I just hooked up my new Philco. The thing works. Picture quality is fine, and I get all the digital stations in my area. However, it's less sensitive than my Samsung DTB-H260F HDTV receiver: the Philco has trouble with our weakest channel (KDFI 27; digital channel 36), but the Samsung pulls it in just fine. I guess that's the difference between a $50 box and a $180 box. (On the other hand, there's something hinky about KLDT 54's digital audio and the Samsung has never been able to decode it, but channel 54's sound works fine on the Philco.)
Update: I think I figured out what's going on with KLDT's sound. DTV stations can broadcast multiple audio streams - typically for multiple languages. The box automatically selects your preferred language.
KLDT-54.1 is "broadcasting" three audio streams, but is flagging all three as English! Worse, only one audio stream actually contains audio. So the stream your box selects appears to depend on unpredictable factors like the box design, the phase of the moon, etc., and there's only a 1 in 3 chance your box will select the working audio stream. KLDT got lucky with the Philco but not with the Samsung: the Philco picked the working stream as stream 1.
I can push the "audio" button on the remote to select a different audio stream, although there's obviously no point with KLDT-54.1 since streams 2 and 3 are useless. But I can switch KDAF-33.1 to stream 2 (Spanish, although few programs have any Spanish audio to broadcast).
The Philco remembers the audio setting separately for each channel. If I switch KLDT-54 to (dead) stream 2, it doesn't affect KDAF-33 and vice versa. But when I return to a channel I've changed, it remembers my selection from earlier.
Because I'm using it with a TV that has no composite input, and because of the goofy way they implemented analog passthru, I hooked both the composite video and RF outputs to a VCR/DVD, then hooked that to the TV. Also, since the passthru is weaker when the Philco is powered off, I disabled the auto-power off feature so I can leave it on all the time. (The box doesn't have much ventilation, but at only eight watts of power consumption, it doesn't heat up much.) That way I don't have to turn passthru off to watch digital broadcasts, then mess around with the setup menu to turn passthru back on. To watch digital broadcasts, I tune the TV to channel 3, then turn on the VCR and set it to the video input. Basically I'm just using the VCR's RF modulator instead of the Philco's.
CECB's are supposed to be controllable by universal remotes, but I don't seem to have a universal remote that can operate the Philco. So for now I'm stuck using the Philco's own remote, which doesn't have a screen size button. To switch between letterbox and zoomed mode, I have to use the setup menu. Hopefully, I can find a universal remote with a "macro" capability so I can program it to switch modes with a single button.
I'm a little disappointed with the channel setup. There is no "favorites" list; if you don't want the CH +/- keys to stop on certain channels you have to delete them. But if you want to tune to a deleted channel, you have to enter the digital channel number instead of the "normal" channel number. Also, there's no way to make the CH +/- keys skip subchannels. If I want 68-1 and 68-3, I have to take 68-2 too.
On the other hand, if you have an antenna with a rotator, it appears you can scan your channels, rotate your antenna, and scan again without losing the channels from your first scan. (If you do want to start from scratch, the manual instructs you to delete all channels, then scan.) You can also add channels manually, but you have to know the digital channel numbers to do so. (The Philco will replace the digital channel number with the "normal" channel number when it locks onto the signal.)
Finally, the EPG is spartan but does show 3 to 6 hours of upcoming programming. All in all, the Philco is a good value if you need a basic box with analog passthru.