Zinwell ZAT-970A? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 1146 Old 07-28-2008, 02:58 AM
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It seems like everyone has zoomed in on the $59-60 price mark. Zinwell sells a box with HD output for about $70 so I thought for sure they'd try to sell this for less but I guess they'll try to milk this CECB thing for all its worth.
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post #62 of 1146 Old 07-29-2008, 04:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trp2525 View Post

A selling price of $58.99 has been posted at watchdigitaltv.com for the "Zinwell Model # ZAT-970A Converter with Analog Pass Through." You can find the information here: http://www.king-cart.com/18inch/prod...ct_match=exact It currently is showing "Out of Stock."

Zinwell price is now down to $54.99 but it is still "Out of Stock."
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post #63 of 1146 Old 07-29-2008, 04:44 AM
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Some other site was selling it for like $44 so I think the price will come down even further.
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post #64 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 06:52 AM
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FYI: I just noticed the following at http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A
Quote:


Zinwell ZAT-970A Digital Converter Box W/ Analog Pass-Through ZAT-970A (CECB)
$ 57.99
Zinwell
Usually Ships Same Day

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post #65 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

FYI: I just noticed the following at http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A

I got mine ordered. How many others out there are ordering?
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post #66 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pestocat View Post

I got mine ordered. How many others out there are ordering?

We're waiting on your review first!
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post #67 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

Some other site was selling it for like $44 so I think the price will come down even further.

I suspect you saw that price at jtecdirect.com

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 1:24 PM, I left the following message:
Quote:


A few days ago you had a listing for the Zinwell ZAT-970A DTV converter box. You seem to have removed that listing.

Do you expect to sell the ZAT-970A?

If you do, do you have an estimated availability date and/or estimated price?

On Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:03 PM I received the following reply:
Quote:


From: "JtecDirect"
Sorry that we don't carry that anymore. Please try Artec Pro.

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post #68 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 05:56 PM
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I just ordered 2 from Solid Signal and will post a review when I receive them. I'm basing my purchase on the 8 timer events, manual clock setting, software update capability, and the testing results listed earlier in this thread.
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post #69 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 06:10 PM
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Now that some of you did order the Zinwell and will be doing a review.

Will you please include some images with your reviews.

I still think that this box has no Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and the timers will all be manual.

This would mean that you would need to get the program times and channels from another source and enter the time and channel manually for the eight timers unlike the DTVPal that has that nice looking Program Guide to use.

I will admit that with the manual time this appears better for now but once the updated DTVPal firmware is release and if it works correctly I still think the DTVPal would be a better option for a box with timers.

Both of these boxes however appear to have no ventilation and may not win any CECB longevity race. I think it is likely stop functioning before the analog recording device does.
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post #70 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

This would mean that you would need to get the program times and channels from another source and enter the time and channel manually for the eight timers unlike the DTVPal that has that nice looking Program Guide to use.

I consider that to be an extremely minor inconvenience, considering every VCR I've ever used is programmed the same way.

Quote:


I will admit that with the manual time this appears better for now but once the updated DTVPal firmware is release and if it works correctly I still think the DTVPal would be a better option for a box with timers.

I have 2 DTVPals. Without a manually set clock, it will always be at the mercy of TV stations to keep their PSIP clocks correct. It's a flawed design IMO.

Quote:


Both of these boxes however appear to have no ventilation and may not win any CECB longevity race. I think it is likely stop functioning before the analog recording device does.

If you read the review from Bruce's Discount Antennas, this box doesn't heat up like the other ones. They also claim it holds the timer events after a power outage. That would be a great plus.
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post #71 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

Now that some of you did order the Zinwell and will be doing a review.

Will you please include some images with your reviews.

I still think that this box has no Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and the timers will all be manual.

There is a link to the user manual on this page:

http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A

There are some screen shots that may show the EPG in the english portion of the manual but those pictures are not very clear. Go to page five in the spanish portion of the manual. There is a clearer color picture of what might be part of the EPG information. Perhaps that picture raises more questions than it answers.

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post #72 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

Now that some of you did order the Zinwell and will be doing a review.

Will you please include some images with your reviews.

I still think that this box has no Electronic Program Guide (EPG) and the timers will all be manual.

This would mean that you would need to get the program times and channels from another source and enter the time and channel manually for the eight timers unlike the DTVPal that has that nice looking Program Guide to use.

I will admit that with the manual time this appears better for now but once the updated DTVPal firmware is release and if it works correctly I still think the DTVPal would be a better option for a box with timers.

Both of these boxes however appear to have no ventilation and may not win any CECB longevity race. I think it is likely stop functioning before the analog recording device does.

The performance of the ZAT-970A is unknown, but I find it strange that you want to compare it to what the DTVpal was supposed to be. The ZAT-970A needs to be compared to what the DTVpal is.

The reality is that for many users of the DTVpal:
1. The clock is a mess. It keeps jumping around or locks to a station that keeps jumping around.
2. The timers are a mess. Events get deleted and/or altered.
3. The EPG does not work correctly. Since it does not know what time it is, it also reports the wrong programs.
4. DTVpal tech(What a joke!) support is telling people they have to disable the automatic power down, in order for the timers to work. That means the EPG does not get updated.
5. Users report that the they have all kinds of problems with the EPG info. It comes and goes. What difference does it make if you can supposedly use it to set a Timer, when you can't get the data to begin with.
6. How valuable is a timer set by EPG when the clocks are all over the place, and, even if they were not, you really need to add time before and after the scheduled time of the program if you want to be sure to get the whole program in the real world.

The DTVpal supporters want to blame all the problems on the stations, but "Real Engineers" design products to work in the "Real World". In my opinion, the DISH team failed to do that.

I am beginning to suspect that the DTVpal EPG may be a significant part of their problems. The only guy who keeps claiming it works well is in a tiny market (4 channels/9 total sub-channels). I question whether the box can handle the EPG update process when it gets all the program data one can expect in a major market. As I pointed out in another thread, if that is the case, the problem could get a lot worse. For many reasons, the amount of PSIP information being received is going to keep increasing. If, and I do not claim to know, problems are triggered by trying to manipulate more data than the software can handle correctly, people, who's units now seem to work, may find that they stop working in the future when they receive more data, and the units will be out of warranty.

Until they actually start delivering units that work well, all over the country, who cares what DISH CLAIMS about the DTVpal. I did ask in the local OTA group, and finally got a response from someone who has a DTVpal. He seems to be having all of the reported timer problems, and this is the Denver market, where DISH is based and that they used for the Screen Shots in the User Guide. Give me a break!

I have absolutely no trust in DISH. As you should have noticed, they have already changed their RMA procedure. You have to return your non-working unit to them, before they will send out a, supposedly, working unit. That eliminates the possibility of side by side comparison, to see if they really fixed things.

Even though none of the posters have reported seeing them, one poster has reported that he was told there were at least 2 additional firmware versions. We know 100 and 101 have problems. The existence of 103 makes it pretty obvious that 102 has bugs.

I suspect that the DISH R&D motto is "Ready-Fire-Aim"

I am so thankful I held off on my purchase.
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post #73 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

FYI: I just noticed the following at http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A

Is the 970A the box with the event timer?

I looked at Solid Signal's page for it, and they don't mention the timer.

Seems a little odd to leave that feature unmentioned.
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post #74 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

Is the 970A the box with the event timer?

I looked at Solid Signal's page for it, and they don't mention the timer.

Seems a little odd to leave that feature unmentioned.

Setting the timer is mentioned in the ZAT-970A User Guide, but I did not see the number of timers mentioned.

You can go to http://www.watchdigitaltv.com/
The website is run by :
Bruce's Antenna Systems
17760 Harris Rd.
Defiance, Ohio 43512
Ph. (419) 439-5066
Best Contact Time is: 1:00pm - 6:00pm EST M-F

You can select the "Digital to Analog Converter's" link.
That will take you to reports on the converters they intend to sell. Most seem to be out of stock. The ZAT-970A report says they tested all 8 timers.

I have no idea about the reliability of information on the website.

I had never heard anything about Zinwell until very recently. I have just been searching around the web. I have no idea about their quality.

My wild guess is that the ZAT-970A will be more dependable than the DISH DTVpal, but that is based almost entirely on what I have read about DISH and the DTVpal.
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post #75 of 1146 Old 07-31-2008, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

I consider that to be an extremely minor inconvenience, considering every VCR I've ever used is programmed the same way.

Well it looks like it's true that the Zinwel ZAT-970A* has no EPG and they are manually set timers
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike C @ SolidSignal View Post

I hooked up the box, and I could find no guide for what was on next, only information on what was currently playing. It is a great box for the ATSC tuners and the outputs, but the menu and features are lacking.

So it will be similar to the other boxes that have no program guide and only show the Current Channel's Program Information but have the manual timer.

This will be ok for people like you that are not inconvenienced with looking up the programs times and channels in the newspaper or online but does not have the luxury of having the EPG built in and not needing an external source.

Also the interface for the Zinwell looks more complicated then the DTVPal so it will be harder to use for most people than the DTVPal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

I have 2 DTVPals. Without a manually set clock, it will always be at the mercy of TV stations to keep their PSIP clocks correct. It's a flawed design IMO.

Currently it is flawed as PSIP clocks are all over the place from multiple sources of time and it is at the mercy of every TV stations but after time it should get better.

Once CBS starts sending the TVGuide signal then the DTVPal will rely on only one station for it's time instead of every TV station so time will be less of a problem as you will have just the single time source to deal with much like the Zinwell's manual clock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

They also claim it holds the timer events after a power outage. That would be a great plus.

One important thing about the timer event remaining after a power outage was what mode was it in? (Manual or Automatic time)

If it was using Manual time it isn't important if the events remained after the power outage as the clock reverts to 00:00 so the events will be useless until you reset the clock.
Quote:
Originally Posted by visualsensation View Post

If you read the review from Bruce's Discount Antennas, this box doesn't heat up like the other ones.

I agree that Bruce did say it was One of the coolest they have tested but they did not say that it was the best out of all the boxes they have tested.

The other box that Bruce tested that we know that failed his ventilation test was the Sansonic.

Looking at external images of that box I am surprised by this
The Sansonic has a external power supply and vents in it's case
So they not only have cheap firmware but also have a cheap build quality.

Problems however can happen with any manufacturer, WeThePeople's Digital Stream has been the only one reported to catch fire.
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post #76 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

If it was using Manual time it isn't important if the events remained after the power outage as the clock reverts to 00:00 so the events will be useless until you reset the clock.

There is a difference. I wear a very cheap, but accurate digital wrist watch. It would only take a few seconds to set a clock after a power outage. However, it is a lot more work to reprogram several timer events, that you may, or may not, have written down. On a power outage, one of my VCRs will lose the time and the events. At least I could use the information from the ZAT timers to reprogram the VCR after an outage.

I still don't understand all this focus on power outages. I consider it a "Red Herring" from those who want to ignore all of the serious problems with the DTVpal. For me, power outages are rare events. I don't recall one this year. At least for some users, the DTVpal clock gets messed up by changing the channel. I would think most users would tend to do that more than a few times a year.

By the way, I just read a report from a user complaining about DTVpal firmware F105. He said F100 and F101 used to work fine for him.

I am sure they will be delivering solid DTVpals to all of their customers real soon.
Don't worry, DISH will take great care of all their customers: After all they would never annouce a $40 product and then raise the price to $60 after stirring up all kinds of interest.
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post #77 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 01:43 AM
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Totally agree about the "Red Herring" focus on power outage issue.

For me it's extremely rare that power goes out. I have been using VCR for years, in the rare event power is lost, it takes me about a minute to check the correct time, and set the VCR time back to normal. No sweat. After that, I can program and tape as much as I want, and everything works perfectly.

Not so with current DTVPal.
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post #78 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 02:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

By the way, I just read a report from a user complaining about DTVpal firmware F105. He said F100 and F101 used to work fine for him.

I'm afraid I have to be suspicious about the existence of an F105 version. It seems strange that no one has been receiving anything other than F100 and F101 and all of a sudden there's an F105. When I spoke to technical support just a week ago about getting my DTVPal replaced, the representative claimed to have spoken to several other departments and could not get confirmation that anything other than F100/F101 existed.
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post #79 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

I still don't understand all this focus on power outages. I consider it a "Red Herring" from those who want to ignore all of the serious problems with the DTVpal. For me, power outages are rare events. I don't recall one this year. At least for some users, the DTVpal clock gets messed up by changing the channel. I would think most users would tend to do that more than a few times a year.

I also agree that worrying about a power outage is stupid this day in age as I have never seen or heard of an area where this is a normal occurrence.

I do agree that changing the channel and getting different PSIP station times is more common and affects more devices then just the DTVPal it's just that what was suppose to be it's greatest strengths the unique EPG and timers really show the time problem more than other devices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

By the way, I just read a report from a user complaining about DTVpal firmware F105. He said F100 and F101 used to work fine for him.

I did see that and was shocked

Strange how both beta testers said the original (aha1tcgh-n) versions worked correctly for them.

Well at least I hope you see that Dish Network is still working on bugs but looks like they will need more work.

Maybe they should have just released the beta aha1tcgh-n software version instead of editing it to the 101 and 100.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

I am sure they will be delivering solid DTVpals to all of their customers real soon.
Don't worry, DISH will take great care of all their customers: After all they would never announce a $40 product and then raise the price to $60 after stirring up all kinds of interest.
If your interested, I have this bridge for sale!!!

Speaking of taking great care of their customers did Zenith/Insignia ever alert customers about their audio bug in the Digital only converters?

I am sure Dish Network's fix will be done the same way with no alert/great care for all of their customers either.

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post #80 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

I also agree that worrying about a power outage is stupid this day in age as I have never seen or heard of an area where this is a normal occurrence.

You must be a city slicker. Power goes down here every couple of months at least from a few seconds to an hour or longer.
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post #81 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by golinux View Post

You must be a city slicker. Power goes down here every couple of months at least from a few seconds to an hour or longer.

Where are you located?

I guess I stand corrected that there are areas that have predictable power outages.

So is it common for people in your area to use a Battery Backup (UPS)?
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post #82 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

There is a link to the ZAT970A user manual on this page:

http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A

What are we to make of the EPG (?) pictures on pages 4-5 of the spanish section of the user manual?

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post #83 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

What are we to make of the EPG (?) pictures on pages 4-5 of the spanish section of the user manual?

Those are pictures of the currently selected channel, when editing the channels list. I don't see any EPG.

It looks like the only available option for getting any PSIP program info is the "display" button on the remote for the currently tuned channel.

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post #84 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

Where are you located?

I guess I stand corrected that there are areas that have predictable power outages.

So is it common for people in your area to use a Battery Backup (UPS)?

I think that many rural areas can count on a few power outages in a year.

Rural grid infrastructure is more likely to be older and less robust.

Lightning strikes will take out grid areas a few times every year. Besides being less robust there are fewer sinks for the strike to disipate compared to populated areas, so an equal event to more likely to cause some damage (even just a grid breaker or fuse).
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post #85 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malouff View Post

Where are you located?

I guess I stand corrected that there are areas that have predictable power outages.

So is it common for people in your area to use a Battery Backup (UPS)?

In the boonies outside of Austin with lots of trees overhanging lines. A few weeks ago a neighbor was tree trimming, not thinking and managed to lay a branch across the wires. Power was out about two hours. Heavy winds or someone hitting a pole will also do the trick.

I have my computer on an APC UPS but not the TV. I tried an APC once on the TV but it created too much interference with the signal so took it back. Apart from that, I am a bit reluctant to have yet another electronic device in my environment. The whole converter box/timer thing may have me looking into this again though . . .
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post #86 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

FYI: I just noticed the following at http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...?PROD=ZAT-970A

I see that Solid Signal now has a low-price guarantee? From their page for the Zinwell ZAT-970A it says:

" Total Low Price Promise* Valid On NTIA Approved Websites Only - Box Must Be In Stock and Ready To Ship!"

"*Total Low Price is the Selling Price of Product + Tax (If Applicable) + Shipping"

Could it be that they took a lot of heat from charging $79.99 for the DTVPal and are now trying to get back customers with this new low-price guarantee???
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post #87 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trp2525 View Post

Could it be that they took a lot of heat from charging $79.99 for the DTVPal and are now trying to get back customers with this new low-price guarantee???

I hope so and I hope that it works better than the Pal.... Just as I thought I was gonna be one of the lucky ones whose timers worked right, I found out that mine is just like all the others...timers mifiring and channels changing.

Are they available now...as I have one last coupon that expires 8/7 and I was gonna get another DTVPal but with it petering out on me already I say forget it.
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post #88 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 07:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

Just as I thought I was gonna be one of the lucky ones whose timers worked right, I found out that mine is just like all the others...timers mifiring and channels changing.

Are they available now...as I have one last coupon that expires 8/7 and I was gonna get another DTVPal but with it petering out on me already I say forget it.

You should just go ahead and order Zinwell if your coupon is about to expire. Not like they will fix DTVPal anytime soon given Disht's past history.

Just don't wait until the last minute, or you might run into trouble processing your coupon.
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post #89 of 1146 Old 08-01-2008, 11:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kenavs View Post

The performance of the ZAT-970A is unknown, but I find it strange that you want to compare it to what the DTVpal was supposed to be. The ZAT-970A needs to be compared to what the DTVpal is.

The reality is that for many users of the DTVpal:
1. The clock is a mess. It keeps jumping around or locks to a station that keeps jumping around.
2. The timers are a mess. Events get deleted and/or altered.
3. The EPG does not work correctly. Since it does not know what time it is, it also reports the wrong programs.
4. DTVpal tech(What a joke!) support is telling people they have to disable the automatic power down, in order for the timers to work. That means the EPG does not get updated.
5. Users report that the they have all kinds of problems with the EPG info. It comes and goes. What difference does it make if you can supposedly use it to set a Timer, when you can't get the data to begin with.
6. How valuable is a timer set by EPG when the clocks are all over the place, and, even if they were not, you really need to add time before and after the scheduled time of the program if you want to be sure to get the whole program in the real world.

The DTVpal supporters want to blame all the problems on the stations, but "Real Engineers" design products to work in the "Real World". In my opinion, the DISH team failed to do that.

I am beginning to suspect that the DTVpal EPG may be a significant part of their problems. The only guy who keeps claiming it works well is in a tiny market (4 channels/9 total sub-channels). I question whether the box can handle the EPG update process when it gets all the program data one can expect in a major market. As I pointed out in another thread, if that is the case, the problem could get a lot worse. For many reasons, the amount of PSIP information being received is going to keep increasing. If, and I do not claim to know, problems are triggered by trying to manipulate more data than the software can handle correctly, people, who's units now seem to work, may find that they stop working in the future when they receive more data, and the units will be out of warranty.

Until they actually start delivering units that work well, all over the country, who cares what DISH CLAIMS about the DTVpal. I did ask in the local OTA group, and finally got a response from someone who has a DTVpal. He seems to be having all of the reported timer problems, and this is the Denver market, where DISH is based and that they used for the Screen Shots in the User Guide. Give me a break!

I have absolutely no trust in DISH. As you should have noticed, they have already changed their RMA procedure. You have to return your non-working unit to them, before they will send out a, supposedly, working unit. That eliminates the possibility of side by side comparison, to see if they really fixed things.

Even though none of the posters have reported seeing them, one poster has reported that he was told there were at least 2 additional firmware versions. We know 100 and 101 have problems. The existence of 103 makes it pretty obvious that 102 has bugs.

I suspect that the DISH R&D motto is "Ready-Fire-Aim"

I am so thankful I held off on my purchase.

.......My advise to others here (just before this piece of crap was about to be "re-distributed" was to boycott it!......
My rationale was:
A) There was an admission on the part of the original marketer (Slingmedia) that the original model (TR-40) was flawed (even if they didn't make this admission, it was obvious that there were production problems from the long delay in getting them out of China). It's likely that they changed the outer appearance to try and convince the public that it was totally different when, in all likelyhood, it's the same basic circuit in a new cabinet......with a new (and really stupid) name. They (obviously) didn't get the bugs out of it!
B) After promising (for six months) that the price would be $39.99, they did an about turn (approx. one week before distribution) and decided to screw the public and their original dealers by increasing the price by $20.00 and pulling the plug on the original dealers and all the people that had already placed orders and, even worse......lost the use of their (now expired) coupons!......
C) It's been here reported that the picture quality is mediocre.

I was criticized by some, ignored by most!......

I hate to say I told you so (I honestly wish that the product was decent but it's not even that)!......
It's unfortunate that so many people bought them and are now kicking themselves......and looking for an alternative (perhaps the Zinwell)!
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post #90 of 1146 Old 08-11-2008, 09:46 AM
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Now that the forums' server crashed and we've lost all posts made since Aug. 2nd, let's get the ball rolling again.

Let's start out with something upbeat and happy...

Like the fact that someone reported over the weekend that they got up in the morning (Sunday?) to find that their Zat's clock, set for manual, was now over two hours off.

Isn't that SPLENDID?

And here I am waiting for one to be delivered, after getting stuck with two DTVPals.

FUN!
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