What is best CECB box to use on a 16:9 RPTV 57" NTSC tuner CRT HDTV? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 54 Old 04-16-2008, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Real quick question.

Whats the best CECB box to use with a 57" CRT rear projection 1080i 16:9 HDTV, that only has a ATSC tuner?

Background:

My local cable provider has a lousy analog feed for our local CBS affiliate and due to a local carry pissing contest I cannot get that station on my digital HD cable box as a HD channel. Only the lousy analog version is available on local cable.

My local OTA digital ATSC broadcast feed for that station would be an improvement even if its only digital 480i. I'm getting HD for most of the local stations except PBS and one other station, but they look fine on my cable system. But the analog CBS channel really sucks on my 57" RPTV.

I know the Zenith and Digital Stream CECBs do not have S-Video, but I'm sure my Toshiba 57HDX82 HDTV has a pretty good comb filter and zoom functions.

I'm most concerned about how the 480i output would look on my 16:9 display.

I'm looking to have the CECB convert the widescreen OTA 16:9 ATSC 1080i60 HD broadcast to widescreen 480i60 and then use my NTSC HDTV to upconvert that to the CRT displays native 1080i60 16:9 resolution. I know its a cludge, but if its widescreen and digital its better than the poor analog 4:3 feed I have now.

Its only this one single channel that I have an issue with, so I really don't want to buy a HDTV ATSC tuner box. Its really just that watching CBS golf and NFL football is irritating. Plus my local CBS affiliate and cable system may come to an agreement for HD carriage.

I would rather get a box locally that I can get at Wal-Mart Circuit City , Radio shack, Best Buy or Frys.

Between the Zenith DT900 and Digital Stream DTX-9900 what would look best on a 16:9 NTSC HDTV? Would the Channel Master CM-7000 S-Video output make a difference? Any other options?

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post #2 of 54 Old 04-16-2008, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Help from you CECB experts?

Just got my two government coupons.

I have an unusal problem. I want to use a CECB as a cheapie ATSC tuner for one of my NTSC tuner HDTVs. I'm most concerned on how it will look on a 57" 16:9 HDTV, not a smaller 4:3 TV.

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post #3 of 54 Old 04-16-2008, 11:23 PM
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I've read one review that said that the PQ of the Zenith was a fraction sharper than the DS's, so you can take that into account. Whatever has the sharpest PQ to begin with is likely to look best on a large, HD display, barring any other major flaws in the output.

You can see by those pics in the "ATSC Converter Comparison" thread that you also posted your question in that they both look about equally sharp and clean on a smaller CRT, but on the 57" screen you're definitely more likely to see any difference.

But then you'll have to worry about getting a box with that audio issue moreso with the Zenith (only a couple of people have really reported it in the DS - none lately). But since it's only one channel with some occasional viewing, maybe you won't mind connecting it in mono to minimize or avoid the problem (if you even have or notice it).

I really don't know how the s-video output PQ of the CM compares to the Zenith's composite PQ, though.
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post #4 of 54 Old 04-16-2008, 11:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I just saw on a video that the Zenith DTT900 can set the aspect ratio to match a 4:3 or 16:9 display.

That would be good in my situation.

Does the Digital Stream DTX-9900 offer this option?

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post #5 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBri99 View Post

I can report the zenith has an output setting 4:3 or 16:9.

The Digital Stream DTX9900 will display 16:9 anamorphic also.

Which would better on a native 16:9 display? I would assume the Zenith would push be better as it would be filling the native 16:9 display from left to right instead of doing an anamorphic squeeze, but would the DS work like a anamorphic DVD and produce a better picture? I know anamorphic DVD works because precious SD MPEG-2 encoded pixels are not wasted on encoding black bars, but how would that work in a CECB?

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post #6 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 04:50 AM
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I looked up your TV manual, looks like you have two composite/S-Video inputs, you also have to component inputs. Barring not spending $150 for a high-res model without using a coupon, I would look for an S-Video model. Some reviews on the Channel Master CM-7000 should be out soon. I know FreeTVShop had a few in but sent all of them out to people that pre-ordered it. There is a link to the manual there as well. Right now I think that is the only S-Video unit out. I would look for a review on it because hopefully someone on this form got one.
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post #7 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 05:58 AM
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FreeTVShop said the channel master should be back in stock next week, i got it straight from Mosquito.
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post #8 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments so far.

I think I'll probably going to try the Zenith because of the 16:9 mode. I like the S-Video of the Channel Master but I think the comb filter of my Toshiba may do good enough with the composite input off the Zenith.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

I am using one of my Zenith boxes on the same setup and it works quite well! The menu of the zenith has a 16:9 screen size and if you put your set in the wide mode (same as DVD) the picture size adapts to the screen size for both HD material and regular material. As you know the picture is SD but quite good. Maybe in a year from now when the prices come down I will by a HD ATSC tuner. I like this tuner because it is very sensitive and picks up all the Baltimore channels which Comcast does not deliver to my area. It also serves as a great backup when the cable goes out. For some reason the analog signal I get is very bad on most channels (lot of ghosting). On the other hand the digital signals I get through this tuner is very good (both Washington and Baltimore).


Looking for any addition bits of wisdom before I pull the trigger here.

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post #9 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve-avs View Post

The channel master doesn't offer the 16:9 monitor aspect ratio. It does however offer the anamorphic widescreen mode so for HD broadcasts it will display perfectly on your 16:9 TV. The problem occurs for many subchannels that are 4:3 mode. The CM will fill your screen with these pictures making people look short and fat. The Zenith, having the 16:9 mode, will display these channels properly with black borders on the right and left.

from another thread I cross posted on.

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post #10 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

Which would better on a native 16:9 display? I would assume the Zenith would push be better as it would be filling the native 16:9 display from left to right instead of doing an anamorphic squeeze, but would the DS work like a anamorphic DVD and produce a better picture? I know anamorphic DVD works because precious SD MPEG-2 encoded pixels are not wasted on encoding black bars, but how would that work in a CECB?

To properly fill a 16:9 display you want a box that will output "anamorphic" video -- the kind that looks like tall skinny people on a 4:3 display. When anamorphic video is displayed in 16:9 aspect ratio the picture looks normal (round objects are round). A box that is displaying in 16:9 mode is sending out video that is intended for a 4:3 display. The box is putting black bars on the top and bottom to display the full aspect ratio in a 4:3 display. If this signal is displayed on a 16:9 display, you will have black bars around all 4 sides. If you use the TV function to zoom this image it won't look too good because of the effective lower resolution.

Both the Zenith and the DS DTX-9900 will display anamorphic video so you are covered both ways. I realize you only need this for 1 channel and so don't want to break the bank with a full OTA HD tuner. But depending on the compression level your cable company uses, you may find the other OTA HD channels to be superior. I dunno', using a CECB on an HD display seems like buying a 10 megapixel camera and then setting it to take 3 megapixel images to save money on flash cards.

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post #11 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

To properly fill a 16:9 display you want a box that will output "anamorphic" video -- the kind that looks like tall skinny people on a 4:3 display. When anamorphic video is displayed in 16:9 aspect ratio the picture looks normal (round objects are round). A box that is displaying in 16:9 mode is sending out video that is intended for a 4:3 display. The box is putting black bars on the top and bottom to display the full aspect ratio in a 4:3 display. If this signal is displayed on a 16:9 display, you will have black bars around all 4 sides. If you use the TV function to zoom this image it won't look too good because of the effective lower resolution.

Both the Zenith and the DS DTX-9900 will display anamorphic video so you are covered both ways. I realize you only need this for 1 channel and so don't want to break the bank with a full OTA HD tuner. But depending on the compression level your cable company uses, you may find the other OTA HD channels to be superior. I dunno', using a CECB on an HD display seems like buying a 10 megapixel camera and then setting it to take 3 megapixel images to save money on flash cards.


The Zenith box in the 16:9 mode fills the full screen on an HDTV with no black bars on the top or bottom. The 16:9 mode may be anamorphic but it does not state that. On SD material it also shows it in the correct proportion - just bars on the side.
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post #12 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

The Zenith box in the 16:9 mode fills the full screen on an HDTV with no black bars on the top or bottom. The 16:9 mode may be anamorphic but it does not state that. On SD material it also shows it in the correct proportion - just bars on the side.

Interesting. I have the DS but not the Zenith so I may have misinterpreted what I read. The DS has 4 discrete view modes:
  1. anamorphic - for a 16:9 display, displays tall & skinny on 4:3 display
  2. zoom - pan & scan for 4:3
  3. 16:9 - black bars top and botom for a 4:3 display
  4. 14:9 - kinda odd, intended for a 4:3 display. Somewhere between 4:3 and 16:9; takes a little off the sides and decreases the black bars

From what you know, does the Zenith have a 16:9 display mode for 4:3 displays.

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post #13 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

Interesting. I have the DS but not the Zenith so I may have misinterpreted what I read. The DS has 4 discrete view modes:
  1. anamorphic - for a 16:9 display, displays tall & skinny on 4:3 display
  2. zoom - pan & scan for 4:3
  3. 16:9 - black bars top and botom for a 4:3 display
  4. 14:9 - kinda odd, intended for a 4:3 display. Somewhere between 4:3 and 16:9; takes a little off the sides and decreases the black bars

From what you know, does the Zenith have a 16:9 display mode for 4:3 displays.

If the material is 16:9 and you have it set for the 4:3 mode on a 4:3 set it will display bars on the top and bottom and will have no bars on the side. The Zenith box also offer a zoom mode so you can fill the whole screen.
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post #14 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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So it looks like if I set the Zenith to a 16:9 "TV Aspect Ratio" in its setup, it will fill my entire 16:9 screen up on my HDTV for any 16:9 OAR programs and will pillarbox any native 4:3 OAR programs?

Thats what I want.

If I set it to "TV Aspect Ratio" of 16:9 its not going to window box a 16:9 broadcast, so I don't have to worry about zooming. Right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGLPN...eature=related

at the 4:21 mark in this video

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post #15 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:06 AM
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Best idea: Get a used HD box. See the Synopsis list and check e-Bay.

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post #16 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

Best idea: Get a used HD box. See the Synopsis list and check e-Bay.

Thats an idea. But I have a couple people around that are in the exact same situation I am in, so I'm trying to act as a Guinea pig.

Plus CECB- $40 coupon is around $20, and its only the one damn channel with the issue that can go away next month if the cable company and CBS station managers can stop acting like children.

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post #17 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

So it looks like if I set the Zenith to a 16:9 "TV Aspect Ratio" in its setup, it will fill my entire 16:9 screen up on my HDTV for any 16:9 OAR programs and will pillarbox any native 4:3 OAR programs?

Thats what I want.

If I set it to "TV Aspect Ratio" of 16:9 its not going to window box a 16:9 broadcast, so I don't have to worry about zooming. Right?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGLPN...eature=related

at the 4:21 mark in this video

Correct. As I previously stated you need to put you HDTV in the widescreen mode.
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post #18 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Correct. As I previously stated you need to put you HDTV in the widescreen mode.

Cool. Thats what I want. Not a big deal for me to switch display modes on the HDTV itself. So I would use the same mode I watch anamorphic DVDs on. If not, it takes 15 seconds try all the modes using the HDTV remote.

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post #19 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll probably get a HD capable ATSC tuner in September if my local CBS HD cable issue is not resolved by then.

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post #20 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

I'll probably get a HD capable ATSC tuner in September if my local CBS HD cable issue is not resolved by then.

May I know the brand and model for the "HD capable ATSC tuner"?
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post #21 of 54 Old 04-17-2008, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimwangus View Post

May I know the brand and model for the "HD capable ATSC tuner"?

Don't have a clue yet.

Ask me a question on front projectors, HDTV display technologies, HD DVD, Blu-ray, audio video codecs, upconverting DVD hardware, HDM studio releases AVRs, home theater receivers and a lot of other A/V things I'm very knowledgeable.

The sat boxes and HD cable boxes I've used have been good enough.

On ATSC HD tuners and CECBs I'm a freaken newbie.

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post #22 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 01:21 PM - Thread Starter
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just tried a Zenith CECB box.

The HD channel I was concerned about (using the 16:9 TV aspect ratio setup option) produces a anamorphic image which is easily converted to a nice upconverted DVD quality full 16:9 image on my 57" CRT.

Looks like it does the same thing as the anamorphic mode on the DS box.

I will get one of those and compare the experience. But it does better better than I expected.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosty View Post

So I've just tried the Zenith box, and the signal quality is great. The bad CBS cable channel I got is now looking true widescreen and upconverted DVD quality.

Much better than the fuzzy snowy 4:3 analog POS I had to work with before.

Have a friend who want the Zenith box, s I going to try the DgitalStream box next.

But the Zenith absolutely works fine a a chepo ATSC tuner for my older NTSC only HDTV and properly pulls in the 16:9 signals. Not bad for $20.


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post #23 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 02:09 PM
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I'll be interested to read your comparisons. I just bought the DS and yes it does have full screen 16:9 out, which I am using on my 32" WS LCD. So far I'm liking the DS, no complaints yet. I'll play with it more during prime time when their's actually HD programming on and not just 4x3 programs. I like the program guide on the DS. It goes out as far as the stations submit. A couple of days in some cases.
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post #24 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I like the program guide on the DS. It goes out as far as the stations submit. A couple of days in some cases.

Does it show stations other than the one you're currently tuned to?  I can't figure out how to make it do that.

I'm more interested in knowing what else is on now or about to start soon, including other channels; for what's going to be on later than that, there's time to check titantv.com or the cable company's display (since I also have cable).  But I don't like having to tune away from the current program to see what else is coming on other stations in the coming half-hour or hour.
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post #25 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 04:39 PM
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Not that I have found. You must be tuned to the channel you want to see the guide on. Personally I would prefer this method instead of one that showed all the channels if it was only next/now, but I guess it's just preference. I can see how you'd like the other way too.
I watch a lot of PBS and like to look ahead to see if they are repeating the program later that night or even in the coming days.
I'm not sure if any CECB's do what you would want, I guess I didn't think about it. The much more expensive Samsung 260 HD box(not coupon eligible) does what you want. I had one for a while.
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post #26 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Interesting.

Just got the DS box. First impressions on my 57' 16:9 NTSC Tuner RPTV. It does not do as good a job on the 4:3 SD digital transmissions on its anamorphic mode. There is a lot of dot crawl and shimmer around bright area transitions. The Zenith is better on most SD digital channels. The DS looks softer an their is more clay face and dot crawl and edge shimmer.

But the native 1080i60 ATSC HD signal on a real HD 16:9 broadcast looks pretty good. Maybe a little bit more of dot crawl than the Zenith, but its certainly better than the bad analog signal I was dealing with.

I'll try to get both boxes and compare them head to head later tonight on the HD channels.

The DS certainly is a easier unit to use, the remote is clearly better and might even be my choice if I am going to get get other boxes for my old TVs. It certainly would be my choice for smaller 27 televisions, which is it intended use.

But for a use as a cheap ATSC tuner for a larger HDTV, the Zenith gives a better picture overall for the non HD ATSC 4:3 signals when blown up to 57" screen. If I was going to get one for the use for all the available digital channels , that would be my clear choice.

Since I'm really only concerned about that one dog analog CBS signal, as I get the others stations in real 1080i60 16:9 HD on my cable box, either one will work in my situation.

I'll try to do a A:B comparison tonight.

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post #27 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I'll be interested to read your comparisons. I just bought the DS and yes it does have full screen 16:9 out, which I am using on my 32" WS LCD. So far I'm liking the DS, no complaints yet. I'll play with it more during prime time when their's actually HD programming on and not just 4x3 programs. I like the program guide on the DS. It goes out as far as the stations submit. A couple of days in some cases.

Let compare notes tonight.

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post #28 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 07:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow. Interesting findings here.

I first connected the DigitalStream DTX9900 using the composite connection (using both a 6 foot set of high quality RCA composite cables and then a set of component cables) . I was less than impressed with the SD digital channels being sent and OK with the 1080i HD 16:9 result. But I saw some clear shimmer, dot crawl and clay face lose of color depth compared to a true 1080i60 HD signal. The Zenith CECB looked better at first using its composite and 75 ohm outputs.

But then I switched to the coax ANT (75 ohm) output of the DigitalStream DTX 9900 and plugged that into my ANT1 input to my Toshiba 57HDX82 NTSC 16:9 rear projection HDTV.

Wow.

Night and day difference. Now looks even better than the Zenith did. As a matter of fact, it now looks better on the 1080i60 down converted to 480i60 by the DigitalStream CECB (using anamorphic mode) and then back upconverted back to 1080i60 by the HDTV.

Standard def digital channels now look even better than the Zenith and the shimmer is gone. Their might have been cross talk on the 6 foot composite cables or the HDTV is optimized for upconverting on the ANT (75ohm) in.

Either way, I happy with the result.

Most amazingly, this down convert upconvert kludgey chain works extremely well on actual native 1080i60 HD material. I was able to compare (edit: multiple (3)) HD channels of my SA8300 HD cable box and the OTA HD 1080i60 version processed thru the DS box which down converted to anamorphic 480i60 and then feed thru the cable ANT out back to be upconverted by my HDTV. The result was astonishing on the 57" rear projection HDTV. Not quite HD , but I had to look hard to see the background difference. Certainly very watchable and light years beyond the crappy 4:3 analog version of CBS that I lived with before.

I am a real happy camper. All of the digital stations I can grab now are superior to their analog versions on my HD cable box. Not quit HD , but very much better than I expected.

The DigitalStream DTX9900 CECB using the ANT (75 ohm) out (do not only try and use the composite out. try the coax out as well ), is the clear winner here when connected to a larger NTSC tuner based HDTV.

I also connected it to the 27 and 32 inch 4:3 CRT TVs I have as well. Overall the DigitalStream DTX9900 looked good there too.

It will be my clear recommendation between the two.

.
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post #29 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

I'm not sure if any CECB's do what you would want, I guess I didn't think about it.

The Zenith DTT900 shows Now/Next for every channel that it's been tuned to since most recently being turned on, or at least in the last couple of hours and since being most recently turned on.  You can scroll through the channels of the guide without interrupting reception of the channel that you're watching.

It's only Now/Next, but to find out what's on farther into the future, including (as you said) additional airings of the current program, I don't mind going to the computer or to the cable box.

Twelve hours of guide information on all channels is more than I'd expect from a CECB.  You're lucky to get either Now/Next for all channels or several hours of schedule on the current channel.  It wouldn't surprise me to learn that some CECBs show only Now/Next on the currently tuned channel and nothing more.  So if you and I disagree on which is more important to us, good thing that both choices are available.
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post #30 of 54 Old 04-18-2008, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I liked the DS EPG, remote , tuning speed etc far better than the Zenith. Both had same reception ability for me. YMMV.

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