Deciding which converter box to get - AVS Forum
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm getting my coupon in a few days and was either buying the Channel Master CM-7000 or the Venturer Digital Converter Box. Those are probably the best ones I can find in my area. I live in the Silicon Valley Califorina area. From what I read the Channel Master is probably the best choice to get. I too made those coat hanger antenna's and modified a dipole to get the VHF signal.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

I'm getting my coupon in a few days and was either buying the Channel Master CM-7000 or the Venturer Digital Converter Box. Those are probably the best ones I can find in my area. I live in the Silicon Valley Califorina area. From what I read the Channel Master is probably the best choice to get. I too made those coat hanger antenna's and modified a dipole to get the VHF signal.

Depending upon your specific needs/wants you should also consider the Zenith DTT901 found at KMart or Sears.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

--Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1917)
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

Depending upon your specific needs/wants you should also consider the Zenith DTT901 found at KMart or Sears.

I just called Sears and they're sold out of the Zenith.
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Old 07-10-2009, 01:56 PM
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You can always order a Zenith or Insignia converter box online.
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:51 PM
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Where? Please let me know!
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Old 07-10-2009, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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The sears website.
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Old 07-10-2009, 03:14 PM
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The sears website.


They don't allow you to use the government coupon during checkout. Any other place?
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Old 07-10-2009, 04:51 PM
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Oops, disregard what I said, I forgot that the Insignia & Zenith boxes are becoming hard to find now.

I suggest you take DigaDo suggestion and see if Sears or K-mart has them. In fact get a phone book and start calling every Sears & K-mart store listed to see if they have those converter boxes in stock.
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

I'm getting my coupon in a few days and was either buying the Channel Master CM-7000 or the Venturer Digital Converter Box. Those are probably the best ones I can find in my area. I live in the Silicon Valley Califorinia area. From what I read the Channel Master is probably the best choice to get.

What size TV screen do you have? Does the TV have s-video in? If so, and the TV's larger than 27", is having the best possible picture quality a priority to you?

If the answer is "yes", then definitely go with the Channel Master.
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

What size TV screen do you have? Does the TV have s-video in? If so, and the TV's larger than 27", is having the best possible picture quality a priority to you?

My tv a is a Sony 27" like you said. Yes it has s-video in the back. The thing is I might be just end up using the coaxial cable or composite cable anyway. Still I want the CM because of the EPG. I know the info box and all are little to read, but I wouldn't mind that.
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Old 07-11-2009, 01:56 AM
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Well, like I said - if PQ is a top priority - you will definitely want to use the s-video. Otherwise, the CM's composite PQ is probably about average (and the RF PQ actually is terrible).

If you're not a stickler for having the absolute best PQ, though, the CM over composite on a good TV like a 27" Sony ought to look more than acceptable. Just don't use RF, because trust me, it looks pretty bad.

As far as the CM's font, I have no problems whatsoever reading it on my 32" analog set from about 8 feet away. Most of these people who complain about it are watching on pretty small TV's, I'd venture to say. (Using s-video, though, should make the font a bit sharper and easier to read.)

If you're looking for good cables at a great price, check out www.monoprice.com.
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your help. If I do decide to hook up s-video I will need audio cables for the left and right channel, right?
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:08 AM
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Right. Something like these would be good - #2187 and #127 (depending on the length you'd need). You wouldn't have to buy separate audio and video cables:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/su...02&cp_id=10207
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you know anything about this box? http://www.target.com/Venturer-Digit...r%20box&page=1
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Old 07-11-2009, 02:18 AM
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Not much, personally, but there are a couple of threads here on the Venturers.

You might have to use the "search" feature to find them, because they haven't been very active lately.

(edit: There is an active thread not far down on the first page here about them being on sale. But I know there are a couple of dedicated, longer, older ones here, too.)
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:18 AM
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I think at this stage the availability of CECBs, both online and through retail outlets, has become scarce. If I had a 27" television and was again in the market to buy a CECB I would probably go with either (in no particular order):

- Zinwell 970A
- CM-7000
- Tivax
- Zenith

In my personal opinion, and others certainly disagree, going for the CM-7000 because of its S-video connection alone is not worth it *for a 27 inch television*. The difference between it and the PQ of the other boxes listed above, none of which support S-video, would not be substantial (no "WOW"s) in the eyes of most people when viewing most content.

If I could not obtain any of the above CECBs my second tier of CECBs include:

- Artec
- Digital Stream
- DTV Pal+

There have been reported issues with all these three units (Artec: a very dinky box, Digital Stream: expensive, DTV Pal+: expensive, weaker PQ) but I could certainly live with them.


_Lazza
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Old 07-11-2009, 12:00 PM
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Is the OP intent on buying locally, or is he willing to buy online?

Lazza - what's the guide like on the Tivax? I just got the Zinwell last night, and there's a huge difference in PQ on my 32" set between it and the CM (I'm somewhat disappointed, actually - it's actually closer to the Pal's PQ than the Zenith's. The colors are sort of flat and faded, too). Anyway, the CM appears almost HD-like on some material. The ZAT doesn't even come close. I find it hard to believe that he won't see any difference in PQ on a 27" TV - so I disagree with you on that. Now, between the CM and the Tivax, the average person may not notice anything. Plus, the Zinwell has barely any sort of a guide at all (Now & Next, and absolutely no program info), so he might not care for that part, either.

Out of the CM, Zenith, Pal and Zinwell I've used so far, I much prefer the CM.
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:49 PM
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Well I didn't say the PQ on a 27" of a CM-7000 wouldn't show any difference compared to its competitors. I said I think it wouldn't show a substantial difference. It's like the Tivax versus the Zenith on my 40" LCD. It took about 2 or 3 lengthy stares before I could clearly tell the Tivax was better. I can't imagine anyone noticing much of a difference on a 27" television.

As for the guide on the Tivax, the operation is as follows. When positioned on a desired channel and you press the Guide key to see program info, about a sentence or two, if available, for what is currently playing. You can scroll horizontally to see what is playing next, and likewise program info will be displayed if available. You can continue on this for some hours (12? 24?) in the future. The displayed text is very legible (reasonably large font). Of course the downside to this format is that I cannot quickly see what is scheduled on all channels without changing to each channel and pressing the guide key. However I rarely use the program guide functionality, perhaps only to check if I've already seen a rerun of an upcoming show.

Ramm, what did Consumer Reports say about the PQ of the Zinwell? Was it in the group of top performers (Tivax, CM-7000, ..), middle performers (Zenith, ..), or the bottom performers (DTVPal, ..)? I am surprised at how poorly you consider its PQ. With some variability, I thought most folks thought its PQ was okay (on par with the Zenith).


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Old 07-11-2009, 08:26 PM
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Maybe you're talking different Zinwell Zat models. The 970A I have is not flat and faded, it is a bit richer and warmer than the Zenith. I imagine Rammitinski is talking about the Zat950, which in spite of what SolidSignal said, is definitely not "virtually the same."
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Old 07-11-2009, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazza View Post

... what did Consumer Reports say about the PQ of the Zinwell?...

The ZAT-970A has been rated in the top group since Nov 2008. The Tivax also was in the top group but was said to have a minor flaw that only the fussiest might notice.

The LG twins were have always been in the second group. The older LG twins were said to have noticeable flaws (such as jagged edges) with downconverted HD content. The newer LG twins were said to have looked a bit soft with downconverted HD content, but have less noticeable downconversion flaws (such as jagged edges).
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Old 07-11-2009, 10:23 PM
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I currently have a CM-7000, Tivax STB-T8, and an Apex DT502; and did have a Zenith DTT900 (LG tuner). I have only a 13" TV with no S-video connection, but the Apex DT502 PQ seems as good to me as those of the CM and Tivax. The Zenith seemed a bit softer and less saturated. I haven't had enough time to switch them out and compare them fully, but I think I may even be seeing less blockyness on dark, low contrast scenes with the Apex than I do with the others.

The Apex guide is very complete. It's postage stamp size, except a little wider and displays listings for 3 programs at a time with the first two lines of description for each visible. When you go to it you just see only the guide - there is no video or audio. You can scroll through the full description for each program and can change channels within the guide. I'm seeing 12 hours of programing info on most channels.

The Apex tuner doesn't seem to pull in signal as well as either the Tivax or CM, but it does display all the channels that the others do.

The Apex DT502 also has an S-video output and a Smart Antenna connector.

I believe the Apex DT502 is still available at Target and possibly also at BestBuy.

Also, You can get the iNet SSR 1921 shipped free if you are using a government coupon from here http://www.ezdtv.com/gallery1.htm (they don't even require any credit card info). It's a re-badged Tivax STB-T8.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I just bought the CM 7000 and I love it! The menu's and other features are great. It was on sell at Fry's today for $49.00 so basically $10+tax

I also used my other coupon on a RCA STB7766G1 and this was at Target. It was basically free. It doesn't have all the features as the CM but it's ok..
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Old 07-12-2009, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

I just bought the CM 7000 and I love it! The menu's and other features are great. It was on sell at Fry's today for $49.00 so basically $10+tax

I also used my other coupon on a RCA STB7766G1 and this was at Target. It was basically free. It doesn't have all the features as the CM but it's ok..

Probably a bit late now, but...

Frys carries the Zenith/Insignia model too. At least they did a few months ago. Funny thing is that they stock the Zenith over by the TV sets, and the CM is stocked by the parts department by the antennas. So you will not find them side by side.

I was originally thinking to get a Zenith just for comparison purposes. But was happy enough with the CM that I ended up buying a second one.

S-video is especially recommended if your TV has it, but does not have sophisticated (e.g., 3D digital) comb filtering. With a high end comb filter, it is hard to see a difference between S-video and composite. Without it, the differences (e.g., dot crawl, etc.) are very obvious on my 32" set. I'd think it would be pretty obvious on a 27" set too.
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Old 07-12-2009, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Probably a bit late now, but...

Frys carries the Zenith/Insignia model too. At least they did a few months ago. Funny thing is that they stock the Zenith over by the TV sets, and the CM is stocked by the parts department by the antennas. So you will not find them side by side.

I was originally thinking to get a Zenith just for comparison purposes. But was happy enough with the CM that I ended up buying a second one.

S-video is especially recommended if your TV has it, but does not have sophisticated (e.g., 3D digital) comb filtering. With a high end comb filter, it is hard to see a difference between S-video and composite. Without it, the differences (e.g., dot crawl, etc.) are very obvious on my 32" set. I'd think it would be pretty obvious on a 27" set too.

The Frys over here only carries CM that's about it.
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Old 07-12-2009, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

The Frys over here only carries CM that's about it.

I bought both of my CMs at the Sunnyvale store. They had the Zeniths too. Plus, they also had a big pile of Airlinks - which are apparently their 'house brand'.

Thinking back to last fall, the Campbell (Hamilton/highway 17) store had Zeniths, but was out of CMs. So I had to go to Sunnyvale for my first CM box.

In any event, things certainly could have changed since then. Have fun with your new CECBs!
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wws View Post

I bought both of my CMs at the Sunnyvale store. They had the Zeniths too. Plus, they also had a big pile of Airlinks - which are apparently their 'house brand'.

Thinking back to last fall, the Campbell (Hamilton/highway 17) store had Zeniths, but was out of CMs. So I had to go to Sunnyvale for my first CM box.

In any event, things certainly could have changed since then. Have fun with your new CECBs!

Man, I should have looked for the Zeniths if they were hidding in the tv section. Maybe I'll go again just to see. I am still happy with my CM how about you?
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

Man, I should have looked for the Zeniths if they were hidding in the tv section. Maybe I'll go again just to see. I am still happy with my CM how about you?

I like it well enough that I bought a second one. The wife and kids have no problems operating it, so that is good too.

I do have to be pretty careful with aiming my antenna because of the 'hills' and trees near my house. I use a Winegard 7695 antenna and a Winegard HDP-269 preamp up on the roof, but there is a splitter and a lot of RG-6 between there and the two TVs. The main problems I have are KGO (which is marginal at best, and will hopefully improve once they move back to the top of Sutro) and KNTV (an occasional catch.) I think using a distribution amp, rather than a splitter would help me a bit too.
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Old 07-12-2009, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I'm having problems with KGO, KNTV, KPIX and some times KTVU. Are you using coaxial or the rca cables?
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Old 07-12-2009, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by selw0nk View Post

... Are you using coaxial or the rca cables?

S-video for the video and RCAs for the audio. On both setups.
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:52 AM
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I have the RCA DTA800B1, Zenith DTT901 and the Digital Stream 9950.

Out the 3 the Digital Stream is the one I like best.

Better signal strength, better menus, better picture ETC.

Just my 2 cents worth of nothing.
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