Zinwell ZAT-970A? - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 12:19 PM
 
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I tested the Zinwell ZAT and it worked flawlessly. The clock lost about 20 seconds over two weeks time, but that's still a lot more accurate than how my DTVpal operates (randomly gaining or losing an hour).

I'm selling my three DTVpals as soon as I can list them on Ebay. I might keep one for a spare... we'll see how it turns out.
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post #212 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 12:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

I'd buy a DVD recorder if someone could show me one that holds 12 hours (like my VCR) with almost no loss in quality between "live" and "recorded"...

Are you talking about for time-shifting or archiving? If time-shifting, wouldn't you be better off with an HDD model, which holds many, many more hours of programming? At no loss in quality?

I have one. It does indeed lose quality with visible macroblocking in the video, which I find very annoying. (And even if I used the HDD-DVR's highest setting, with no visible loss, it would only hold 20 hours maximum which is unacceptably short.)
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If you're getting "no loss in quality" you must only be recording once or twice on those tapes.

(1) Learn to read. I said "almost" no loss.

(2) Reusing a tape doesn't destroy it. In fact I've used some tapes hundreds of times and they still look as good as the day I bought them (i.e. like live television).
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I know too many people that just have one VCR that aren't thinking ahead. I'm just trying to make people like them think a little about what their possible future situation could be like.

Me too. DVR and DVD-recordable is not the great thing ever, since they have serious limitations (either time limits or macroblocking flaws).

And don't forget about OTA copy-protection which may result in your not being able to record the DTV programs. Since a VCR is analog it ignores such things as "Don't Record" digital flags from broadcasters, and just captures whatever it sees.
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post #213 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 04:15 PM
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You can get away with a VCR on a smaller analog, but for an HD display, even a smaller one, you're a lot better off using a DVD recorder, as far as resolution and picture quality is concerned. S-VHS would be better for a VCR in that case.

But "hundreds of times" for a VHS tape? Doesn't the bottom or top of the picture start warping after being played so many times? What sort of VHS tapes and recorder are you using? Why do those used VHS tapes that the rental stores sell so often have that problem? Those are probably reasonably high quality, I would think.

I knew a girl years ago who used to tape her soap operas every day over the same tape 'till it wore out, and sometimes when I went over there she had it on, and I could never understand how she could even watch it, because it looked so bad. The picture was so blurred and fuzzy you couldn't even make anything out.

DVD+/- RW can be recorded over (with no loss) something like 10,000x, and DVD-RAM 100,000x. At least in theory, if it's a good one (RAM's at least are still very dependable and consistent).
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post #214 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cia_viewer View Post

On your DTVPal, forum posters have phoned/emailed their CBS stations to get them to 'fix' their (PSIP?) clocks. Also they say that dish will be making exchanges for the faulty DTVPals. F103 has fixed some of the problems, but there are more fixes in the works.

Thanks for the advice. I have e-mailed my local CBS station on two occassions explaining the problem and asking them to fix their PSIP clocks. Each time, coincidentally or not, the time was fixed within a day or two. However, within a few days the time was off again, and seems to gain about 2 minutes a day. So for some reason CBS can't seem to broadcast the same time each day.

The dish exchange program seems cumbersome (it doesn't sound like F103 fixed all of the problems anyway), and if the Zinwell avoids these problems with having to use PSIP team altogether, finding a friend with a couple of coupons and buying the Zinwells seems the way to go.
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post #215 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

I tested the Zinwell ZAT and it worked flawlessly. The clock lost about 20 seconds over two weeks time, but that's still a lot more accurate than how my DTVpal operates (randomly gaining or losing an hour).

I'm selling my three DTVpals as soon as I can list them on Ebay. I might keep one for a spare... we'll see how it turns out.

Thanks for the info! I can definitely live with losing 10 seconds/week. I hope to buy some Zinwells and sell my DTVPals as you described if others have had the same luck as you will the Zinwell.
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post #216 of 1146 Old 09-08-2008, 06:43 PM
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Mine is due for delivery Thursday. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin.
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post #217 of 1146 Old 09-09-2008, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Why do those used VHS tapes that the rental stores sell so often have that problem?

Because they've been played by a lot of different people in a lot of different machines. When I used to do all of my recording and playback in one VCR I seldom had tracking problems. I then instituted a new methodology whereby I did all of my recording on multiple machines dedicated to recording and played the tapes on one machine dedicated to playback. Even with new equipment and tapes, I had a lot of problems with tapes recorded on one machine having tracking problems on another. One of the things I like about switching to DVD recorders is that doesn't happen anymore. I'm just concerned about what's going to happen as my equipment ages.
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post #218 of 1146 Old 09-10-2008, 05:44 AM
 
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I always play my tapes on the same machine recorded. Doing that eliminates jitter and time-base errors.
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

But "hundreds of times" for a VHS tape? Doesn't the bottom or top of the picture start warping after being played so many times?

Warping? No. I use high-quality VCRs and S-VHS/D-VHS tape.

These tapes look like live DTV. Often I show tapes to people and they get confused, and forget they are watching a tape.
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DVD+/- RW can be recorded over (with no loss) something like 1,000x, and DVD-RAM 10,000x.

Yeah but none of them will hold 12 hours of video, and still look like Live DTV. Twelve hours on DVD == only 1.6 megabit/s. (Trash video quality.)
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post #219 of 1146 Old 09-10-2008, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

Yeah but none of them will hold 12 hours of video, and still look like Live DTV. Twelve hours on DVD == only 1.6 megabit/s. (Trash video quality.)

True, true.

(I think I may have been wrong about the RW's, at least - maybe more like 1000x.)
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post #220 of 1146 Old 09-10-2008, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golinux View Post

Mine is due for delivery Thursday. I'm looking forward to giving it a spin.

looking forward to reading your first impressions and comparison with the zenith!
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post #221 of 1146 Old 09-11-2008, 05:55 PM
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Zinwell arrived from Solid Signal this afternoon in the original box taped - no extra packaging. Box was a little chewed up but contents were OK.

Remote buttons are even tinier than the Zenith and it took a few minutes to get oriented to where everything was.

Channel scan picked up all my channels, after which I deleted the weather and PBS crafts sub-channels. I prefer 4:3 aspect ratio on my old 19 incher and it was easy to do. Picture alignment is identical to the Zenith - no left shift like reported on the PAL. No VBI observed.

It took a while to figure out why the volume was so low. Had to change from line to RF. Still a bit softer than the Zenith.

All channels were 100% signal quality and strength in the 85-95% range. No breakups observed. It will be interesting to see what happens when the hurricane hits (I'll be on the western edge so lots of wind). PQ is soft compared to the Zenith.

APT is not as easy as the Zenith - it is not passive. ZAT has to be plugged in and the switch to APT made via the menu. IMO it would be easier for me to just connect the two lines and bypass the box rather than the hassle of resetting the menu but then I don't have to do it often.

I much prefer the Zeniths and will probably not use this box that much. It will only be necessary when I want to record on different channels unattended (which isn't often).

Timer tests are for another day. Stay tuned.
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post #222 of 1146 Old 09-11-2008, 08:58 PM
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thanks for the comparison golinux! Most of the time I will just be recording one channel on one night...so i guess i'd be fine with the zenith, but it would nice to set recordings without needing to remember to leave it on the channel you want to record the day before... I guess i will wait for those timer reviews!
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post #223 of 1146 Old 09-11-2008, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheaplikeafox View Post

thanks for the comparison golinux! Most of the time I will just be recording one channel on one night...so i guess i'd be fine with the zenith, but it would nice to set recordings without needing to remember to leave it on the channel you want to record the day before... I guess i will wait for those timer reviews!

Recording with these boxes just isn't as simple as it used to be. In addition to leaving the channel on, you have to make sure the sleep timers won't shut the thing down mid-stream and that the VCR is tuned to channel 3/4 and set to fire at the right time. Fortunately, after a while it gets easier to remember everything that needs to be done.
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post #224 of 1146 Old 09-12-2008, 01:52 PM
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I just did a search and couldn't find the answer. Does the ZAT-970A allow one to manually add a channel without doing a complete re-scan? Also, does it keep the channels found in a scan or added manually when one re-scans?

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post #225 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 08:45 AM
 
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Yes the Zinwell Zat has a manual scan option to add additional channels.

Also:

I reconnected my DTVpal. This piece-of-crap can't even tune in my local NBC that's 15 miles away. Very odd. It can get the long-distance MyNetTV affiliate 50 miles away, but not the local. Confusing behavior. (I also lost stations 6, 10, 29, and 65.)

The DTVpal breaks-up at 55% level. That's somewhat similar to how the Zenith works with its bar, however on the Zenith the bar can be useful for adjusting the antenna, whereas on the DTVpal the information is completely worthless (the strength bar keeps turning off). I wish I hadn't wasted $100 worth of money on three DTVpals.

The software was clearly designed for use on stable satellite signals, not the variability of over-the-air reception.
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post #226 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 03:39 PM
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I tried to read this entire thread but it is too much to digest. Can someone help a newbie. I need to get a converter box before the end of this month and like the Zinwell ZAT because of its 8 event programming feature. I need this to feed my soon to be obsolete DVR's. I live 38 miles from NYC and can get every NYC HDTV channel with my antenna (I have one small HDTV set). Will the Zinwell do the job for me?

I have tried to figure out if there are any other converter boxes that have event program capability (DVTPal????) but cannot get a clue from what is out there.

What are all the post about timer problems? Does this boc have them?

Tony Plachy
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post #227 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALP View Post

I tried to read this entire thread but it is too much to digest. Can someone help a newbie. I need to get a converter box before the end of this month and like the Zinwell ZAT because of its 8 event programming feature. I need this to feed my soon to be obsolete DVR's. I live 38 miles from NYC and can get every NYC HDTV channel with my antenna (I have one small HDTV set). Will the Zinwell do the job for me?

I have tried to figure out if there are any other converter boxes that have event program capability (DVTPal????) but cannot get a clue from what is out there.

What are all the post about timer problems? Does this boc have them?

The Zinwell ZAT-970A should work very for a VCR application. The Timer events are stable and are not deleted or corrupted as the DTVPal does. The Zinwell and DTVPal are the only converter boxes with the Timer feature.
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post #228 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 05:04 PM
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I just tested the timers for the first time:

1. Box turned itself on from standby - yea!

2. Changed channels sequentially - no problem.

3. Since I didn't reset the time manually, the clock is running off PSIP which as noted numerous times is iffy. I have one station that is always fast, today by 6 minutes. Have yet to test setting the time manually.

4. Since I have a functioning brain, I could handle the 24 hr clock. Entering data into the timer events is a little tedious but will get easier the more I do it.

5. Box does not seem to overheat though warmer than the Zenith.

6. Box retained channels and settings after being unplugged for 24 hrs.
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post #229 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pestocat View Post

The Zinwell ZAT-970A should work very for a VCR application. The Timer events are stable and are not deleted or corrupted as the DTVPal does. The Zinwell and DTVPal are the only converter boxes with the Timer feature.

Thank you so very much!

Tony Plachy
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post #230 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ALP View Post

I need to get a converter box before the end of this month and like the Zinwell ZAT because of its 8 event programming feature. I need this to feed my soon to be obsolete DVR's.

What DVR do you have? If it has an IR blaster that can be used to change the channels on an external tuner, there are also a couple of other boxes you might be able to use.
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post #231 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

What DVR do you have? If it has an IR blaster that can be used to change the channels on an external tuner, there are also a couple of other boxes you might be able to use.

I have Panosonic, have to get the models tomorrow, never used an IR blaster before, not sure if the models I have use them.

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post #232 of 1146 Old 09-13-2008, 11:00 PM
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As long as they're not the newer, "EZ" models, and they do have a hard drive, then they should have them. They would've been in the box - whether you still have them or not is another story. You can usually find them online, though.

All of them should be able to change the channels on the CM-7000 CECB tuner, and the EH55V and EH75V will also work the Zenith/Insignia (possibly the RCA, too).

You might still prefer the built-in timers of the Zinwell, but I just thought I'd let you know, because the CM-7000 is regarded here as having possibly the best picture quality, and it has a much better guide than the Zinwell. The Zenith also probably has better PQ than the Zinwell, although the CM's is a little better (over s-video).
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post #233 of 1146 Old 09-14-2008, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

The Zenith also probably has better PQ than the Zinwell.

The period should stop there. These CM boxes may not be as bad as some of the worst CECBs, but with the noticible image shift and breakup on channels received solidly on other CECBs, it's not the best.
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post #234 of 1146 Old 09-15-2008, 02:01 AM
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Maybe not - that's subjective. Personally, I chose the Zenith as the best all-around box in the "Best Box" sticky thread here.

But everything I said about the CM in the above post stands.

And it will work with pretty much all HDD/DVD recorder's IR blasters, while the Zinwell hasn't been shown to work with any - which was the main reason I was suggesting it to him as an alternative to a box with timers.

I'm not knocking the Zinwell in any way - just pointing out to him that there might be other possible alternatives worth considering using his recorder.

And, just for the record, most people here including myself don't have either of those problems that you mentioned with their CM-7000.
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post #235 of 1146 Old 09-15-2008, 07:20 AM
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Guys, Thanks for all of the input, I am leaning towards the Zinwell.

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post #236 of 1146 Old 09-15-2008, 09:48 AM
 
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If I had the option I'd rather use an IR Blaster with CM7000 versus a box with built-in timer. That way the VCR is in completely control of its recording.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

Quote:


The Zenith also probably has better PQ than the Zinwell, although the CM's is a little better (over s-video).

These CM boxes may not be as bad as some of the worst CECBs, but with the noticible image shift and breakup on channels received solidly on other CECBs, it's not the best.

?????. My Channel Master pulls-in the same channels as my Zenith DTT900, and the CM resists drops-outs on weak stations where the Zenith just freezes up. The CM also handles multipath and noise better.

Plus it has S-video output which provides DVD quality...
...versus the Zenith's composite output (better than VHS but still blurred).
Rammitinski was correct in his original assessment, and that's why I restored his qoute to its full version, instead of the censored version.
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post #237 of 1146 Old 09-15-2008, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

If I had the option I'd rather use an IR Blaster with CM7000 versus a box with built-in timer. That way the VCR is in completely control of its recording.

True. And you only have to set one timer rather than two for each recording. And you don't have to worry about any discrepancies in the clocks on the two (if that's what you're saying).
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post #238 of 1146 Old 09-15-2008, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrictroy View Post

If I had the option I'd rather use an IR Blaster with CM7000 versus a box with built-in timer. That way the VCR is in completely control of its recording. ?????. My Channel Master pulls-in the same channels as my Zenith DTT900, and the CM resists drops-outs on weak stations where the Zenith just freezes up. The CM also handles multipath and noise better.

Well, arent you lucky. The PQ on my CM-7000's appear to be about the same as any of the other boxes I've tried even through S-video, and in fact the channel info/menus are a little blurrier than most. I get no more channels with the CM than I do with any of the other CECBs I own. Of course all of that pales in comparison to the left-shifted image and signal dropouts i get, despite 100% signal strength. My Insignia (Zenith) seems to hold steady and have a fairly crisp picture in comparison.
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post #239 of 1146 Old 09-16-2008, 06:48 AM
 
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My Zenith image looks blurred. My CM looks like I'm watching a DVD.

My Zenith has dropouts on my rabbit ear & loop-equipped portable, where the CM does not.
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post #240 of 1146 Old 09-16-2008, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golinux View Post

I just tested the timers for the first time:

1. Box turned itself on from standby - yea!

2. Changed channels sequentially - no problem.

3. Since I didn't reset the time manually, the clock is running off PSIP which as noted numerous times is iffy. I have one station that is always fast, today by 6 minutes. Have yet to test setting the time manually.

4. Since I have a functioning brain, I could handle the 24 hr clock. Entering data into the timer events is a little tedious but will get easier the more I do it.

5. Box does not seem to overheat though warmer than the Zenith.

6. Box retained channels and settings after being unplugged for 24 hrs.

With regard to your #3, have you had a chance yet to test whether or not the clock remains stable when you set it manually? PSIP will always be wrong in my broadcast area. Thanks for your help!
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