One coupon left - what should I get? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:24 PM
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mr100watt,

As soon as my DTVPal Plus unit(s) are out of warranty... I'm modifying the casing to allow some airflow...
(More than likely adding slotting at the seam between the upper and lower casing , and along seam were the backplate meets the upper casing, near the tuner section to make the mod look "factory".)

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1137726


PS: For those that don't think cooling is important-

A: Keep in mind the DTVPal series units only have a 90-day warranty...and Dish's concern during the design phase was more than likely not focused on the "long-term".

B: Other units on the market of a similar design have cooling "slots".
(EG: Zinewell 950A/970A for example - it having a plastic casing, a silicon tuner on the 950A, and both using a external power supply just like the DTVPal Plus...)


.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:16 AM
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mr100watt,

Everything you point out about the APEX units has been discussed in the DT502 and DT250 threads. The DT502 has ventilation on four sides. It does do more than three hours of EPG data. Channel selection buttons can be implemented at home as a hack, if you're so inclined.

DT502/DT250/DT250A Thread

NOTE: I believe all APEX CECB's come with S-Video and Smart-Antenna. There was also a tuner change between the DT250 and DT502. APEX went from a Thompson DTT76852 to a Samsung DTVS22D. I don't know what they did with the DT250A.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsyd View Post


Cons:
Viewing the guide stops audio/video*
...
*This is silly, since if you are looking at the menu, the TR-40 can display a small PIP of the current channel, do the same for the guide.

Actually, I think that there is a fairly good reason that the DTV Pal Plus or TR-40 shut down the video and audio when you enter the main program guide. In the full guide mode, they shut down the audio and video so that they can use the tuner to sneek peaks at any channels that need to have their guide info updated. Remember that all this guide info is cached in memory, but the box is not psychic, it does need to have tuned in each channel at some point in the recent past to present accurate guide data. If you have been surfing through the channels, the guide for those channels will already be up to date, but if some channels were not accessed recently, the box will need to tune them it in for a moment to get the current guide data. This insures the most accurate possible guide info, with no 'not available' entries. Other boxes don't need to do this because they only display the guide data for one channel at a time.

With normal channel surfing, the guide will usually be reasonably up to date anyway, so the dish designers did provide an alternative mode of browsing the guide that does not grab the tuner, and lets you continue to view the program you are watching.

If you want to continue watching the channel you are viewing while browsing the guide, just bring up the guide in the single line 'browse' mode using the right arrow shortcut key on your remote.

This gives a compact semitransparent single line banner version of the guide. You can then scroll the guide down through the other channels as usual with the arrow keys without interrupting your program viewing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsyd View Post

Cons:
...
Captioning only works some of the time. Can't easily switch, or even select the "Text" option found on the Zenith.

The close captioning issue is due to confusion about how captioning support should be provide, thanks to screwed up standards from the FCC and NTIA.

Things were bound to get a bit more confused, because there are now two different ways of doing close captioning, the original EIA-608 system for Analog NTSC video, and a new EIA-708 system for Digital ATSC video.

The older EIA-608 system inserted digitally encoded caption info into the VBI (Vertical Blanking Interval) line 21, while the newer EIA-708 system muxes it directly into the digital MPEG video stream.

The ATSC spec also lets the older EIA-608 captions ride along inside the newer EIA-708 data stream, so a DTV broadcast can potentially have both captioning systems in use at the same time.

The NTIA CECB specs require that all boxes will be able to display -
Quote:


Close Captioning information as required by the FCC’s Rules in 47CFR15.122 and incorporate the CEA 708/608 standard.

Hey, that sounds good! Full support for both the old and the new standard, right?

Sorry, wrong!

Unfortunately, what the NTIA really said, was to do it like the FCC says, and the "best government money can buy" FCC doesn't actually require that these converter boxes to do much of anything specific with the captioning data, except to pass it through to the external television receiver so that the television receiver can decode them like it did with the old off the air analog video. Anything else is strictly optional.

So the NTIA had to back peddle and clarify the requirement on their web site FAQ which says -

Quote:


. . . converter boxes are required only to encode the EIA-608 captions onto line 21 of the analog video output; creation of captions by the converter box is an optional capability.

What this means is that the only close captioning support required is to pass the older 608 captions through in the video for decoding by the television receiver (they are NOT required to be decoded internally and turned into text in the CECB unit itself).

So, which captions each box will or will not decode internally was left completely up to the manufacture. Some do the minimum, and decode nothing in the box itself leaving that up to the television receiver; some go all out and decode everything, while others only decode either the older EIA-608 captions or the newer EIA-708 captions.

The only consistent requirement is that all boxes should at least pass through the older EIA-608 captions for decoding in the television receiver.

The DTV Pal Plus (and your TR-40) do provide for full decoding of the new EIA-708 captions. These captions have a larger more flexible character set, with multiple font support, so they look much nicer. I guess that the Dish designers were either not aware that the new Digital Captions are currently not as well supported as the older CC1 captions, or they just figured that if you needed the old EIA-608 captions, you could just set your television to decode them like you would for over the air video.

The FCC does require that when the newer EIA-708 captions are available, the older CC1 608 captions should also be available,

Quote:


All captioned programs must include the basic analog-equivalent ("basic" or "608") captions.

but not the other way around (the older captions can be present without being matched by the newer ones).

Quote:


A DTV broadcaster may also include advanced digital ("advanced" or "708") captions,

(Quotes are from the FCC publication "converterboxfeatures.pdf")

This is really stupid. The already required translation from 708->608 is the more difficult one since sometimes the new captions will have characters that the older captions can't use. By comparison, going from 608->708 is always a simple matter of just copying the character data, since the newer captions can ALWAYS encode everything in the older ones (because they use a larger character set).

But the FCC quite stupidly balks at guaranteeing that both captions will always be available -

As a result, occasionally programs only have the old style EIA-608 captions and this is what creates the situation were some boxes will show captions, while others don't (the Dish Network boxes look for the newer EIA-708 captions)

If your television also supports close caption decoding (as many sets do), and you find trouble with programs not showing up captioned that you KNOW should be captioned, then just turn on the captioning option on your television.

This trick should work with ANY CECB box, because the passed through captioning channel is always the older (and more widely used) CC1 channel.

Hopefully, in the near future, the FCC will realize that they have screwed this up, and require that the CC1 and Digital 1 captions always match, then this issue will go away. Till then, if you run into this, I suggest you just use the caption decoder built into your TV (the fonts are usually larger and easier to read anyway.)

- Delphin
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Old 05-21-2009, 07:16 PM
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I have 2 coupons to use and need to get a (2) CECB. Do they have an option to pay the difference for a better box?

I like the features of the DTVPal Plus, but all the website I have read review them ranked low on reliability. What kind of experiences have most of you had with the DTVPal Plus?

Seems like the CM-7000 is a good option too? Any pointers would be appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishdoc View Post

I have 2 coupons to use and need to get a (2) CECB. Do they have an option to pay the difference for a better box?

I like the features of the DTVPal Plus, but all the website I have read review them ranked low on reliability. What kind of experiences have most of you had with the DTVPal Plus?

Seems like the CM-7000 is a good option too? Any pointers would be appreciated.
Thanks

If you need a CECB to change stations for a recording programs, there are three from what I understand that will assist you - Apex 502, Zinwell 970/950, and the PP.

If you have a decent antenna and don't have to concern yourself with weak reception, I heartily recommend the PP due to its EPG (grid display makes viewing what's on various tv stations at one glance much easier than other CECB EPG display). If your reception isn't so great due to your location and/or antenna hookup, be aware that the PP reception may break up more than you are willing to tolerate. Same thing with the Zinwell, which is easy to use, and also allows the user to program it for station switching at a specified time.
The Zinwell just displays "now and next" for programming information, so that may be a determining factor for you. It has been explained that the Apex (502) is a good overall box and allows for stations to be turned to through its "reminder" feature, and has a helpful EPG.

It all depends on what features matter to you most. If the Insignia I have had an EPG other than the "now and next" format, and had a better remote, I would give it an even higher recommendation. I am quite satisfied with its operation and ability to pull in most stations.

As has been posted before, each box has its problems and strengths. Some interfere with its use (surprise turn ons by the box by itself and no buttons on the box for manual intervention at the box level), some enhance use (the superior EPG and ability to program times from that grid, although the Apex has a similar design for programming in a vertical format from what systems2000 replied to one of my posts on this matter).

If you don't have any CECBs, I'd suggest you get one very reliable one, such as an Insignia, or one that gets very reliable reception such as the Channel Master, and another box that will give you more elaborate features such as the PP or Apex. I have had problems with audio synchronization on the Zinwell when it loses its signal even momentarily, so I can't recommend it for anyone unless they can count on constently strong signals. The advantage with the PP is that you get the great EPG along WITH the ability to program it for channel switching.

Do you have any CECBs already? Do you have recorders that you would use your CECBs with? Are you in a good reception area? Do you have decent antennas? Do you need an "s-video" connection?Would you use close captioning often? What features matter most to you?

If you have a concern about the higher cost of some of these boxes, I suggest you forego something else that you normally do for one week or two and use that savings to pay for the extra $10 that a "higher cost" box may be for you. The enjoyment you will get for the foreseeable future for the few extra dollars will be well worth the investment.

Although I was very satisfied with the Insignia, when I discovered that an EPG could display more than "now and next," I felt the constrictive nature of the Insignia, and appreciated being able to be informed of future programs just by clicking one or two options.

Many other boxes display more than just "now and next."
Good luck with your choices.
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Old 05-22-2009, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Delphin, thanks for the explanation on the captioning. I figured it was because different manufacturers were implementing them differently.
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Old 05-26-2009, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishdoc View Post

I have 2 coupons to use and need to get a (2) CECB. Do they have an option to pay the difference for a better box?

I like the features of the DTVPal Plus, but all the website I have read review them ranked low on reliability. What kind of experiences have most of you had with the DTVPal Plus?

Seems like the CM-7000 is a good option too? Any pointers would be appreciated.
Thanks

Of course you can pay the difference (they will honor your coupon as a 40 dollar discount). Where things can get a little awkward, is if you try to then return the box you purchase for a cash refund. The store can't legally give you the 40 dollar coupon amount back as a cash refund, and unlike one of thier own coupons, they can't legally keep it either. So, most stores flat out refuse to do refunds on CECB's (though they will exchange a defective box, and will sometimes let you switch to another brand as long as they also have it in stock).

Both the DTV Pal Plus and CM7000 are good boxes, though they each have unique advantages and disadvantages.

The CM7000 stacks up very well against the other boxes out there on tuner sensitivity and video quality, and it does offer a nice 12 hour look ahead guide. It's one glaring disadvantage is that the text fonts it uses are way too small, and could be difficult to read on some screens (especially if you have a small screen set and are limited to RF hookups). On a larger screen set, with RCA or S-Video hookups, the CM7000 is a very good choice (especially if you are in a fringe area reception wise).

For use on smaller screens, especially in strong signal areas where you will have to sort through a lot of program listings, I would recommend the DTV Pal Plus because I think you will find that it's larger fonts, and better organized guide, make it much easier to sort through large numbers of program listings. The Pal has gotten some knocks in the past that were deserved, like low tuner sensitivity, but that has been fixed in the Pal Plus. The Pal Plus has also been knocked for its software having bugs. Some of these complaints were legitimate, and seem to have been fixed in the current firmware, while many others were related to people just not understanding how the Pal’s software is supposed to work.

Side by side, the S-Video on the CM7000 is a bit sharper than the DTV Pal, and would look even better, but I can't use my sets 'sharpen' controls to full advantage because the small text fonts used by the CM7000 start to get scrambled with a lot of noise. The DTV Pal video is a little softer to start with, but I don't find this to be an issue on small screen sets, and on my larger screen sets, unlike the CM7000, the DTV Pal video does respond very nicely to tweaking with my television's 'sharpen' control.

If you need to record multiple programs during the day that are broadcast on separate channels, the DTV Pal is one of only two or three CECB box models that can handle this (the CM7000 can’t do this trick, because it doesn't have timers).

So, you might want to consider getting both a DTV Pal and CM7000.

Not only would this let you cover more bases feature wise, but you would also have some protection against those 'bad batch of components' issues that sometimes plague manufactures of low cost consumer products.

As a case in point, my friend bought a nice little cheap DVD player, and was so impressed with its features vs. the price that he bought a second one right away.

Both these units were from the same manufacturing run, and both failed within weeks of each other, just a few months out of the 90 day warrantee. The manufacture generously offered to repair them (for only slightly more money than they each cost on sale brand new).

These days, buying highly rated 'name brand' products is no longer a guarantee against this kind of thing, since so many companies have sold out completely, and just get their junk made overseas as cheaply as possible.

My Trinitron was made back when Japanese products were still actually manufactured in Japan, to Japanese quality standards, and it could easily go another ten years. My smaller screen sets have also been glitch free, and may go for several more years as well. So I intentionally picked three of the best CECB boxes I could find, from three different manufactures (CM7000, Tivax STB-T8, and DTV Pal Plus) with the fond hope that at least one of them will still be functional when my last analog television finally gives up the ghost.

- Delphin
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Old 05-26-2009, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldsyd View Post

OK, I've got 1 coupon left that expires in June, what should I get?

One coupon left...well, you can get either another CM-7000 or a Zenith DTT901 as backups.

Recently, upon orders by my gf to liquidate the two replacement $40 coupons she initially threw in the trash by mistake ...I then ordered two CM-7k's from SS...and intend to keep one, and in place is a sealed Zen 901 I keep as backup for the primary Zen in use on a WS CRT Samsung Tantus.

I think for all around use, the Zen 901 holds up pretty well. At least the 5+mo old I have...luckily no turning off issues, so far (knock on wood).
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Old 05-28-2009, 07:05 PM
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its funny I wonder how many people are in this same boat. I to have one left and here is where I'm at. I have a insignia, zinwell 950, CM-7000 and rca dtc210 (not cecb)

I started off with the zennith and realy liked it. I ordered the zinwell due to the vcr option, and the CM-7000 for the s-video. I had the s-video hooked up for my projector.

I like the Gui on the zinwell i mean its awsome out of the 3. Not much to the internals of it though. It seems to drop out once in a great while.

cons. The remote is lacking. My wife doesn't like the fact that we cant turn off the tv with it. The other thing is the remote keeps disappearing at our house. My son usually knows where it is. This is hooked up to a 27" TV

CM-7000 like I said I got it for the s video and my 110" screen. it seemed to look good. I obviously didn't have a text problem. I don't recal any dropps once I had my antenna setup correctly.
cons. again the remote this bugger is wide but it is harder to loose. I also run to problem getting the cm to turn on all the time. Sometimes it would turn to a red light.

My insignia I'm happy with the fact I can turn the tv off with it. It is currently setup in the bedroom. It pulls in a weaker signal indicator but I have no drops with it now. This is hooked up to a 19" tv.

The insignia I got last august and the other two in January. About a month ago I picked up a dtc910 for the projector to do 1080p on the projector, $30.00 was well worth the money in my opinion for just 2 channels.

so I tried the CM in the bedroom. Now it just sits on its side looking for a home.

I'm looking at the tivax t9 though. (its only 10 bucks after card) I like the rs-232 port or the sunkey.
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Old 05-29-2009, 12:16 AM
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afish4u - if you like the GUI on the Zinwell (we have the same model), I think you'd like the more complicated Pal Plus GUI.

The first thing I noticed about the Zinwell's GUI vs. the Insignia, is that it seemed more suited for tech oriented users who enjoy more programming type commands (such as event timing).

You didn't mention your desire for a more extended EPG or easier to use EPG. If that is not important to you, then the PP's EPG wouldn't be a deciding factor. Its grid display of four channels at a time for two hours or so is enjoyable to use. The PP does things that my Insignia and Zinwell don't do, such as turning on whenever it needs to do maintenance or do whatever it needs to do (???), turning on sometimes when I use other remotes for my other boxes, VCRs or tvs (!!!), and a few times has gotten "stuck." I miss the box not having any control buttons on it, as sometimes I don't have the remote by the box and I'd like to turn it off when it has turned itself on (!!). One other thing that's amazing about the PP that doesn't occur with the Insignia and the Zinwell - you can have the remote pointed far from the box and at a distance and the remote still works on the box!! With my Zinwell, I have to have the remote pointed exactly at the box and be very close to it - the complete opposite of the remote for the PP. The remote for the Insignia works at a distance, is strong, but is not as omnidirectional as the PP's remote is.

What did you mean by setting aside your CM in your bedroom? I bought that for my last coupon, since I already have a few boxes that will event time, and from what I read, the strong points of the CM fill in the gaps that my other boxes have. (There were a few negatives about the Apex that overrode its positives that I was looking at which didn't fill in my needs currently - the big one being that there are still a few channels that I don't get good reception on without much antenna fine tuning - the other option is to splurge for a more expensive antenna. I'm hoping the CM will compliment my Insignia, PP, and Zinwell, at least on the tuning end, and I like its ability to do a 12 hour EPG display, as well as keep in its memory scanned stations - I didn't like the fact that the Apex does not allow for manual scanning of stations to be added - every box has its drawbacks, and the positives on the CM given my situation overrode the positives and negatives of other boxes - I sometimes think that a user, if they can, should have at least one of each of the "better" boxes, or one of each that excels in one criteria, such as the EPG, event timing, tuner, ease of use, remote, GUI, closed captioning display, picture quality, audio quality, etc. From what I have read, some of the boxes that fit this criteria include: Zenith/Insignia, Channel Master CM 7000, Pal Plus. Other users can list a few more that excel in each of these criteria. We have only discussed the CECBs, too. I am unfamiliar with other converter boxes, not CECB, that may offer more features and be of better quality. The $40 coupon has helped to offset the cost of supplying each of my tvs and VCRs with the ability to capture the digitally transmitted signal. But then again, I didn't ask for the govt. to auction off and give away the spectrum range it did the way it did.
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Old 05-29-2009, 07:48 AM
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If you're looking at the Sunkey, I'd recommend that you go with the APEX DT502 instead (especially if you have a fixed antenna). The Sunkey SK-801ATSC is a feature crippled version of the APEX DT502. It comes in a plastic case and uses a brick, while the APEX is a metal case with an internal power supply. The APEX has a recall button on the remote, while the Sunkey doesn't.

NOTE: I want everyone to understand, I do not consider the Sunkey SK-801ATSC a bad unit. I have and use two of them (along with a ZAT-970A, an Insignia -APT, and two DT502's).
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Old 05-29-2009, 01:38 PM
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And if you are looking to buy the Apex DT502 I suggest checking out Target. Much to my surprise, today I discovered my local Target has a new inventory of DT502s. Price: $49.99. I could have sworn the last time I was there, perhaps 3 weeks ago, they only had Magnavox (or was it Venturer?).

Although yesterday I went to Best Buy to possibly purchase the DT502, left empty-handed (not in stock), and bought a Tivax instead I have no regrets. The Tivax fully satisfies my requirements, and I got it cheap. The DT502 has event timer (reminder) functionality that could have proved useful but all the negative customer reviews on bestbuy.com had me nervous (..although most postings on this forum are generally positive).

Good luck in whatever you purchase.


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Old 05-29-2009, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazza View Post

...they only had Magnavox (or was it Venturer?)

Same difference, really.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:17 PM
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Another thing to consider is replicating your favorite box(es). I did it mainly to have extra remotes because I don't want to pay a replacement cost for a remote that's near the price of the box (I worry that not all functions, or at least from a button-ergonomic standpoint, can be duplicated with a universal remote). My secondary reason was to have extra boxes in the event one goes kaput; for me the Zinwell for the timer and CM for the S-video.

Speaking of which, what are the CECB-oriented universal remotes of preference by you experts? Maybe they have some designed now with a CECB mode button? (ex: Cable, Sat, VCR, etc. with those added functions). Maybe Cable is the closest but still doesn't seem like it would have all of the required functions, at least the too older URs I have with Cable function are very lacking with respect to my CECBs. This might make a good sub-thread topic.

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Old 05-29-2009, 05:07 PM
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If you use anything more than a television and CECB, for example a stereo receiver to drive the audio, I suggest investing in a Logitech Harmony. Really nice models are pricey, but you can pick up a basic one on sale for about $50. I have two Logitech Harmony remotes, a 520 and a 550, and I now wonder how I ever lived without them.


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Old 05-29-2009, 07:10 PM
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I have only used the zinwell for limited features. It does the trick for at home. I do wish to tinker more with it. I like the both singal features ( I just don't know how accurate that is) I would be more interested in PP if it had buttons on it. I take it your PP isn't suppose to turn on. I have good range with my Zinwell. I don't have to point directly at mine. I can bounce it off of a few walls in my room and get it to work.

As far as putting my cm aside. I just don't use it anymore. my DTC210 works great. I get a few days programming with it. and have up to 1080p output with it. The EPG well I can go farther then what my local stations broadcast for. I don't need to use the CM with just the s-video. The insignia can turn off the tv and box with the same remote so that means one less remote in the bedroom. I'm looking at setting up a tv in the garage and that is where it may go. Yes it held on the signal better then the others it seems but now I have an CM-7777 on my antenneas and I don't appear to have any real complaints with the other boxes also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr100watt View Post

afish4u - if you like the GUI on the Zinwell (we have the same model), I think you'd like the more complicated Pal Plus GUI.

The first thing I noticed about the Zinwell's GUI vs. the Insignia, is that it seemed more suited for tech oriented users who enjoy more programming type commands (such as event timing).

You didn't mention your desire for a more extended EPG or easier to use EPG. If that is not important to you, then the PP's EPG wouldn't be a deciding factor. Its grid display of four channels at a time for two hours or so is enjoyable to use. The PP does things that my Insignia and Zinwell don't do, such as turning on whenever it needs to do maintenance or do whatever it needs to do (???), turning on sometimes when I use other remotes for my other boxes, VCRs or tvs (!!!), and a few times has gotten "stuck." I miss the box not having any control buttons on it, as sometimes I don't have the remote by the box and I'd like to turn it off when it has turned itself on (!!). One other thing that's amazing about the PP that doesn't occur with the Insignia and the Zinwell - you can have the remote pointed far from the box and at a distance and the remote still works on the box!! With my Zinwell, I have to have the remote pointed exactly at the box and be very close to it - the complete opposite of the remote for the PP. The remote for the Insignia works at a distance, is strong, but is not as omnidirectional as the PP's remote is.

What did you mean by setting aside your CM in your bedroom? I bought that for my last coupon, since I already have a few boxes that will event time, and from what I read, the strong points of the CM fill in the gaps that my other boxes have. (There were a few negatives about the Apex that overrode its positives that I was looking at which didn't fill in my needs currently - the big one being that there are still a few channels that I don't get good reception on without much antenna fine tuning - the other option is to splurge for a more expensive antenna. I'm hoping the CM will compliment my Insignia, PP, and Zinwell, at least on the tuning end, and I like its ability to do a 12 hour EPG display, as well as keep in its memory scanned stations - I didn't like the fact that the Apex does not allow for manual scanning of stations to be added - every box has its drawbacks, and the positives on the CM given my situation overrode the positives and negatives of other boxes - I sometimes think that a user, if they can, should have at least one of each of the "better" boxes, or one of each that excels in one criteria, such as the EPG, event timing, tuner, ease of use, remote, GUI, closed captioning display, picture quality, audio quality, etc. From what I have read, some of the boxes that fit this criteria include: Zenith/Insignia, Channel Master CM 7000, Pal Plus. Other users can list a few more that excel in each of these criteria. We have only discussed the CECBs, too. I am unfamiliar with other converter boxes, not CECB, that may offer more features and be of better quality. The $40 coupon has helped to offset the cost of supplying each of my tvs and VCRs with the ability to capture the digitally transmitted signal. But then again, I didn't ask for the govt. to auction off and give away the spectrum range it did the way it did.

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Old 05-29-2009, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazza View Post

..... The DT502 has event timer (reminder) functionality that could have proved useful but all the negative customer reviews on bestbuy.com had me nervous (..although most postings on this forum are generally positive).

Good luck in whatever you purchase.


_Lazza

I was 75/35 leaning towards the Apex over the CM as my last CECB, but some of the comments on the bb board as well as the specifics referred to as limitations on the Apex got me to reconsider what I needed most in my last box that my other boxes didn't have.

Although most of those posts did not specifiy the problems attributable to the 502 (vs. identifying that most problems such as the higher temp as referring to the 250 model), a few did, and that caused me concern.

My back and forth internal debate kept on returning to the need to hold on to a signal better and to even pick up a few of the weaker stations without having to spend alot of time adjusting the antenna position.

Although there have been posts detailing the various problems with the CM box, I was left with the impression that it is in the top tier of boxes that pull in stations with more stability and strength, so that's what I opted out for.

I would have liked another box with a "reminder" feature, but I already have three such boxes that do event timing (2 PP and 1 Zinwell). I use one PP just for the EPG on my most often used tv for short term viewing that is not connected to any recorder. I liked the design of the Apex remote - it looked simple to use (although I was concerned a bit about quite a few reports about its "oversensitivity" - I am not in the market to replace it with a universal remote to bypass that problem).

Speaking of problems, I will post on the Insignia board, a problem that I had noticed before but wasn't conscious of - it is a bug and a minor nuisance in its operation. So even the better boxes have problems. I bought certain boxes with the same reasoning as a previous poster stated - as a "backup." I'd hate to be without a box that provides an extended EPG or event timing capability.
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Old 05-30-2009, 06:44 AM
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It sounds like the CM should meet your requirements. The primary reason for me not going with the CM-7000 was my reluctance to purchase it from an online retailer that simply ships it in its display box, ... you've probably seen posts on this. Amazon.com stopped carrying the CM-7000; don't know if this is a temporary situation. However reviews for the CM-7000 have been uniformly positive if not stellar. If I could have purchased it through amazon.com or a B&M store I wouldn't have hesitated for a moment.

The Tivax, which I just purchased, would only meet half of your requirements. Its picture quality is quite remarkable considering it uses composite video. However its tuner sensitivity is not *the best*, although quite decent (like your Insignia).


_Lazza
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Old 05-31-2009, 08:56 PM
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I received my baseband 3/1 switch on Friday and finally reconfigured my setup so that I can get "Stereo" on more channels. I did a quick comparison of my Zinwell and APEX DT502 and found that the Zinwell isn't as sharp and has less color saturation. The wife thinks the color saturation is too strong.

I'll be testing the Sunkey SK-801ATSC, RCA DTA800B1, AccessHD 1080D, and Insignia NS-DXA1-APT as soon as I can.

I just thought, these switches could be used to cascade several antenna/CECB combo's into one television.
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Old 06-05-2009, 08:52 PM
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Hello,


I still have my 2 coupons.

My local Target has the Apex 502, so I am going to use one.

But for my last coupon, I wanted to use it for the Zenith 901 but they are hard to find.

I am looking for a good tuner section. I own right now the CM 7000 and a TivoHD.


Let say I cannot find the Zenith, what should I purchase?

Dish DTV pal.

Magnavox.

Digiital Stream.

Or an other one?

I have to buy it from a Store, the coupons expire in 5 days.


Thanks,

Intravino
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:17 PM
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Hello,.......But for my last coupon, I wanted to use it for the Zenith 901 but they are hard to find....I am looking for a good tuner section....... Let say I cannot find the Zenith, what should I purchase? Dish DTV pal. .....Magnavox...... Digiital Stream...... Or an other one? I have to buy it from a Store, the coupons expire in 5 days. Thanks, Intravino

the DTVPAL (aka TR40) has by the far the best epg and it has a good tuner...plus timers and other good features....good pic quality, etc....so thats a good choice, imo....

just because your coupon expires in a few days doesnt mean u cant use it online....freetvsignal.com has a 'free after coupon' box offer and will take a coupon up to its day of expiration>
'freeTVsignal.com is a participating retailer in the TV Converter Box Coupon Program. We accept coupons up to and including the expiration date.'

i got the ARTEC T3AP from them and it works well....

also, i think someone posted here somewhere that TARGET has a 'free after coupon' box this week...as does TIGER >
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=4547583&sku=A80-1060

and AMAZON >
http://dealnews.com/Zinwell-Digital-...ng/299718.html

dont buy an Airlink ATVC102...it has poor pic quality, way too small display fonts, etc....i did a review of it here...

and i think the MAGNAVOX has generally poor reviews by its users....

*** its high time to go back to OTA antennas and CANCEL our cable/satellite pay tv services! their greed is totally & insanely out of control! ***
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:25 PM
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Go for the DTVPal Plus, if you go the Dish route.

I don't believe the DigitalStream can be had for less than $60. Those who have them, consider them pretty reliable.

I don't recommend the Magnavox or AccessHD 1080D.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:48 AM
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You should be able to find a Zenith CECB at your local Kmart/Sears store; my local Sears store had several units nestled next to the DTVPal units. The going price is $49.99.

Two demerits wrt DTVPal Plus: price (about $60), and its picture quality has been reported to be sub-par compared to the Zenith, CM, and Tivax. Oh, if you happen to live in FL/GA near a Brandsmart you can find Tivax units there priced pretty cheap. The Tivax is of high quality and functionality as the Zenith.


_Lazza
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:35 AM
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Meritline still has the Airlink101 ATVC102 for GRATIS with the $40 Gov coupon and includes FREE shipping as well.

http://www.meritline.com/airlink-atv...--p-32791.aspx

Apparently, they're throwing in a Mygica antennae with your order...nothing to get excited about...but what the heck, it's free as well.
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:34 PM
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.......Two demerits wrt DTVPal Plus: price (about $60), and its picture quality has been reported to be sub-par compared to the Zenith, CM, and Tivax. ........_Lazza

yes, some people here have said that re the DTVPAL aka TR40....but i absolutely cannot imagine what the hell kind of problems they are seeing....they must be 'splitting hairs' and just being wayyyy too picky...or maybe they are looking at it on a huge 50 or 60 inch screen or something, i dont know....but the picture quality is excellent, in my opinion....and i'll bet the majority of people who have one would agree...

i'm using TR40's on a TOSHIBA 32 inch crt (tube tv) and on a SONY 27 inch XBR crt thru both the tuner and a/v inputs and it looks great...the audio level is a little low tho....that could be better in a perfect world...

as for price, i think the epg and the timers u get with the DTVPAL/TR40 are well worth the $20 cost (after coupon).....and if you're lucky u might still find a $40 TR40 from a DISH NETWORK dealer...call around...

*** its high time to go back to OTA antennas and CANCEL our cable/satellite pay tv services! their greed is totally & insanely out of control! ***
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Old 06-06-2009, 09:58 PM
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Meritline still has the Airlink101 ATVC102 for GRATIS with the $40 Gov coupon and includes FREE shipping as well.
http://www.meritline.com/airlink-atv...--p-32791.aspx
Apparently, they're throwing in a Mygica antennae with your order...nothing to get excited about...but what the heck, it's free as well.

yes, free is usually great...but not this time....i have an Airlink101 ATVC102 and i will not buy another one....and their tech support is pathetically poor....read my review of it >

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=#post16464015

the free ARTEC T3AP from freetvsignal.com is a good deal if u need or want free (after coupon)....it works well...

*** its high time to go back to OTA antennas and CANCEL our cable/satellite pay tv services! their greed is totally & insanely out of control! ***
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:34 AM
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yes, some people here have said that re the DTVPAL aka TR40....but i absolutely cannot imagine what the hell kind of problems they are seeing....they must be 'splitting hairs' and just being wayyyy too picky...or maybe they are looking at it on a huge 50 or 60 inch screen or something, i dont know....but the picture quality is excellent, in my opinion....and i'll bet the majority of people who have one would agree...

You are making a good point. Depending on the screen size you might not see differences in picture quality for most CECBs. I could only see the differences between the Zenith and Tivax when I really looked closely, and I was using a 40" LCD television. Consumer Reports claim the Zenith and, especially, the DTVPal have weaker picture quality than the Tivax, CM, and some others. Although I cannot comment on the DTVPal, in the case of Zenith vs Tivax I would say Consumer Reports are being very picky.

If you find a Sears store with both the DTVPal Plus and Zenith units I suggest you purchase the DTVPal, thoroughly check it out, and exchange it for the Zenith if you are dissatisfied with its picture quality to the point you are willing to sacrifice its advanced features (EPG, event timers). But make sure Sears will let you do this. They will allow for exchanges but I'm not sure they'll let you switch brands.


_Lazza


PS - when viewing for picture quality the best CECB will deliver a picture similar to what you would get from a DVD player. The worse CECBs will deliver something more like what a VCR would produce. Very viewable but not crisp.
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Old 06-07-2009, 10:44 AM
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yes, free is usually great...but not this time....i have an Airlink101 ATVC102 and i will not buy another one....and their tech support is pathetically poor....read my review of it >

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=#post16464015

the free ARTEC T3AP from freetvsignal.com is a good deal if u need or want free (after coupon)....it works well...

Just like any other CECB's out there...nothing's perfect. You might've gotten a defective unit or as system2000 had suggested...a better antennae.
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:43 PM
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Consumer Reports claim the Zenith and, especially, the DTVPal have weaker picture quality than the Tivax, CM, and some others. Although I cannot comment on the DTVPal, in the case of Zenith vs Tivax I would say Consumer Reports are being very picky.

Speaking of which, I see this sentence in some of their reviews: "If you're watching a downconverted HD wide-screen program letter-boxed to fit your squarish screen, images are stretched vertically to a slight extent." Makes me wonder if they had it zoomed to 16:9 to fill the screen which does stretch the image, although they also say "letter-boxed."

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Old 06-08-2009, 03:31 PM
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Nah, they're often not the best at everything, but I don't think they're that incompetent or off the mark over there when it comes to electronics (at least they didn't used to be. They did used to rate the Pioneer plasmas a little lower than I thought they should've been, though. But they were always very accurate for any type of recorder, video or audio, and also recording media. Their cheap speaker and audio receiver reviews were always pretty accurate way back when, too. I don't know if they ever even reviewed the middle-to-higher end stuff - I don't know if I'd trust them for that, anyway).

So far, from everything I've seen, heard and read, their main CECB comparison review is basically pretty accurate - except maybe for their putting the Zenith in the middling category.

They are definitely correct about the DTV Pal. You don't have to be using it on a 50" HD display to see that's it's softer than the better boxes. You can see it on my 32", 480i analog. It's acceptable - but it doesn't compare to something like the CM, and probably not the Tivax, either, since some people here say that the Tivax's composite PQ isn't really that much inferior to the CM's s-video PQ (of course, the HD sources look a lot better than the native 480i stuff on the Pal - the HD stuff looks very good for the most part. But you can notice the difference more in the SD stuff).

I had a Zenith 900, too, and the PQ was noticably better than the Pal's.

(I've had the CM, Zenith and the DTV Pal myself for actual, head-to-head PQ comparison.)
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