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post #241 of 259 Old 10-18-2008, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

We need more info re your antenna...what does it look like? How about a photo?
UHF performance is currently very important for digital channels.

In Feb2009, analog channels 2, 4 & 5 will simply go away, leaving the currently
operating digital channels in the UHF band....are these difficult to receive now???
Most stations avoided Ch2-6 due to need for a HUGE antenna and impulse noise problems.

Digital operations currently in UHF band will replace analog on channels 7, 11 & 13.
Ch7 & 13 should improve....but Ch11 WPIX-DT will suffer co-channel interference from WWLP-DT.
Ch58 PBS should improve by moving to Ch8. The remainder stay in UHF band.

With the general shutdown of full power analog channels (and low power later), interference
will be reduced throughout both VHF and UHF bands. Many stations are now operating at
reduced power due to interference problems, esp. in dense metro areas.

Some Broadcast antennas will be repositioned to optimize digital vice analog operations.
So check back in February.....

PS: The FCC never intended for viewers to receive "out-of-market" signals.
This could become impossible if the so-called "White Space Devices" are ever approved....

Quote:
Originally Posted by pestocat View Post

Dark Ages,
You have to forget receiving any of the New York stations. The signal level is just too low for your location. Make sure you have good UHF reception. In analog can you get WCTX with a very clear picture? This is channel 59 and you can sort of use that as a test for UHF. I suggest adding an amplifier and put it as close to the antenna as possible. Channel Master has an outdoor amplifier that can be put right at the antenna, but even at the base of your rotor is OK. The amplifier is powered through the coax cable. The will boost the signal. The main problem with viewing the New York stations is that the noise margin for you is 16 dB lower for DTV compared to analog. 16 dB is a factor of 40. This means the New York stations DTV signals are only 1/40 of the analog and this won't improve very much after the transition. Your best bet for reception is to point the antenna to 293 and 344 degrees magnetic. Check out for your reception details. There is a parameter in their display NM(dB) that is the noise margin. You need this value to be greater than 0. At least 10 would or should be a minimum. Keep us informed on how or what you do.

OK, but when I first had the Craig box hooked up, I was getting several NY stations - WNBC (4), WNYW (5), WWOR (9), WLIW (21) WNYE (25) have all made appearances in digital - but only WLIW is still there now that the temperatures are dropping. 5 and 9 are each other's sub channel, and for a time were perfect - I'm talking hours on end they were strong. If 2-6 are disappearing completely, then why are they already broadcasting digital on those channels?

I'm not ready to give up on NY channels yet. Just as I'm pretty sure parts of Long Island and New Jersey won't want to give up on the NY stations that are just as far from them as they are from me. GAH!!! when do all the stations stream all programming online, this is impossible. By the end of February I'll be curled in a fetal position.

I don't even know WWLP( wait - was that 22 in Springfield, MA in analog? Haven't seen them in a decade!) - and if the unknown 58 takes over 8, we will lose the only station that is even close to consistant. And whether or not out of market viewing was meant to be there, they have been my mainstay channels for nearly 30 years. Local channels are a joke, especially the news.

WCTX is windblown and freezes and pixelates. (Urp Orp snip wap - that's what the audio sounds like and then it catches and holds a tone that rings or echoes. Hello narrow-casting, broadcasting is dead.) WTNH is our strongest signal in digital, but even it disappears - those two stations are in the same building, but you'd never know it.

There are already 2 amplifiers on our antenna - one on the roof near the rotor and one inside the house near the box. Would we be able to use another amp on that or would it blow it out? I saw a flat panel antenna with an optional amp that's supposed to boost the signal, but I'm afraid it would blow the amps we already have. We've always had very good UHF reception getting about 15 stations in that frequency range.


Are there any converter boxes that are better at pulling in signals? I've tried to find either and RCA 800B1 or the Zenith 901 that seem to be well reviewed, but no one sells them around here.

It just galls me that I will no longer be able to turn on the TV and enjoy. And trust me, without my New York stations, I will not enjoy TV anymore.
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post #242 of 259 Old 10-18-2008, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

We need more info re your antenna...what does it look like? How about a photo?

I found a picture. I tried to post it with the last post, but I didn't have enough posts to post urls yet. I hope it lets me this time.

[/IMG]This is the antenna in question. Never knew my icy tree picture would be good for anything else. I'd say it extends about 12-15 feet above the roof, and the roof is about 20 feet from the ground. I'll try to find more out about the antenna, but it's been ten years since it was replaced and the company that did it is out of business.

I can't seem to make the picture come up for me, but that doesn't always mean others can't see them. My hosting site is being a pain.
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post #243 of 259 Old 10-18-2008, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aida2003 View Post

Hello,

I read this thread that has useful information, but now I've got to take some action about buying a converter box. But before that I'd like to ask a few questions......I'm NOT technology savvy and basic explanation like to a 5-year-old would be appreciated .........

3. If I MUST purchase an antenna, what kind should I consider and where to buy it? I want an INDOOR antenna because I'm sure I won't climb on my 2-story house's roof and cheap to hire someone else to do it.
......thank you for your answers in advance.

dont laugh but if youre within about 30 miles (more or less) from the station transmitters u can make a very good antenna from two straightened metal wire coat hangers, a small piece of wood, some coax to connect to the tv and a $3 matching transformer...

i made one from two 'straightened out' metal wire coat hangers (or any other 'stiff enough' large gauge wire).... just like the one in this pic and it works very well....i know it looks too simple and silly to work well but it does....

its only about 30 inches tall and about 14 wide...u could put it in your attic, or a closet... or maybe even behind the tv cabinet or a couch or something....mine is in my attic and works great for all my local digital channels....33 total!

the only thing not shown here is the $3 matching transformer...u connect it where the center 2 zig-zag pairs meet....u can get one at places like RADIO SHACK or KMART or WALMART, etc....its very ez to do....

so try it...u have nothing to lose....or msg me if u want to know more >

http://www.flickr.com/photos/21971251@N04/2120500361/

*** its high time to go back to OTA antennas and CANCEL our cable/satellite pay tv services! their greed is totally & insanely out of control! ***
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post #244 of 259 Old 10-19-2008, 01:19 AM
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Dark Ages:
Ooooo, preeettttyyyy
[Ice??? I've heard of it, but can't recall last time I actually saw it in the "wild"...]
[Here we only use ice in Margaritas.....]

Here's the link to the picture after I "fixed" it:
http://224.photobucket.com/albums/dd.../IMG_00055.jpg

Yes, it's a very large Combo VHF/UHF antenna, which should have pretty good
UHF performance if it's connected and working correctly.

It's late...I'll let others play "name that antenna"....

===========================================
Since you have several strong, nearby VHF and UHF stations I would
worry about desensitization of the mast mounted Preamp. Since it
sounds like it is old, outdated technology and possibly degraded due
to moisture, I would replace it (and any Baluns) with a modern Preamp
with above average overload characteristics such as W-G low gain series.

Although the 12 dB gain W-G HDP-269 has the highest overload rating,
at your location, a moderate gain Preamp should work better, such as
W-G AP-8700, AP-8703 or AP-8733 depending on whether your antenna
can be operated via direct 300-ohm I/F.
Avoid high gain Preamps such as the highly rated CM-7777 (for RURAL).

Strong signals cause intermodulation distortions, resulting in unwanted
"noise" on top of certain weak stations. Unless there is a lot of loss
(e.g. cable & splitters) between the mast mounted Preamp and the indoor
Distribution Amp, the output of the Distro Amp could be desensitizing
your DTV's tuner. Sometimes a little MORE attenuation between the amps
will help (you can try inserting one and then two RF Splitters...each is 4 dB).

=========================================
Channel Master CM-7000 is getting lots of good reports re very
sensitive tuner...and is one of the very few CECB's with S-Video I/F:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1029256
Zenith DTT900 (April and later) and new DTT901 also have good reports.
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post #245 of 259 Old 10-19-2008, 02:14 AM
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Pestocat:
Analog power is always specified & measured using a PEAK reading meter (for sync pulses).
Whereas Digital power is specified & measured using an AVERAGE reading meter.
Hence for the same average power, Analog "measurement" will be about 8 dB higher.

Digital also has signal processing improvements due to error correction coding.
And has vastly superior resistance to multipath than Analog.

Hence a Digital station can provide the "same reception quality" with an AVERAGE power
level rating about 12 dB LOWER than the PEAK power level rating of an Analog station,
presuming they operate on the same frequency....otherwise higher freqs need more power.

Bottom line: Digital stations can operate with a much smaller Receive signal level
(per TVFool list) as well as a smaller Noise Margin (NM).
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post #246 of 259 Old 10-19-2008, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Ages View Post

OK, but when I first had the Craig box hooked up, I was getting several NY stations - WNBC (4), WNYW (5), WWOR (9), WLIW (21) WNYE (25) have all made appearances in digital - but only WLIW is still there now that the temperatures are dropping. 5 and 9 are each other's sub channel, and for a time were perfect - I'm talking hours on end they were strong. If 2-6 are disappearing completely, then why are they already broadcasting digital on those channels?

I'm not ready to give up on NY channels yet. Just as I'm pretty sure parts of Long Island and New Jersey won't want to give up on the NY stations that are just as far from them as they are from me. GAH!!! when do all the stations stream all programming online, this is impossible. By the end of February I'll be curled in a fetal position.

I don't even know WWLP( wait - was that 22 in Springfield, MA in analog? Haven't seen them in a decade!) - and if the unknown 58 takes over 8, we will lose the only station that is even close to consistant. And whether or not out of market viewing was meant to be there, they have been my mainstay channels for nearly 30 years. Local channels are a joke, especially the news.

WCTX is windblown and freezes and pixelates. (Urp Orp snip wap - that's what the audio sounds like and then it catches and holds a tone that rings or echoes. Hello narrow-casting, broadcasting is dead.) WTNH is our strongest signal in digital, but even it disappears - those two stations are in the same building, but you'd never know it.

There are already 2 amplifiers on our antenna - one on the roof near the rotor and one inside the house near the box. Would we be able to use another amp on that or would it blow it out? I saw a flat panel antenna with an optional amp that's supposed to boost the signal, but I'm afraid it would blow the amps we already have. We've always had very good UHF reception getting about 15 stations in that frequency range.


Are there any converter boxes that are better at pulling in signals? I've tried to find either and RCA 800B1 or the Zenith 901 that seem to be well reviewed, but no one sells them around here.

It just galls me that I will no longer be able to turn on the TV and enjoy. And trust me, without my New York stations, I will not enjoy TV anymore.

Dark Ages,
To get the Zenith DTT901 go to Circuit City, they have them. You really must take a look at www.tvfool.com it gives the information about the digital stations. The analog 2 to 6 channels are not broadcasting their digital signal on the same real channel as their analog. The TV stations that are broadcasting DTV are actually broadcasting on a different channel. The viewer doesn't know the difference. For instance: WABC is channel 7 analog, but 7-1 is really channel 45, WCBS channel 2 analog and 2-1 is really channel 56, and WNBC channel 4 analog and 4-1 is channel 28. After Feb. 17, WABC DTV will go back to real 7, WCBS DTV 2-1 will go to channel 33, and WNBC DTV will stay at real 28. We will just tune to 2-1, 4-1, and 7-1 and won't know the difference. I hope this isn't too confusing.
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post #247 of 259 Old 10-20-2008, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Pestocat:
Analog power is always specified & measured using a PEAK reading meter (for sync pulses).
Whereas Digital power is specified & measured using an AVERAGE reading meter.
Hence for the same average power, Analog "measurement" will be about 8 dB higher.

Digital also has signal processing improvements due to error correction coding.
And has vastly superior resistance to multipath than Analog.

Hence a Digital station can provide the "same reception quality" with an AVERAGE power
level rating about 12 dB LOWER than the PEAK power level rating of an Analog station,
presuming they operate on the same frequency....otherwise higher freqs need more power.

Bottom line: Digital stations can operate with a much smaller Receive signal level
(per TVFool list) as well as a smaller Noise Margin (NM).

holl_ands,
That is a good point about analog peak power and DTV average power. What do you think is a reasonable noise margin (NM) for Dark Ages. I took the TVFool information as 0dB being the minimum value for viewing. The New York stations are around -10dB and so it seems there is not really reliable reception for him and this seems true.
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post #248 of 259 Old 10-20-2008, 01:34 PM
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We don't have enough experience with TVFool's new Noise Margin (NM) calculation to say,
other than colorizations posted on the website.

From description on TVFool website, NM appears to be related to Fade Margin (FM).
Engineering Rule of Thumb usually says to allow 15-20+ dB for Fade Margin.
TVFool didn't say how much Fade Margin they allowed.....

As I understand it, "0 dB NM" corresponds to just barely meeting minimum SNR requirement
with a small amount of padding to allow for seasonal and fading conditions.

TVFool results aren't "calibrated" for local conditions...although they do hint at a correction:
"If you take the initial NM value for a given channel, add your antenna gain, subtract all the other
system losses, and still end up with a value above 0, then you should be able to detect that channel."

But there is no easy means to include indoor/attic loss (13 dB +/- 7 dB), antenna gain (0-15 dB),
sensitivity loss due to VSWR (0-10+ dB), improvement due to Preamp (typ. 10 dB), cable loss,
UHF clutter loss (typ 7 dB), VHF impulse noise degradations (varies....a lot), ad nauseum....

My previously posted "DTV Signal Level Calculator" spread sheet included most of these:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=2890
Note that this is from over a year ago when I was trying to "calibrate" TVFool F[99,99]
signal reliability statistics against Radio Mobile (and FCC) F[50,90] stats.
Note that based on the difficult of comparing F[99,99] to "real world" results, TVFool
has changed to a more realistic statistic (they didn't say, but probably F[50,90]???)
http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?opti...d=16&Itemid=76
So it appears my spread sheet can still be used with TVFool, with RX(dBm) replaced
by the new Pwr(dBm) value and then you'll see how much Fade Margin is available.
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post #249 of 259 Old 10-21-2008, 08:28 PM
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Dark Ages,

Be aware that we are entering a new season and that will change the ground and atmospheric conditions so that stations that were clear, become unusable and unusable or non-existant stations, become viewable.
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post #250 of 259 Old 10-23-2008, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Dark Ages:
Ooooo, preeettttyyyy
[Ice??? I've heard of it, but can't recall last time I actually saw it in the "wild"...]
[Here we only use ice in Margaritas.....]

Here's the link to the picture after I "fixed" it:
http://224.photobucket.com/albums/dd.../IMG_00055.jpg

Yes, it's a very large Combo VHF/UHF antenna, which should have pretty good
UHF performance if it's connected and working correctly.

It's late...I'll let others play "name that antenna"....

===========================================
Since you have several strong, nearby VHF and UHF stations I would
worry about desensitization of the mast mounted Preamp. Since it
sounds like it is old, outdated technology and possibly degraded due
to moisture, I would replace it (and any Baluns) with a modern Preamp
with above average overload characteristics such as W-G low gain series.

Although the 12 dB gain W-G HDP-269 has the highest overload rating,
at your location, a moderate gain Preamp should work better, such as
W-G AP-8700, AP-8703 or AP-8733 depending on whether your antenna
can be operated via direct 300-ohm I/F.
Avoid high gain Preamps such as the highly rated CM-7777 (for RURAL).

Strong signals cause intermodulation distortions, resulting in unwanted
"noise" on top of certain weak stations. Unless there is a lot of loss
(e.g. cable & splitters) between the mast mounted Preamp and the indoor
Distribution Amp, the output of the Distro Amp could be desensitizing
your DTV's tuner. Sometimes a little MORE attenuation between the amps
will help (you can try inserting one and then two RF Splitters...each is 4 dB).

=========================================
Channel Master CM-7000 is getting lots of good reports re very
sensitive tuner...and is one of the very few CECB's with S-Video I/F:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1029256
Zenith DTT900 (April and later) and new DTT901 also have good reports.


OK, I have a degree in broadcast communications, so I know how to make TV, but transmitter technology wasn't part of the deal, so while I get the general idea of what your saying, the technical specs aren't in my knowledge well. I also have no way to get on the roof, and even if I did, the roof is in no shape to be walked on. It only survived the installation of this antenna becase it was winter and it was frozen solid. Barring changing the amp on the roof (and I hate to seem dense, but what is a Balun?), what can I do from the ground level end? I looked at the amp down here and it says it is a Winegard PS-8000. There's a lot of cable between the antenna and the TV, maybe 100 feet or more in the homerun of the cable, and it is split to come into the house in two rooms, and there's probably another 25+ feet of cable from the point of entry to each TV in the house, each with another spliter.

Based on my research, the only channel master antenna with the range we currently get is the CM3671, which has a VHF range of 100+ miles and a UHF range of 85+ miles. Based on my calculations (thankyou national geographic maps), I live approximately 85 straight line miles from the NYC transmitters on the Empire State Building (closer than parts of Long Island) Would it improve anything if we could get an powerful UHF only antenna - do they make any of those with better range than the 85+ miles we get with the antenna we have?


pestocat - there isn't a circuit city within 50 miles of here - I really do live in the sticks!! Looks like I'll be begging someone with a credit card to buy a box that's any good. What you said about the channels makes the most sense of anything I've heard so far. This is what should be included in the DTV transition websites - I have yet to find an "official" site that anwers or speaks to my problems.

(Officially, Connecticut has a dual metro media market (Hartford + New Haven), but the northern tier of the state is more tuned into Springfield, MA or Boston, the eastern-most portion of the state is tuned into Providence, and the three lower counties to the west are tuned into NYC. Without the overlap of the technically out-of-market stations, I have the feeling I'm not the only angry TV watcher. )

Rite Aid lowered it's price on the boxes they sell - now $40 - so we got back the difference from what they charged last week. They also said that if we got our coupons in the next couple of weeks, they'd refund us the rest of the cost, so I ordered my coupons and they are due in early Nov., so even if the box isn't the best, it might end up free. I'll need at least three boxes for my TV set up, so one for free would be nice.

I'd still sell my soul to keep WNBC - after 24 years of watcing their news, no one else will live up to them.
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post #251 of 259 Old 10-23-2008, 02:12 PM
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A Balun Transformer converts 300-ohm balanced output of most antennas to 75-ohm unbalanced coax.
It is built into Preamps with 300-ohm inputs or external with 75-ohm inputs.

I think the Winegard PS-8000 is a power injector (plugs into the wall for 115 VAC??)
and inserts DC voltage onto the coax to the mast-mounted Preamp module.
It can't be found via Google, so is no doubt fairly old...which means Preamp is fairly old...

Here is info re current Winegard Preamps:
http://www.winegard.com/offair/pdf/Chart29.pdf
http://www.winegard.com/offair/pdf/2451964.pdf
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post #252 of 259 Old 10-23-2008, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Ages View Post

CM3671, which has a VHF range of 100+ miles and a UHF range of 85+ miles. B

That antenna is only rated for 60 miles on the UHF. A similar UHF-only antenna would be the CM4228 or 91XG, both of which are rated for 60+ miles.
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post #254 of 259 Old 01-16-2009, 01:07 PM
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Does anybody know what box Office Depot carries?
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post #255 of 259 Old 01-16-2009, 03:02 PM
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The Office Depot near me,Portland, OR area, has a GE model. My local Fry's is carrying a GE for $5 more than the Zenith DTT-901...go figure.
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post #256 of 259 Old 01-16-2009, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for the info. There was no sign of any boxes at my local Office Depot.
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post #257 of 259 Old 01-16-2009, 06:56 PM
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What's going on at Circuit City?
Liquidators will start arriving in our 567 stores across the U.S. over the weekend, and closing sales will start as early as Saturday, January 17. Closing sales will run as long as it takes to sell existing inventory, but are expected to wrap up by the end of March. When the liquidation sales are completed, the stores will be closed.

Wonder what the price of CECB boxes will be?
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post #258 of 259 Old 01-17-2009, 01:28 AM
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With liquidators prices always go up. End of March...that's plenty of time to milk it in 10% increments.

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post #259 of 259 Old 01-17-2009, 02:10 PM
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It's probably been a couple of months since I last visited the Circuit City near my home. That CC store is located at Hayden Island (Jantzen Beach) on the Columbia River between Vancouver WA and Portland OR.

Today around 1:00 p.m. I visited that CC store more out of curiosity than with any intent to make a purchase. The parking lot was jammed. When approaching the front doors I observed maybe one customer leaving the store with a purchase and maybe forty leaving without a purchase.

I walked through the TV section. There were few "customers" in that section but there were several signs reading "TVs 10% off." Big deal. There was a middle-aged couple in the DVD recorder section. A red-shirted CC employee was showing them combo recorders. This couple was being led to believe that they could copy commercial Disney videotapes to DVD with a Sony combo recorder. I spoke up concerning the realities of that situation, mentioning the use of a video stabilizer if they found copyright protection on the Disney tapes. They said that even with 30% off the regular price of the Sony and a Panasonic next to it such a purchase would still be expensive. I didn't see any discount signs in the DVD recorder section.

Usually this CC store has had 100-200 Zenith converter boxes on display with even more in the "back room." I didn't find any converter boxes on display in the usual places they had been displayed before.

There were perhaps fifty actual customers waiting in line to make their purchases. Another red-shirted CC employee was at the customer service/cashier desk. There were also several black-shirted liquidation company employees round about. Most of the black-shirt folks were built like "bouncers."

I made no purchase.

Hayden Island also has a small Best Buy store that moved into the vacated CompUsa building last year. That BB store is tucked into the back corner of the Jantzen Beach Mall next to a Home Depot store and some house-boats. The only thing big about the BB store is their sign. Without that sign the BB store would be hard to see hidden behind a few skinny trees.

"A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME WILL SMELL AS SWEET. BUT IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT WHATEVER WE CHOOSE TO CALL A ROSE WILL POSSESS THE ROSE'S FRAGRANCE."

--Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield (1917)
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