I recently tested the Apex DT-502. I had no previous experience (with the DT-250), so this review is based solely on the DT-502.
For the record, I tested two of these, since I was impressed overall with this box and was hopeful that the problems I encountered were related only to a potentially defective unit. Unfortunately, this was not the case, as both performed equally.
I've read here about a problem with this box (and/or the DT-250) locking up and requiring a re-boot.
I haven't experienced this problem but on three occasions (with both units I tested) one or two channels would display no picture or sound whatsoever
and the meters displayed 0%!......While at the very same time
, two other boxes (Channel Master and Zenith), receiving identical
signal, were perfectly OK
on the same
The meters on these other boxes indicated approx. 90%.
After turning the power off and back on, the picture/sound was normal but it then the same problem occurred again approx. one hour later!
......this is bizarre behavior
and is a major concern for me!......Who needs this type of inconsistancy?
Why should it be neccesary to re-boot these boxes (or even have to turn them off and back on)?......perhaps it's related to the heat issue (this box has minimal venting and does get very warm!)
Regardless of the source of these problems......it makes this box unacceptable
to me!! Unfortunately
, the Apex is the least sensitive of the (numerous) boxes I've had experience with (especially with weaker signals and/or an indoor antenna). It produced more glitches (freezing, pixelization, skipping, drop outs, etc.) than several other boxes (utilizing the same signal). It's important
that I point out that I tested this box (as others) with weak, questionable signal
. This is a much better way to gauge the sensitivity of all
of these boxes. With a good (or even decent) outdoor antenna, all
(or most) of these boxes (generally) perform good to excellent. I have found this to be true, since I've run tests with both indoor (questionable) signal and outdoor (nearly perfect) signal. Regardless, this box performed poorly with weaker signal.As a side note......when reception/sensitivity issues are discussed on these CECB threads (in general)......it's very important that the type of antenna (indoor/outdoor/type/
brand), location, amplifier, etc. be noted on all posts that discuss reception/sensitivity issues and the performance of the particular box as it relates to these issues.Additionally
, the Apex has an overall greenish cast
(on all channels). This was consistant with both units I tested and was obvious with the composite and S-video outputs.
The color intensity is somewhat reduced as well (not a major issue) but the greenish cast is not only quite noticeable...... it's also quite annoying. Just how noticeable and/or annoying may be relative to the overall quality, age and accuracy of your TV's picture. I certainly wouldn't recommend it for someone that has a relatively new TV or one with accurate color rendition, as it will throw it off. Adjusting the tint control on the TV will compensate for it (somewhat) but not correct it and if you have other sources connected to that particular TV, it will create overcompensation for those sources.
One other issue with the Apex......the remote control is poorly laid out with some of the smallest buttons on the planet!......so tiny are the buttons (and the labelling) that some (with questionable eyesight) may need a magnifier to use this remote!......even with perfect eyesight, it's quite annoying.
and it has limited sensitivity.....you'll need to be aiming the remote very carefully!
It's truly unfortunate that the Apex has these (rather significant) problems because overall, it's a fairly well designed converter with good graphics and a better than average EPG, which gives you a choce of both a simple and more detailed guide and expanded program info. (I've seen 24 hours and some have reported 48 hours......dependent upon the channel).
This box is a poor choice if your reception and/or distance from the transmitters is at all questionable
and if you're concerned about good quality color rendition
. It's reliability
is also highly questionable