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Zenith DTT901 vs Apex DT250

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
So both boxes are out in the market and I'm considering one of these two boxes. The Apex DT250 at least on paper looks better than the DTT901. It has S-Video, Smart Antenna and as reported by wikipedia a 3 days EPG. Still the DTT901 has so many good reviews that makes me think its a better buy.

Has anyone tested the Apex DT250? Does the tuner is as good as the LG one?
post #2 of 52
I got the DT250 today. The tuner is great. My attic mounted antenna is pointed toward the main towers in Shoreview but there is one station about 100 degrees off in Big Lake and this receiver picks it up with no problem. My 2 HDTVs with built in tuners and an HD Tivo won't pick that station up at all. It appears to have more overscan than the TV displays with it's analog tuner.
post #3 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your feedback.

What about the GUI/Menu, are they friendly? How they implemented the 3 day EPG? Does the box requires that you turn it off for the pass through to work?
post #4 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsd_us3r View Post

What about the GUI/Menu, are they friendly?

Reasonably friendly. However, the three time slot guide with white text on blue bubbles is moderately hard to read. There is an alternative that is a more readable white on black for a single time slot at a time via the display menu.

Quote:


How they implemented the 3 day EPG?

This is broadcaster dependent and via that three time slot, one channel guide, using the forward arrow for navigation.

Quote:


Does the box requires that you turn it off for the pass through to work?

Yes.
post #5 of 52
I have heard that the APEX unit does not allow for accurate adjustment of the sound, and the remote will not control the TV at the same time? Where as the newest Zenith, Insignia, LG (May release with pass through), do allow for that.

Can anyone confirm that?
post #6 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonPerson View Post

I have heard that the APEX unit does not allow for accurate adjustment of the sound

What do you mean by accurate adjustment of sound?

Quote:


and the remote will not control the TV at the same time?

Does this help?
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post14138058
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks ccbrianf!

So far the Apex sounds like a better box than the Zenith DTT901.

So far what I know about both:

Feature - Zenith - Apex
SVideo - No - Yes
Composite - Yes - Yes
SmartAntenna - No - Yes
Passthrough - Yes - Yes (both need to be turned off to passthrough the signal)
EPG - Next/Now - 3 Days
Dolby Digital downmix to stereo - Yes - Yes (thanks to kousikb)
Dolby Digital downmix to Dolby Surround - No - Yes

-

N/A -

EPG (thanks to Malouff):


Zenith








Apex (Tivax clone as reported by Malouff)







The only "con" apex has is that the zenith box has been more time out in the market and has been tested more by the public.
post #8 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsd_us3r View Post

Thanks ccbrianf!

So far the Apex sounds like a better box than the Zenith DTT901.

So far what I know about both:

Feature - Zenith - Apex
Sorround Downmixing - Yes - Yes

It should be
Feature - Zenith - Apex
Dolby Digital downmix to stereo - Yes - Yes
Dolby Digital downmix to Dolby Surround - No - Yes
post #9 of 52
Thread Starter 
Some FAQ's Apex DT250 (lol)

1. Tuner and Software problems, etc?

The only thing I've noticed so far is that one press of the remote button often changes through two channels.

2. Could you at least confirm that it has S-Video? Smart antenna? Does it mention anywhere downmixing DD to Dolby Surround instead of stereo?

Yes, Yes, Yes.

3. Can you get RF passthrough while the unit is on, or only while the unit is off?

Only when off.

4. Does the remote work both the converter and the TV at the same time?

No, it is not a universal remote.

5. Are there problems with the sound from the box, and/or controlling at the TV?

None yet. It does have a volume control that works for RF as well as for RCA audio out.

Thanks, to ccbrianf....
post #10 of 52
Hello all...long time lurker first time poster here, but hopefully I have something to bring to the table as far as these CECBs go. ( Mods, please move this post if it would do members more good in another thread )

I ordered my coupons some time ago, with them expiring on the 27th of this month. I've been anxiously waiting the release of the free TR-40, then free DTVPal, and now $59.99 DTVPal before my coupons expire but it looks like I'm out of luck(and have grown more frustrated by the day as each new tidbit was released), so the DT250 looks like my best option.

I'm actually relieved that BB is gonna be carrying them, as it likely means I can go buy some Insignias before my coupons expire and exchange them for the DT250s... if the BB's in my area would ever carry them. It seems like eastern US states (like PA where I'm at) aren't getting these things as quickly as western US states.

I found out something interesting today, which I'm hoping will be useful/interesting, though maybe upsetting news to those who are planning to buy the DT250, or even the Insignia. With less than 4 days until my coupons expire, I went to my local BB today to see if the Insignia's that they carried were the -APT (pass through), which they weren't (and even if they were, the salespeople wouldn't know, as I asked one if the boxes they had have the APT feature and the guy said "yeah, if you have an analog TV you can use these").

At any rate, there's a Kiosk at BB that lets you look for items in the store or on BB's website, but it also serves as an employee Kiosk for them to check inventory, pricing, order status, etc. As I walked by, I noticed that some employee had left themselves logged in, and with me chomping at the bit to know if and when the DT250's were gonna come in, I quickly jumped in. (As an aside, and contrary to what I'm about to tell you, all BB employees must be required to push the Insignia boxes, as they will claim that they are the only boxes BB will be selling, whish is a lie) I was surprised at all the info that they have on there. The good news I found out was that my store has 70 on order (but not in transit yet)...and there are over 600 total on order within about 100 miles or so radius.

The disappointing news cam when I clicked on a link on the paged titled "Advanced pricing" which displayed this: while BB is selling the DT250 boxes for $59.99, the cost to them per box is $38.50. I about fell in the floor when I read that.

I'm annoyed to say the least. Anyway, knowing that they jacked up the price on the DT250, I decided to check the price of the Insignia's and again I discovered they're selling them for $59.99 but they cost the company $39.30.

I guess what bothers me the most is, aside from the lack of supply for many of the better boxes that we're looking for; we're being forced to buy these boxes if we wanna have TV after Feb 2009. I would be willing to bet that the coveted DTVPal really does cost only $39.99 as it was advertised, but they're gonna go for $59.99.

Instead of taking advantage of us by adding 50% to the price of these boxes, stores like BB would be smart to give us them in exchange for the coupon. If we could just go in, hand them our coupon, and leave with the box without paying them a dime...they would still be making $1.50 profit per box that they sell! If they were advertised as "free" with the coupon, and 1 million people bought them that would 1.5 million dollars in Best Buy's pockets.

It's very disheartening. I wish I could have printed out those screens, but the stupid printer that was attached to the kiosk kept saying it was out of paper and even though I checked it...I couldn't do too much without attracting the attention of the BB employees that wander around. I did manage to snap a picture of the screens with my cell phone...but it's such a crappy camera phone that you can barely read it. Not like it would really do me much good anyway...I doubt the manager of the store would be willing to give me the boxes for the price of the coupon in exchange for me deleting the pictures or something.

Anyway, sorry for such a long first message...but I hope it was worth it and the information is helpful. I certainly have found these forums to be a big help over the last few months at keeping me informed on these CECB's.
post #11 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

Instead of taking advantage of us by adding 50% to the price of these boxes, stores like BB would be smart to give us them in exchange for the coupon. If we could just go in, hand them our coupon, and leave with the box without paying them a dime...they would still be making $1.50 profit per box that they sell! If they were advertised as "free" with the coupon, and 1 million people bought them that would 1.5 million dollars in Best Buy's pockets.

.

You probably should take some Biz101 or Econ101 courses and learn a little about how business works. A 50% markup in retail won't keep you in business.
At least not for long.
Thanks for the excellnt info tho. Are you aware the CIA is recruiting? :>)
post #12 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

You probably should take some Biz101 or Econ101 courses and learn a little about how business works. A 50% markup in retail won't keep you in business.
At least not for long.
Thanks for the excellnt info tho. Are you aware the CIA is recruiting? :>)

Think about it this way. That 50% markup translates to 36% gross profit margin (36% of the price of the box goes to the store, 64% to the wholesaler.) From that, they have to pay for rent, lights, salaries, and those stylish blue shirts.
post #13 of 52
Zenith 901:

You just plug the unit into the TV set, and the TV set controls the sound volume? (no adjustment on the Zenith box?)

Apex 250:

You run the volume on the Apex 250 up to 100%, and then you control the sound via the TV controls? Is that how that works? Sort of like old style STB that use to have those adjustments?


As far as sound quality goes the Apex unit is equal to or better than the Zenith? clear, no distortion, etc?
post #14 of 52
FWIW, per Wikipedia:
Quote:


Apex Digital, Inc. is an American electronics manufacturer based in City of Industry, California. They manufacture mainly budget-priced consumer electronics such as televisions and DVD players.

Controversy

In 2004, Apex Digital was accused of not paying outstanding debts. In spite of "struggling to meet US TV orders", as spokeswoman Marietta Schoenherz claims, Apex Digital reportedly owed millions in debts to suppliers. One supplier, Sichuan Changhong Electric Appliance Co., claimed they were owed in excess of RMB 4.3 Billion(~ 550 million US$) and provisions. In response to this claim, the Chinese government detained Apex Chairman David Longfen Ji on December 30, 2004 on fraud charges.[1] He was arrested on these charges on May 18, 2005, to be hospitalized and released August 18, 2005. Since the arrest, David's family has been concerned for his health and concerned for his future.[2]

I wonder whether the corporate culture of their company may impact the design and/or quality control of their products?
post #15 of 52
their dvd players like the 1500 were shoddily made crap, but this appears to be a rebadged Tivax, who knows who the oem for those boxes are. I wouldn't touch these boxes with a 10 foot pole if they were actually made by Apex.
post #16 of 52
I picked up a couple Apex DT250 converter boxes yesterday. I am not impressed and actually quite disappointed. I knew I should have only purchased one, but wanted both boxes in the house to be the same for simplicity. For those interested, my growing list of issues/compaints regarding the Apex DT250 can be viewed at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post14149774.
post #17 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by nwiser View Post

The disappointing news cam when I clicked on a link on the paged titled "Advanced pricing" which displayed this: while BB is selling the DT250 boxes for $59.99, the cost to them per box is $38.50. I about fell in the floor when I read that.

That's about a 35% margin, which doesn't seem unreasonable to me, especially if that represents the amount Best Buy pays for each unit and does not include any of their own costs of doing business. They aren't makin' much, if anything, on these things, which is probably why retailers seem to be figuring that if they put *any* CECB box on the shelves, they're doing their customers a service.

Both Best Buy and the electronics mfrs want to sell you a $3,000 HDTV, not a $60 box that lets you keep using your old TV. Our entire economic systems depends on consumers constantly, well, consuming--keep buying more Stuff. People like us who want to keep our old Stuff are the sawdust in the machinery.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by doswonk1 View Post

That's about a 35% margin, which doesn't seem unreasonable to me, especially if that represents the amount Best Buy pays for each unit and does not include any of their own costs of doing business. They aren't makin' much, if anything, on these things, which is probably why retailers seem to be figuring that if they put *any* CECB box on the shelves, they're doing their customers a service.

Both Best Buy and the electronics mfrs want to sell you a $3,000 HDTV, not a $60 box that lets you keep using your old TV. Our entire economic systems depends on consumers constantly, well, consuming--keep buying more Stuff. People like us who want to keep our old Stuff are the sawdust in the machinery.

I agree with everyone that if you are going to sneak and look at internal BB information, don't be surprised to see that their cost is less than $59.99.

It does at least seem to me that CC is doing pretty good with selling the Zenith CECBs. There seems to be a pretty high turnover on the boxes. With the economic slump hitting sales of high dollar electronics and places like CC one step from going bankrupt (the parking lot of my local CC is pretty sparsely occupied compared to the recent past) at least they are selling something and hopefully making a few bucks on it in the process.
post #19 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post

their dvd players like the 1500 were shoddily made crap, but this appears to be a rebadged Tivax, who knows who the oem for those boxes are. I wouldn't touch these boxes with a 10 foot pole if they were actually made by Apex.

Rebadged version of which model Tivax?
post #20 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by partsman_ba View Post

From that, they have to pay for....those stylish blue shirts.

....and to teach them those shady sales tactics.
post #21 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by CasualOTAer View Post

Rebadged version of which model Tivax?

someone with more knowledge about the various Tivax models might be able to answer that.
post #22 of 52
Apex interface looks identical to Tivax STB-9.
post #23 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by may_queen View Post

Apex interface looks identical to Tivax STB-9.

Perhaps the Apex is based on the same Zoran chip as the Tivax. The chip supports s-video, which is implemented on the Apex but not the Tivax.

However the Tivax remote does not work with the Apex, which is odd if they are based on the same Zoran reference design and code.
post #24 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by may_queen View Post

Apex interface looks identical to Tivax STB-9.

I should check to see if folks have posted board photos of these two CECBs.
post #25 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trio View Post

Perhaps the Apex is based on the same Zoran chip as the Tivax. The chip supports s-video, which is implemented on the Apex but not the Tivax.

Apex has a long standing relation with Zoran. All of their DVD players were based on Zoran Vaddis chipset. So this is probably true.
post #26 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonPerson View Post

Zenith 901:

You just plug the unit into the TV set, and the TV set controls the sound volume? (no adjustment on the Zenith box?)

Zenith DTT901 has volume control buttons on the remote that control the box output signal level (defaults to 100%). It has a TV power button that controls the TV directly.
post #27 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Lococco View Post

their dvd players like the 1500 were shoddily made crap, but this appears to be a rebadged Tivax, who knows who the oem for those boxes are. I wouldn't touch these boxes with a 10 foot pole if they were actually made by Apex.

It is not a rebadged Tivax. The Tivax PCB, as submitted to the FCC for approval, does not have holes for adding a S-video jack. May be based on the same zoran reference software, though, hence the user interface similarites. The zoran chip seems to be reputed here to have less dynamic multipath rejection than the LG chip.

They can use the same reference software as a base and support different remote codes. You figure the companies may just take an existing remote and relabel it and then just change the remote codes in the software to match.

I have seen one of several apex dvd players fail in the first year. One is going strong years later. But I have also seen other brand DVD-ROMs and $200 DVD+/-RW drives fail prematurely in similar ways. One DVD-ROM would refuse to read DVDs but would still read CDs.
I wonder if transients are frying the DVD laser (the optical intensity density gets to high and the surface of the crystal is destroyed).
My Apex TV/DVD, though, developed multiple problems in under four years. Generally, the boards with surface mount seem to be higher quality than the ones with only through hole components. DVD players and CECBs are surface mount but may have through hole boards for the power supply or front panel buttons. Analog TV's and power supplies often use single sided phenolic boards. Also, analog TV's tend to use very large boards which are more failure prone (mechanical issues).
post #28 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by whitis View Post

Zenith DTT901 has volume control buttons on the remote that control the box output signal level (defaults to 100%). It has a TV power button that controls the TV directly.

Um, ok? Does that mean you leave the Zenith box at 100%, and can the remote be programmed to control the volume on your TV set?
post #29 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoustonPerson View Post

Um, ok? Does that mean you leave the Zenith box at 100%, and can the remote be programmed to control the volume on your TV set?

Volume with the Zenith remote only controls audio output from the converter itself. The only TV function that the Zenith can control is power on/off.
post #30 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by wh5916 View Post

Volume with the Zenith remote only controls audio output from the converter itself. The only TV function that the Zenith can control is power on/off.

Ok, thanks got it.
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