Magnavox TB100MW9 - Initial Impressions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 154 Old 01-29-2008, 09:39 AM - Thread Starter
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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
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post #2 of 154 Old 01-29-2008, 09:57 AM
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With the coupon this is a $10 STB - I can see a sizable portion of the viewing public going OTA next year. Recession+out of control cable rates=more OTA viewers.
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post #3 of 154 Old 01-29-2008, 10:06 AM
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Would it be possible for you to post pictures or a Youtube video of the unit in action? I'm curious to see what the EPG and remote looks like in action.

Thanks in advance.
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post #4 of 154 Old 01-29-2008, 02:36 PM
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Does an auto-scan delete channels you've already added?
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post #5 of 154 Old 01-30-2008, 06:53 AM
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One thing that would be useful to know with these converter boxes is whether they have a clear QAM tuner or not. The models that do have QAM can be used with the cable systems (and Verizon FiOS) that have or are shutting down their analog channels and going all digital. The SD and HD locals should be sent in the clear on most cable systems, so those with an old analog TV could use the converter with the $40 coupon rather than have to lease a STB from the cable company. The cable companies going all digital may provide low STBs for free for 6 months or a year, but then after that people are likely looking at $2 to $4/month. Verizon will be charging $4/month for the Motorola DCT 700.

So for those planning to post reviews of all the different units, please note whether the box says it has QAM or not. Do the Magnavox specs say anything about QAM?
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post #6 of 154 Old 01-30-2008, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drla View Post

Does an auto-scan delete channels you've already added?

Yes. You start all over with a new scan, but you can enter new (additional) channels manually.

Steve
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post #7 of 154 Old 01-30-2008, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post

One thing that would be useful to know with these converter boxes is whether they have a clear QAM tuner or not. ...... Do the Magnavox specs say anything about QAM?

No. There is absolutely no mention of QAM in the manual.

This Magnavox unit is made by Funai.

Steve
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post #8 of 154 Old 01-30-2008, 08:46 PM
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Pics/Videos?
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post #9 of 154 Old 01-30-2008, 09:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldrich View Post

No. There is absolutely no mention of QAM in the manual.

This Magnavox unit is made by Funai.

Steve

As a converter box, QAM might not be advertised. Afaik, QAM and ATSC are similar enough that it costs more to make a separate QAM specific chip than to have a combo chip. QAM functionality would go against the spirit of the mandate, but it's not explicitly forbidden and I doubt the FCC or whoever is validating the boxes is going to check for QAM functionality.

The only way to see if an LG 6th generation tuner is being used is to open it up. If you do that, please post pics.
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post #10 of 154 Old 01-31-2008, 12:17 AM
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Once the info gets out that some of these coupon subsidized boxes do QAM you'll have a second rush for the coupons. Who wouldn't want a dirt cheap STB for that rarely used analog TV vs. paying the cable co $2-4/mo forever.
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post #11 of 154 Old 02-01-2008, 12:44 AM
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Will it output 16x9 480i ???

If so it would be nice for those of us with stand alone DVD recorders that do not have a digital tuner.

My COMCAST cable box outputs HDTV at 480i but forces it to a 4:3 letterbox instead of keeping it 16x9 yet it would be so nice to still have 480i for DVD recording but keep the anamorphic 16x9 picture.

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Director Lucio Fulci on his horror masterpiece THE BEYOND:
"In Italy we make films based on pure themes, without a plot, and THE BEYOND - like INFERNO - refuses conventions or traditional structures ... people who blame THE BEYOND for its lack of story don't understand...
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post #12 of 154 Old 02-01-2008, 10:36 AM
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Glad your TB100MW9 worked! I bought one on Wednesday at a Wal-Mart 35 miles away from home. Unfortunately, the box would not power up after several attempts and I returned it. They didn't have a box at that store. Today, I bought another TB100MW9 and it also would not power up. Magnavox/Funai just said to return it to Wal-Mart.

It is my hope that quality control of these CECBs is better than my awful experience with the Magnavox unit. If large numbers of CECBs turn out to be unreliable (possibly due to power-supply issues relating to Energy Star certification), millions of Americans will scream at Congress for a costly boondoggle.
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post #13 of 154 Old 02-01-2008, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biker19 View Post

Once the info gets out that some of these coupon subsidized boxes do QAM .

I don't recall that any have been found to do so. Seeing as it's a subsidized OTA box, I doubt they will. My RJ900 does not offer a QAM selection, even tho the tuner brick probably supports it.

The RJ900 uses the Thomson tuner brick, haven't found what chipset that uses yet. It has above average sensitivity.

Bob

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post #14 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 09:43 AM
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Magnavox/Funai's quality control on these units is suspect. Twice I've tried these boxes and both were "dead on arrival", unable to power up. On my second box purchase, I called Funai telephone customer service. The rep was courteous but simply advised me to return the defective unit to Wal Mart.

Magnavox/Funai should not ship defective goods to Wal Mart, particularly CECBs eligible for Uncle Sam's $40 coupon program. I'm using nice language here to get across my displeasure.
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post #15 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 11:16 AM
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The maggotbox I got works fine... Pretty good operationally, I'm not so sure how long it will last tho. Remote doesn't fit the hand very well. It is the lowest cost box so far.

Bob

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the FOX,ABC,CBS,or CW Networks,MeTv, my employer or its parent company. Nor my wife for that matter!
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post #16 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 03:46 PM
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WalMart website says Magnavox TB100MW9 supports "Digital Audio Output (Coaxial)"
and has "both digital and analog (SDTV) tuners".
Can anyone confirm Coax (or Optical) output and whether it can receive
analog NTSC station directly...or at least passes thru RF to TV's NTSC tuner???

How is the EPG (Electronic Program Guide)? How many days out???

Can you hear STEREO (or only MONO) via CH3/4 RF output???

Is there an external wall-wart power supply and if so what DC voltage (for RV use).


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post #17 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

WalMart website says Magnavox TB100MW9 supports "Digital Audio Output (Coaxial)"
and has "both digital and analog (SDTV) tuners".
Can anyone confirm Coax (or Optical) output and whether it can receive
analog NTSC station directly...or at least passes thru RF to TV's NTSC tuner???

How is the EPG (Electronic Program Guide)? How many days out???

Can you hear STEREO (or only MONO) via CH3/4 RF output???

Is there an external wall-wart power supply and if so what DC voltage (for RV use).

i live in md up in harford county about 30 miles from baltimore with no outside antenna going to walmart tomorrow to get one. if anybody is interested i'll report back. can anyone tell me whether or not the rca unit is available on the east coast walmart says only west coast verify if you can thanks.
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post #18 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rviele View Post

i live in md up in harford county about 30 miles from baltimore with no outside antenna going to walmart tomorrow to get one. if anybody is interested i'll report back. can anyone tell me whether or not the rca unit is available on the east coast walmart says only west coast verify if you can thanks.

I checked Wal-Mart's in-store availability search tool for the RCA CECB. The RCA box isn't shown yet as being in stock at Wal-Marts near Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boise, Portland or Seattle (West Coast markets).

OP Goldrich's review of the Magnavox noted: "In fact, the green LED light (indicating DTV signal) on the ATSC11 is only occasionally even lighting." Based on the users' manual, the green LED light indicates that the power is on, the yellow LED light indicates a DTV signal. That his unit's power light is rarely coming on raises more likelihood that the Magnavox CECB's suffer from a shoddy or unstable power supply.
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post #19 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 05:17 PM
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He was talking about the signal light on his old RCA box. He was saying the Magnavox box is displaying a perfect picture while the old RCA ATSC11 was barely even seeing a signal.
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post #20 of 154 Old 02-02-2008, 11:32 PM
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FYI: There is a spread sheet in fol. thread listing features & chipsets for each CECB SD-STB:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=980052&page=2

Still waiting for someone to open up and jot down part numbers for big chips and "tin can" tuner.....


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post #21 of 154 Old 02-03-2008, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

WalMart website says Magnavox TB100MW9 ).


No digital audio output.
Digital tuner only. Did not test pass thru or RF output.It's most likely mono.
Minimal EPG, no grid style as most are accustomed to. Shows current event from current channel, you must cursor right to see next events.
FYI, Most broadcasters do NOT send 7 days data, I only send 48hrs.
Power supply is internal, minimal switched mode type.
Plastic case, poorly shielded. Uses Sanyo tuner brick.
Odd shaped remote with small buttons, Grandma will have a hard time seeing.

Operationally, works pretty good. Indicates multiple audios OSD. Signal meter
seems slow to read. Fast channel scan, but says "scanning" for every channel change. No external port for upgrade, does have a port on the tuner PCB tho.

Not a bad box for $50, even better for $10 after coupon. But I'd recommend the Zenith-Insignia. Best Buy here doesn't have them as of yet.

Bob

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post #22 of 154 Old 02-06-2008, 11:27 AM
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Have any others bought this CECB? Anyone else run into defective units which won't power up?

FYI yesterday I noticed the local Best Buy stocked their Insignia (Zenith/LG) CECBs with little fanfare. I'm going to wait for the $40 coupons to arrive, which could be a few more weeks.
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post #23 of 154 Old 02-06-2008, 01:36 PM
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Picked up the magnavox unit from walmart. I only had it connected temporarily to test, and it worked fine.

setup was easy, Scans the channels pretty fast.

No zoom button on the remote, i presume you have to switch it through the setup button, but didn't try to. Because of this i'm probably going to pick up a different box that does have 'zoom' on the remote.
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post #24 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 10:53 AM
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I've been playing with a Magnavox TB100MW9 STB I picked up at Walmart this past Friday.
It comes in box that states: "$40 - You can use coupon - The U.S. Government is making $40 rebate coupons available to offset the cost of these boxes at the time of purchase" and "NTIA Coupon Eligible".
Inside the box are the STB, a basic remote control, 2 AA batteries for the remote, owner's manual, an addendum to the owner's manual and a coax cable with push-on type connectors.
After leaving the unit on for a few hours, the plastic case felt slighty warm to the touch, but not excessively hot. The tuner does have ventilation slots in the plastic case but no fan.
It does have:
RF Channel 3/4 and composite video output.
Stereo on the RF Channel 3/4 output - at least that's what my TV display indicates when I used the RF output to hook this unit to my TV.
To setup the channels you do an initial autoscan which scans and saves any OTA channels it detects.
You can go into a setup screen and add or remove channels manually. You can only remove the main channel not individual sub channels.

IT DOES NOT HAVE:
Does not have any buttons on the STB to change the channel. If you lose the remote control, you won't be able to use this STB. The remote has tiny buttons and can't be programmed for TV power or volume. The only switch on the STB is a main power switch that puts it in standby when switched on.
No grid style TV channel guide - Only shows one program at a time. You're not going to get a Tivo or cable /satellite box type EPG with this box. Depending on the channel it looks like you can get up to about 6 hours of PSIP guide information.
It has no on screen time display, I couldn't find any way to display what time the STB was receiving OTA. Also, there is no way to set the time manually in case your local stations are broadcasting the wrong time. The STB has settings for your time zone and daylight savings time.

It has no VCR Timer function, you can't set it tune to specific channel at a specific time.
It has no S-video output and no RF passthrough - I checked this by putting the box between my antenna and TV. No NTSC or Clear QAM tuner - It does have a weird bug - you can try to tune to any channel from 2-99. If this does have a QAM tuner I couldn't find any way to enable it.
Screen caps below:
1 Shows the signal strength indicator when you go into the STB box setup screens
2 Aspect ratio settings in the setup screen
3 Channel Add/Delete functions
4 Channel scan that is part of the intial setup, you can redo the scan through the setup screens
5 Shows what's available in the "Detail" settings screen
LL
LL
LL
LL
LL
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post #25 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 10:59 AM
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Some more screen caps of the Magnavox STB in use:
1 When watching a channel you can display the station info and a signal strength meter
2 Shows the EPG - depending on the station, I've been ale to see up to 6 hours of PSIP guide information
3 Time zone and Daylight Savings Time settings
4 This shows the tuning bug - you can try and tune to any channel from 2-99
LL
LL
LL
LL
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post #26 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 11:10 AM
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If it's there, the QAM tuner doesn't need to be turned on. All you need to do is connect the coaxial cable to the converter box.
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post #27 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 01:07 PM
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On my HDTV and DVD Recorders, to use the QAM tuners in them you have to go into a setup screen and select them.
As an example, I attached a screen capture from one of my DVD Recorders.

There is no option in the Magnavox's setup screens to enable a QAM tuner. When I first hooked the Magnavox to a TV I connected it to my cable line. I went through the inital setup and let it autoscan for channels on my cable line. I didn't detect any channels.
LL
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post #28 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachbum_50 View Post

On my HDTV and DVD Recorders, to use the QAM tuners in them you have to go into a setup screen and select them.
As an example, I attached a screen capture from one of my DVD Recorders.

There is no option in the Magnavox's setup screens to enable a QAM tuner. When I first hooked the Magnavox to a TV I connected it to my cable line. I went through the inital setup and let it autoscan for channels on my cable line. I didn't detect any channels.

Oh, I thought it worked like analog cable.

QAM would be nice for those with cable.
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post #29 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drla View Post

Oh, I thought it worked like analog cable.

QAM would be nice for those with cable.

That's why I tried to find if this box has a QAM tuner
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post #30 of 154 Old 02-10-2008, 01:45 PM
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EDIT: Nevermind.
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