 04-08-2008, 12:53 AM
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Meijer's has a Philco (with pass-through, I believe), and Target is supposed to carry something eventually. Most likely a GE since they sell a lot of their A/V stuff. Or possibly RCA, because they're from the same company.
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post #26 of 98 Old 04-08-2008, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

....Your mention of Fred Meyer reminds me that one of them was Meijer's.

Fred Meyer is a major discount department store serving Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Alaska. Given the Fred Meyer marketing model, I've been surprised they haven't become NTIA certified for the CECB program.

BJ's Wholesale Club, Sam's Club and Costco Wholesale have certainly peddled millions of analog-only TVs in recent years, it seems strange they don't offer their members CECBs or discounted non-CECB high-definition ATSC tuners like the Samsung 260.
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post #27 of 98 Old 04-08-2008, 06:06 AM
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Picked up two CM-7000's from Solidsignal right before the price hike....got them for $68.95 each minus $80 in coupons.

I got them Saturday, but have not tried them out yet. I wanted the s-video capability.
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post #28 of 98 Old 04-09-2008, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

I will not consider models with poor ventilation. Heat is a killer for electronic products. I know, I used to have a Dell Dimension 4700. I likened that Dell to the explosive Ford Pinto and GM pickups with the side saddle gas tanks. I made sure the FCV P71s I drove had the gas tank modifications/recall kits installed. No sense looking for trouble.

Astute observation. The Funai-produced boxes (Magnavox in particular) are seriously lacking ventilation.
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post #29 of 98 Old 04-15-2008, 10:46 AM
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as far as I see
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike`L View Post

... CECBs available now ...:

#1. Zenith DTT900 - Seems to be the most prevalent box. Available at Radio Shack & Circuit City. Good performance, good remote, overall good reviews on this forum. Audio issue seems to be the only downside. Along with #2, this unit is probably the best box to buy with your coupon.

#2. Insignia NS-DXA1 - Identical clone of the Zenith DTT900, sold at Best Buy.

#3. Digital Stream DTX9900 - Available at some Radio Shack's. Supposedly has a better/farther out EPG. Remote looks a little nicer than the Zenith.

#4 RCA DTA 800A & DTA 800B - Available at Walmart. I haven't researched these units much, but from the forum, I would say the consensus is generally 'OK'. Online: $7.99 after coupon & S&H: bsat.net (not sure which extension model).

#5 Magnavox TB100MW9 - Also available at Walmart. Not very favorable reviews. Made by Funai. Said to have very poor cooling and thus not expected to live long. Also has the same god-awful remote as almost every cheap Funai TV & VCR.

The above boxes seem to be the only choice if running out and purchasing a box with a coupon right now is desired (no Fry's where I live, BTW). Also note that these boxes lack the more desirable features allowed in a CECB, such as s-video, Analog Pass-thru, full EPG, etc.


All the rest: A few standouts, but many that seem to be vapor-ware. Many of the manufacturer's websites have "Under construction" [Access HD] or "We'll be shipping REAL SOON" messages [MaxMedia]. Must resort to buying these online from some potentially dodgy sites. Ability to use coupon is questionable. Some/many of the these boxes supposedly won't be available until summer, when the coupons are expired (Which dosen't make a lot of sense, considering the time and money spent to be CECB certified).

One potential standout from this lot: Channel Master CM-7000. Barely made it onto the CECB list. Has s-video. Possibly digital audio hackable, etc. Available from solidsignal.com. Downside is limited availably, and a recently hiked price.


Tivax STB-T9 EPG $48.95 at Consumerelecgroup.com- approx $30 shipped for two after the coupons.

Artec T3A Pro NTIA CECB at bsat.net - approx $20 shipped for two after coupons.

Philco TB100HH9 DTV Converter Box, price ranging from $40 to $70

Channel Master CM-7000 Digital to Analog Converter

Sansonic FT300A DTV Converter Box available online for $19.99 after coupon: Solid signal

Microgem MG2000 at Solid Signal.com for $64.99 (before coupon) + S&H (~$9.95)

Winegard Rc-dt09 Cecb at Solidsignal.com for $62.99 + S&H (~$9.95)

Lasonic LTA-260 at solidsignal.com for $54.99 + S&H (~$9.95) -avsforum search on Lasonic (no direct thread)

Goodmind DTA900 & Goodmind DTA1000 at Eagleworldindustries.com for $45 and $47, respectively (both before coupons) & S/H. (S&H to NJ calculated to $5 for either one or two units). Per http://www.freedtvshop.com "THE GOODMIND DTA-1000 IS THE SAME CONVERTER BOX AS THE GE/JASCO 22729 WITH A METAL HOUSING"

Coship CECB (no reviews/real product summary yet) for $45.99 (before coupon) plus S&H at bsat

AccessHD DTA1010D available for $13.95 after coupon plus S&H or here Happy Iguana for $16.99 (after coupon) plus $4.99 S&H.

Microprose MPI-500 available (unknown where from though)

Apex DT250 Digital Converter Box for $24.99 after coupon + S/H

Venturer Digital-to-Analog Converter Box at Target

Gridlink GLT-200 Converter Box for $42.99 before coupon + ~ S&H of $12 (for one) or $14 (for two)

Also, where brands have multiple units, they are probably available too (ex. Magnavox, GE). I will discontinue updating soon as more vendors and models are becoming available.

Use your judgement accordingly. My post is merely a summary of the available CECBs with one reference (may not be the best informative or most comprehensive thread). Please do your own homework on best vendors/prices. Start here: mydtv2009.gov -VendorSearch.

Also see Malouff's post [#35 below]
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post #30 of 98 Old 04-15-2008, 02:18 PM
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left out the microgem mg2000, i bought it open box from solid signal, regularly $64.99 + shipping. I like it, not amazing but not a mistake buying it. It has extended epg!!!!
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Reply Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB)

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