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Philco TB100HH9 DTV Converter Box - Page 3

post #61 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by dattier View Post

Is there any difference, other than the brand name on the housing, between the Philco TB100HH9 and the Sylvania or Magnavox TB100MG9?* I've started to see the TB100MG9 trickle into Sears and KMart here in Chicago (the Sears in Ravenswood and the KMart in Mayfair) at $49.99.

On the other hand, the Wal-Mart in Niles, Illniois, just received what must be over a thousand more TB100MW9's (the model without analog passthrough) a couple of nights ago, and they're stacked in six or seven locations throughout the electronics department.

My Wal-Mart in Lee's Summit, Missouri also recieved a massive stock of the old MW9's. Do you think that Magnavox is just trying to unload the old stock now?
post #62 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by KCC07 View Post

My Wal-Mart in Lee's Summit, Missouri also recieved a massive stock of the old MW9's. Do you think that Magnavox is just trying to unload the old stock now?

Yes. It wasn't an accident.
post #63 of 96
This is also the model that the HEB grocery chain in Texas is selling. $40 plus tax (so you only have to pay the tax); I got two of them for $3.30 each out of pocket.

Here at the store on Westheimer in Houston (11000 block), hey only put 6-8 of them out on an endcap at any given time; I tried to go earlier in the week but they were sold out. Took a chance, went back by there today, and they had four of them out.

Going to hook up an old rabbit ears antenna, and run the AV out to an adapter box that will let me display the picture on an old VGA monitor I have sitting around.

Edit: Works pretty good with just rabbit ears hanging off the back; I can pick up five or six channels here in Houston.
Right now I did a functional test with an old 3.5" LCD that has AV inputs. I'll move it to something quality soon.

post #64 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

As of May 9 I still don't have my Philco, but today I found a couple of online vendors claiming to have them in stock: BeachAudio.com has 199 of them for sale at $61.99, and HiTechWireless.com has them for $64.95. Also, Solid Signal (which has them seriously overpriced at $79.99) is now claiming the Philco ships in 2-5 days (down from 7-12 days). So maybe they'll start shipping again soon.

It's May 13 and FINALLY my Philco has arrived Only took 5 weeks

Also, newegg.com is now claiming to have them in stock. They're selling them for $59.99.
post #65 of 96
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.
post #66 of 96
I saw the TB100HH9 at Radio Shack in Laurens SC today. Now that I've reviewed this thread, I'm going back to pick one up. My second coupon expires at the end of the month, and I'm leaving on a trip soon.

[added later] I did pick one up. The price was $54.99 before coupon. When I got home, I set it up and checked it out quickly to make sure it works OK before I leave on my trip. At first I thought the signal meter didn't work, but then I watched the signal bar grow gradually. Wow, that thing is slow! Not very good for quick signal checks. The remote sucks, with its tiny buttons, but if I use this box regularly, I'll program it into my Harmony remote anyway, so that doesn't matter much to me.
post #67 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexus2108 View Post

Can you use a universal remote? any brand or do i need a certain one?

I found this (rather unhelpful) info in the manual:
"To operate this STB with a universal remote, check the instruction manual for remote and find Philco brand STB code. If you do not find the code or the code does not work, try to use Sylvania brand STB code instead."

But I've tried three universal remotes and haven't found one yet that has Philco or Sylvania codes listed for STBs/cable boxes. A learning remote looks like the best bet.
post #68 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiri View Post

An aspect setting (zoom-full-letterbox) seems to apply to all subchannels in
a range, but apparently can be set independently for channels.

That hasn't been my experience. I tried this experiment: I tuned to channels 21 and 27 and confirmed they were both in letterbox mode. Then I set channel 21 to zoom; then I switched to channel 27 and it was also in zoomed mode!

I think some confusion may arise because the aspect setting only applies to 16:9 broadcasts. 4:3 broadcasts are always displayed full-screen regardless of the aspect setting. So if you change the setting then switch to a 4:3 channel, it will appear no different, as if the STB "remembered" the old setting for that channel.
post #69 of 96
After having the Zenith box for a month, I used the second coupon on a Philco tonight at Meijer. They are selling it for $49.99 but they are having a 15% off coupon for today and tomorrow. After the discount and the $40 coupon, I paid $2.50 plus $2.55 Michigan sales tax. I guess this is the best deal so far for a CECB considering no shipping from a local store.
The reception of this Philco box is okay. I got more or less the same channels as the Zenith box although the signal strength seems to be slightly lower. Perhaps they have a different scale on signal strength. The remote control function is very basic. It does not have the volumen, zoom and subtitle buttons as the Zenith one. It also has a much slower response in powering on and switching channels. The subtitle is not as sharp as the Zenith one either but it is okay. Basically, it does its job as described and costs a lot less than the Zenith one for me. It has more EPG information than the Zenith one but it only shows one program at a time. As the CECB is only a transitional product, it does not make sense to spend too much money on it and $5.05 is more than reasonable.
post #70 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

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.

Well, I got lucky. I picked up a Sony RM-VL600 universal remote control at Fry's tonight for $25. It's a learning remote with macro functions, but it turns out I didn't need to "teach" it how to operate the Philco at all. Remote code 3403 was just about perfect. The only remote functions missing are "Still" and "Audio." (I did teach the remote the "Still" function; I assigned it to the Pause key. Also, since I leave the Philco on all the time, I taught the remote to turn the TV on or off instead of the Philco when I press the Power key.)

The learning function did come in handy for my Daewoo VCR/DVD combo, though. Code 1064 was close, but several remote functions were wrong or missing and had to be "taught."

The macro function let me create one-button "Letterbox," "Zoom," "Full screen," and "Enable RF passthru" functions for the Philco. It's amusing to press a single button and watch the Philco start stepping through menu options to set the desired mode.

Update: I've read the Sony RM-V202 universal remote also supports the 3403 remote code if you can live without the learning and macro functions, although I can't guarantee it.
post #71 of 96
Meijer now has the Philco Digital to analog converter TB-100hh9 for $49.99
This model allows analog signals to pass through to the tv set.

Gary
post #72 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiri View Post

I just picked up a Philco at Fred Meyers in the Portland area of Oregon (Beaverton Town Center Fred Meyers).Price - $49.95 (9.95 after coupon). They expected to get the Sylvania, but had the Philco instead.

Fred Meyer stores in this area just started stocking the Philco TB100HH9 CECB in the past few days. $49.95 price (minus coupon).
post #73 of 96
I've noticed a difference between the digital and the analog sound level. The TV has only RF input. I have the audio source set to RF.

The digital sound level is significantly lower than when viewing the exact same content in analog. It happens on all the digital stations on which I can do a direct comparison to their analog counterparts.

Is this the Philco box or is this the digital signals from the stations?
post #74 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbill View Post

This is also the model that the HEB grocery chain in Texas is selling. $40 plus tax (so you only have to pay the tax); I got two of them for $3.30 each out of pocket.

Here at the store on Westheimer in Houston (11000 block), hey only put 6-8 of them out on an endcap at any given time; I tried to go earlier in the week but they were sold out. Took a chance, went back by there today, and they had four of them out.

Going to hook up an old rabbit ears antenna, and run the AV out to an adapter box that will let me display the picture on an old VGA monitor I have sitting around.

Edit: Works pretty good with just rabbit ears hanging off the back; I can pick up five or six channels here in Houston.
Right now I did a functional test with an old 3.5" LCD that has AV inputs. I'll move it to something quality soon.

HEB's all throughout Austin have been backordered for two weeks. My girlfriend has one. However, my quest to find one early this week when my coupon expired on the 10th was met with complete disappointment. I like this little box.
post #75 of 96
After using this Philco box for a month and the Zenith box for 2 months, I found it is really worth to spend $10 more for a better box. It is not much difference in the picture quality or reception, but the delay in switching channel and the poorly designed remote control and menu structure made this Philco box far inferior than others.
I am still very happy with the Zenith DTT900 converter although the EPG is not as extensive as others. In contrary, this Philco box is very poorly designed in many aspects.

1. The channel buttons are extremely small in size and placed on the upper right of the remote. It is very hard to grip the remote with one hand and press the channel buttons.
2. There is no buttons at all on the unit.
3. It is slow to start up.
4. You have to go through the menu to change aspect ratio on screen.
5. When you are scanning channel, it won't tell you how many channels have been detected.

I am sure there are more shortcomings of this box if it has not discouraged me to use this box so much.
post #76 of 96
I prefered the Philco over the Zenith - even over mono sound (and not having any stations that made the Zenith "sing"), the audio from the Philco is much better to my ears. More bass response, and the TV I have the Philco on I just leave the Philco on "Zoom". Works well for me.
post #77 of 96
A Fred Meyer Home Electronics department in Bellevue, Washington actually had their Philco CECB connected to several smaller TVs and displaying OTA DTV content. I asked a staff member, who confirmed that the smaller sets (some of which were 15" HD LCD sets) were running the feed from the Philco box as received from a rooftop antenna. I briefly mentioned my own experience using converter boxes, and we exchanged notes on indoor antennas.

PQ was very good from a local CBS affiliate, and the output was being fed to about seven TVs (four LCD and three standard-def CRTs).

It's refreshing to see a retail merchant actually demonstrating a CECB. I did notice the Philco box on display was quite warm to the touch, makes me wonder if the Philco's useful life might be shortened by excessive heat.
post #78 of 96
Update - tried to watch the Philco this morning via the A/V jacks - no picture. tried moving the video up and down - intermintent picture - so, obviously, there's a loose connection. Opened box (4 screws), removed a 5th screw in the middle that held the circuit board down, turned it over - yep, the soldered video out had broken. Got out the soldering iron / rosin core solder - repaired, put back together, hooked it up again - works just fine.
post #79 of 96
While shopping at Fred Meyer yesterday I noticed a lone Philco converter box sitting under a display model HDTV. The handsome Philco white plastic box, without ventilation slots, looked more like a toy when picked up and examined. A sales clerk soon appeared with a sales pitch. I inquired if they had any of these Philcos in stock. With some coaxing the clerk said they had around a hundred in stock but kept in the back room for "security reasons." Upon further reflection I think that Freddie's keeps them back so the Home Electronics cashiers--that have been trained on the NTIA card acceptance procedures--may handle the transaction. Perhaps the general and self service check out cashiers have not been trained how to process the NTIA cards.

Without adequate ventilation perhaps the Philco converter boxes (and other Funai-built converter boxes like the Magnavox) will have a short life. Then the customer will return to buy a real TV with a digital or HD tuner. Smart, very smart. Golly, isn't that the Magnavox slogan?
post #80 of 96
My experiance is that the Philco is a little warm, but not excessively so. How much heat can 8 watts produce ? Mine is also sitting on the TV which doesn't help.
post #81 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

My experiance is that the Philco is a little warm, but not excessively so. How much heat can 8 watts produce ? Mine is also sitting on the TV which doesn't help.

About the only good thing I've noticed about the Philco is that it doesn't get hot even with virtually no ventilation.
post #82 of 96
I like the Philco quite a lot -- particularly for the audio
pass-through. I'm using that much more than I expected --
every day. I can switch to the VCR easily to watch recordings.
If I hadn't already used my other coupon I would get another
one. The audio pass through is so useful that I now put it as my top
feature preference.

The EPG is also pretty good -- at least it is usable.

The box gets a little warm, but not much more than other boxes that
had more holes. I prop it up on an empty video tape box so it
has a little more clearance underneath.

I don't find the slow channel change that much of a problem. For one
thing, you can keep changing channels without waiting for them to
fully come in -- the description and channel number appear rather
quickly. So you can click through the channels faster that way.
post #83 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiri View Post

I like the Philco quite a lot -- particularly for the audio
pass-through. . .

Audio pass-through?
post #84 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiri View Post

I like the Philco quite a lot -- particularly for the audio
pass-through. I'm using that much more than I expected --
every day. I can switch to the VCR easily to watch recordings.
If I hadn't already used my other coupon I would get another
one. The audio pass through is so useful that I now put it as my top
feature preference.

The EPG is also pretty good -- at least it is usable.

The box gets a little warm, but not much more than other boxes that
had more holes. I prop it up on an empty video tape box so it
has a little more clearance underneath.

I don't find the slow channel change that much of a problem. For one
thing, you can keep changing channels without waiting for them to
fully come in -- the description and channel number appear rather
quickly. So you can click through the channels faster that way.

The ANALOG pass through is a good feature that I also use daily. However, are you saying doing this:

Push setup, push right arrow, push down arrow three times, press ok, press ok again, push left arrow, press ok.

everytime you want to change modes is a good thing? It could have been, should have been done with one button to toggle ANALOG pass through on and off.

I know the EPG is only as good as the station sending the data. My CBS station is wrong at least 50% of the time. It shows "now" as "program A" while you're looking at "program B". What it shows as next doesn't come on next. The other stations aren't wrong as often, but all are off at least once in a while.

I know this isn't the fault of the box, but no EPG is good if it gets garbage data. I thought EPG would be a useful feature, but no longer. I never use it.

The slow channel changing is a problem when you have unreliable program data. There is a good chance what you see in the description isn't really what is on.
post #85 of 96
Oops. Yes, I meant 'analog' pass through.

Well you don't have to change constantly to the pass through.
So, while it could be better, it's not that bad. I use it maybe once
a day for playback on the VCR. At least you can switch back from the
pass through to the box by just holding the setup button for 3 seconds.
Anyway, you get used to it and can click pretty fast ....

Well, I agree -- I don't use the EPG much. Most often, I use the EPG to give
a description of what is currently on when clicking through channels -
particularly on some of the extra PBS or odd channels. It sometimes has a
more full description than on the 'display' mode.
post #86 of 96
I haven't had the problem with incorrect EPG
that people are mentioning here. Perhaps I don't
use it enough to notice. Certainly the display
that comes up when you change channels is
always correct.
post #87 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by viewer29 View Post

However, are you saying doing this:

Push setup, push right arrow, push down arrow three times, press ok, press ok again, push left arrow, press ok.

everytime you want to change modes is a good thing?

I won't presume to answer for Kiri, but it's no problem for me on the Magnavox TB-100MG9, which has the same arrangement (and I think is just a rebadging of the same box).  The MG9 stays set for passthrough, and its RCA and RF outputs both go to the same VCR.  To record an analog signal, the VCR tunes to the station, while to record a digital one, the VCR tunes to line input.  If I'm watching TV, I toggle the VCR with its own remote between an analog channel and line input (where I select a digital channel with the MG9's remote).
post #88 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

Fred Meyer stores in this area just started stocking the Philco TB100HH9 CECB in the past few days. $49.95 price (minus coupon).

Inflation - particularly rising transportation costs and the declining U.S. dollar value vs. the Chinese currency: the Philco is now $54.97 (minus coupon) at Fred Meyer.
post #89 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by satpro View Post

probably just another overpriced funia clone box just like magnavox and sylvania...

Philco brand is under licensed to Funia by Philips Electronics
http://www.digitalconverterreview.co...converter-box/

Robert Grant has a good comparison review with Magnavox
http://www.wtfda.org/index.php?optio...=116&Itemid=43

William Bryson compared with with RCA DTA800B
http://williambryson.blogspot.com/20...9-and-rca.html

I'm still undecided if I'm going to buy this.
post #90 of 96
I picked up this Philco unit today at a Fred Meyer store in Portland, OR for only $40, which means that it was free with the government coupon. I haven't hooked it up yet so we'll see if it was a good choice, but based on the comments in this thread I think it'll be worth the investment. There were plenty of units still on the shelf.
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