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Help with choosing CECB - very confused

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is my 1st time posting so please be patient & I apologize for any mistakes I make in advance.

I have a 14" Magnavox Smart Series TV with 7/05 or 7/06 manufacture date, has red, white, & yellow connecters in front & ?RF connector in back. I am using Phillips MANT510 UHF/VHF/FM antenna which has 2 collapsable antennas, flat middle panel, and 2 buttons which I think are for db levels?

My current set up is as follows: 1. Cable from wall into the Phillips Antenna 2. Cable from Antenna to out on Splitter 3. Cable from Series 2 DT TiVo to out on Splitter 4. Cable from TV to in on Splitter 5. Red, White, & Yellow from TV to TiVo

Current channels I receive are: (3) NBC, (5) Fox, (8) CBS, (10) PBS, (13) ABC, (21) MyLVTV, (25) Vegas TV, (33) CW, and occasionally (50) Jewelry TV

21, 25, 33, & 50 do not go thru the TiVo, have to use TV remote and can not record on them.

None of the channels come in very clear, but 5, 8, & 10 can be really miserable with bad audio crackling at times.

I have spent about 30+ hours in the past 2 weeks going thru the forums here and on other sites. I think I may be more confused now as to which of these converter boxes to get and my coupons expire on the 27th. I went to dtvpal.com, stated maybe out late June, no other info other than the timer will turn on the box & to the channel selected. ??? Somehow I don't think that will help with the TiVo. I am thinking I will probably need the pass thru models. Per Radioshack website the Digital Stream DTX9950 is in stock, the Zenith DTT901 is out of stock. Best Buy has an Apex DT250 which per cecb has pass thru & smart antenna but that wasn't mentioned on BB website. All of them cost $59.99

I do not have an issue with using more than 1 remote, I know the Digital Stream remote doesn't operate tv volume or on/off, not a big deal for me.

I live in a 1st floor apt in Las Vegas, cross streets are Sahara Ave & Nellis Blvd. ? I vaguely remember in a few of the posts that the person helping needed that info. I have a huge pine tree right in front of my patio which besides the small bedroom window is the only other window I have in the apt. Patio is south exposure, unable to get Satellite due to the tree, I think it was DishNetwork installer whom told me that I wouldn't be able to get solid signal due to the tree.

I have an idea that my frequent & poor reception changes are due to many of the other residents have dishes and wireless items --- just a guess.

So can anyone recommend which box or boxes would work best in my situation? I was thinking of getting 2 different boxes.

Any help is really appreciated
post #2 of 22
Sounds like you know more than me about CECBs.....but Im looking at the RCA 800, Zenith 901, and the DTVpal.

Looks like you have way too many splitters, the signal must be attrocious at the end of that line. What model antenna are you using?
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Sounds like you know more than me about CECBs.....but Im looking at the RCA 800, Zenith 901, and the DTVpal.

Looks like you have way too many splitters, the signal must be attrocious at the end of that line. What model antenna are you using?

EscapeVelocity,
I am using the supposed apartment antenna from the wall connection, only received 1 channel with poor quality so I bought the Phillips MANT510 UHF/VHF/FM antenna, which gave me the other 7 channels I can receive.

I only have one splitter: it has 1 in & 2 out connections on it.

So have you tested any of those models & do you think one or more of them will help me?

post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphinlover821 View Post

I do not have an issue with using more than 1 remote, I know the Digital Stream remote doesn't operate tv volume or on/off, not a big deal for me.

FYI, the Digital Stream's remote does operate the TV's volume and power.

It's actually the only unit that I know of that can control the TV's volume as well as it's own volume.
post #5 of 22
Sorry, down at the bottom of the bottle last night.
post #6 of 22
I am confused. How is the TiVo receiving the signal?
post #7 of 22
If you have the splitter hooked up as described how is your Tivo getting a signal ? Here is how I diagrammed what you described:

Code:
          ------------
          |      OUT | <=== Tivo (RF input or output ?)
TV <===   | IN       |               
          |      OUT | <=== Phillips Antenna <=== external antenna cable from wall
          ------------
You have the splitter hooked up in reverse or "combiner" mode. In this mode a port labeled "OUT" is actually an input and one labeled "IN" is an output.

This would allow the Tivo RF output (on channel 3 or 4) to be combined with the antenna signal to feed your TV's RF input. Is this cable in fact attached to your Tivo's RF out ? If so what is on the RF In ?

Since you stated that you were using the Tivo's A/V outputs to feed the TV's red/white/yellow RCA inputs I doubt this is what you intended.

If it is what you want, then the Tivo would need another source for it's RF (antenna) input. I suspect your Tivo is tuning with only the signal being picked up by the cable connecting it to the (improperly ?) connected splitter.

This is what I think you should have:

Code:
                      ------------
                      |      OUT | ===> Tivo (RF input)
Phillips Antenna ===> | IN       |               
                      |      OUT | ===> TV (RF Input)
                      ------------
I would recommend removing the building's external antenna from the Phillips. Combining two antennas is tricky business and usually degrades reception instead of improving it. I would try each individually and use only the the one that gave the best reception. edit: I just found a user guide for your Phillips antenna. It is designed to allow a cable TV input at the antenna and has a switch to either pass the antenna signal or the cable signal to the TV. If your switch is in the cable position you will be using the building's antenna. If in the antenna position it will pass the Phillips antenna signal.

There is also the possibility that your Tivo's RF input could be setup in "Cable" mode instead of "Antenna". If this is the case it will not be able to tune the UHF frequencies (14 and up). The splitter issue is more likely why yours cannot tune your UHF channels. If correcting your antenna feed does not bring in your UHF channels run the Tivo setup and check your input settings.


On to CECBs. I have tried both a Digital Stream DXT9950 and a DTT900. The Digital Stream remote DOES operate TV volume, on/off and toggle it's inputs, the Zenith only has a programmable TV on/off button.

To watch and record different channels you will need two boxes. They should be different maufacturers to avoid remote control conflicts. Ideally the box on the Tivo would be controlled by the Tivo via an IR blaster (or serial port). If you have a dedicated box for the Tivo it should not need pass through unless you need it for the transition period (stations not yet digital) or you have low power stations not converting after analog "shut down".

I have seen some comments about Tivo's plans to support CECBs but cannot remember if they included Series 2 (I seem to think not). Search this forum for Tivo and Series 2 and try over on the the Tivo forum.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerhard911 View Post


I would recommend removing the building's external antenna from the Phillips. Combining two antennas is tricky business and usually degrades reception instead of improving it. I would try each individually and use only the the one that gave the best reception. edit: I just found a user guide for your Phillips antenna. It is designed to allow a cable TV input at the antenna and has a switch to either pass the antenna signal or the cable signal to the TV. If your switch is in the cable position you will be using the building's antenna. If in the antenna position it will pass the Phillips antenna signal.

There is also the possibility that your Tivo's RF input could be setup in "Cable" mode instead of "Antenna". If this is the case it will not be able to tune the UHF frequencies (14 and up). The splitter issue is more likely why yours cannot tune your UHF channels. If correcting your antenna feed does not bring in your UHF channels run the Tivo setup and check your input settings.


On to CECBs. I have tried both a Digital Stream DXT9950 and a DTT900. The Digital Stream remote DOES operate TV volume, on/off and toggle it's inputs, the Zenith only has a programmable TV on/off button.

To watch and record different channels you will need two boxes. They should be different maufacturers to avoid remote control conflicts. Ideally the box on the Tivo would be controlled by the Tivo via an IR blaster (or serial port). If you have a dedicated box for the Tivo it should not need pass through unless you need it for the transition period (stations not yet digital) or you have low power stations not converting after analog "shut down".

I have seen some comments about Tivo's plans to support CECBs but cannot remember if they included Series 2 (I seem to think not). Search this forum for Tivo and Series 2 and try over on the the Tivo forum.


gerhard911,
I love you! Ok finally some good input. I will try your suggestion about getting rid of the wall antenna & see if that helps. I just assumed I needed it for the Phillps antenna to work.

I am well aware that my set up is probably non-conventional & incorrect in most theories, but I had gone thru probably 20+ different combinations of cable/splitter set ups for 3 frustrating days about a year ago to get the TiVo to work & this was the only set up that worked. The series 2 dual tuner will not work unless you have cable (so I was told) and that it is why in the set up menu for the TiVo I chose cable. The Phillips antenna is set to antenna because if I switch it to cable, nothing comes in.

I apolgize to you & all about the remote controlling the tv, etc. I had been reading postings for over 24 hrs & must have been confused. LOL happens alot to me.

My only choices of converters (because they are actually physically in stock) are the Digital Stream 9950 and the Insignia without passthru. Supposedly I can order the Zenith 901 from Radio Shack, but I am concerned about what will happen if I have to return it. At least with a physical "Brick & Morter" place I can hopefully return or exchange easier.

Based on what you said I guess I will get the Digital Stream 9950 & the Insignia & pray that they work.

I actually have resolved to cry for a bit & then kiss my TiVo goodbye once this change is completed. Such a shame because I love my TiVo & they were great about replacing my original TiVo with this one for what I consider very little cost even though my warranty was over a year out of date.

Again, thank you so much for this information. I will probably need to bug you again once I get the converters & try to hook them up. Any other input you can give me will be truly appreciated. ?? I think I will probably need another splitter for the TiVo & one of the converter boxes???
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMI Guy View Post

I am confused. How is the TiVo receiving the signal?

HDMI,
I honestly don't know. I think from the backwards hook up I have from the Phillips Antenna. All I know is it was the only set up of the 20+ I tried that made the TiVo accessible. None of it makes sense, but it works LOL

I am quite a novice at all of this stuff, which is why I am researching this forum. Sorry I can't really answer the question but maybe if someone else reads it then they will be able to answer you.
post #10 of 22
You are quite welcome for the info supplied. I may be able to help further if you can supply some more details.

Explain how you watch Tivo programs on your TV. Do you select the TV's A/V inputs (sometimes called Aux or Line In) or do you tune to channel 3 (or perhaps 4).

Look at the back of your Tivo. You should have a coaxial cable connected to the RF (In From Antenna/Cable) input. It should be connected to the antenna as in my second diagram. If you only have a coaxial cable connected to the Tivo's RF output (To TV) then you have no antenna signal feeding your Tivo (other than what little bit filters in through the RF connection port).

Any details you can provide on the coaxial cables connected to your Tivo would be helpful.

Good Luck !
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerhard911 View Post

You are quite welcome for the info supplied. I may be able to help further if you can supply some more details.

Explain how you watch Tivo programs on your TV. Do you select the TV's A/V inputs (sometimes called Aux or Line In) or do you tune to channel 3 (or perhaps 4).

Look at the back of your Tivo. You should have a coaxial cable connected to the RF (In From Antenna/Cable) input. It should be connected to the antenna as in my second diagram. If you only have a coaxial cable connected to the Tivo's RF output (To TV) then you have no antenna signal feeding your Tivo (other than what little bit filters in through the RF connection port).

Any details you can provide on the coaxial cables connected to your Tivo would be helpful.

Good Luck !

gerhard911,
Coaxial cable from splitter to the TiVo RF in, nothing connected to the RF out.

TV "channel" is on AV & then I use the TiVo remote to change the channels unless I want to watch something on channels 21,25, or 33 -- then I have to use the TV remote.

I have not had a chance to change the antenna set up yet, long-long day. Hopefully will get to that tomorrow. I did go to Radio Shack today & used one of my coupons for the Digital Stream 9950. Again, way too tired to even attempt hooking that up yet. I still have to figure out what box to buy with my other coupon which expires on 6/27. I think I would like to get the Zenith 901, but unfortunately RS didn't have in stock & couldn't even tell me if any were ordered or if they even would be. Only other option is Best Buy supposedly has "a lot" of the Insignia NSDXA1 in stock, but something in back of mind tells me not to get that one. Not sure if something I read about it on Forum or just a "female intuition" thing LOL.

What do you think? Just go ahead & get the Insignia or keep praying the Zenith shows up before the 27th?

Sorry for the rambling, am very tired. Again thank you for your help.
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogee View Post

FYI, the Digital Stream's remote does operate the TV's volume and power.

It's actually the only unit that I know of that can control the TV's volume as well as it's own volume.

The remote for the RCA DTA800B can control four TV functions: power, volume, mute, and input. The box itself does not have a volume control.
post #13 of 22
You definitely want to reconnect your splitter to match my second diagram.

Once this is done you should see a dramatic improvement in your Tivo's reception. This may also allow it to tune your UHF channels (21,25,33). If not, check your Tivo's setup for the RF input and make sure it is set to Antenna not Cable.

If you are going to connect your new digital converter to your TV simply use the supplied coaxial cable to put it in between your splitter and the TV's RF input. Watch over channel 3 or 4 depending on how you have the converter box set.

If you are going to connect it to your Tivo you could do it the same way but I would recommend using the converter's A/V outputs instead. This will give you a better picture and the ability to have stereo sound.

Unfortunately the Digital Stream does not come with a set of the red/white/yellow cables you would need to do this. If you don't have any lying around you could get an inexpensive set at Radio Shack or other electronics store. You would connect these to your Tivo's line in and then record/watch using line in instead of the RF input.

Both the DTX9950 and Zenith DTT900 (April build code 0201) worked well for me. The only major negative that they both had was low audio volume when used in stereo mode. This has supposedly been fixed with the DTT901. If your TV is not stereo this may not matter to you but I would find it annoying if the two converters had significantly different audio output levels.

Although you don't have much time to use your second coupon and are obviously burned out researching this stuff, try to find out what converter(s) are working well for other Tivo owners.
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dolphinlover821 View Post

I still have to figure out what box to buy with my other coupon which expires on 6/27. I think I would like to get the Zenith 901, but unfortunately RS didn't have in stock & couldn't even tell me if any were ordered or if they even would be. Only other option is Best Buy supposedly has "a lot" of the Insignia NSDXA1 in stock, but something in back of mind tells me not to get that one. Not sure if something I read about it on Forum or just a "female intuition" thing LOL.

What do you think? Just go ahead & get the Insignia or keep praying the Zenith shows up before the 27th?

The Insignia and Zenith are the same product with a different name. Either one would be fine if it is of April 2008 or newer production. That information is found on one of the bar code stickers on the end of the cardboard box and on the serial number sticker on the back of the converter itself.

If you have a Circuit City store you might find a DTT901 on sale there. If you find no DTT901 models on display ask them to check stock in the back room. If they say that the back room stock is still in the shipping cartons advise them that the shipping carton shows the model number in large hard-to-miss print. (It is also very easy to check the window cut outs on one end of that carton to view the bar code sticker that shows the month of production.)

Since Circuit City is holding back the DTT901 from sale in at least one area (13,000 DTT901 models are being held back in a warehouse serving Circuit City stores in and around Portland Oregon) you might need to purchase a DTT900 and then exchange it for a DTT901 within the 30 day Circuit City customer satisfaction exchange period once the DTT901 model actually appears in the store.

The Portland area Circuit City stores are giving the DTVPal (expected in stores soon) and Digital Stream DTX9950 a head start on the analog pass through business since every coupon used for those models is one less customer visit and one less coupon sale for Circuit City.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

If you have a Circuit City store you might find a DTT901 on sale there. If you find no DTT901 models on display ask them to check stock in the back room. If they say that the back room stock is still in the shipping cartons advise them that the shipping carton shows the model number in large hard-to-miss print. (It is also very easy to check the window cut outs on one end of that carton to view the bar code sticker that shows the month of production.)

Since Circuit City is holding back the DTT901 from sale in at least one area (13,000 DTT901 models are being held back in a warehouse serving Circuit City stores in and around Portland Oregon) you might need to purchase a DTT900 and then exchange it for a DTT901 within the 30 day Circuit City customer satisfaction exchange period once the DTT901 model actually appears in the store.

Just as a single data point, the Circuit City nearest my work location has a mix of 900's and 901's on the shelf at present - mostly 901s. So withholding 901s from sale doesn't appear to be a chain-wide phenomenon. If you have Circuit Citys in your area, I'd say check them out for an in stock DTT901 and don't sweat the Zenith vs. Insignia choice.

It's been reported in these forums that DTT901s may be appearing at Radio Shack stores soon, too. But don't be shocked if RS employees only bring you a Digital Stream DTX-9950 from the back room. They may not have the new Zeniths yet.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gerhard911 View Post

You definitely want to reconnect your splitter to match my second diagram.

Once this is done you should see a dramatic improvement in your Tivo's reception. This may also allow it to tune your UHF channels (21,25,33). If not, check your Tivo's setup for the RF input and make sure it is set to Antenna not Cable.

If you are going to connect your new digital converter to your TV simply use the supplied coaxial cable to put it in between your splitter and the TV's RF input. Watch over channel 3 or 4 depending on how you have the converter box set.

If you are going to connect it to your Tivo you could do it the same way but I would recommend using the converter's A/V outputs instead. This will give you a better picture and the ability to have stereo sound.

Unfortunately the Digital Stream does not come with a set of the red/white/yellow cables you would need to do this. If you don't have any lying around you could get an inexpensive set at Radio Shack or other electronics store. You would connect these to your Tivo's line in and then record/watch using line in instead of the RF input.

Both the DTX9950 and Zenith DTT900 (April build code 0201) worked well for me. The only major negative that they both had was low audio volume when used in stereo mode. This has supposedly been fixed with the DTT901. If your TV is not stereo this may not matter to you but I would find it annoying if the two converters had significantly different audio output levels.

Although you don't have much time to use your second coupon and are obviously burned out researching this stuff, try to find out what converter(s) are working well for other Tivo owners.

gerhard911,
Thank you again for good information & you are quite right about be burnt out.

My series 2 dual tuner TiVo will not work unless I choose cable (which I don't) in the set-up. This device was made only to work with cable, no option for antenna. Per 2 different TiVo forums I have also been researching, there will be updates on codes for the boxes for the TiVo's but unfortunately mine isn't one of them. So that I do not get too much futher of the subject on this forum: Zenith & Insignia models have issues regarding the 2 digit channel numbers, some people have had slightly better success with the RCA 800B, but this is with TiVo series 1 models for the most part. Have not found any information about using 2 different converter boxes at this time. So I need to figure out how to hook up the 2 boxes -- do I hook up one to tv & one to TiVo?? Will I have to get another antenna?? one for tv & one for TiVo? I have one splitter in current hook up, will I need another splitter?

Good news is I have tons of cables, red,white,yellow (? RCA) cables, and at least one other splitter somewhere in my closet so I won't have to spend more money on those things.

Once I get my "second wind" I will at least try to change current set-up to the 2nd diagram today. Depending on how that goes I may attempt to hook up the Digital Stream 9950 to the tv & see how that goes.

Oh, my magnavox tv has menu selection for stereo or mono, but I honestly do not notice much difference in the sound between the 2. At this point I will settle for simple non distorted, crackling sound on all channels. As far as the different audio levels I constantly have to change volume anyway as the commercials blast me out of the room and sometimes different channels will have significant differences as well -- so NBD for me anyway.

Again, thank you so much for you information & patience with me. I realize I am quite annoying, but I don't see that changing any time soon, so please hang in there with me.
post #17 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

The Insignia and Zenith are the same product with a different name. Either one would be fine if it is of April 2008 or newer production. That information is found on one of the bar code stickers on the end of the cardboard box and on the serial number sticker on the back of the converter itself.

If you have a Circuit City store you might find a DTT901 on sale there. If you find no DTT901 models on display ask them to check stock in the back room. If they say that the back room stock is still in the shipping cartons advise them that the shipping carton shows the model number in large hard-to-miss print. (It is also very easy to check the window cut outs on one end of that carton to view the bar code sticker that shows the month of production.)

Since Circuit City is holding back the DTT901 from sale in at least one area (13,000 DTT901 models are being held back in a warehouse serving Circuit City stores in and around Portland Oregon) you might need to purchase a DTT900 and then exchange it for a DTT901 within the 30 day Circuit City customer satisfaction exchange period once the DTT901 model actually appears in the store.

The Portland area Circuit City stores are giving the DTVPal (expected in stores soon) and Digital Stream DTX9950 a head start on the analog pass through business since every coupon used for those models is one less customer visit and one less coupon sale for Circuit City.

Thank you Digado,
I already have learned that you have to persistent with the staff to actually go & physically check for the stock. Yesterday AM I called local Radio Shack to verify they had Digital Stream 9950, she finally went to storage and said they have 10. So later that PM I go to the store: "We only have them at our warehouse" to which I related phone conversation, so he plays with computer again (DUH!), so finally I started to get a bit agitated but managed to keep my cool and suggested he go into the store room to check. GUESS WHAT? Tahdah, he walks out with the box!

I will call Circuit City regarding the DTT901, and I fully expect to have the same scenario LOL. Although based on the TiVo issue & research I may have to now start tracking down the RCA800B. Oh what fun I am having, NOT LOL

I would just love to send a lovely thank you to our government for this pleasurable experience .

Sorry, I just finally needed to vent somewhere besides my apartment as it scares my poor dog.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CasualOTAer View Post

Just as a single data point, the Circuit City nearest my work location has a mix of 900's and 901's on the shelf at present - mostly 901s. So withholding 901s from sale doesn't appear to be a chain-wide phenomenon. If you have Circuit Citys in your area, I'd say check them out for an in stock DTT901 and don't sweat the Zenith vs. Insignia choice.

It's been reported in these forums that DTT901s may be appearing at Radio Shack stores soon, too. But don't be shocked if RS employees only bring you a Digital Stream DTX-9950 from the back room. They may not have the new Zeniths yet.
post #19 of 22
dolphinlover821,

I got your PM but your profile settings will not allow a reply.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hmmm, not sure why, I checked the box to allow people not on buddy list to send me messages. I didn't add you to buddylist -- did not want to presume that it was ok to do so. I will have to recheck my settings.
post #21 of 22
I don't think it has anything to do with Buddy List. Here is the message I get:

Quote:


dolphinlover821 has chosen not to receive private messages or may not be allowed to receive private messages. Therefore you may not send your message to him/her.

Check the PM settings in your profile. I can just post up my response here if you like.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Oh posting here is fine, It was the weekend & I did not see a post from you regarding my last post, so I thought maybe you just don't go to the forum on the weekends and I was anxious to hear your input I thought I was going to try & tackle hooking up the DS 9950 this weekend, but I had a seminar on geriatric strengthening Sat & Sun which just wiped me out LOL. So needless to say the DS is still in the box.
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