Zenith (LG) DTT900 CECB - Page 82 - AVS Forum
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post #2431 of 2451 Old 12-25-2013, 10:04 AM
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My parents still have theirs (April 2008). All still work!! The only issue was one with RC sometimes not working correctly.
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post #2432 of 2451 Old 12-26-2013, 08:40 AM
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If I see any nearby on the cheap I'll try and grab them up. They're not any better than what I have (actually lower PQ per consumerreports.org) but the general perception is they're the greatest ones on earth so command a higher selling price for those in the know. Now I'm suspicious this won't apply to the Insignia boxes since the perceivers probably don't know that they're the same (?).

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post #2433 of 2451 Old 12-26-2013, 09:28 AM
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I also still have 3 is service, 2 at home and 1 at work. The 2 at home are only used for their signal display meter. One of them is a March 2008 build with a Sanyo tuner, and can that thing ever lock the weak signals.
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post #2434 of 2451 Old 12-29-2013, 12:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

If I see any nearby on the cheap I'll try and grab them up. They're not any better than what I have (actually lower PQ per consumerreports.org) but the general perception is they're the greatest ones on earth so command a higher selling price for those in the know. Now I'm suspicious this won't apply to the Insignia boxes since the perceivers probably don't know that they're the same (?).
Other boxes I currently possess and have used - although at this point, as I have migrated to HD, these are not on our primary TV: Channel Master CM-7000 (with S-Video, the very best PQ and IMHO the best tuner of all), RCA DTA-800B (generally very good, but a bit less flexible than the Zenith), Apex DT-502 (with S-Video, have only used this a little bit), and a disappointing Magnavox unit. One of these Zeniths I purchased brand-new in 2008 with the $40 NTIA coupon. The others have been acquired second-hand. Some came with the original remote. Others required finding a universal remote that would fully function with that unit. Anyway, the Zeniths are a very good unit, but if you find a working Channel Master on the used market for a good price, the CM-7000 is a superb choice.

Of the commonly-found and relatively plentiful CECB models other than the Zenith, the RCA DTA800 series boxes are pretty good if they are priced cheap and include their very nice large-button remote. Strangely, although a Canadian company called AVS Multimedia still manufactures and sells this RCA product, the "current" DTA800B1 actually should be "DTA800C" because it lacks the very nice electronic program guide of the original DTA800, DTA800B, and DTA800B1 models, and it also lacks the Smart Antenna inputs of the earlier models. I guess the licensing company for RCA isn't too concerned about this issue, they just want to get their royalty fees for use of the RCA brand name - which has no real relationship with the venerable and now-deceased firm once known as Radio Corporation of America.
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post #2435 of 2451 Old 12-29-2013, 08:13 AM
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seatacboy, yeah I don't need any more of DTV converter boxes but those Zeniths appear to have good [-will] reselling properties.

Sounds like you've got your remote control shortage under 'control.' rrr biggrin.gif

I remember RCA had gone Thomson (France/Canada) which explains the Canadian connection. I think the boxes are Audiovox (now Voxx Int'l).
I saw the same thing happen to the Zinwells per what I saw on Amazon. Appeared to have lost their unique recording timer feature as well as the Favorites feature, maybe other stuff too.

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post #2436 of 2451 Old 01-25-2014, 03:08 PM
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It's been almost FIVE YEARS since Uncle Sam's TV Converter Box Program $40 cards were delivered and this CECB started showing up in stores. Although this is a Standard Definition device limited to 480i output, with connection to one's older television only via RF input or composite input - the DTT900 and its classmate the DTT901 are probably the "best" of the CECBs put on the market in 2008/2009.

Quality of parts and assembly is a major part of this. When you find a DTT900 or 901 on the second hand market, there is a pretty good chance it still is fully functional. More significantly, the sixth-generation ATSC tuner included in these units was very good, plus these units had attractive appearance.

For a bit of historical information about how and why these LG/Zenith CECBs came on the market for a relatively brief period of time (production ended around the time of the original Digital TV Shutoff date in February, 2009), check out these historic press releases:

http://www.lg.com/us/press-release/lg-electronics-demonstrates-affordable-digital-to-analog-converter-on-capitol-hill

http://www.lg.com/us/press-release/lg-electronics-partners-with-broadcasters-to-develop-terrestrial-digital-to-analog-converter-boxes
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post #2437 of 2451 Old 01-26-2014, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

.....Quality of parts and assembly is a major part of this. When you find a DTT900 or 901 on the second hand market, there is a pretty good chance it still is fully functional. More significantly, the sixth-generation ATSC tuner included in these units was very good, plus these units had attractive appearance.....

Excellent point!
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post #2438 of 2451 Old 01-26-2014, 11:37 AM
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I'd have to go with my Channel Masters and Zinwells. CM has better PQ on composite, s-video (can't touch this), a 'real' EPG, and a great tuner (probably similar performance though); lack of pass-thru sucks though but only in limited configurations. Zinwell has better PQ on composite, an extremely rare but quite useful timer function (recorders), an extensive favorites feature, and a tuner that may be slightly better than the CM (may depend on Zinwell model); one model has a very useful pass-thru that works while tuned (like a VCR); drawback is uses a wallwart and one model is sensitive to reactive line transients (glitches it if I switch a fan plugged in the same line) but being 5 V DC input that can be remedied (and if the wallwart power supply goes bad just grab another one from one's box of unused wallwarts - lol). Both are also certified Dolby Digital. Note: I'm suspicious the 'new' Zinwells are different and now probably out-sourced or sold off as they look different and don't list all of those great features anymore.

Now there's the mysterious TRT box that looks to have been the holy grail on paper:

http://www.ezdigitaltv.com/TRT_TACB-2009.html (there was also a lite version -1009).

Looks 'heavy metal' built like a CM. I think a poster over on its AVS message board said it had a timer function too. Unfortunately hardly anyone knew about it until after the CECB program was over so there's little user review to be found; I think it had to be bought directly from TRT at the time and marketing was almost non-existent. Of course reliability is a big ? but the miniscule number of posters over yonder have had no problems.

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post #2439 of 2451 Old 01-29-2014, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Back to Zenith, a freebie Insignia plus a bonus Digital Stream (I think) in the D/FW area (Allen)

Someone finally got 'em or the CL poster was lazy about removing their ad (pretty common). Delete.
____________

BTW I forgot about the Apex boxes. Full-featured with s-video and nice EPG plus a bonus smart antenna port. Tuner performance and favorites feature I don't remember but seems like more of the feature points. The problem is the DT250's are unreliable and/or buggy. I've never been a fan of Apex products but I heard the DT502's were the reliable ones to get (oddly enough the 502 preceded the 250). I believe both models had versions with and without pass-thru, should be an 'a' suffix for the pass-thru version.

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post #2440 of 2451 Old 02-01-2014, 01:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

I'd have to go with my Channel Masters and Zinwells. CM has better PQ on composite, s-video (can't touch this), a 'real' EPG, and a great tuner (probably similar performance though); lack of pass-thru sucks though but only in limited configurations. Zinwell has better PQ on composite, an extremely rare but quite useful timer function (recorders), an extensive favorites feature, and a tuner that may be slightly better than the CM (may depend on Zinwell model); one model has a very useful pass-thru that works while tuned (like a VCR); drawback is uses a wallwart and one model is sensitive to reactive line transients (glitches it if I switch a fan plugged in the same line) but being 5 V DC input that can be remedied (and if the wallwart power supply goes bad just grab another one from one's box of unused wallwarts - lol). Both are also certified Dolby Digital. Note: I'm suspicious the 'new' Zinwells are different and now probably out-sourced or sold off as they look different and don't list all of those great features anymore.
Over the past year, I have acquired a used Channel Master CM-7000 and a used Zinwell. I have used the CM-7000, but not Zinwell yet (need to set up a universal remote for the Zinwell). The CM-7000 is very good, it's much less commonplace on the used market than the Zenith/Insignia CECBs. My CM-7000 works nicely - I programmed a Philips universal remote for it as the CM remote was missing - but I can honestly say in head-to-head comparisons the CM-7000 and Zenith tuners are very, very close.

I did get the impression that based on the signal-strength meter, the CM-7000 could retain picture and sound down as low as 20%, which is a bit lower than on the Zenith, but the characteristics of these CECB "signal strength" meters are very different. Using a roof-mounted outdoor antenna on a nearby local station, the CM-7000 will frequently show 100%, the Zenith will show about 90%, and an RCA DTA-800B will show about 60%, even though the RCA in real life is almost as sensitive as the Zenith. [The RCA's picture quality is not quite as appealing as the Zenith or the Channel Master.] In other words, it seems like the electronic configurations and thresholds of these "signal strength" meters are not really consistent between different CECBs.

Ultimately, more of my time is spent with HD equipment and less on SD gear, but I still use a CECB with one television that's regularly used - and currently that's one of my four Zenith DTT-900s!
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post #2441 of 2451 Old 02-01-2014, 09:53 AM
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Yeah the meters are not all relative so to speak. Too bad they weren't calibrated to a common standard. But some tuners will perform better in some conditions than others (ex: multipath). I guess what matters for each individual is how they compare in your location/antenna. And as far as the meters are concerned, when does audio and/or video start breaking up. Seems like this DTV loses audio first, not how I would have designed it; I prefer the ol' analog where the pic went bad but you still could hear the darn broadcast. I have my little kitchen TV on a cheap loop antenna so sometimes I have to mute the audio and crank up the living room TV's audio (in the kitchen I tend to be doing more listening than viewing).

Which Zinwell do you have? BTW try it out for the signal meter as it has a dual meter - one for signal strength and one for signal quality; I found that combo very useful for antenna positioning.

Unfortunately my HD receiver is older vintage so it's tuner is of an earlier generation than converter boxes. I've had an infrequent problem on one or two channels where the CM or Zinwell has little to no problem but nothing on the HDR. I suspected interference from a neighbor as it would come and go at various times of day. What was really weird is that I found a small loop antenna down by the TV would work whereas the main antenna, a big attic antenna, was picking up the interference. So I had to combine them together with a 2-way, weakened the attic antenna signal a touch but did the job.

I take it you don't have an s-video input on that TV.

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post #2442 of 2451 Old 02-01-2014, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Yeah the meters are not all relative so to speak. Too bad they weren't calibrated to a common standard. But some tuners will perform better in some conditions than others (ex: multipath). I guess what matters for each individual is how they compare in your location/antenna. And as far as the meters are concerned, when does audio and/or video start breaking up. Seems like this DTV loses audio first, not how I would have designed it; I prefer the ol' analog where the pic went bad but you still could hear the darn broadcast. I have my little kitchen TV on a cheap loop antenna so sometimes I have to mute the audio and crank up the living room TV's audio (in the kitchen I tend to be doing more listening than viewing).

Which Zinwell do you have? BTW try it out for the signal meter as it has a dual meter - one for signal strength and one for signal quality; I found that combo very useful for antenna positioning.

Unfortunately my HD receiver is older vintage so it's tuner is of an earlier generation than converter boxes. I've had an infrequent problem on one or two channels where the CM or Zinwell has little to no problem but nothing on the HDR. I suspected interference from a neighbor as it would come and go at various times of day. What was really weird is that I found a small loop antenna down by the TV would work whereas the main antenna, a big attic antenna, was picking up the interference. So I had to combine them together with a 2-way, weakened the attic antenna signal a touch but did the job.

I take it you don't have an s-video input on that TV.
Very interesting that the Zinwell has dual meters - I haven't actually hooked up this Zinwell ZAT970A yet as I need to program a remote for it, but definitely worth trying out. We have a Channel Master 4228-HD mounted on the roof, it will be interesting to see signal quality levels. Although the main broadcast towers are only 10 to 12 miles away, there are many tall trees in the same direction as those transmitters, and we are dealing with the Seattle area's less-than-flat geography even though my own residence is in a relatively flat plateau-like neighborhood.

The old Samsung TV which is fed by the Zenith DTT-900 does have an S-video input, and I do recall it had a bit extra clarity in the picture. However, my wife is the primary user of the second TV. She uses it to watch the public-television Create subchannel, which is SD-only. She is more comfortable using the Zenith than the Channel Master and she specifically asked to use the Zenith.

Speaking of S-Video, not only do I have a thrift-store-purchased working CM-7000, but also an S-Video-capable Apex 502 with the original Apex remote. Gotta try it out as well.

In my experience, the CECBs which are most commonly found on the second-hand market at thrift stores, yard sales and the local Craigslist are:

Magnavox TB100 series
RCA DTA 800 series
Philco TB100 series
Digital Stream 9900 and 9950
Apex 250 and 502
Zenith DTT900 and DTT901
Insignia NS-DXA1 series

Other CECBs are less common on the resale market than the ones I've listed above. Of those, the Apex 502 is the one model I know with S-Video output.
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post #2443 of 2451 Old 02-02-2014, 10:16 AM
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I suspect the Zinwell's signal meter is an RSSI from the tuner module while the quality meter is BER from the decoder chip. Yeah ya'll have some bodacious trees, beautiful up yonder. A girlfriend almost lured me to move up there after a vacation, although it was sneakily in late summer (no rain). Flight via Sea-Tac but vacation was Marysville and northward including Cascades, one of them islands (the one with the battle over a pig - lol), and Vancouver.

s-video makes all channels look better but we know better than to argue with the wives eek.gif . Now maybe if she complains about the lack of program guide for Create the CM or Apex may stand a chance.

Ah you snagged a 502. I'd buy one if the price and location was right.

Yeah I see kinda the same thing here on CL as your list although the exact models are often a mystery. Many folks just call 'em converter boxes as if they're all the same. Seems like most of the Apex's are 250's, I suspect 502's are rarer (or they're sick of their 250 bugs). I would say I mostly see Magnavox, RCA, and DS. The Zeniths I see tend to be someone trying to make a buck (higher-priced) based on popularity. I've not checked out the stores. Last I recall Goodwill has a website and the boxes can be shipped.

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post #2444 of 2451 Old 05-31-2014, 01:22 PM
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I just realized 901 is a newer one with passthrough option, but that's useless these days. Also, my parents' 900s still work as of this morning. wink.gif
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post #2445 of 2451 Old 05-31-2014, 04:32 PM
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I just realized 901 is a newer one with passthrough option, but that's useless these days.

I use pass-thru to daisy-chain multiple tuners, saves me a switch (splitters cause too much signal loss). Too bad most of the boxes don't pass-thru like a VCR such that you can use the box and pass-thru simultaneously; one Zinwell model can do it although it has to have power (i.e. a VCR can pass-thru while unplugged).
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post #2446 of 2451 Old 07-28-2014, 09:14 PM
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We still have two Zenith DTT900 CECBs in use in our three-TV household. My wife frequently watches the SD-only subchannels like PBS Create, ION Life, Livewell, Antenna TV and GetTV, so there's no real loss of PQ using the DTT900. I can't quite believe these units are over six years old, though I did have one "die" and not power up (I may open it up and try one of the repairs described earlier in this thread). Zenith made a darned good digital TV converter box.
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post #2447 of 2451 Old 07-28-2014, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post
We still have two Zenith DTT900 CECBs in use in our three-TV household. My wife frequently watches the SD-only subchannels like PBS Create, ION Life, Livewell, Antenna TV and GetTV, so there's no real loss of PQ using the DTT900. I can't quite believe these units are over six years old, though I did have one "die" and not power up (I may open it up and try one of the repairs described earlier in this thread). Zenith made a darned good digital TV converter box.
Ditto. All still work with my parents'! They keep working like CRT TVs. Haha!
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post #2448 of 2451 Old 07-29-2014, 10:05 AM
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And I'm gonna guess those subs look much better this way than using a flat panel (I'm assuming the Zeniths are driving CRT TVs). Whenever I watch an SD sub I have to set my HD tuner to 480i output to improve the pic on my Panny CRT.

Hey ant, cool avatar.
I don't remember that one. What kind of ants does it say at the bottom? (I zoomed it but it got too blurry).
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post #2449 of 2451 Old 07-29-2014, 10:52 AM
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Cool

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And I'm gonna guess those subs look much better this way than using a flat panel (I'm assuming the Zeniths are driving CRT TVs). Whenever I watch an SD sub I have to set my HD tuner to 480i output to improve the pic on my Panny CRT.

Hey ant, cool avatar.
I don't remember that one. What kind of ants does it say at the bottom? (I zoomed it but it got too blurry).
Thanks! http://zimage.com/~ant/antfarm/about.../ANTinator.gif
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post #2450 of 2451 Old 07-30-2014, 09:51 AM
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Whenever it rains here I do get the RISE OF THE ANTS. lol
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post #2451 of 2451 Old 07-30-2014, 10:49 AM
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Talking

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Whenever it rains here I do get the RISE OF THE ANTS. lol
Muahaha, rise my minions.
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