Zinwell ZAT-950A - Page 8 - AVS Forum
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post #211 of 220 Old 05-07-2009, 09:16 AM
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Those Zinnet guys were wishy-washy about the 950As so I don't know if they'll make any more or not. Could be they're trying to clear out inventory of the old stuff. Could be this will be the end of CECBs for Zinwell. Could be the 970As provide them higher profit margins (lower cost to produce, cheaper parts). Does anyone find it fishy that the newer model has a lower model number? I've seen this with other CECB mfgers (ex: APEX) which I suspect is a marketing trick to help clear out the older models. Anyhow, I'm afraid if I wait on a 950A then the prices will shoot up as we approach the 'new' deadline like last time (I paid $57 for a 950A and a few weeks later it dropped to $45 right before they disappeared (Solid Signal, 970As are now $47)). Have you guys observed any quality/performance differences between 950As and recent 970As, esp in regards to reception (tuner) and pic (decoder)?

On the antenna issue, the stations are predominantly UHF with just a few venturing into the upper VHF band. UHF is more sensitive to weather (moisture/absorption band). Where I live (north TX), in the springtime there's more cloudiness in the morning. Those indoor antennas make the effect more pronounced and sensitive to your body movements and other indoor interference. I have an attic antenna and don't observe any of this but when I first hooked up to an indoor antenna it was all over the place as I moved around. You can find out what the low and high freq stations are in your area (antennaweb) to do a comparison experiment; try to use ones from the same tower/direction. Be sure to switch to proper VHF dipole and UHF loop for each freq (crossover around ch 13/14).

Do you guys like the Apex boxes? I saw they were feature-rich but when I looked at some customer reviews on retailer websites there were a lot of quality complaints so I steered away. Also didn't make the Best Pic Quality category on ConsumerReports but it wasn't that bad (plus S-vid capable). The brand name rings a bell from cheap stuff in grocery/drug stores and Walmart, but from what I've read here Zinwells sold in Albertsons in some cities.

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post #212 of 220 Old 05-14-2009, 04:41 PM
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Just wanted to thank everyone on this thread to steer me to purchase the 950a. It is an EXCELLENT converter box. No sure if it is the silicon tuner, but it blows away my Phillips HD 3510a tuner. This one locks on the frequency and never budges. Too bad they don't have a HD version of this tuner. I also like the timers to record to my Panny HDD DVD Recorder. Nice setup now. Thank you again.
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post #213 of 220 Old 05-18-2009, 02:38 PM
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My timers had been mostly stable until late last week. On Thursday, I found that all 6 of my timers had their stations reset to either 58-3 or 63-1 (Highest virtual channels). There were also two new channels added, called "Data 1" and Data 2", both located on channel 1-0. Weird.

I fixed the timers and removed the nonsense channels, but when I went to check the first daily timer to fire this morning, all of the timers were turned off and the channels were all set to 4-1 (lowest virtual channel). I feel like throwing this POS out of the window, but there is no better alternative out there in this price range. Guess I'll have to get in the habit of checking the timers daily.
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post #214 of 220 Old 05-19-2009, 12:58 AM
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You must have sneezed or something. Either that or everytime the channel list changes, expect the timers to become corrupt multiple times until the list/timer/signal strength/weather/your health/your luck stabilizes.
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post #215 of 220 Old 05-29-2009, 02:09 PM
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I have daily timers on 49.1 and 58.2 that always seems to get messed up. The other day, for some reason 49.4, 49.5, 58.4, and 58.5 were added as subchannels by the TV stations and were picked up by my 950A by that evening. None of the new subchannels is broadcasting a signal. I thought for sure that the timers would be toast, but they weren't affected.
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post #216 of 220 Old 05-30-2009, 01:37 PM
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Just curious, were there any names associated with channels 49.4, 49.5, 58.4, and 58.5? Maybe the 950A timers only become altered when there are channel names changed/added/removed to the list. This is just a guess of course since the 950A usually does not even tune to a channel if there was no signal previously found at that location.
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post #217 of 220 Old 05-31-2009, 02:52 PM
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All of the new sub-channels, on both stations, are named "Future". 49.2 and 49.3, which have existed as empty subchannels for a few months, are also called "Future". Both channels (58 and 49) are owned by the same company.
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post #218 of 220 Old 06-01-2009, 10:34 PM
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Well, my timers became corrupt again sometime this past weekend. Cannot say that I am surprised since I was under-the-weather this past few days. Seriously though, you will drive yourself insane trying to figure this nonsense that they call timers.
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post #219 of 220 Old 06-02-2009, 11:33 PM
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I found out a long time ago its better not to have any favorites or delete any channels [even if it has a "bad or no signal" box] that has worked for me in regards to keeping the timers in line... I also check it every week or so.

Now if this box could somehow decode QAM I'd wet myself in joy
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post #220 of 220 Old 06-03-2009, 01:07 AM
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I do think I have any favorites, nor do I ever deleted any channels. The thing just has a mind of its own. Once the timers becomes corrupt, it happens seems to happen again within 24 hours. This box is simply both annoying and unreliable.

If the 950A did have a QAM tuner, the box would be even more annoying as it would probably constantly display the "bad or no signal" message even though the signal is from a coax cable.
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