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Which is better? Zenith DTT900 or RCA DTA800?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Can anyone list the strengths and weaknesses of these 2 boxes? My dad got the coupons and will purchase a box pretty soon.

Thank you very much

P.S. It would be much appreciated if any one has both of these boxes and can compare them directly.
post #2 of 14
The Zenith DTT901 is better overall, but the RCA may be easier for some people. Below are just a few of the more important differences.

Advanced features are accessible from buttons on the remote with the Zenith, but you must use the menu to access these features on the RCA. Someone who is not likely to use any of these features will like the RCA remote better because it has fewer buttons and larger buttons.

UPDATE: I like the EPG on the RCA better, but both only show now/next and you must access the menu to view the RCA EPG.

The RCA remote controls the volume on the TV. The Zenith remote controls the volume output from the converter box.

The RCA cuts off a little more of the picture than the Zenith. (More overscan?) UPDATE: This appears to be improved on the new RCA model.

The Zenith color is less vivid when connected via the RCA plug.

The RCA does not allow manual addition of new channels, the Zenith does. This is only an issue if the RCA unit won't pick up all stations because of station direction. UPDATE: The DTA800B1 now has the option to add to previous scans.

The RCA breaks up and takes more time than the Zenith to recover if you walk in front of the antenna and block the transmission. UPDATE: I have the DTA800B1 hooked up to an attic antenna so I cannot say if this has improved.

The Zenith has RF pass-through, but that difference will be gone when the DTA800B1 becomes available. UPDATE: As expected, this difference has disappeared, but the RCA needs to be on standby for a clear analog pass-through. If you unplug it the signal is not as good. I found no difference with the Zenith unplugged or on standby.

The Zenith has more picture modes. This again may not be as good for the less technically oriented.

UPDATE: The sound output on the RCA is slightly lower when hooked up to the RF cable then when hooked up to the line inputs. I did not notice this with the Zenith.

UPDATE: The RCA remote has significantly more TV codes than the Zenith. The Zenith only has 45.

In short, if you are getting the box for someone who is technologically challenged, the RCA may be better. The remote is simple and the viewing modes are limited to a choice between the two screen ratios. Overall the Zenith is better though.

UPDATE: My overall opinion of the two units has not changed. The Zenith seems better built and probably performs slightly better overall, but I still don't like the fact it's remote does not control the volume on the TV. It also includes A/V cables, the RCA still does not.
The RCA is a good unit. It's decreased number of viewing modes and friendlier remote makes it ideal for someone who only wants to turn on the television, change channels and adjust the volume on the TV. It does not have a previous channel button on the remote, but most individuals who want just the basic features stated in the last sentence don't use that feature. Of course, none of this matters if the remote cannot be programmed for your TV.
post #3 of 14
I do not have an RCA.

My Zenith DTT901 has an excellent thermal design:
1) ventilated with plenty of perforations top, bottom, left & right.
2) metal case (aluminum?)
3) black case for good radiation
I have started keeping it powered up continuously and it stays cool.

How is the RCA DTA800b1?
post #4 of 14
07-06-08

Could anyone thats seen a:

Zennith DTT-900 15-148
Zennith DTT-901 15-193

on any Radio Shack shelf.

Please post the ZIP here?

I need an exchange box ....
(I have a coupon already tied to RS)

I'll get the store info from RadioShack.com, call, and get one transfered to my store here.

Thanks guys/gals
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD210 View Post

The RCA remote has significantly more TV codes than the Zenith. The Zenith only has 45.

Are there lists somewhere of the TV codes available for each model? Company websites perhaps?
post #6 of 14
You rock DD210!
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdavy View Post

Are there lists somewhere of the TV codes available for each model? Company websites perhaps?

The RCA lists the TVs and codes at the end of the manual, it is two pages long! The Zenith does not list codes, you program it by holding the TV power button and hitting the channel change button up (or down) "up to 45 times."

BTW, I forgot to mention in the comparison: The RCA costs $10 less, but does not include line input cords. The Zenith includes the cords, but with both units the included cords are thin and seem poorly constructed. The slight cost advantage of the RCA is greater if your TV only has an RF input and becomes significant if you decide to buy a universal remote so you can control the volume on your TV instead of the box.
post #8 of 14
I have to add another plus for the DTA800b1. I tried 5 different original equipment remotes and 1 older universal remote with the Zenith. None of them control the box. I have found the original Sony remote RM-Y168 will control the DTA800b1 using the RCA/Proscan code 808. That code will allow you to navigate the RCA's menu. Code 802 allows you to enter the menu, but you cannot navigate it. If your TV has a remote you can program, look to see if it has SAT codes for the RCA/Proscan.
I just programmed the RCA to control an old Hitachi TV...not surprising because there are 23 different codes for Hitachi alone. (It worked with the second one I entered.) The remotes for the Zenith DTT901 and Digital Stream DT9900 would not control that particular model TV. As someone else stated about the DTA800, RCA got it right (at least with the remote.)
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cia_viewer View Post

I do not have an RCA.

My Zenith DTT901 has an excellent thermal design:
1) ventilated with plenty of perforations top, bottom, left & right.
2) metal case (aluminum?)
3) black case for good radiation
I have started keeping it powered up continuously and it stays cool.

How is the RCA DTA800b1?

1. The RCA looks like it has good ventilation on the top (side if you place it in the vertical position).
2. The case is plastic.
3. The case is black.
I have not used it for any extended period of time, but I never noticed it getting extremely hot. The Zenith definitely appears more solidly build overall. Only, time will tell if one will significantly last longer than the other.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD210 View Post

The Zenith DTT901 is better overall, but the RCA may be easier for some people. Below are just a few of the more important differences.

UPDATE: My overall opinion of the two units has not changed. The Zenith seems better built and probably performs slightly better overall, but I still don't like the fact it's remote does not control the volume on the TV. It also includes A/V cables, the RCA still does not.
The RCA is a good unit. It's decreased number of viewing modes and friendlier remote makes it ideal for someone who only wants to turn on the television, change channels and adjust the volume on the TV. It does not have a previous channel button on the remote, but most individuals who want just the basic features stated in the last sentence don't use that feature. Of course, none of this matters if the remote cannot be programmed for your TV.

Didn't find this thread until now. Bought RCA DTA800B . There is no volume bar displace on tv. Is this a defect?
post #11 of 14
My Zenith DTT900 does allow me to add channels to what I have already scanned.

But, the RCA DTA800B does not allow me to add to previously scanned and logged channels. What it does is to re-scan only adding what it finds (with a different antenna setting).

If you can deal with that, then maybe the RCA is the one for you!
post #12 of 14
Back in 2009 one of the ladies at church mentioned that she had a RCA (800) converter box but she didn't know how to set it up and integrate it with her VCR and TV. A few days later my wife and I visited her home. We found that she had two RCA 800 models and three TVs. I set up her two RCA 800 models with two of the TVs. I had a spare Zenith DTT900 in the car so I set it up with her third TV. Later, she reported that the Zenith is much better than her RCA converter boxes.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by See The Light View Post

My Zenith DTT900 does allow me to add channels to what I have already scanned.

Use the EZ-Add menu. It will look for new channels and add them to the initial scan.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by DD210 View Post

The Zenith DTT901 is better overall, but the RCA may be easier for some people. Below are just a few of the more important differences......

Advanced features are accessible from buttons on the remote with the Zenith, but you must use the menu to access these features on the RCA. Someone who is not likely to use any of these features will like the RCA remote better because it has fewer buttons and larger buttons.

UPDATE: I like the EPG on the RCA better, but both only show now/next and you must access the menu to view the RCA EPG. The RCA remote controls the volume on the TV. The Zenith remote controls the volume output from the converter box.
The RCA cuts off a little more of the picture than the Zenith. (More overscan?)

UPDATE: This appears to be improved on the new RCA model. The Zenith color is less vivid when connected via the RCA plug. The RCA does not allow manual addition of new channels, the Zenith does. This is only an issue if the RCA unit won't pick up all stations because of station direction. UPDATE: The DTA800B1 now has the option to add to previous scans.

The RCA breaks up and takes more time than the Zenith to recover if you walk in front of the antenna and block the transmission. UPDATE: I have the DTA800B1 hooked up to an attic antenna so I cannot say if this has improved.

The Zenith has RF pass-through, but that difference will be gone when the DTA800B1 becomes available. UPDATE: As expected, this difference has disappeared, but the RCA needs to be on standby for a clear analog pass-through. If you unplug it the signal is not as good. I found no difference with the Zenith unplugged or on standby. The Zenith has more picture modes. This again may not be as good for the less technically oriented.

UPDATE: The sound output on the RCA is slightly lower when hooked up to the RF cable then when hooked up to the line inputs. I did not notice this with the Zenith.

UPDATE: The RCA remote has significantly more TV codes than the Zenith. The Zenith only has 45.

In short, if you are getting the box for someone who is technologically challenged, the RCA may be better. The remote is simple and the viewing modes are limited to a choice between the two screen ratios. Overall the Zenith is better though.

UPDATE: My overall opinion of the two units has not changed. The Zenith seems better built and probably performs slightly better overall, but I still don't like the fact it's remote does not control the volume on the TV. It also includes A/V cables, the RCA still does not.

The RCA is a good unit. It's decreased number of viewing modes and friendlier remote makes it ideal for someone who only wants to turn on the television, change channels and adjust the volume on the TV. It does not have a previous channel button on the remote, but most individuals who want just the basic features stated in the last sentence don't use that feature. Of course, none of this matters if the remote cannot be programmed for your TV.
This reviewer's analysis reflects my observations of the two boxes. Both are competent performers with different strengths and weaknesses. On the used market, it seems like many more RCA boxes are available - and at very low prices - than the Zenith DTT900/DTT901. Either unit is a good choice for your secondary pre-2007 television receivers in your bedroom, garage, hobby room, kitchen etc.

Brand-new HD sets have become incredibly affordable, so be careful not to spend a lot of money on a CECB to feed OTA signal to a pre-2007 NTSC-only SD tube television.
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