Apex DT250 with passthrough - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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Old 07-12-2008, 01:01 PM
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Ellipsen, actually the 901 does indeed use less than 5W power in the "on" mode, according to the results in the latest (June 08) EnergyStar compliance tests. The DTT901 was 0.5W in sleep mode and 3.9W fully on. EnergyStar will be running another series of compliance tests mid-July. The Zenith user manual wasn't changed for the 901, it looks like they used a power maximum for their specs. Metal box, well ventilated, <4W, stays cool.

Here's the EnergyStar data:

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/product..._prod_list.pdf

PS, as for the wiki turf wars, "It wasn't me."
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:37 AM
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According to my instrumentation, the DTT901 does indeed draw less than 4w in operation and less than 1w while in standby mode. The one we have is never turned off. The case stays pretty close to room temperature.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:50 PM
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Hey, Don - long time no hear.
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:03 PM
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Hi Ramm. I've been reading along but most of what I could have been saying probably wasn't worth saying. So I didn't
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Old 07-13-2008, 09:10 PM
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That's a pretty short list. Why are so few other CECB's listed there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingRat View Post

...
Here's the EnergyStar data:

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/product..._prod_list.pdf
...

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Old 07-14-2008, 12:41 AM
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So I got bored and decided to take apart the remote to the (DT250) box and I found something interesting: Apparently, there are additional buttons on the board that are covered over on our remote. I'm attaching a pic of it.

I have no idea what these buttons do...possibly nothing...possibly access to easter eggs. Then again, they could lock up the box, turning it into a brick. Odds are they're reserved for features on one of the other Apex boxes or other devices (not necessarily even Apex). They probably use one remote with different configurations.

Additionally I found the following web address on the other side of the circuit board:

http://chaorandz.cn.alibaba.com

It's all in what I'm guessing is Chinese...the true manufacturer's website I'm guessing.... If anyone can read Chinese, maybe it will help us to find an appropriate universal remote code or something.

Still I wouldn't mind knowing if the buttons did anything cool with our boxes...of course I'm too chicken to do it on my own box. So I ask...is anyone feeling brave?
LL
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Old 07-14-2008, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTennis View Post

One possible drawback to this receiver I see from reading the manual is that you have to autoscan to add channels, there is no way explained how to manually add a channel that may be weak in a scan. This can be an annoyance, especially if you lose channel info on the rescan (like if you have to re-orient the antenna to get a station). It does not appear to say you can select a non-menu channel (or not) from the remote keypad. The process for add/delete refers to the scanned list only. This seems to be similar to the RCA unit, which is getting some negative reviews in other forums for this reason.

Other than that, it seems interesting with the S-Video connector, but the sound you will get is strictly stereo, not dolby digital, due to the analog audio outputs (not digital AC-3 output). Your receiver maybe able to decode dolby surround, but not the Dolby Digital Surround that is part of the broadcast signal, which this receiver translates into L-R info.

BobTennis:

You are precisely correct. Unlike a standard VCR--which may well "autoscan" for channels when you power it up, but always allows you to add/delete channels--this Apex box is the nadir, not the zenith... It forces you to "autoscan", there is NO way to manually add a channel which it didn't see during its autoscan.

So you can move your antenna--because people, such as myself, who use these boxes typically have an antenna on a mast/tripod w/a ChannelMaster antenna rotor here in the Midwest or in other rural areas--to a location where you know there is a digital signal, where you get a strong analog signal, and select a channel not already "pre-approved" via the "autoscan"...and it will say "NO SIGNAL", even if there IS a signal. Which is a misleading lie. I have seen exactly this behavior where we live, which is near Ann Arbor, MI. We get a set of Detroit-based stations, but also 5 Lansing stations, 5 Toledo stations, a station in Flint, up to 5 Canadian stations, and others in the area (these are all analog figures). If we autoscan with the antenna positioned for best Detroit reception, we get those stations, but repositioning of the antenna doesn't get you the Lansing stations, etc.,...UNLESS you autoscan again.

This means that you'd have to build in an extra 5-10 mins to check out what's going to be on in a "new" direction...but you clearly cannot easily scan channels by merely re-orienting the antenna. :-(

This is a fundamentally flawed system and is unfortunately typical of this entire anti-rural move, which seems to have been quite poorly thought-out and even more poorly staged in deployment.

[Another annoyance is that the "designer[s]" of the Apex remote don't understand that it has long been a convention to place the '0' underneath the center of the numeric pad, under the '8'...no, they shifted it under the '7' and put the '-' under the '8'...making an interesting extra lag as the tuner searches for, e.g., channel 2.1 instead of 20.1... ;-) ]
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Old 07-14-2008, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by some_mich_guy View Post

there is NO way to manually add a channel which it didn't see during its autoscan.

Did you try keying in the actual RF channel number rather than the virtual channel number, for a "missing" station? For example, 45 instead of 4 for WDIV?

Apologies in advance if you already know about this... I've seen plenty of people who didn't.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:18 AM
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The additional buttons inside a remote are not surprising. It's highly likely they do nothing. Most MFG contract with an existing remote manufacturer, pick a style and code it with a certain code set. The only changes are the amount of buttons they expose and the colors/labels on the rubber or top plastic.

The ReplayTV 3000 (released in 2000) remotes look identical to a Pioneer receiver remote from around 1999-2001. Inside the components look identical and there are covered up contacts in the replay remote too. Pressing them does nothing on the Replay. But they do send out a signal through the IR.

You're not going to 'brick' your box by shifting the contact pads down and trying them. Okay, 99.9999% chance you won't. Worst, you might temporarily lock it up (fixed by unplugging) or randomly turn something on another component (TV, stereo, vcr) if it happens to respond to the code.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtbell View Post

Did you try keying in the actual RF channel number rather than the virtual channel number, for a "missing" station? For example, 45 instead of 4 for WDIV?

Apologies in advance if you already know about this... I've seen plenty of people who didn't.

An interesting question. Unfortunately, I don't have any missing stations in my area to test with. But I have confirmed that you can tune to a (known) station by its actual channel vs. its virtual channel, so it seems likely you could tune to a new station the same way. The big question is whether the Apex would then add the station to its channel map.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

An interesting question. Unfortunately, I don't have any missing stations in my area to test with. But I have confirmed that you can tune to a (known) station by its actual channel vs. its virtual channel, so it seems likely you could tune to a new station the same way. The big question is whether the Apex would then add the station to its channel map.

It's possible to find out:
  1. Disconnect the antenna.
  2. Rescan and lose all your channels.
  3. Reconnect the antenna.
  4. Try adding some stations manually and seeing if they're saved in the table.
  5. Rescan and get all your channels back.
The big question can't be answered until after 2009-02-17, though: can you add a station whose true physical channel number matches the virtual channel number of a station already in the unit's memory.
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Old 07-14-2008, 11:44 PM
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[quote=TalkingRat;14275107]Ellipsen, actually the 901 does indeed use less than 5W power in the "on" mode, according to the results in the latest (June 08) EnergyStar compliance tests. The DTT901 was 0.5W in sleep mode and 3.9W fully on. EnergyStar will be running another series of compliance tests mid-July. The Zenith user manual wasn't changed for the 901, it looks like they used a power maximum for their specs. Metal box, well ventilated, <4W, stays cool.

Good to know, I wasnt testing, just reading. Awesome data sheet!!
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Old 07-15-2008, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

It's possible to find out:
  1. Disconnect the antenna.
  2. Rescan and lose all your channels.
  3. Reconnect the antenna.
  4. Try adding some stations manually and seeing if they're saved in the table.
  5. Rescan and get all your channels back.
The big question can't be answered until after 2009-02-17, though: can you add a station whose true physical channel number matches the virtual channel number of a station already in the unit's memory.

I just tried that. Turns out it does add channels to the map, which is good news if you have an antenna with a rotator.

All you have to do is point the antenna toward most of the channels and scan, then point the antenna toward the remaining channels and one by one, tune them in by their physical channel numbers. Once the Apex locks onto the channel, the display changes from the physical channel to the virtual channel number, and the channel is added to the map.

Of course to do that, you have to know the physical channel numbers for all the channels not found by the initial scan, so it's not the most user-friendly method. But at least it's possible.

As for the "big question," it would appear you've given us the solution. Scan without an antenna to erase all channels - then there are no virtual channels in the unit's memory and you can tune in any channel by its physical channel number. The only way that wouldn't work would be if you had a "cycle;" for example, physical channel 7 is virtual channel 8, but physical channel 8 is virtual channel 7! If that happened you could only tune in one; it would then be impossible to tune the other. But that seems like an extremely unlikely situation.
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

The only way that wouldn't work would be if you had a "cycle;" for example, physical channel 7 is virtual channel 8, but physical channel 8 is virtual channel 7! If that happened you could only tune in one; it would then be impossible to tune the other. But that seems like an extremely unlikely situation.

Unfortunately, it already exists: if you can pull in stations from both Chicago and Madison, Chicago's WTTW is on UHF47, virtual channel 11, while Madison's WMSN is on VHF11, virtual channel 47, and neither is moving next year.

There probably are cases where three or more stations make a circle like that.

There are boxes where it isn't a problem: on the Zenith DTT900/901, for example, one can add or delete a station by its RF channel number; on the Digital Stream DTX9900/9950, one can tune a station by its RF channel number and bypass any other station using the same number for its virtual channel.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:45 AM
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I just posted this in the HDTV hardware thread, but it might be worth posting here too:

I just purchased the DTA-5000 smart antenna to see how it would perform. I also have the CECB Apex DT250, which I picked up for the smart antenna function, the S-video port, and the analog pass-through, as not all my local stations have made the switch yet. I have been very pleased with the DTA-5k's ability to bring in the best digital signals, but there is a quirk, at least when using the analog pass-through feature of the DT250.

The DTA-5k mentions in its instruction manual that it will only work with an ATSC receiver that has a smart antenna feature. When I first read this I thought it just meant the "smart" feature would only work with this type of receiver. No, it really means exactly what it says. When I tried to use the analog pass-through ability of the DT250, which simply means that you turn off the receiver and change the channels on the TV set, I could only get a couple of stations, and with poor reception! Just to make sure the problem was not the receiver box, I fed the DTA-5k directly to the TV. Same problem. This antenna only works with a "smart" receiver box that is on, which means no analog signals. Of course, the analog pass-through ability will be moot after Feb., but if you are thinking about getting this antenna soon and currently enjoy some analog stations, do not rely solely on this antenna!

By the way, does anyone happen to know of any digital TV tuner cards with smart antenna capability yet?
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNo07 View Post

This antenna only works with a "smart" receiver box that is on, which means no analog signals. Of course, the analog pass-through ability will be moot after Feb., but if you are thinking about getting this antenna soon and currently enjoy some analog stations, do not rely solely on this antenna!

Maybe someone on the forum can tell us if the smart antenna jacks include lines for sending DC current up to the antenna. Could it be that the jack is only active in non- pass through mode and so the circuitry in the antenna is effectively powered down for APT??
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNo07 View Post

The DTA-5k mentions in its instruction manual that it will only work with an ATSC receiver that has a smart antenna feature. When I first read this I thought it just meant the "smart" feature would only work with this type of receiver. No, it really means exactly what it says. When I tried to use the analog pass-through ability of the DT250, which simply means that you turn off the receiver and change the channels on the TV set, I could only get a couple of stations, and with poor reception! Just to make sure the problem was not the receiver box, I fed the DTA-5k directly to the TV. Same problem. This antenna only works with a "smart" receiver box that is on, which means no analog signals. Of course, the analog pass-through ability will be moot after Feb., but if you are thinking about getting this antenna soon and currently enjoy some analog stations, do not rely solely on this antenna!

I'm not surprised by this. When you're using APT, the smart antenna has no way of knowing what channel your TV is tuned to, so it can't optimize the signal at all. (The best it could possibly do would be defaulting to an omnidirectional mode; from your description, though, it sounds like the DTA-5000 doesn't do this.)

Even if the Apex allowed APT while the box was on (the Philco TB150HH9 CECB is claimed to do this, but it doesn't seem to be on the market yet and may turn out to be pure vaporware), it wouldn't necessarily help! The smart antenna would try to optimize the station the box was tuned to, not the station the TV was tuned to! You'd have to tune the box to a station whose frequency and direction were similar to those of the analog station you were trying to watch, which sounds tricky at best.

If the only analog "stations" you're trying to pass through come from your own equipment (such as a satellite receiver or VCR), rather than over the air, then you could reasonably use APT with a smart antenna. Otherwise, though, those two features just don't sound like they're going to work together.
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Old 07-19-2008, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

Unfortunately, it already exists: if you can pull in stations from both Chicago and Madison, Chicago's WTTW is on UHF47, virtual channel 11, while Madison's WMSN is on VHF11, virtual channel 47, and neither is moving next year.

Yes, the Apex would be useless in that situation unless you had a smart antenna. Without an SA you could only pick up one with a scan, and it'd then be impossible to tune the other!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

There probably are cases where three or more stations make a circle like that.

In that case, you could get all but the last one in the loop.
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Old 07-20-2008, 01:42 AM
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Here's my CECB story so far. (If you're only interested in the part about the Apex DT250, skip down four paragraphs to my review.) I made the mistake of ordering my converter box coupons in March -- I'm not usually an early adopter, but I was worried that the government would run out of coupons, and I figured that the CECB manufacturers would have most of their bugs worked out by June. Silly me.

After reading CECB reviews here and at CNET and Consumer Reports, I decided that I wanted to use at least one of my coupons, and maybe both, on a DTVPal. Unfortunately, my coupons expired just before the DTVPal became widely available, and in late June I found myself in a quandary with two expiring coupons. I decided to use one coupon on a converter box at a local store and allow the other coupon to expire, intending to re-apply for that coupon later if the government gives us that option.

So armed with that one coupon, I went to Best Buy and purchased an Insignia NS-DXA1 with a Nov. 2007 manufacture date. I knew from reading this forum that it had an audio glitch, so I decided to leave it unopened for a while and exchange it for a newer Insignia or an Apex DT250 when they became available. (Update: I did eventually exchange it for an Insignia NS-DXA1-APT; you can read my comparison in the "Zenith DTT901 vs Apex DT250" thread.)


My Apex DT250 Review

Well, the DT250 appeared in my local Best Buy stores early this month, and earlier this week I exchanged my Insignia for an Apex, which I've been using for the past few days. This is my first experience with digital TV, and it's been a mixed bag so far.

Inside the box, I found everything neatly packaged in plastic bags, with the cables tidily fastened with twist ties. I hooked up the Apex to my PC's video capture card using the included RCA cables, plugged in the AC and antenna, turned it on, and got... nothing. Next I tried hooking up the RF output -- aha, now we're talking. The RF and S-Video outputs worked okay. Not an auspicious start, but aside from that I've encountered no other manufacturing-related problems. (Update: About a week later, I tried hooking up the composite video out again with a different cable, and it worked. Turns out the supplied composite video cable was faulty.)

My experiences recorded here are based on viewing the Apex hooked up to my PC's ATI video capture card (using the RF and S-Video connections) and to a 10-year-old Sony TV (using S-Video). Most of the following observations have been made by other posters to this thread; my review is sort of a meta-summary with my comments thrown in.


Positives:

+ Picture quality is impressive, especially when using the S-Video output.

+ Channels can be added after the automatic scan by manually entering them from the remote.

+ Remote control's button layout is intuitive, for the most part. There is enough variation in button shape and location to handle it in the dark with mild difficulty. (See Negatives for my criticisms.)

+ Information shown after pressing DISPLAY is fairly substantial: current channel number and name; miniature signal-quality graph; program title, rating, start and end times, audio type (e.g., Dolby Digital), and current date and time.

+ Program guide shows data for the current channel, including episode descriptions, as far as three days into the future (amount of data depends on the broadcaster).

+ Signal meter is informative, showing both a graphical and numeric (0-100) real-time readout.

+ The Favorite channels system is convenient: to add or delete a channel from Favorites, simply press the FAV button on the remote, and use the FAV+ and FAV- buttons to cycle through the Favorites. (The FAV button can also be a negative -- see below.)

+ Included are cables for RCA audio, composite video, and RF, as well as a pair of AAA batteries for the remote.

+ Build quality of the box is decent: metal housing with side and bottom vents. The remote, though, is another matter (see Negatives).

+ Analog pass-through is nice to have during the transition period, although I noticed a slight RF signal loss from the pass-through.

+ Smart Antenna port is another nice feature, although I haven't used it.

+ Sleep function is adjustable (1-4 hours or off).


Negatives:

- No automatic zoom feature. Windowboxing (black bars framing the picture on all four sides) occurs on many programs in my area, including on some of my most-watched channels. A converter box should be able to compensate for windowboxing by automatically applying the appropriate zoom function. The Zenith/Insignia remembers the last zoom setting used on each channel, but the Apex doesn't. If TV Aspect Ratio is set to Auto, pressing ZOOM on the remote is useless, showing only the message "Aspect Ratio Cannot be Changed On This Channel". If TV Aspect Ratio is set to 4:3, then the picture can be zoomed using the remote, but this zoom setting then persists across all channels until it is manually changed again.

- Another zoom issue: on certain TVs, 4:3 images are stretched too much in the vertical dimension, causing excessive portions of the top and bottom of the picture to be cropped. This can cause the news crawler to disappear from the bottom of the screen, for instance. My PC's ATI video card can partially correct for this, but not my Sony TV. While I do not consider this a critical problem, it's annoying nevertheless.

- Remote control could be improved. The buttons are quite small, and button response can be finicky: sometimes I get no response from a button press, other times the button seems to send two presses. Also, the remote itself is a bit small (about the size of a stick of butter, but thinner) and is made of lightweight, cheap-feeling plastic. Regarding the layout, I would have switched the "-" and 0 keys so that the 0 is beneath the 8, enlarged the GUIDE button, and eliminated the FAV button. I don't see the need for a button dedicated to adding and deleting Favorites, as my TV-watching interests aren't that fickle. After the initial setup process, I found that the only times I hit the FAV button were by accident when I was trying to find the adjacent SIGNAL or GUIDE buttons. It also would have been nice if the remote could power the TV on and off.

- Tuner is good, but not exceptional. Although my antenna setup is partly responsible, I'm a bit disappointed that the tuner was unable to pull in weak signals that I was able to receive in analog, albeit in marginally watchable form. These stations are located off-axis from the directional antenna I have installed, so I knew they would be troublesome. But the Apex didn't register them at all on its automatic scan. I tried entering them manually, but the tuner was unable to produce picture or sound when tuned to any of these channels. I noticed the signal level readout would go from the 10s or 20s (Weak) up to 100 (Excellent) and jump back down to the 10s again in the span of a few seconds, suggesting that the box was receiving some signal, but not enough to decode it coherently. I might need an RF signal amplifier or a different antenna to receive the weaker signals with this box.

- Composite video cable included with my unit is non-functional.

- No buttons or controls on the converter box except for the power button.

- Digital closed caption text is too small to read easily, even at the largest font size. I stuck with my TV's built-in closed captions.

- Text for program info is also rather small, and the background isn't as translucent as I'd like.

- Episode guide shows info only for the current channel.

- Analog pass-through requires box to be turned off.

- The included RCA cables are thin and flimsy.

- No included S-Video cable.

- No user-upgradeable firmware.


Other observations:
  • Audio level through the RCA connection is noticeably lower than through the RF connection.
  • Channel changing: the delay when switching from one channel to another is about 1.5 seconds, the audio coming online sooner than the video.
  • Box becomes fairly hot during use, which is worrisome, although after leaving the box on for several hours I saw no performance degradation.
  • I was able to program my Sony RM-VL600 universal remote for this box using a code for Hughes digital satellite receivers, but some important buttons were not mapped, including MENU, DISPLAY, and RECALL. (Fortunately the VL600 has learning capability.)
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Old 07-22-2008, 06:22 PM
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I exchanged my two crappy Apex DT250s at Best Buy for the Insignia NS-DXA1-APT (aka Zenith DTT901). I am so happy to be rid of the Apex boxes and extremely satisfied with the Insignia NS-DXA1-APT. The signal reception and stability is good, zoom works properly and so I can get all my channels full-screen now, no overscan, and the picture quality is great. I will take all of this over the S-Video option any day!
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:18 PM
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I exchanged my two crappy Apex DT250s at Best Buy for the Insignia NS-DXA1-APT (aka Zenith Dtt901). I am so happy to be rid of the Apex boxes and extremely satisfied with the Insignia NS-DXA1-APT.

I have two days on my BB receipt until my 30 days are up...what advantages does the Insignia have that justified you taking your boxes back?

Are the remotes, guts, and menu's of the boxes indeed identical as is claimed? I know some were saying the Zenith 900 vs 901 have picture quality differences...would that hold true with the Insignia's as well...would the non -APT be better?

How is the PQ and tuner stability on the Insignia vs the Apex boxes you returned? Do you pick up more channels and are the ones you get more stable than with the Apex?

I like the S-Video out on my Apex, and a lot of the other issues I complained about dont seem as bothersome. The one thing that does annoy me is the signal dropouts I get...but I'm using an indoor antenna which could definately account for that, not the box's fault.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:47 AM
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I can confirm you can add channels not found in the scan by punching in the actual channel number (which would of been a deal breaker if this didn't work).

The unit does get kinda hot after awhile. I do like the direct signal reading button. That three wire patch cord supplied needs to be tossed.

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Old 07-23-2008, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

I have two days on my BB receipt until my 30 days are up...what advantages does the Insignia have that justified you taking your boxes back?

Are the remotes, guts, and menu's of the boxes indeed identical as is claimed? I know some were saying the Zenith 900 vs 901 have picture quality differences...would that hold true with the Insignia's as well...would the non -APT be better?

How is the PQ and tuner stability on the Insignia vs the Apex boxes you returned? Do you pick up more channels and are the ones you get more stable than with the Apex?

I like the S-Video out on my Apex, and a lot of the other issues I complained about dont seem as bothersome. The one thing that does annoy me is the signal dropouts I get...but I'm using an indoor antenna which could definately account for that, not the box's fault.


My complaints about the DT250 are posted at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post14149774. I have also added some comments regarind comparison to the Insignia/Zenith. The three biggest problems I had are the first three in that list: Windowboxing (zoom won't correct), overscan, terrible guide. None of these are problems with the Insignia/Zenith. In general, the Insignia/Zenith is faster and seems to have better picture. The signal also seems to be received better as well (I also use internal rabbit ear antennas). It is stronger and doesn't seem to bounce as much. I believe a couple extra channels were detected and the channel scan was super fast compared to the Apex. S-video and the option to use a smart antenna are nice on the Apex, but I am not sad to see those Apex boxes go. I absolutely hated them as the viewing experience was horrible. Quite honestly, the RCA output of the Insignia/Zenith is nearly if not the same as the Apex S-video (I was not able to do a side-by-side test though).

After trying on of my Apex DT250s, my parents got the Zenith DTT901 at Circuit City and we all thought that they worked great. I got the Insignia NS-DXA1-APT (manufactured June 2008) at Best Buy since I had to EXCHANGE the Apex boxes. As far as I know and can tell, the Insignia boxes are just rebrands of the Zenith boxes. They are identical in everyway except that the Zenith name has been replaced with Insignia everywhere. Therefore, the Zenith DTT900 = Insignia NS-DXA1 and Zenith DTT901 = NS-DXA1-APT. If you are doubting the Apex, definitely exchange at least one for the Insignia to test it out and evaluate your experience with it. I'll bet you will then go back to Best Buy get exchange the other Apex for another Insignia!
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:50 PM
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I returned one of my DT250s to BB and exchanged it for an Insignia. While it would be nice if I could say this is "the" box and all should return their DT250's, it isnt the case. Overall, they are about the same, with each having their own pluses and minuses. ) What else is new, right?)

I liked that I could use the Insignia remote to turn on the tv and that the menu's were a little easier to read, and it stays very cool even after 30-40 mins of use. Those seem to be the only blatant advantages (that matter to me).

Because of the S-video, the DT250 picture seems to be a bit better...it's sharper and brighter whereas the Insignia box picture is a bit softer and darker. I also like the signal meter on the DT250 better as well...not only does the meter on the Inisgnia "beep", which some said was helpful but I found irritating, the meter is just a bar...no numbers...all you can tell is if the signal is relatively good/bad. The DT250 is good because if I have a station that is weak, I can tweak my antenna minutely and tell if its doing better by the number its reading. The meter on both boxes still go away after a while...which can be really annoying if the remote isnt within arms reach when you're tweaking your antenna.

The tuner/signal capability on both appear to be about the same...one might be better than the other but insignificantly so...if the signal isnt there, it just isnt there.

I would return the Insignia and say I want my DT250 back, but the TV its on doesnt have S-video anyway so it doesnt really matter...no sense wasting the gas. I'm hoping to get my hands on a couple CM-7000's, so if I do get another TV with S-video I'll just use one of them.
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:08 AM
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I found on a 16x9 monitor the 'full' mode (I think that is what they call it) overscans vertically, while horitzontally it's ok. I thought the SS indicator stayed up untill you cancelled it. What is the time out period?

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Old 07-24-2008, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

I found on a 16x9 monitor the 'full' mode (I think that is what they call it) overscans vertically, while horitzontally it's ok. I thought the SS indicator stayed up untill you cancelled it. What is the time out period?

I havent timed it, but it seems to be less than 5 minutes that the indicator stays up(on either box). I dont understand why they would give it a set time...as I said it makes tweaking ones antenna a real pain.
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:02 PM
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At least it's better than 10 seconds or so that way most menu screens stay up.

Of course, you can always buy a decent SLM (Signal Level Meter) off e-bay for between $200 - $400. You can't really trust those bar graphs.

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Old 09-16-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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So what's the final verdict on sensitivity? Does this Apex box pull in more or fewer channels than the Zenith DTT900? I have at least one guy saying the Apex was more sensitive. What say ye?
Quote:
Originally Posted by daleac View Post

- Another zoom issue is overscan: small portions of all four sides of the picture are cropped when 4:3 windowboxed images are zoomed. My PC's ATI video card can partially correct for this, but not my Sony TV. I do not consider this a critical problem, but it's annoying nevertheless.

That's not a flaw. 4:3 images are *supposed* to be overscanned. You're not supposed to see the border of the image, as the border is supposed to be behind the plastic edge of the display (which also hides closed captioning, blanking interrupts, and other garbage). With some of the more careless directors, boom mics are visible in the overscan portion.

Only the center 80-90% of the image is supposed to be visible. That's been true since the 1930s when NTSC was invented.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:38 AM
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So what's the final verdict on sensitivity? Does this Apex box pull in more or fewer channels than the Zenith DTT900? I have at least one guy saying the Apex was more sensitive. What say ye?

My DT250 and Insignia(Zenith clone) pull in the same amount of channels, so I would say they're roughly the same. I like the Apex's signal meter better than the Insignias, but I think the Zenith is more resistant to dropouts.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:47 AM
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So what's the final verdict on sensitivity? Does this Apex box pull in more or fewer channels than the Zenith DTT900? I have at least one guy saying the Apex was more sensitive. What say ye?

I've not had the chance to compare the boxes side by side, because I exchanged the Apex for the Insignia APT (which is the same as the DTT901). My impression from using the Apex, then the Insignia, is that the Insignia is a tad more sensitive than the Apex, as on my setup, the Insignia received a few fringe channels better than the Apex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

That's not a flaw. 4:3 images are *supposed* to be overscanned. You're not supposed to see the border of the image, as the border is supposed to be behind the plastic edge of the display (which also hides closed captioning, blanking interrupts, and other garbage). With some of the more careless directors, boom mics are visible in the overscan portion.

Only the center 80-90% of the image is supposed to be visible. That's been true since the 1930s when NTSC was invented.

You're right about overscan being a built-in "feature" of NTSC programming. But the Apex does have a problem in which 4:3 images are stretched more than is typical in the vertical dimension, causing the "crawler" on the bottom of the screen to be cut off on some TVs. Someone brought up this issue earlier in this thread -- here's a link to the first post discussing this. If your TV doesn't overscan much, then this won't be an issue for you.

My description of this was poorly phrased in my review; I have clarified that part of my review so I don't confuse anyone else.
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