Originally Posted by goldrich
Here's a quick review of the new digital-to-analog converter box,
Magnavox TB100MW9. I found it at one Wal-Mart location in the Indy area for $49.87. As a DTV DXer, I was very curious how it would locate and decode very weak digital signals. This is the initial review I just shared with a DXers' group. BTW, up to now, I, along with a few other DXers, have found the RCA ATSC11 (from 2003) to be one of the better units for receiving weak and distant DTV signals........................................... .................. .................................. Yes, I took a 25 mile drive to the Indy area Wal-Mart that is currently stocking this unit and purchased one. My initial reaction to its performance next to the RCA ATSC11 is that I really like it. I have the UHF antenna signal coming out of a two-way splitter and feeding the two receivers. I also have a Radio Shack attenuator on the line for testing purposes. .......... I currently have them tuned to WIPB-DT-52 (49.1, 49.2), Muncie, IN (PBS) @ 40 miles. The Triax stack antenna is misaimed by approximately 45 degrees for this station and the new TB100MW9 is displaying a perfect picture with perfect audio while the ATSC11 has neither. In fact, the green LED light (indicating DTV signal)on the ATSC11 is only occasionally even lighting. Too bad there's no enhanced tropo today, as conditions are really bad at the moment............
Positives for the TB100MW9 so far: Can skip auto scan...Can manually enter true RF channel number. It then brings up a small screen indicating "SCANNING." If it locates a station, it brings it up. If it doesn't find it initially, it will allow you sit on the channel and then when the channel is found it will lock it in and bring it up on the screen.......It has a signal meter, via the "DISPLAY" button or through the menu button. The one through the menu gives a full graph giving a visual, plus it gives a "NOW" signal reading plus a constant "PEAK" reading, indicating the highest signal registered. So far, the signal strength screen does not seem to time out. AND it stays up even while changing from channel to channel.......It automatically remaps the channel from the true RF channel to its virtual channel number. The "DISPLAY" button also indicates the call letters of the station.......Has 3 Display Modes: Letterbox, Zoom and Full Has Auto Power Down feature with 4 settings: Off, 4 hours, 2 hours and 1 hour. Seems to be very user friendly.
Negatives with the TB100MW9 so far: Is slower than the ATSC11 at initially locating and decoding a new station. But once it is locked, no doubt that it is better at holding and retaining the station over the RCA.
It is very small in size and very lightweight. It has an RF in and an RF out. It also has composite outputs for video, and left/right audio outputs. Initially I'd say this is a keeper, especially for the price. I would like to know if this unit DOES contain the 6th generation chip. More later. Have to head to work. Steve
This Magnavox unit was the first CECB model to show up for sale in retail stores, back in January 2008, even before the TV Converter Box $40 Coupon cards were issued. While my primary television is a modern LED HD display, we still use two SD CRTs in our home which are connected to converter boxes. I have several converter boxes, but a couple of months ago just out of curiosity decided to connect this very humble-looking Magnavox to my wife's TV. Interestingly, it performs very well indeed. This Magnavox box, and its Philco and Sylvania brandmates, are actually made by Funai. These are the most common CECBs found in thrift stores. They usually are very cheap - less than $10 - although often missing the remote. If you can find a Philips-brand universal remote which supports digital converter boxes, it should work just fine for these units.
The PQ is slightly softer than the LG/Zenith boxes, but from a tuner reception standpoint these units are fine. The signal-strength meter uses a more conservative signal measurement than those on the Zenith or Channel Master, which is to say that the "number" on the display might look lower than on a Zenith box but in reality they just use a different measurement system. On the Magnavox CECB, you will receive a viewable picture even when signal level is down around 18-20%, while with a Zenith when the signal level is shown around 50% you will experience signal break-up or loss. The tuner performance is almost identical in my own user experience, to my surprise.
The one drawback to these Magnavox/Sylvania/Philco CECBs: there is no real air ventilation. Be sure to set the unit to turn off after 4 hours, and turn it off when it's not in use. Otherwise, it will get warm to the touch. While I still think the LG/Zenith/Insignia CECBs are the best-in-breed units, these rather cheap-looking Magnavoxes actually perform just about as well and certainly working units are very commonplace and cheap on the second-hand market.