Digital Stream DTX-9900 ATSC D2A Converter Box - AVS Forum
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Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB) > Digital Stream DTX-9900 ATSC D2A Converter Box
bdfox18doe's Avatar bdfox18doe 11:41 AM 02-18-2008
My local CellShack.. Sorry, I meant "Radio Shack" now has the DTX9900's in stock. They were still in the back and I had to ask for it. Hope to get to test it tonite.

Scooper's Avatar Scooper 12:02 PM 02-18-2008
Saw it at my closest one too - can you check on analog passthrough ?
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski 03:19 PM 02-18-2008
Not surprised that RS is carrying it, since their Accurian ATSC tuner was just a rebadged Digital Stream.
bdfox18doe's Avatar bdfox18doe 04:53 PM 02-18-2008
Guided set up is simple and easy. Box works very well.

No analog pass thru. No external update port. No S-Video. Typical cheap, small, remote, Bigger than others, but still small. Granny doesn't like that.

Excellent video quality. And, the OSD is HUGE, bigger than most. Granny likes that. EPG shows 5 events at a time. Better than the others so far. Aspect ratio defaults to zoom, all other settings available. Handles multiple audios just fine. Caption works fine. Nice big signal meter, but no audible feedback like the Zenith-Insignia.

Has a selection for cable tuning, but it is ONLY for ATSC on cable,
which is extremely rare. It did NOT see any of the clear QAM channels here.

Hard to test RF here, with my outdoor square shooter it gets the exact same channels as the other 3 I have tested. I need to bring home a silver sensor and try the boxes with the antenna inside.

So far, my pick is the Zenith Insignia, only because of the remote. I like the big OSD and EPG better on this box. One beef with the EPG tho.. It does NOT show the V-Chip rating of the events.
Scooper's Avatar Scooper 05:38 PM 02-18-2008
Nevermind - I didn't read close...
onslowtn's Avatar onslowtn 08:15 AM 02-19-2008
What does "clear" QAM mean? If you scanned the ATSC cable band with an antenna hooked up would you pull any ATSC broadcast channels on the "cable" band? I have done this on my NTSC QAM and got analog TV stations to scan on the QAM as "cable".
dmulvany's Avatar dmulvany 06:00 PM 02-19-2008
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

And, the OSD is HUGE, bigger than most.

What does "OSD" mean?

Caption works fine.

Is there a CC button on the remote control? If yes, what shows up when you press the button? The menu for the CC button of the Insignia is badly designed since it steps through EVERYTHING before it goes to "off." That means six "Services," four "CCs", four "Texts." In contrast, the CC button for my Sharp HDTV gives me: "On, Off, On with Mute." Either that kind of menu or the interactive menu for the digital captions would make better sense, I think.

Are there digital captions available with this converter box? This box probably automatically passes through CC data to your analog TV; that's not the same as the digital captions you can set up from the Insignia CB, for example. The Insignia offers 8 fonts, but some of them are thin and a strain to read. Font 6 from the Insignia is terrible, for example, but fortunately there are a couple of decent font choices.


So far, my pick is the Zenith Insignia, only because of the remote.

What's the difference in the remote controls between the two? All converter boxes are supposed to come with one.

Scooper's Avatar Scooper 08:39 PM 02-19-2008
"Clear QAM" - on cable systems, the modulation that cable is using for most digital is QAM. However, most "cable" type channels are encrypted. "Clear" QAM is usually the local digital stations.

OSD - On Screen Display - like of the EPG (Electronic program guide) and other features (like signal meters).
terapin's Avatar terapin 09:06 PM 03-06-2008
got a dtx, but it seems the zenith dtt900 is better?
the dtx is certainly ugly design for the box.

how does a return with the radio shack work if one used a $40 coupon?
or is it even possible?
drla's Avatar drla 10:14 PM 03-06-2008
Originally Posted by terapin View Post

got a dtx, but it seems the zenith dtt900 is better?
the dtx is certainly ugly design for the box.

how does a return with the radio shack work if one used a $40 coupon?
or is it even possible?

Can you say why it's better? Better at channel surfing? Better at receiving signals?
terapin's Avatar terapin 10:21 PM 03-06-2008
i dunno, avsforum peeps seem to think the lg chipset is better? if not better they just gush over it i guess.

i have no idea. it does work ok, and on the 27" inch and image quality looks fine. i guess i'll probably keep it and wait before i use my second coupon.

i have a roof antenna, and i gotta say,the digital reception is superior to the analog by far. even the clearest of my analog channels didn't really touch the digital level of clean image. now its like everything is a dvd:P plus every channel has a buncha subchannels which is quite nice.

the only thing that ticks me off is there is no passthrough for vcrs and such.
but i guess the zenith/insignia doesn't have it either.

my current problem is finding the correct code for the remote so it can turn the tv on. the pdfs on the radioshacksite are only very basic setup
holl_ands's Avatar holl_ands 11:13 PM 03-06-2008
Mostly gushing....ALL CECB boxes have 6th Gen chips that can run circles around most HDTVs....

We're still waiting for enough boxes to hit the street to do meaningful comparison tests...
I think we're only seeing those few boxes that were quickly rushed to stores to meet
NTIA's photo op schedule...
terapin's Avatar terapin 11:32 PM 03-06-2008
ok my silly test

using the trusty ol kill-a-watt

off= 0~ watts
on =5 watts regardless of channel type

its not a power hog
guess it deserves its energystar rating!
BobDiaz's Avatar BobDiaz 11:45 PM 03-06-2008
Originally Posted by terapin View Post

got a dtx, but it seems the zenith dtt900 is better?
the dtx is certainly ugly design for the box.

how does a return with the radio shack work if one used a $40 coupon?
or is it even possible?

I can't say for sure the Zenith is better... because I have not tested the DTX, but I do know the Zenith works very well.

However, if you feel you'd be happier with the Zenith, Radio Shack sells both boxes, it's only a matter of finding a Radio Shack with a Zenith in stock. Take the DTX with your sales slip and your should be able to swap out for the Zenith without any real cost difference.

Bob Diaz
terapin's Avatar terapin 02:34 AM 03-07-2008
damn, hope the echo star comes out sooner
it has pass through
terapin's Avatar terapin 06:03 PM 03-07-2008
well i returned exchanged for a real zenith.
the difference is a bit stark in overall presentation.
the zenith is metal case instead of plastic, decently styled and packed with a bit of care. has composite cables and coaxial instead of just coax, and the remote uses 1aaa instead of 2. the remote is more narrow but it is better labeled whereas the digital stream just seemed like an odd generic product which would be fine, except they are charging the same price as the zenith/insignia. plus theres a setup wizard for the zenith, not that big a difference but its probably helpful for some. and the program schedule data is better. program info is better, the subtitles are better, and the signal meter is better. the sleep timer/autoshutoff is convenient. its just more polished in general.

be careful where you spend your coupon. there are no returns, just exchanges.if they don't have the model you need at that store you are a bit up the creek.
Stanislav's Avatar Stanislav 08:44 AM 03-08-2008
The last several years, I have had little to no interest in OTA reception (except by necessity, such as during power outages). Nevertheless, I was very curious to see what could be done with DTV on a minimal budget in a situation with more minuses than pluses. (A summary that could well describe many of the folks who will be dealing with the transition.) Having a small 13 analog set by my bed (used primarily for viewing DVDs), I figured if I could also access the area DTV signals, that could give me something else to help pass the time during my frequent spells of insomnia.

The TV is a several years old Durabrand that was originally purchased for about $60 on sale. The DTV converter is a Digital Stream DTX9900, purchased with a $40 coupon at Radio Shack, so total outlay there about 24 bucks with tax. (I wanted the Zenith, but the local RS stores haven't gotten them yet. I figured to take a chance on the DTX9900, and planned to just exchange it if there were problems.) And the antenna is a $10 Philips passive UHF/VHF combo with a 12-position fine tuning knob. Yup - we are really talking on the cheap here.

The main advantage to my location (suburban Orlando, Florida) is that I am less than 20 miles from the vast majority of the local DTV transmitters, and most of them also lie in the same direction. There is also, however, a major disadvantage. I am in a 55+ mobile home community (I live here as caretaker for my elderly mother) that borders another mobile home community. So, we are talking a sea of metal as far as the eye can see.

The antenna was set up in my bedroom window, which faces just about due north. Most of the area transmitters are on about a 60 degree heading, so they are at least within view of the window.

First, about the DTX9900. In general, it seems to perform well, and is fairly easy to setup and use..IF you are of average to moderate intelligence. I can see how some aspects might be confusing to, say, an elderly person, or perhaps a person with little education. The remote gives one-button access to such features as the EPG, CC, signal meter, etc. The signal meter is a horizontal bar graph showing a scale of 0 to 100, divided into three areas of red (poor signal), yellow (acceptable), and green (best). In most cases, I find a reading of at least 40-45 (solidly in the yellow) is needed to produce a stable signal. Below about 40 you start to see some pixelization, and when you get down to about 30 or less, you're totally SOL. The meter is a bit slow, lagging a few seconds behind what you see happening on the screen.

I set up the unit, and let it do a scan for signals. The results were almost exactly what I had predicted based on research (TV Fool and other sites) and having previously observed the strength and stability of the DTV snow displayed on the analog set. You can then edit the list of found channels through the menu. You then subsequently may do a new rescan, wiping out these saved channels, or an update that will only scan the previously unlogged channels to look for new signals (leaving what you have already saved intact). It does NOT, however, let you manually enter an RF channel as do several of the other brands of converters - this is one of the only features lacking on this box that I would have liked to have had. (The DXing crowd won't like this box as a result)

The result is 12 stations (transmitting a total of about 30 sub-channels) that are stable enough to watch on a regular basis, covering almost all the commercial networks (ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/CW/MyTV), an independent, three PBS stations (more on that later) and a few religious channels (of no special interest to me). 2 or 3 of these have some occasional light breakups, but can be remedied with the fine tuning knob on the El Cheapo antenna. (Fortunately, it seems to have a sweet spot of 3 adjacent positions that handle all the stations I want to view.) The only area stations that are unusable are the ones I predicted - the ION affiliate (fortunately, I can live without seeing the umpteenth rerun of Mama's Family) and the Telefutura affiliate can't be found at all, no doubt because they lie in a more southeasterly direction (i.e., right through the mobile home) and are a bit more distant. The Univision affiliate lies almost due north, but is a bit further than the others and not terribly high power. (The signal is found by the unit, but just can't be stabilized enough to watch.) If they increase power come 2/19/08, I may be in luck; else I will just have to rely on cable if I want to practice my Spanish skills watching the telenovelas.

Several stations come out WAY ahead in the analog vs. digital race, chiefly because of better transmitter sites for their DTV facilities. One example is WESH, the NBC affiliate licensed to Daytona Beach. Because of the restrictions that place their analog site about 30 miles distant (to be closer to Daytona and also protect WPBT in Miami), as well as the usual combo of ambient electrical noise and summer skip that plagues the lowest channel, WESH has traditionally been a wash for those using bunny ears in Orlando. The digital transmitter, on ch. 11 (the only VHF DTV around here) and located closer on one of the same antenna farms as most area stations, puts a good solid signal in here. Likewise, two fringe PBS stations - WCEU (licensed to New Smyrna Beach) and WBCC (licensed to Cocoa) -- while both available on cable, have almost no presence here on indoor antennas. Their digital facilities, like WESH relocated to the local farms, provide excellent signals.

Picture quality is excellent - certainly far better than even the strongest and most stable analog signal. HD programs look great, even downconverted to 480i. Aspect ratios can be changed on the fly with a dedicated button on the remote. (I prefer full 16:9 where available - I don't mind the borders, and I prefer seeing the entire image.) Haven't really played much with the CC option yet, so I can't comment on that. The EPG is minimal, but somewhat useful; that is, when the station uses it. (WMFE, the local PBS, doesn't have it programmed yet. Neither does a certain favorite subchannel that will be mentioned later.)

Yes, even a small, simple antenna stuck even 10-15' up outside would probably clear up what few minor reception issues there are. But I don't have the money (we are quite economically challenged) nor the physical aptitude (bad feet, bad knee, etc. -- ladders and I don't get along) to bother messing with it right now. This setup is not bad considering the low expense and effort involved. Overall, my experience has been just about what I expected.

Oh, and one subchannel will be getting a lot of viewing from me. WRDQ (the local indie) recently put RTN (Retro Television Network) on a subchannel. High quality prints of classic 60's and 70's shows - comedies, dramas, all the QM detective shows, etc. It's kind of like what TVLand used to be. Being a middle-aged dude who just turned 50, these shows are very comforting nostalgia to watch as I plunge headlong into my old age.
dmulvany's Avatar dmulvany 10:18 AM 03-08-2008
Nicely written review, Stanislav. Though I do object strenuously to you referring to yourself as plunging headlong into your old age, especially since you seem to be within a year of my own age!

I do hope you'll let us know whether the digital closed captioning has a caption preview that immediately shows the changes you make in the captions, what you think of the legibility of the different caption fonts, and what pushing the CC button actually does (i.e., what kind of menu it brings up).

If you can post on that here, then I can link to it from the other thread I've set up on "Evaluating digital to analog converter boxes for users of captioning" at:

Your input would certainly be valued there as well, of course.

Dana "forever younger than you are" Mulvany
holl_ands's Avatar holl_ands 06:11 PM 03-08-2008
Since we don't know what chip and tuner is used in the DTX-9900, could someone remove
the cover and let us know the part numbers for the biggest chip(s) and "tin-can" tuner?

Pictures wouldn't hurt either....incl rear panel...
lexus2108's Avatar lexus2108 08:16 PM 03-08-2008
Originally Posted by terapin View Post

damn, hope the echo star comes out sooner
it has pass through

The Maxmedia will have pass through. i was e-mailed the info from them directly
Stanislav's Avatar Stanislav 08:27 AM 03-09-2008
Turns out you CAN directly enter an RF channel on the DTX9900. (You just have to read the fine print in the manual.) Good thing I did, because it is not obvious and is quite cumbersome. The number pad has a dot/period button that is used as a dash when you want to go directly to a particular subchannel. If you hit the dot FIRST, then a channel number, it will tune to that RF channel. If it finds a signal, it will add it to the channel edit list, but not automatically enable it to be selected with channel up/down -- you have to deliberately "add" the channel from the edit list. If you want to then delete that channel from the edit list, it appears it won;t go away until you do a new scan. Ay yi yi.
Rammitinski's Avatar Rammitinski 12:59 PM 03-09-2008
If anyone with the Digital Stream owns a recorder with an IR blaster, will you check and see if the tuner can be controlled using a Pioneer cable box code like the last HD tuners they made could be?

There are a few people here looking for that ability, and they would sure be interested in knowing if the DS is capable or not.
dizzytaz00's Avatar dizzytaz00 04:12 AM 03-10-2008
I Have pictures Of the DTX9900. I Just Bought from Radioshack. Here is a link to see them.
OK I've updated some photos so that there not so blury
Stanislav's Avatar Stanislav 05:14 PM 03-11-2008
BTW, just to update my review above.....once I played with the antenna placement and adjustment, I find that although it is the weakest signal I can resolve (peaks in the 30-40 range on the 0-100 scale), the Univision affiliate (WVEN) is viewable about 90% of the time, plus they carry co-owned WOTF (Telefutura) on a sub-channel. (I assume the reverse is true of WOTF itself, which I cannot pick up -- the two transmitters are at opposite ends of the market, so perhaps they hedge their bets by placing both networks on both stations). So I can still practice my EspaƱol, heh. After finalizing the antenna position and which of the "fine tuning" settings work best, I rarely experience any dropouts on the other channels now. So actually a total of 14 stations with a total of 34 main and secondary channels -- not bad for a $10 antenna in the window of a mobile home. (Of course, to be honest, not ALL subchannels are created equally -- MyTV affiliate WRBW has just color bars on its second channel, WCEU has a "test" channel with nothing on it yet, etc. But, still...) A few of the locals hover in the 90+ range on the signal strength meter -- again, we're talking absolutely minimal antenna power and about 17 miles from most of the transmitters. On analog, of these 14 channels, with the same antenna, maybe half a dozen are strong, 2 or 3 others weak and/or beset with ghosting and multi-path, and the rest unwatchable. On digital, they are all rock-solid.

The various functions of the remote and the menus become second nature once you have used them for a few days. The box itself is well-ventilated (lots of holes on top) and only becomes moderately warm after several hours of use, so there hopefully won't be any overheating problems as has been reported with some other brands. My only complaint about the remote is that is is supposed to be able to also control the TV set on/off and volume, but after trying all the codes (you cycle through about 150 of them to find the right one), none of them seem to work with my set. (I believe someone else reported the same problem.)

The picture quality is far superior to any analog signal, whether OTA or on analog cable -- basically DVD quality which is plenty good enough for me. (Higher definition is, to me, overkill -- I really don't need to see every pore on Katie Couric's face.)
holl_ands's Avatar holl_ands 05:50 PM 03-11-2008
Originally Posted by dizzytaz00 View Post

I Have pictures Of the DTX9900. I Just Bought from Radioshack. Here is a link to see them.

Verry blurry...does your camera have a macro mode?
And the more light the better (e.g. outdoors is good).
If you use a flash, angle it off to the side a little to
prevent flash from bouncing right back at the camera.

I guess you're reluctant to pop the cover off....
Maybe someone else can jot down the big chip/tuner part numbers....
dizzytaz00's Avatar dizzytaz00 07:55 PM 03-12-2008
I Just added new photos so recheck them out
dizzytaz00's Avatar dizzytaz00 08:06 PM 03-12-2008
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Verry blurry...does your camera have a macro mode?
And the more light the better (e.g. outdoors is good).
If you use a flash, angle it off to the side a little to
prevent flash from bouncing right back at the camera.

I guess you're reluctant to pop the cover off....
Maybe someone else can jot down the big chip/tuner part numbers....

I wish I could answer you question about what chip, but the girlfriends doesn't want here the box broke after she just paid $74.00 to get the box. & I know about the $40 coupon & haven't recieved it yet.
BFilipiak's Avatar BFilipiak 10:19 AM 03-14-2008
I have just purchased one of these units at RS. After popping off the cover, I have found an LG chip in it. The details are:

LG Electronics

The tuner (silver box) details are:


Since I do not have anything better than a cheapie webcam, a photo may not be of much help. BUT, I will try.

Now, After installing this box, and setting the output to channel 4 (Here in St. Pete/Tampa we have WEDU on channel 3) I do not even get the OSD. I know the box sees the IR from the remote, as the indicator flashes. My problem is like Stanislav's, not much of a budget. So, I wonder, does the unit need to have an antenna connected, and go through an initial channel scan before the OSD shows up. Any one???
BFilipiak's Avatar BFilipiak 11:22 AM 03-14-2008
After some experimentation, I have a few photos. They were taken with s $20 web cam, so please do not flame me for the quality.
BFilipiak's Avatar BFilipiak 11:29 AM 03-14-2008
I left a couple of posts on this unit. It seems that my uploaded pictures don't show up!

Send me an email to bfilipiak at gmail dot com (do not need to be spammed anymore) and I will send them to you. Total size about 1.3 mb
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