Apex DT502 - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 343 Old 02-01-2009, 05:34 AM
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I didn't catch that.
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post #182 of 343 Old 02-01-2009, 06:05 AM
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I've been using this box for almost a week and it can't handle multipath, the zenith box outperforms this box by far in this area. The zenith box picks 11 channels in my area while the apex only could pick 7.
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post #183 of 343 Old 02-04-2009, 08:55 AM
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I stopped by the CC in Chambersburg, PA yesterday and they have about a dozen or so Zenith's on their shelf, but the big surprise was that they had just put out a 5' high full pallet of APEX DT502's (must have been a hundred plus), for about $47.00.
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post #184 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 12:12 AM
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Ive also have been using the DT502 for a week and overall, like it except for not being able to add channels after the initial scan. I like the EPG, the two signal meters, and the interfaces on the back better than on any of my other CECBs.

Its really hard to say if its as sensitive as my Zenith. And I would say its a little warmer than the Zenith, but only by maybe 10 degrees.

About the only place I can clearly notice the S-Video vs composite difference is at the menu. I dont see that green tinge on blacks like others have mentioned, but Im using a 27 inch CRT.
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post #185 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsd_us3r View Post

any updates on that?

Earlier I had reported loss of sound on one station and the possible need for a warranty return. Well, I've been busy and did not get around to it immediately. Performed some more testing this weekend and found that the sound has returned on this particular channel. I didn't do anything special, it just returned. Apex had been off of about a week and disconnected from power... Perhaps the hard reboot did it? Anyways, it's back up to par!
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post #186 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRick View Post

Earlier I had reported loss of sound on one station and the possible need for a warranty return. Well, I've been busy and did not get around to it immediately. Performed some more testing this weekend and found that the sound has returned on this particular channel. I didn't do anything special, it just returned. Apex had been off of about a week and disconnected from power... Perhaps the hard reboot did it? Anyways, it's back up to par!

I want to contact apex and ask them if is it possible to add to these boxes the Atlantic time zone. Do you happen to know how can I contact them?


I have been using this box for more than a week and so far these are the little things I have noticed from using it. The PQ compared to the zenith is a little more sharper. This might sound good but in fact is not, I've noticed that do to the amount of sharpness some artifacts are introduced into the image. Still, these artifacts won't bother the average TV viewer.

The other thing I have noticed is that while using the S-Video output if the TV broadcast is SD the image doesn't look that good. In fact, switching the output to RCA improves the image quality. This doesn't happens with 1080p HDTV broadcast. Actu
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post #187 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 12:07 PM
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Here is the support page for Apex: http://www.apexdigitalinc.com/support.asp

Have you registered your box? if so, I believe you can contact support via e-mail. I personally have not contacted Apex so don't know the best contact method.

Nice summary review! I like the signal strength meter of the Apex much better than my Zenith.
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post #188 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRick View Post

Here is the support page for Apex: http://www.apexdigitalinc.com/support.asp

Have you registered your box? if so, I believe you can contact support via e-mail. I personally have not contacted Apex so don't know the best contact method.

Nice summary review! I like the signal strength meter of the Apex much better than my Zenith.

Thanks for the info. I like the meter too, I find it to be more responsive than the zenith meter and having a signal strength and quality is a plus.
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post #189 of 343 Old 02-05-2009, 10:29 PM
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Quote:


The remote is really picky/directional, in order for it to work you have to be directly pointing to the converter box. This doesn't happen with my zenith remote control.

Yep, the zenith has better range too.

I do like the two signal meters. My Sansonic FT300A has those too.
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post #190 of 343 Old 02-08-2009, 08:18 AM
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Hi Guys,

I was originally planning on buying the zenith/insignia box but it has apparently been discontinued (none of the stores around here have it anymore and no one is expecting to get more in stock).

Instead I picked up two of the Apex DT502 converters. So far I'm quite pleased with the one I've tested. I've got a pair of cheap rabbit ears hooked up and it finds way more stations than I could get via analog. There are two stations it's having a hard time with, so I'll probably try to get a better antenna. Over all though, it's working quite well.

I did notice something that might be of interest to people here. In the setup menus, mine has an option for manually adding channels. I haven't tried using it yet, but it sounds like this was originally a big complaint over this box. Perhaps the firmware has been updated?

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post #191 of 343 Old 02-08-2009, 09:03 AM
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Are you sure it's not the "Manual Channel Set" option. This is used for blocking channels you're not interested in.

If you think there is a new addition to this model, please post the firmware, manufacture date, and S/N minus the last five or six digits.

Both versions of DT502's I own, have the same Firmware : X1.00-06132008
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post #192 of 343 Old 02-08-2009, 11:22 AM
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Picked up one of these for $0.01 at Best Buy last night (used the image of the CompUSA ad posted in this thread). The build quality of the unit is better than I expected. The remote is unbelievably bad, it doesn't work unless it has a direct line of site and I'm within 4-5 feet of the unit. I have an universal remote, but it doesn't have any Apex codes. Does anyone know another set of codes that work with this unit?

Was unable to pull in a single channel, but this is mostly because I'm only using rabbit ears, which aren't good enough to pull in stations from 42 miles away (at least in this area). I'm on the first level of a three story apartment complex, so roof mounting is out.

Will probably be picking up an amplified antenna soon so I can actually try the DT502 out.
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post #193 of 343 Old 02-08-2009, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nobi125 View Post

Picked up one of these for $0.01 at Best Buy last night (used the image of the CompUSA ad posted in this thread). The build quality of the unit is better than I expected. The remote is unbelievably bad, it doesn't work unless it has a direct line of site and I'm within 4-5 feet of the unit. I have an universal remote, but it doesn't have any Apex codes. Does anyone know another set of codes that work with this unit?

Was unable to pull in a single channel, but this is mostly because I'm only using rabbit ears, which aren't good enough to pull in stations from 42 miles away (at least in this area). I'm on the first level of a three story apartment complex, so roof mounting is out.

Will probably be picking up an amplified antenna soon so I can actually try the DT502 out.

I think someone at Apex made the presumption that all these boxes would be put on top of a television. If you look at the remote the sending unit points up. Compensate for it either with placement of the box or your hand and it works just fine.
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post #194 of 343 Old 02-09-2009, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Are you sure it's not the "Manual Channel Set" option. This is used for blocking channels you're not interested in.

If you think there is a new addition to this model, please post the firmware, manufacture date, and S/N minus the last five or six digits.

Both versions of DT502's I own, have the same Firmware : X1.00-06132008

You are probably right, I'll check it out when I get home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nobi125 View Post

Picked up one of these for $0.01 at Best Buy last night (used the image of the CompUSA ad posted in this thread). The build quality of the unit is better than I expected. The remote is unbelievably bad, it doesn't work unless it has a direct line of site and I'm within 4-5 feet of the unit. I have an universal remote, but it doesn't have any Apex codes. Does anyone know another set of codes that work with this unit?

Was unable to pull in a single channel, but this is mostly because I'm only using rabbit ears, which aren't good enough to pull in stations from 42 miles away (at least in this area). I'm on the first level of a three story apartment complex, so roof mounting is out.

Will probably be picking up an amplified antenna soon so I can actually try the DT502 out.

I believe the dt502 can be partially controlled with the same code as a Hughes satellite receiver. Not all of the buttons/functions work right though afaik. You'll probably need a learning remote to be able to get everything to work.

See this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1097324
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post #195 of 343 Old 02-12-2009, 06:21 PM
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Decided to stop by CC and BestBuy recently to see what CECBs they had. Sorry to say, CC had NO Zenith DTT901 and BB had NO Insignia clones. They BOTH had ONLY Apex DT502 converters.

I did notice that the CC "Going-Out-Of-Business" price for the Apex was $47.99, while BB had the same unit for $49.99. Not a big savings, but still something. Did not see anyone buying any, so maybe they are waiting for the last minute.... lol.....
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post #196 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

NEWS FLASH!!

I'm finding that this box locks up regularly and requires a power down to reboot. Sometimes that means unplugging the DT502 from the outlet. It retains all the information that was present when it freezes.

I'm going to exchange the box to see if I might have a defective unit.

System Information:
Software Version: X1.00-06132008
Hardware Version: 001
Loader Version: 11230

UPDATE NOTE: This problem seems to be indicative of either multi-path, marginal signal, or outside interference. When signal levels are improved, the problem goes away.

I'm experiencing the same problem the quote above with the same system information. The only way to get this box to work is to power it down then power it up. Sometimes it work after powering up or it requires a second or a third power down. It does that on a daily basis regardless of which channel is selected. The screen turns black and white with a small box in the center that says "No Signal". This even happens on the strongest stations that I receive.
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post #197 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 03:51 AM
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I just bought this over another model they had at the store because it was $45 vs $49.99. So far so good, but what's with the red light when the power's OFF? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of, it's annoying and a waste of electricity. Is there a way to disable it?
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post #198 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitriuz View Post

I just bought this over another model they had at the store because it was $45 vs $49.99. So far so good, but what's with the red light when the power's OFF? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of, it's annoying and a waste of electricity. Is there a way to disable it?

And how is that different from other electronic devices? I have dozens of devices that have a red or blue light when the unit is off/standby.

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post #199 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahmednabil View Post

I'm experiencing the same problem the quote above with the same system information. The only way to get this box to work is to power it down then power it up. Sometimes it work after powering up or it requires a second or a third power down. It does that on a daily basis regardless of which channel is selected. The screen turns black and white with a small box in the center that says "No Signal". This even happens on the strongest stations that I receive.

This problem is only associated with the first run of this model. Check the serial number and if it starts with letters instead of numbers, you have a first run.
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post #200 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

This problem is only associated with the first run of this model. Check the serial number and if it starts with letters instead of numbers, you have a first run.

The serial number on my Apex DT502 starts with 22091... According to your explanation, that doesn't seem to be a first run.
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post #201 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 01:14 PM
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post #202 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 02:32 PM
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you could always go inside and cut the bulb out
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post #203 of 343 Old 02-14-2009, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

And how is that different from other electronic devices? I have dozens of devices that have a red or blue light when the unit is off/standby.

Yeah I guess you're right. It's just annoying because it's on top of my television and is so damn bright.
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post #204 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vitriuz View Post

I just bought this over another model they had at the store because it was $45 vs $49.99. So far so good, but what's with the red light when the power's OFF? That's the dumbest thing I ever heard of, it's annoying and a waste of electricity. Is there a way to disable it?

The amount of electricity a led consumes/waste is less or comparable to what the box consumes/waste while on stanby. The box when you turn it off is still on, thats how you can "turn on" the box with your remote control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vitriuz View Post

Yeah I guess you're right. It's just annoying because it's on top of my television and is so damn bright.

Nothing a black electric tape can't solve.
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post #205 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 11:47 AM
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CECB's should have LCD's with the channel displayed when the unit is on. When off, there should be nothing lit. Instead, they have too-bright LED's, and some never turn off even when the CECB is not being used. Is there any CECB with a LCD display on the box, or is this prohibited?

Anyway, Target has boxes for $5 after coupon this week. Not sure if everybody carries it, but my local target was selling the Apex DT502 for this price.
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post #206 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 12:12 PM
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There are no CECB's with channel display. They are all OSD's.
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post #207 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 01:25 PM
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Software Ver. X1.00-06132008
Hardware Ver. 001
Loader Ver. 11230

- I've been using the DT502 every day for a couple weeks now, here are my notes.

- The number one complaint I have is that the digital converter boxes in general cannot be programmed to turn on, select a certain channel at a certain time of day and then turn off. We can no longer program our VCRs etc. to record multiple shows in a repeatable format. Seems like it would have been such a simple thing to implement - it's only firmware. On the DT502 there's the epg/'program reminder' thing that requires manual choice/setup every time every day and requires that the unit be on all the time generating excessive heat in the process. The ability to program and record shows in a table/list format was around 20+ years ago, why was this capability not built in to the CECB spec. Only about 1% of all the converter boxes out there have any kind of 'feature' for VCR programming.

Pros:

- Overall the channels are much clearer of course than analog. I live in an apartment complex that is surrounded by other commercial buildings and the traditional analog tv signals were a royal pain to try and 'tune-in' every day. When a signal does briefly fade, I do prefer the digital effect of the picture standing still for a few seconds rather than the analog fuzz-out audio-buzz snow, rolling picture double images etc. etc. etc. goodbye analog.

- The converter box volume control feature is nice to have.

- The aspect ratio features are nice once you get them to work. On an older 4:3 tv the feature to 'zoom' is nice but doesn't work out-of-the-box defaults; you have to make sure you tell the box you're on a 4:3 tv.

- At least the box itself is a rectangular/square shape instead of some fancy-mickey-mouse rounded etc. shape that you can't stack anything else on top of. Too many product designs are market-driven instead of quality and usability-driven.

- Picked up 20+ channels pretty quickly with a regular RCA pre-digital-era antenna.

- Overall, I like the layout of the remote buttons, but see 'annoyances' indicated below.

- Good price. Best Buy gave me a price-match deal on the box a couple weeks ago.

Cons:

- With this Apex unit, you have to press remote buttons two or three times for about half of the user actions. The remote improperly requires 'firm' 'exact-center' button presses each time and is NOT a strong-signal 'forgiving' remote like the majority of products on the market. I'm getting a much stronger thumb-workout lately. The remote has to be fairly close to box unit and the remote has to be pointing exactly straight at the box. Checked the remote's batteries, both are at 1.6v so it's not the batteries, it's the "design". About 25% of the time the remote buttons are not 'accepted' by the unit and if it's not pointed straight-on it performs a different random function other than the button you're pressing.

- The converter box runs hot. Hard to believe that after all the laptop battery recalls the past five years, that in 2009, products are still being released to the public that run hot. The bottom of this unit is reaching untouchable 115+ deg. F temperatures after only two hours in a normal ambient 75 deg. F room. In my experience, products that run hot are a result of an inefficient design typically produced by junior engineers. I too had to add double-thick sticky-feet pads on the bottom of the unit so it would have more airspace underneath.

- The converter box is slow to react to remote button presses. Common channel change operations take an annoying 1 to 5 seconds to actually show up on the screen. Hard to believe it takes that long to gather one-screen's worth of data, perhaps it's unavoidable.

- The "Program Guide" is displayed in Eastern Time Zone EST, even though I already have the box configured to my time zone which is Central, CST. The "Program Guide" indicates info for only less than one day in advance. Can't 'choose' reminders for a program while in the full guide, have to 'exit' and go to the 'simple' guide only then you can 'choose' a 'favorite' 'reminder'.

- The converter box is apparently not internally shielded well. I have several other VCRs TVs etc all in the same proximity and this converter box is the only unit that generates wavy-line visual noise on the screen (the picture looks good, just has this line-noise imposed on it) - not a problem with my existing 'analog' tv/vcr devices. Had to move it further away from a UPS unit.

- The power on/off LED is annoying. It's 2009, have they not learned yet that RED is for indicating emergencies, problems, and warnings. A red led should not be used for power-off status, and it's too bright i.e. not adjustable. I have clock radios that were built 20 years ago that have adjustable LED brightness. The power led should go from green/on to blue/off for example - with brightness control.

- Visually the converter box has a problem with 'bleaching' anything that is white or almost white on the screen and adjusting contrast does *not* improve this problem, it must be happening at the D/A level within (not properly calibrated) circuitry inside the box. Since as of this writing we're still pre-Feb. 17th I can quickly switch back and forth between Digital and analog and sure enough, any thing very white becomes overly-white and 'bleaches' out any detail within the 'white' image - kind of the effect you get when you try and video tape a tv screen with a camcorder. It's happening internal to the box and tv contrast settings don't fully correct it.

- When viewing the 'program guide' it's in the wrong time zone, and it displays 'no data' every single time even though 2 secs. later it *does* display data for the selected channel. This is all to common, poorly/lazy designed firmware - rather than test for a no data condition, just display it anyway and eventually write the data on top of that 'no data' text. Lazy firmware programming. Annoys the user.

- The remote again. Just about every other remote and or telephone keypad on the planet has the zero "0" positioned below the eight "8" - but not Apex, perhaps they have to reinvent the wheel and place the "0" below the "7", please, adhere to long-time known standards.

- If you inadvertently press the wrong channel or wrong button on the remote you're scolded with 'WRONG CHANNEL !!" on the screen - really, do we really need exclamation marks here? A simple 'Channel not found.' message would not only be more appropriate but would suffice. For pete's sake, let us select a "wrong' channel. On my vcr I could always select ch. 33 for example whenever I wanted a quick temporary blank-out of the screen *and* volume mute.

- More EPG nonsense. Apparently the 'reminder' "feature'" is unreliable. I've selected that feature numerous times each day over the past week so I could program the vcr to record a show and apparently if the broadcaster updates the EPG data, the box loses the "reminder" and it will *not* therefore switch to the channel you selected as a reminder. Very disappointing.

- The 'Sleep Timer' is not useful for VCR recording since 4 hrs is not long enough. Why a fixed list of choices. Why not a text box where the user can just enter the # of sleep timer hours desired i.e. 20 hours if desired. Seems it would be just as easy to code in firmware as anything else.

- The OSD font is way too small. You have to have better-than-perfect 20/15 vision to read it. For another 50 cents they could have implemented an easy OSD font-size feature and choice in the setup menu.

- I've noticed that the sound level varies up and down randomly on it's own on some channels at unpredictable times. Never had this problem w/ analog. Don't know at this point if it's due to the box, or the broadcaster(s).

- I personally do not like the 'ergonomic' rounded-bottom shape on the remote. A remote does not have to be 'rounded' on the bottom, it makes it impossible to stack any other remote on top of it on the table. It rocks side to side and can't stack-up my remotes like usual (to take up less space).

In conclusion, compared to analog reception, the picture is really great on every channel, works well with an existing old-fashioned 'analog antenna', the converter box has nice 'features' but it seems to be a somewhat sketchy or untested design perhaps a result of a junior design team that lacks experience, lacks testing, and a result of keeping the price low.

From online research I gather the Apex DT502 is probably overall better than half of the other converter boxes out there but I won't be buying another one, I'll be trying a different brand next, probably the DtvPal which apparently has pseudo timer-programming features. Hope my review and notes can help someone make an informed purchase, but before anyone gets ambitious about commenting on my write-up please keep in mind I have ~30+ years' experience with consumer electronics.
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post #208 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 04:04 PM
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As you mentioned, there are only two other CECB's that allow for event programming on different stations - the Pal/Plus and the Zinwell (which I have).

Today, I had one station on at near 100% reception, yet when I reviewed the tape of that program, found pixillation and less than 100% reception at various times.

Is the Apex 502 you have the most recent model? The older versions did not have vent holes on top resulting in higher temperatures, newer models supposedly do not get as hot due to better placement of ventilation of holes.

A friend showed me his Apex and I found it somewhat similar to the Insignia with its straightfoward approach and easy to use operation. The remote does have more buttons to press to more directly access actions, such as moving up and down from one's favorite channels. (The Zinwell has a useful unique way of dealing with favorites - it allows the user to put selected channels into various favorite groups. which can be accessed apart from all other channels.)

I did not like the way the display OSD blocks out the upper half of the screen's program visuals. I thought the Insignia put the display on the bottom portion of the screen - I mistakingly was thinking of the way the Zinwell handles this - and better, allowing the user to change the opacity of the OSD, so he can both view the display information AND the program visual behind it. The Insignia also puts the display info in the upper half of the screen, but it is a smaller display.

My friend was able to move through various stations with the remote without any more delay than channel station changing on the Insignia or the Zinwell.

I noticed that the Apex box just has a power on/off button - no channel stations buttons on the box like the Insignia and the Zinwell. There are times when it is helpful in having the option of being able to access those functions by way of the box and not with the remote.

I will be posting on another topic on another thread - just as you are looking for another CECB that allows channel switching, I am looking for one that provides a more detailed EPG.

How far out does the Apex EPG go? My understanding is that it goes 12 hours, that is, if the stations provided information. For the Insignia, at least half to 3/4 of the time, the EPG provides no information. Today on Sunday afternoon, when I did a EPG search, only a few stations out of 16 had any program information.

Regarding the red light for the "off" position, other CECBs use that color to indicate "not in use." Even my surge protectors (three) have red lights lit to indicate that they are in use. The Insignia uses a large blue color for "on," the Zinwell has a small green color.

If you were to recommend another CECB that offered detailed EPG (both in hours out and program description - I'd like more than just the name of a program), offered solid reception, which one would you recommend?
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post #209 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 06:46 PM
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I get EPG information for one station out three days on my DT502. At this point most stations are only out 12 hours or until Midnight.
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post #210 of 343 Old 02-15-2009, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr100watt View Post

I did not like the way the display OSD blocks out the upper half of the screen's program visuals. I thought the Insignia put the display on the bottom portion of the screen - I mistakingly was thinking of the way the Zinwell handles this - and better, allowing the user to change the opacity of the OSD, so he can both view the display information AND the program visual behind it. The Insignia also puts the display info in the upper half of the screen, but it is a smaller display.

One of the nice features of the Zinwell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr100watt View Post

I noticed that the Apex box just has a power on/off button - no channel stations buttons on the box like the Insignia and the Zinwell. There are times when it is helpful in having the option of being able to access those functions by way of the box and not with the remote.

This can be remedied through home modification. The Sunkey (same hardware without an internal power supply) has channel UP/DOWN buttons.
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