RCA DTA800 Digital to Analog TV Converter Box - Page 13 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #361 of 424 Old 11-26-2011, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim1348 View Post

I am a little late coming to this party, so please forgive me. Anyway, I inherited one of these this spring. I "cut my teeth" on the Zenith DTT901 and DTV Pal. A friend of mine can put this to use and, since I am not using it, hopefully it will work for him. We live in the same market, so I already scanned in the local channels. I do have a couple of questions, however. There were NO channels in memory when I powered this up. I am not sure if me mother ever used this. Does the DTA800 have a volatile memory? Will it "forget" all of the channels I just scanned in fairly quickly when it is not connected to AC house current? Also, how does the sensitivity and selectivity compare to say the Zenith or the DTV Pal? I seem to recall reading that the Zenith was considered by some to be one of the more sensitive and selective boxes. I don't think the DTV Pal was quite as good. Hopefully the DTA800 is at least as good as the DTV Pal.

They don't forget the channels so if it didn't have any in memory it was never used or maybe someone scanned for channels with no antenna connected and erased them all. The sensitivity is quite good since I can get all the channels from Phoenix and Tucson. Whatever you do though don't lose the remote or you won't be able to operate it.
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post #362 of 424 Old 11-26-2011, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by chutche2 View Post

Where could I go about getting a proper remote?

A Logitech Harmony will operate it but they tend to be expensive. I have seem some on sale for $20 that only operate 4 devices though.
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post #363 of 424 Old 11-26-2011, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by smpowell View Post

Saw a stack of RCA DTA800B1s at a Walmart in Ohio ($50 Dayton - Hoke Rd Oct 27 2011).

Shortly after reading this I chanced upon a single unit resting on the shelf at Walmart in Portland, OR, same price ($50). I'll be interested to know if you notice the rate of depletion in that stack.
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post #364 of 424 Old 11-26-2011, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DragonLoaf View Post

Shortly after reading this I chanced upon a single unit resting on the shelf at Walmart in Portland, OR, same price ($50). I'll be interested to know if you notice the rate of depletion in that stack.

I see them at Goodwill all the time for $5.99 or so. Since TV's all get HDTV now nobody needs them anymore.
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post #365 of 424 Old 04-05-2012, 07:33 PM
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I confirmed today what I had suspected, the RCA DTA800 has a firmware bug for the program guide. Many owners might never see it as it only gets exposed depending on how the station sends it.

If you know ATSC PSIP, the guide data is sent in EIT/ETT. If a station always sends EIT-0 in the lowest PID, no problem. However a couple of stations in my area rotate EIT-0 through the set of PIDs, and the program guide only works on that channel what it rotates back to the lowest one.

Each EIT is 3 hours long, so it works for 3 hours out of every cycle. The length off the cycle is determined by how many EITs are sent. For example, if the station sends 4 EITs, the cycle is 12 hours long.

I used TSReader to validate my theory and to determine the periods it would works for those "problem" stations.
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post #366 of 424 Old 04-16-2012, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevec50 View Post

I see them at Goodwill all the time for $5.99 or so. Since TV's all get HDTV now nobody needs them anymore.

Wish that was true in Las Vegas. have only checked one Goodwill so far, though. Lots of analog TVs, but not one converter box.

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post #367 of 424 Old 04-17-2012, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by crabboy View Post

Wish that was true in Las Vegas. have only checked one Goodwill so far, though. Lots of analog TVs, but not one converter box.

Yeah that seems too good to be true in the broader sense. I rarely see them for less than $20 on Craigslist.

Supply and demand: Sure the demand went down (assuming folks aren't acquiring those used TVs when the other folks upgrade) but there's very little new supply and many upgrade-folks hang onto some of the boxes 'just in case.'

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post #368 of 424 Old 05-09-2012, 01:34 PM
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You can check goodwill's site shopgoodwill.com for CECB's. The nearest ones near me that have em are either Madison, Indy or Michigan. Grr. Looks like I'll have to shell out full price for one at the local WalFart.

Now in NE Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna. Got everything except KTTU (MyNetwork).
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post #369 of 424 Old 05-09-2012, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by SycamoreSeej View Post

You can check goodwill's site shopgoodwill.com for CECB's. The nearest ones near me that have em are either Madison, Indy or Michigan. Grr. Looks like I'll have to shell out full price for one at the local WalFart.

Cool, I didn't know Goodwill had a site like that, thanks! Indeed I see some five-dollarish prices BUT they're starting bids akin to an ebay auction site and have to pay S&H:

http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/S...&showthumbs=on

After looking at "Closed Auctions" they still went for some decent prices so may be worth a shot but beware that some may not be fully tested (as is, powers on/off ).

BTW Amazon still has new Zinwells for $40 with free shipping. Maybe other brands as well of whatever is still available new.

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post #370 of 424 Old 07-22-2013, 02:32 PM
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I'm moving to a different home - at long last, and it's a location offering what appears to be decent-to-good OTA reception. Imay need one or two converter boxes for older SD televisions. This DTA-800B1 version of this RCA box is readily available at Wal-Mart for $49.97.

I realize a couple of other boxes are available through Amazon, like the Zinwell as well as some used Zeniths, but my big question here: what is the reliability of these boxes?

Is the RCA DTA-800B1, or its predecessor unit the DTA-800, any more or less reliable than the other CECBs, most of which have been out of production for some time?

I do know that the original DTA-800 only offered an "automatic" channel scan, there was no ability to input a channel directly to see if there was some signal strength showing. The most recent version, the DTA-800B1, does allow a channel "add" scan in addition to the standard auto-scan. This makes the unit more attractive than it was previously.

One drawback is that the DTA-800B1 is not only SD only, but it only offers the 4x3 aspect ratio, not 16x9.

If anyone here can answer these questions - particularly regarding whether the unit will still be working and functional one year from now - please chime in here or PM me. It's nice to see our old posts on this forum - and to be honest, it's unfortunate that LG terminated production of the Zenith DTT-900/901 CECBs.
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post #371 of 424 Old 07-22-2013, 04:29 PM
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Seriously? Are you really still trying to use these old boxes that were obsolete 10 years ago? When are you moving into this century and getting a real HDTV?
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post #372 of 424 Old 07-22-2013, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by stevec50 View Post

Seriously? Are you really still trying to use these old boxes that were obsolete 10 years ago? When are you moving into this century and getting a real HDTV?
These are for two TVs used in the bedroom, NOT for our main Samsung HD set.

Brand-new HD sets have become very inexpensive, and when the need comes to ditch the functional SD bedroom sets, that is easy enough. But for now, two nice Sony Trinitron sets will be nice bedroom TVs for non-critical non-connoisseur viewing.
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post #373 of 424 Old 07-22-2013, 05:43 PM
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Come on, there's nothing nice about an old Sony Trinitron! Are you using them to punish the kids when they have been bad? "If you don't do your homework you will have to stay in your room and watch the old Sony Trinitron!" I think you are just wasting your time trying to make those old boxes keep working. Even the cheapest new HDTV has a better tuner than those old boxes did as well as a much better picture.
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post #374 of 424 Old 07-23-2013, 12:05 PM
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Hey now! biggrin.gif Actually many gamers, which many of are kids, prefer CRTs (low input lag, solid colors&blacks, high contrast, etc.).

I guess I don't understand why you even replied to rag the guy on it instead of letting him find some answers to his questions. Maybe you should go to this thread and work on these guys:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/408146/the-official-kd-34xbr960-thread/7950#post_23550248

[great HD widescreen TVs (with built-in HD tuner!) albeit they maxed out at 34", only some of the new plasmas can come close in PQ for mainstream TVs]

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post #375 of 424 Old 07-23-2013, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Hey now! biggrin.gif Actually many gamers, which many of are kids, prefer CRTs (low input lag, solid colors&blacks, high contrast, etc.).

I guess I don't understand why you even replied to rag the guy on it instead of letting him find some answers to his questions. Maybe you should go to this thread and work on these guys:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/408146/the-official-kd-34xbr960-thread/7950#post_23550248

[great HD widescreen TVs (with built-in HD tuner!) albeit they maxed out at 34", only some of the new plasmas can come close in PQ for mainstream TVs]

If I ever run across one of these (heavy) Sony's at a yard sale, I'll be all over it. Even though I don't have a TV in the bedroom and the 125" cinema-scope screen along with the old (circa 2007) 42" plasma TV are running just fine.

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-R0oYg6qCaWM/p_15834XB970/Sony-KD-34XBR970.html

At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this forum is now dumber for having read it.

My Little Theater
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post #376 of 424 Old 07-24-2013, 05:40 PM
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Yeah there's a guy over on that thread that bought a new 65" Panasonic plasma, says it's fantastic. He still has his Sony 960 next to it as sort of a picture&picture (at least that's what I do with my Panny 34" widescreen HD CRT and an old 27" CRT). He's got pics of the setup over there if you're interested.

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post #377 of 424 Old 07-25-2013, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Hey now! biggrin.gif Actually many gamers, which many of are kids, prefer CRTs (low input lag, solid colors&blacks, high contrast, etc.).

I guess I don't understand why you even replied to rag the guy on it instead of letting him find some answers to his questions. Maybe you should go to this thread and work on these guys:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/408146/the-official-kd-34xbr960-thread/7950#post_23550248

[great HD widescreen TVs (with built-in HD tuner!) albeit they maxed out at 34", only some of the new plasmas can come close in PQ for mainstream TVs]

You don't need an old CRT TV for gaming. I'm pretty sure that Ms. Packman will run just fine on an LCD TV! LOL
Seriously, it seems like just a waste of time to try to use old TVs with adapter boxes. I got an LCD TV on sale at Frys for $79 that receives better than any of those adapter boxes do.
On the other hand for someone determined to stay rooted in the '90's this seems like the time for it since you can get the TVs at Goodwill for $1.00 and the adapter boxes for $15 or so if that's what you really have to have.
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post #378 of 424 Old 07-25-2013, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by stevec50 View Post

You don't need an old CRT TV for gaming.

I wrote "prefer" not "need." And I mentioned some of the reasons why above.
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Originally Posted by stevec50 View Post

I got an LCD TV on sale at Frys for $79 that receives better than any of those adapter boxes do.

I seriously doubt it. Did you test it against some and not just the crappy ones? I've seen instances where folks had to use a converter box in place of their flat panels' tuners where they had reception issues. Not all tuners are alike and the cheap sets may have cheap tuners.
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post #379 of 424 Old 08-14-2013, 12:53 PM
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I recently scored a DTA800B at a local Goodwill store. I did have to purchase a compatible RCA Universal Remote to control it - but as luck would have it, on another Goodwill visit I scored a genuine DTA800 remote!

Although I now have four Zenith DTT900 CECBs (not all in use at the same time - we only have two SD televisions needing a DTV box), I tested the DTA800B out and actually found it to be a fairly good performer. The program guide feature is nicer than what's on the Zenith box. Sensitivity is pretty good although probably not as exceptional as the Zenith - using a CM 4221 placed inside my condo (a horrid reception environment as it is partially below-ground, surrounded by other condo buildings, and on the southern slope of a hill which renders most Seattle stations as a 2-edge reception pattern), I pulled in a total of 31 channels (stations + subchannels)! I actually liked using the DTA800B and the big-button remote is a great pleasure.

Picture quality is very good, maybe a tiny bit less crisp than the Zenith. Sound quality is pretty good and better than the Zenith DTT900 - though late-production DTT900 units and the DTT901 are improved for audio.

The part which is unknown - and which is the reason I've been stockpiling used CECBs - is lifespan. I've seen plenty of reports that RCA DTA800 boxes sometimes have a short lifespan. That's also been true with other CECBs. YMMV.
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post #380 of 424 Old 08-15-2013, 08:31 AM
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A few boxes have a smart antenna input.
BTW the Zenith was only rated in the middle of the pack on PQ per that consumerreports.org link I provided you on one of these threads. Also, Insignia is the same as Zenith (they're actually all made by Insignia).

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post #381 of 424 Old 08-16-2013, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

A few boxes have a smart antenna input.
BTW the Zenith was only rated in the middle of the pack on PQ per that consumerreports.org link I provided you on one of these threads. Also, Insignia is the same as Zenith (they're actually all made by Insignia).
Later model DTA800B and DTA800B1 units omit the smart antenna input - and to my knowledge, very few smart antennas reached the consumer marketplace. Anyway, I enjoyed using this CECB more than I had expected. I did also pick up a used Channel Master CM7000 and need to get one of the RCA universal remotes that can be programmed for it - using he S-Video input provides truly superb 480i PQ. Anyway, just saying I was much more impressed with the DTA800B than I expected. These units are quite abundant at thrift stores - the RCA CECBs may have been the best-selling model due to widespread retail availability. Of course, brand-new DTA800B1 boxes can still be purchased at Wal-Mart and Amazon.

Someone else correctly noted that more and more Americans are replacing their SD tube televisions with low-cost HD LCD and LED sets containing built-in ATSC tuners. Those folks are also donating more and more of these digital TV converter boxes. Therefore, used CECBs aren't quite as scarce and pricey on Craigslist as they were a couple of years ago. Hence, my nomination of the RCA boxes as a commonly-available and decent-performing choice.
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post #382 of 424 Old 08-16-2013, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

I did also pick up a used Channel Master CM7000 and need to get one of the RCA universal remotes that can be programmed for it -

There's a good chance any u-remote you already have will work. If one isn't new enough to have converter box codes you can try the Pioneer cable box code (those have been around a long time). Now there is a mysterious menu function on the CM for Pioneer cable box code on/off which I suspect activates or deactivates that capability but there's no mention of it in the lousy manual.

Yeah the RCAs are everywhere, probably due to Walmart. I think they were sold in several other retail stores as well.

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post #383 of 424 Old 10-22-2013, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Yeah the RCAs are everywhere, probably due to Walmart. I think they were sold in several other retail stores as well.
Unfortunately like many CECBs, the RCAs were built cheaply with indifferent quality control. If you can get one in working condition, the DTA800-series CECBs are generally quite good compared with some other brands (GE/Sylvania/Magnavox come to mind as less-desirable).

Worth noting: from 2008 through 2009, the DTA 800, DTA800B and DTA800B1 CECBs were licensed by Thomson/RCA for manufacture and distribution by Audiovox.

After the 2009 U.S. analog shutoff, Thomson/RCA sold off the manufacturing and distribution rights to a different company, AVS Multimedia.

AVS Multimedia focused on marketing these converter boxes to Canadians during Canada's digital TV transition, which occurred in August, 2011, two years after the U.S. analog TV shutoff.

The AVS Multimedia-manufactured boxes look identical to the Audiovox-sourced units, but two key features are omitted: the very useful Electronic Program Guide and the Smart Antenna input. Presumably, this was to save a few pennies in royalty costs and a few pennies in manufacturing expense per unit.

AVS Multimedia still makes and distributes the RCA DTA800B1. They are sold at Wal-Mart, Amazon and other sources.

P.S. I just realized that as AVS Multimedia is a Canadian company, the phrase "save a few pennies" is anachronistic as Canada no longer uses the penny!!
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post #384 of 424 Old 10-23-2013, 08:59 AM
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Interesting. Losing the EPG sucks. After having so much trouble with my RCA I bought in the early -90s I'm not much on Thomson; they appear to be a French Canadian firm. I obtained the service bulletins for that RCA and it had a lot of pages, lots of soldering issues. They also did GE and some other 'goodwill' names they acquired (Sylvania and Magnavox?).
Looks like the same kind of thing with the Zinwells I last saw selling on Amazon. Manual didn't show the timer and favorites functions anymore.

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post #385 of 424 Old 02-08-2014, 05:28 PM
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Hello everyone. I own two RCA DTA800B1 boxes and so does my brother. These were purchased in January 2009 using the coupon program available at that time. One of my units is still in the box, unopened. I use one for my TV at home. My brother uses both of his for two TVs at his house.

Sometime around a year ago we each noticed that our boxes would lock up when trying to do either a full new scan for channels, or when doing a scan-add. The lockup happens at about 64% of completion. The green light on the front of the box goes out. The only way to recover is to physically unplug power from it and then power back on. I'd tried letting it sit as long as overnight and it didn't recover.

We had each thought that "it must be these cheap boxes, last only a couple of years and then gone." Well, I'm learning there's a different reason for it.

In web searches for info about "RCA DTA800 scan lockup" I found others had run across this problem. In those cases, they found that if the scan locked up, they could disconnect the antenna from it, and it continued the rest of the scan (with no other channels added). One of the responses said that the problem was with the TV station it was scanning at the time of the lockup, that it was transmitting bad CRC's, and the RCA box just tried over and over to get it. The firmware provides no bailout point to just scratch that channel and continue looking for more.

That's making sense. I'd had a need to do full rescans every so often, since sometimes a channel gets added in (just recently, GetTV, for instance). The scan-add function doesn't add new digital subchannels to an RF channel it already knows about. So, when KFTR that only had channel 46.1 just added GetTV on 46.2, the only way to get 46.2 in there is to do a new full scan rather than scan-add on this device.

To keep it from locking up, I kept my finger on the Menu button on the remote during the scan, watching that percentage on screen go higher and higher, and when it got to 63% I hit the button and stopped it there. That's been able to get me the new channels I was looking for, but at the expense of any channels higher up on the RF channel spectrum. I suppose I can do what some other folks found, unplug and replug the antenna connector briefly and let it finish the scan.

What channels am I obviously missing? A number of channels on KJLA virtual 57.x (RF 49), and one of the PBS stations here in Los Angeles, KOCE on virtual 50.x, which is on RF 48. And RF 48 seems about right for being 64% of the way through the scannable spectrum. RabbitEars.info lists only a couple of stations on RF channels above 48 for this area (http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php) so I'm not missing out on too much from stopping the scan early.

It's looking very much, from purely circumstantial evidence, that if there's a station transmitting bad CRCs, that it's probably KOCE. Here is why I think so. The RCA box has an occasional glitch, when I am going through the channels one by one using the channel up or down button, on channel 50.1 it drops all audio and the control doesn't do a thing. Then anywhere from 20-60 seconds later, it jumps up a couple of channels (like it had the pending channel change command in buffer) and all is well again. And this only happens at KOCE 50.1, and like I said only occasionally.

The only reason KOCE is in my brother's two boxes is that he has not done a full rescan. KOCE was added way way back, presumably before they started transmitting bad CRCs. He does not wish to lose that channel, and does not feel it's worth doing a full rescan to get a couple of subs he doesn't have if it's going to mean losing KOCE.

If the problem lies with KOCE as I suspect, how can we prove it so that the station engineer can be informed about specifically what needs to be fixed? It probably requires special ATSC scanning hardware we consumers don't generally have access to.

A lot of people won't run into this issue; the stations in your area might be putting out fine data. Others may have decided the box went out, and got some other brand which doesn't have that issue, or went to a regular HDTV and don't even use a converter box anymore. But for anyone who has run into the channel scan lockup, try unplugging the antenna for a moment and right back in, and at least you'll get some of the channels.
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post #386 of 424 Old 02-09-2014, 08:51 AM
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Me, I'd do a factory reset and start from scratch. I suspect some old station data is stuck in there and is cross-mapping to their new data (ideally the station should clear this out but...). Don't be afraid to contact the station with the above info. I kept having a transmit power problem with my local Fox station here which they claimed wasn't at their end - a few weeks later I get a BTW email saying the electric utility found a bad feed-line to one of their power amps.

If that station is still a problem I'd try deleting it and even doing a manual scan for that RF channel (and any other cross-mapped RF channel if supposed to be unused) with the antenna disconnected, that is if this box is capable of single channel manual scanning.

Beyond that, manually scanning each desired RF channel from scratch after a factory reset.

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post #387 of 424 Old 02-09-2014, 02:39 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. You can't manually add or delete a channel on this. You can skip it from the lineup but it'll still appear in the program listings. I'll try the factory reset and see if it'll complete a full scan without an antenna connected. If that works but it won't do it when connected then it's pretty good evidence that it's a station signal doing this.
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post #388 of 424 Old 02-10-2014, 08:37 AM
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But then again if you do a factory reset there won't be any old channel data to muck it up, assuming that's the problem. Still a good set of experiments to narrow it down.

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post #389 of 424 Old 02-11-2014, 08:41 PM
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OK. Here's what I tried. Full reset using menu, then unplugged it completely for a few minutes. Hooked it back up and, with antenna disconnected, ran a channel scan. It went all the way through and found nothing - but it didn't lock up.

Reconnected antenna and did another scan. Locked up at 69%. Disconnecting and reconnecting antenna didn't help.

Had to unplug and replug power. Did a scan once more but stopped it when it reached 68%. 126 channels, but no KOCE. I'm going to live with what I've got.
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post #390 of 424 Old 02-12-2014, 08:58 AM
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I don't think it will matter at this point but did you do a Full reset and then scan with antenna hooked up? (i.e. without the disconnected antenna scan/step in between).

If that doesn't matter then it does sound like the station, although I'm suspicious that these boxes lack the capability of overcoming this scenario (whether it be a software design flaw or a latent issue). What happens with another brand of tuner or a TV with built-in tuner if you have any to try? (or local friends and neighbors).

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