Limited Supply of Converter Boxes? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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The Gov't has stop distributing $40 coupons as of 31 July. There are still 3.5 million coupons to be "spent". Yet converter boxes are hard to find. Are the boxes left on retailers shelves all there will be going forward? Is there any chance Zenith or Insignia boxes will show back up on the market before the last coupons expire the beginning of November. A Zenith Rep told me that they would make more if someone would order them. Retailers have told me that the Zenith Dtt901 is out of production. The best converter box remaining seems to be the CM-7000 that I found at Fry's Electronics. I don't think that supply will last!?!?
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post #2 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 07:36 PM
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Did you honestly expect something else ? Without the government coupon, there is about zero incentive to make the CECB - low profit, low featured box that it is. The industry will shift their attention to DVD recorders / DVRs / digital TVs.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #3 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

Did you honestly expect something else?

I understand and appreciate your point. However, with 3.5 Million Coupons still outstanding and with a usage rate of 50% that equates to $70,000,000 left to be spent. I would expect the supply to be a bit brighter than it is.
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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looks like I need another post to show a link
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the Coupons Used and Remaining Statistics to date.
https://www.ntiadtv.gov/docs/WeeklyR...ionsReport.pdf
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post #6 of 26 Old 08-10-2009, 09:11 PM
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I'm really surprised by this. The coupon program just ended on July 31 and my area already seems to be out of Zenith boxes. I have a relative looking for one(after seeing how great my boxes are) and it's a real PITA to find them. The only ones that seem to be available that are not some off brand is the RCA boxes at a local Target. All Sears has anymore are the Dish brand boxes.

I know about the incentive to make the boxes for the coupon. but the coupons aren't over yet. There's still at least two months left. Plus what's going to happen after this? Will there be full price converter boxes available or will they completely stop making them?
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickdawg View Post

my area already seems to be out of Zenith boxes.

You can get the Zenith Boxes on eBay stores but these vendors do not accept the coupons. From what I've read compared to all the other boxes, it may be worth just getting a Zenith without using the coupons because it works so much better than the others. Channel Master's CM7000 gets a lot of positive comments with few negative and they are still around at a few locations, fry.com for one but you may have to call in the order to use the coupon.
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post #8 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 05:46 AM
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My local Target and Kmart stores have been out of CECBs for a few weeks now. I would suggest for those wanting to use their gov't coupon for a CECB they try to get a CM-7000 from Frys or get the Tivax from amazon.com. Reviews on the CM-7000 have been generally positive, and my experience with the Tivax has been good. Both would be better than the likes of AccessHD and Magnavox units.

However through eBay or craigslist one should be able to find a Zenith for no more than $25 although you can't use your coupon. Is it worth paying $25 for a Zenith versus $10 (w/ coupon) for a Tivax or CM-7000? Hmmm..., that's a tough one. In terms of picture quality the answer is decidedly 'no'. But in terms of ease of use and build quality the answer is 'yes'. If you are looking to only get one CECB and you expect you'll require 2-3 years of service from it the Zenith is probably the better investment.


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post #9 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 07:00 AM
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CECBs are hard to find here lately (western Detroit suburbs). I was shopping for an unrelated electronic gadget a couple of days ago which caused me to make the rounds. I made a point of looking to see what CECBs were still on the shelves. None of the stores I was in had any (Target, Meijer, Kmart, Walmart, Sears).

About a month ago, I was looking for another Zenith unit. My local Kmart had just one, an open-box unit that was $10 off list. The only thing missing was the remote battery and the unit looked OK, so I grabbed it. (It works just fine, not sure why it was returned.) Good thing too, since I haven't seen any others anywhere since.
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post #10 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 07:02 AM
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Thanks, some good tips on where to get hold of converter boxes.
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post #11 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menarefrommars View Post

...A Zenith Rep told me that they would make more if someone would order them...

For such a consumer product, an order substantial enough to resume production might be ten thousand or more units.
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post #12 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Fry's Electronics has a new shipment of the Channel Master CM-7000 in. They are sale priced in the store for $49.99 (that is $20 off). The web price is $69.99. If you don't have a Fry's in your area, you might call their 800 number and see if they will give you the in-store price.

I'm leaving now to get 3 units with my coupons. Wish they were Zenith's but second best for $10 plus tax will have to do.
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post #13 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 06:04 PM
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Why should manufacturers be afraid of a large inventory of unsold boxes when they will have a large market for them in Canada in 2011? At worst they would have to sit on unsold inventory for about one year. I don't know if Canada is doing a coupon program or not, but there will surely be demand for the boxes there soon.

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post #14 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Hawk View Post

Why should manufacturers be afraid of a large inventory of unsold boxes when they will have a large market for them in Canada in 2011? At worst they would have to sit on unsold inventory for about one year. I don't know if Canada is doing a coupon program or not, but there will surely be demand for the boxes there soon.

No word yet on a Canadian coupon programme.

It's just a matter of printing up the right Canadian certification sticker and affixing same before US CECBs may be sold in Canada:

http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc....h_ca02405.html

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post #15 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 06:34 PM
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By the time 2011 rolls around, they should be on another generation. How much demand could there be for boxes with four year old chips? Last I checked, there was no subsidized program planned in Canada. A high percentage of people subscribe to pay TV.
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post #16 of 26 Old 08-11-2009, 08:04 PM
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Man, with what appears to be a rapid abandonment I hope we can get support on these boxes.

If there ends up being a huge 'unusable' coupon supply vs supply of boxes, I wonder what the gov't's stand will be? (if any).

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post #17 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 02:00 AM
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Man, with what appears to be a rapid abandonment I hope we can get support on these boxes.

You're kidding....right?

What's the typical warranty on these things, anyway....90 days?
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post #18 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
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90 days for most. Quality ones can be up to 1 year like the Zenith. Some of the designs are so bad they are failing in days or weeks. When I read people's reviews, I look for comments that their boxes were hot to the touch. I know the enemy of electronics is heat. Hot units can't have longevity. The only boxes that I've found from people's comment that were just warm to the touch are Zenith, Insignia, and Channel Master (one guy measured it at 113 degrees). All the other units I checked had people giving warnings that their boxes ran hot.
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post #19 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 06:33 AM
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I have a houseful of outdated electronic equipment that runs warm. I can't think of one of them that runs cooler than a CECB.
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post #20 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 08:46 AM
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Looks like all those who waited to the last minute will end up buying a new tv. Just what the manufactures had planned. Don't expect tv prices to drop much for a while either.

Mad Scientist :)
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post #21 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

For such a consumer product, an order substantial enough to resume production might be ten thousand or more units.

Too bad but unless someone like Sears/Kmart steps up to the plate with a large order it looks like it's the end of the line for the Zenith boxes. I also wish LG Electronics would put some effort into a $99 street price ATSC/Clear QAM HDTV box but that probably won't happen either.
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post #22 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menarefrommars View Post

90 days for most. Quality ones can be up to 1 year like the Zenith.

The Zenith has effectively a 90 day warranty. One year on parts, but 90 days on labor. I doubt anyone will use the warranty after 90 days.

I'm willing to bet the minimum labor cost and your shipping cost to them will add up to more than a new unit, if you can find one.

I'm considering starting a CECB junkyard to strip them and resell parts. www.JunkYourBox.com
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post #23 of 26 Old 08-12-2009, 07:32 PM
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I'm considering starting a CECB junkyard to strip them and resell parts. www.JunkYourBox.com

Is that link registered yet?
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post #24 of 26 Old 08-14-2009, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Got home from a trip and set-up the Channel Master CM-7000 that I purchased at Fry's side-by-side with the Zenith which we have had for a year. The CM was nice quality and picked up the same stations at the Zenith (think it was 28). With the S-video, the CM had better picture quality. You couldn't see it from across the room but up close it was nice (wife liked it). Change a channel on the CM and you have to wait longer for it to sync up but not bad. The weaker channels had issues with both boxes but come in a bit better on the Zenith with the audio seems to drop out quicker on the CM on these weak channels. CM's program menu gives you more shows in the upcoming schedule. CM stays almost as cool to the touch as the Zenith. The CM is a very suitable converter box. Glad I got them. Don't think I'll by a Zenith off eBay for a spare.
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post #25 of 26 Old 08-15-2009, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menarefrommars View Post

With the S-video, the CM had better picture quality. You couldn't see it from across the room but up close it was nice (wife liked it).

HD is even better, by a huge factor.

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post #26 of 26 Old 08-15-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been using a Samsung HD box for years but it started dropping sync and not tuning well to channels. I think it gave up the ghost and will sell for parts. We will be using the CM-7000 until our 30-inch Samsung HDTV gets passed down to the kids or dies. Glad to have the S-video until that occurs.
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