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Got these options, thinkiing about the Tivax -- thoughts?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Greets,

I've identified the following coupon supported ATSC tuners as being available:

AccessHD DTA-1080D & DTA-1080U **advised against**

AirLink101 ATVC101 & ATVC102 **picture and reception issues**

Artec T3A-ATSC & T3AP-LS & T3APro **related to Zenith**

Craig CVD-508 **apparently much the same as the Suntek**

Digital Stream DSP-6500C & DSP-7500T & DSP-7700P

Dish Network DTVpal Plus **back ordered**

INET SSR-1921 **apparently rebadged ST-8**

Magnovox RTB-110MW9 **advised against**

MicroGem MG-2000 **excessive early failure reports**

Sunkey SK-801 ATSC **apparently much the same as the Craig**

Tivax STB-T8

Zinwell ZAT-970A

I'm thinking the Tivax STB-T8 might be my best shot. (My primary considerations are ability to pull in stations, picture quality, and reliability -- would like to have had S-Video out, but that seems kind of hopeless at this point.) Any thoughts?

Thanks for any assist

PS. I've seen Tivax T8 and T9 described as top third video and audio quality, whereas the Zinwell is in the middle third. If Zenith is in the top third also, and Artec uses the same front end, are they equivalent performance? If so, which models? Also, does analog bypass really matter anymore?
post #2 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Where?

Just went back for the link and found that below the large print "IN STOCK", they say in smaller print "back ordered":

http://www.dtvboxanswers.com/dinedt.html

Here's a link for the DTV Pal, but it isn't the Plus :

http://www.digital-tv-converter.net/...erter-box.aspx

Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

The Craig and Sunkey CECB's are almost identical. The Zinwell is a good choice. Stay away from the AccessHD's. I'm not sure you would want to purchase the Magnavox units either.

Here's two more and the 2009 has S-Video. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...8#post17470928

That other company isn't on my list of coupon compatible converters, do you know if they were added?
post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

I'm thinking the Tivax STB-T8 might be my best shot. (My primary considerations are ability to pull in stations, picture quality, and reliability -- would like to have had S-Video out, but that seems kind of hopeless at this point.) Any thoughts?

The INET SSR-1921 is a rebadged Tivax STB-T8. I've got 2 of them. Pretty nice, but I do on occasion have a problem with my VC 7.1 and 7.2 going by their actual RF channel of 39.1 and 39.2. Also, 9.3 is listed as 9.6 lol That's not to say other boxes don't have issues - my Channel Master box likes to do the same thing with 7/39.
post #4 of 38
I'm assuming it is a CECB, only because someone listed it on WIKI and EZDigital has a page for it.

http://www.ezdigitaltv.com/TRT_TACB-2009.html

What's with the three RF ports?

NOTE: The 2009 does have APT and it also has something called "Auto Time setting" (TIMERS?).
post #5 of 38
Thread Starter 
OK, the DTV2009.gov site lists the TRT TCB-1009 (analog pass through, no S-Video):

https://www.ntiadtv.gov/cecb_list.cfm

And the EzDigital site also lists the TRT TCB-2009 (S-Video, no analog pass through):

http://www.ezdigitaltv.com/Converter_Box.html

So, any info on how they perform? Searching isn't doing too much for me so far !
post #6 of 38
The NTIA does list the 2009, although it is in the "Not Available" list.
post #7 of 38
Thread Starter 
Well, I guess it's interesting the TRT boxes exist (though perhaps the 2009 isn't yet on the market), but since there's no way to tell how good they are/aren't -- I'm thinking they really don't matter within the context of this subforum.

Final coupon expiration date is almost here and so, IMO, it makes most sense to ignore them (unless you're willing to take a shot in the dark with your about to die coupon). That returns my focus to the CECB's that have some history, and so I'm hoping I can get a little more help from people who've experience with the boxes in my above list (and yes, I'm also searching for helpful info.)

Take the Artecs T3A-ATSC & T3AP-LS & T3APro (**related to Zenith?**), Tivax STB-T8 (**supposedly only difference from T9 is inclusion of analog passthrough**), and Zinwell ZAT-970A -- (I would include Digital Stream, but I've the impression they may have build/reliability issues -- True? False?).

How are these units in terms of real world ability to pull in stations (sensitivity/multipath/whatever)?

How's the quality of their picture and sound?

How're they for reliability?

Any significant issues?
post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

......Final coupon expiration date is almost here and so,.........
Take the Artecs T3A-ATSC & T3AP-LS & T3APro (**related to Zenith?**), Tivax STB-T8 (**supposedly only difference from T9 is inclusion of analog passthrough**), and Zinwell ZAT-970A -- (I would include Digital Stream, but I've the impression they may have build/reliability issues -- True? False?).
How are these units in terms of real world ability to pull in stations (sensitivity/multipath/whatever)? How's the quality of their picture and sound? How're they for reliability? Any significant issues?

do not buy an AIRLINK...it has poor pic quality and some other problems/issues...i did a review of it here on avs...

the TR40 aka DTVPAL has by FAR the best epg of any cecb unit...i'd get that one if u can....very good pic quality (in spite of what some zealots here say every chance they get)... and the PLUS version is of no significant benefit from what i've read....just a slightly more sensitive tuner.....

the ARTEC and the ZINWELL are both good units....very good pic quality and no major crazy problems overall.....the ARTEC has a FREEZE FRAME option and its epg is a little better than NOW/NEXT title only...the ZINWELL has program record timers, as does the TR40,,,,

the SUNKEY has no CHANNEL RECALL function, which is essential for any tuner, in my opinion....

theres no s-video on any of these tho....
post #9 of 38
In my experience, the Zinwell units are very good at Multi-path, low signal level, and have good picture quality. I have the 970A (pre and post hidden EPG/freeze frame) and the 950A. I don't see any real difference between them. Biggest problem I have with the Zinwell units is the simple Now/Next EPG with no program description.

The Sunkey unit also has a problem with it's power supply inducing noise interference.

As for the TRT TACB-2009, it has the Microtune MT2131 silicon tuner, which makes it a possible good choice in my book (the TRT TACB-2009, Zinwell 970A, Sansonic FT300A, & Lasonic LTA-260 all have the same MPEG decoder). From the information I've found on the TRT TACB-2009, it has ATSC and Cable RF inputs (not sure why), S-Video, detailed 14-day EPG, Smart-Antenna, front panel power and channel Up/Down buttons, & possibly dual bars (Strength & Quality). I'd love to see an owners manual to really see what this units capable of.

Bottom line is that the coupons are yours to do with as you see fit.
post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

In my experience, the Zinwell units are very good at Multi-path, low signal level, and have good picture quality. I have the 970A (pre and post hidden EPG/freeze frame) and the 950A. I don't see any real difference between them. Biggest problem I have with the Zinwell units is the simple Now/Next EPG with no program description.

The Sunkey unit also has a problem with it's power supply inducing noise interference.

Have you any knowledge of how the Zinwell and Artec models stack up against each other?

The multipath and fringe performance matters to me. I'm located in something of a valley between Philadelphia and Baltimore, so although there are stations not overly far away, line of site to a broadcast antenna is a problem, and I don't yet have any kind of antenna. It would be nice if that "smart" antenna technology can help me.

I noticed in your "CECBs I've Tested" link the Zinwell pulled in four stations which appeared to be middle of that pack. You apparently see it differently.

Quote:


As for the TRT TACB-2009, it has the Microtune MT2131 silicon tuner, which makes it a possible good choice in my book (the TRT TACB-2009, Zinwell 970A, Sansonic FT300A, & Lasonic LTA-260 all have the same MPEG decoder). From the information I've found on the TRT TACB-2009, it has ATSC and Cable RF inputs (not sure why), S-Video, detailed 14-day EPG, Smart-Antenna, front panel power and channel Up/Down buttons, & possibly dual bars (Strength & Quality). I'd love to see an owners manual to really see what this units capable of.

Bottom line is that the coupons are yours to do with as you see fit.

I'm trying to be open minded, but I'm quickly running out of time -- unfortunately .
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by pm3839 View Post

the TR40 aka DTVPAL has by FAR the best epg of any cecb unit...i'd get that one if u can....very good pic quality (in spite of what some zealots here say every chance they get)

Hmmmm. I guess all the online reviewers of it are "zealots" too then, huh?

It may not be the worst, but it's no better than middle of the pack in comparison to the rest.

Of course, if they're watching it on a set smaller than 27", most people probably won't notice much difference, anyway.
post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorS View Post

PS. I've seen Tivax T8 and T9 described as top third video and audio quality, whereas the Zinwell is in the middle third. If Zenith is in the top third also, and Artec uses the same front end, are they equivalent performance?

The Tivax is supposed to have excellent PQ over composite - nearly as good as the Channel Master CM7000 over s-video (but not quite, of course).

Only somewhat negative things I've heard are that it changes channels a bit slowly, and it's not the most sensitive tuner out there for fringe reception. Sounds like it's good enough, though, and most owners are basically satisfied with it.

As far as the Artec(s), I've always been curious to know if it's PQ, performance and reliability are anywhere near as good as the Zenith, also. But, other than having the same, LG tuner in some of them (some are reportedly Sanyo), the only thing I can remember seeing here (in pictures) is that the menus and interface are exactly like the Zenith's (don't know if the features and remote are, though).

Personally, unless you need or want the timers (and/or the guide in the Pal), I would choose either of those other two over the Zinwell or Pal. I've had the Zenith, Channel Master, Pal and Zinwell, and the Zinwell is the one I would recommend the least out of all of those. I just don't care for it's features or performance in comparison (decent PQ, and the reception quality's good - but that's about it. No program info other than the titles, and very "cheaply-made").

The Zenith had the best combination of fringe reception (Channel Master was usually #1), multipath handling and picture quality (again, the CM over s-video is #1), so based on that, I'd seriously check into the Artec (the Zenith is the all-around, #1 recommended box on this forum - at least in the "Best CECB" poll sticky). Maybe post over in the Artec threads, and see if there's anyone who's actually had both to compare head-to-head.
post #13 of 38
TrevorS,

Those tests were done before the transition, when analog transmitters were still on the air. The day of the transition, I found that I was receiving stations from LA, TX, and Pittsburgh. From that, I conclude that I'm in a real good spot for lots of tropo effect interference.

Since the transition, my Zinwell 970A's and 950A have been the better performing units, then the APEX DT502's/Sunkey's, then the Insignia (Zenith 901).
post #14 of 38
[My references:
CR = Consumer Reports http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/e...es-ratings.htm
Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CECB_units]

PQ: Per CR, Tivax and Zinwell rated Best, DTVPal and Artec (also Zenith/Insignia) rated Better (a step below Best). Note that the decoders for the Artec and Zenith/Insignia are the same.

Sound: Zinwell has Dolby Digital emblem, Artec does not. I'm of the opinion that if they don't have the emblem then they're not licensed to 'reproduce' it (although they can decode it to stereo, Artec actually lists it as decoded). I see it advertised on the boxes that have Dolby as well (also the Channel Master) but only says stereo on the Artec box. I don't know about the Tivax and DTVPal (?). Also watch out for audio on the RF connector as some boxes put out mono on RF and stereo on composite. The Zinwell has an RF/Line Out selection that I think switches between mono and stereo, respectively but they don't provide detail in the manual.

Tuner: Unless you can find an LL the Artec has the same tuner (Sanyo) as some of the Zenith/Insignia models and the Zinwells 'currently' for sale. The LL describes an LG tuner that was used in the other Zenith/Insignia models. The Tivax uses the same tuner (Thomson) as the Channel Master. The DTVPal also uses a Thomson tuner but is a different part number (I've heard they don't receive as well as other boxes, hence the DTVPal Plus).

[Now what I don't know is if there are application design settings on the decoders and tuners and/or other hardware such that one brand with those same components will perform better than another brand with those same components.]

Reliability: Good question although I don't know how the Zinwell is very cheaply made; they're all cheaply made because they're cheap. The circuit board pics of the boxes I've seen on these forums look like the boards are up to par with modern technology. I haven't had any Channel Masters, Zinwells, or Artecs break but I haven't had the Artecs very long.

EPG: Zinwell sucks. Artec so-so (varies with model too). I wish I had a DTVPal for this but not that big of deal since I never had EPG when analog and the TV Guide website has all I need. Convenience but I'm not sure why so much emphasis is placed on this feature. Now maybe the DTVPal lets one timer program directly form the EPG? - that would be nice!

I use a Channel Master for the PQ (S-video) and Zinwells for the program timers (VCRs). I bought the Artec for auto use (12 V).
post #15 of 38
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much gentlemen

I'm going to spend some more time reviewing threads and place my order today (already spent several hours, but not on the Artec yet). I appreciate the TRT TACB-2009 analysis, and although I can't find a word anywhere on its actual performance, I haven't ruled it out -- perhaps it's worth the gamble (though relatively expensive at coupon plus $20 plus UPS ground).

By the way, if anyone knows of a decent affordable "smart" antenna for use with these things, I need to get one of those too -- preferably indoor, at least for starters.
post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Reliability: Good question although I don't know how the Zinwell is very cheaply made; they're all cheaply made because they're cheap.

True - depending on what you're using for comparison - like compared to an old, standalone, HD LG tuner, they're all pieces of cheaply-made junk. But I was really comparing it to the Zenith and Channel Master, because I've had those CECB's, and those are like like tanks compared to the Zinwell and Pal, IMO. Nowhere near as flimsy (I don't know what the Artec's like, but I'd really doubt if it's built anything like the Zenith. I think it's much tinier, isn't it?).

I hear there are others that are regarded as relatively well-built for these things, too, but with the ones I've had, those first two are better built than the other two.
post #17 of 38
I like the ability of EPG data to see detailed program description (when available) and the ability to confirm "Primetime Programming." The "Now/Next" and 'Current" versions of EPG are pretty useless, in my opinion. Especially those that don't give any program detail.
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

True - depending on what you're using for comparison - like compared to an old, standalone, HD LG tuner, they're all pieces of cheaply-made junk. But I was really comparing it to the Zenith and Channel Master, because I've had those CECB's, and those are like like tanks compared to the Zinwell and Pal, IMO. Nowhere near as flimsy.

I hear there are others that are regarded as "well-built" for these things, too, but with the ones I've had, those first two are a lot better built than the other two. Less buggy, too - at least with the units I've had (the Zenith being the least buggy).

The APEX units are also solidly built (metal case, good ventilation).
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

The APEX units are also solidly built (metal case, good ventilation).

I always thought they looked pretty well-built, though I never had one in my hands or even saw one out of the box.

Are they still available anywhere, though? I haven't been to the BB here in a few weeks - but last time I was there, they still had quite a few.

That would satisfy his desire for s-video out, and it's got a good guide.
post #20 of 38
I don't believe the DT502 has been available from a B&B for awhile. The DT250A's can be found pretty easily, but I wouldn't recommend acquiring one.
post #21 of 38
That's right - that's what they were. Forget I mentioned it, then.
post #22 of 38
Thread Starter 
Once again, thanks!

I took the gamble on the TACB-2009, so here's hoping it turns out a good choice.

Just spent time trying to track down an RCA ANT2000, but it seems to have dissapeared. I noticed many complaints due to purchasers believing the description saying it's self tuning. I took a look at the product "Wiki" and it said the identical thing. No wonder people were pissed, and that's probably why the 2000 was discontinued and none of RCA's current indoor antennas are listed as being "Smart". I corrected the Wiki entry, but the damage is long done !
post #23 of 38
I'm hoping someone develops a Smart-Antenna interface for rotors or pre-/distribution amps.
post #24 of 38
Thread Starter 
I just read the Smart antenna thread and I'm pretty darned disgusted. It strikes me as the first major OTA reception technology advance in very many decades, and it appears the entire industry (exception being the CECB manufacturers) are saying "screw it"! That on top of the simple fact that digital OTA reception is far less forgiving than analog OTA reception.

So what is this OTA digital TV mandate really about? It clearly has nothing to do with improving the viewing experience of the OTA public! If that mattered, Smart technology would be gaining momentum -- not being essentially stillborn!
post #25 of 38
Is anyone else having trouble just getting this site to work?
I can't use the up/down arrows without the page jinking and jumping and even refreshing and resetting to the top.
I suspect ad interference.
It seems to be getting worse too.
____________________________________________________________ __

I ordered a TRT today.
It has a front face channel display.
The epg is only 7 days I'm told.

My little research told me it is comparable to the channelmaster, maybe slightly inferior.
I was told the cm guide is nicer looking.
It is made overseas and checked in the factory in california.
Metal case.
It can be factory ordered but without the coupon option.
______________________________________

I like my Pal Plus.
No issues, rare crashes and loading delays.
I ran it on 70 volts for a bit and it didn't care for it, but ran okay.
It runs HOT on grid power.
I plan on altering it for cooling.
Sometimes the guide won't load on certain channels.
Problem channels almost always work on the channelmaster, or vice versa.
The Pal has resisted multipath better than the channelmaster for me, but I haven't A/Bed enough to say it's the boxes.
________________________________________________

I love the Channelmaster.
_____________________________________

I have an extra Apex I might swap for an Artec Pro.
I am not that impressed with the Apex, but it may just be color issues.
no reception problems.
I haven't played with it much.
______________________________________

I hear good things about the Artec.
I have one but haven't tried it yet.
I got it from a tech who was in the UK through the conversion there and he was impressed with it.
I am trying to get some Artec Pros, but I can't figure out how DTVBox answers handles back orders.
Does anyone know?
______________________________________

I'm thinking about getting a Tivax too.
Many good things have been written, but also many felt it had some issues and was inferior after the channelmaster came out.
I think someone told me I wouldn't be impressed after the CM.
Does anyone have any comparison of the Tivax to the Artec?
The DC option with the Artec is a plus to me.
I need some boxes with non-conflicting remote codes, so the Tivax would work for that.
Anyone have opinions Artec vs Tivax?
There don't seem to be many other choices.

Should I use my remaining coupons on Artecs or get a Tivax too?

Thanks for any help.
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

.......EPG: Zinwell sucks. Artec so-so (varies with model too). I wish I had a DTVPal for this but not that big of deal since I never had EPG when analog and the TV Guide website has all I need. Convenience but I'm not sure why so much emphasis is placed on this feature. Now maybe the DTVPal lets one timer program directly form the EPG? - that would be nice!
.......

yes! thats exactly what the TR40 aka DTVPal can do...great feature!....i use it everyday that way....i only wish it allowed more than 5 record timers to be set....5 is far too few....what were they thinking?
post #27 of 38
The gov't plan is to auction off the old lower VHFs since we're running out of airwaves for cellphones and such. Of course big money is involved.
______________________________________________

Website problems > Maybe that explains the Adobe Flash nonsense I was seeing (it quit doing it today).
______________________________________________

USA made with parts from China sounds funny (or backwards).
______________________________________________

I think Artec Pros WITHOUT analog pass-through (T3A Pro, not T3AP Pro) are still available at Meritline.com. I did some write-up on page 12 of the Artec thread. I started off saying it was "Recent" meaning that I just purchased it, thinking it would be a recent model (I believe no APT would be an older model).

THX, what Apex do you have?
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

USA made with parts from China sounds funny (or backwards).
______________________________________________

THX, what Apex do you have?

Parts from china and elsewhere.
Sounds honest to me.
It's the only us factory I know of for a converter.
(I have since learned it is made overseas and checked in the factory in california.)
I hope they are good units.
Still available too.
I really like the front display.
Were there any others with one?

I have the Apex 502, recent model from Best buy.
These run cool.
I have three.
Someone said there were some adjustments in the menu that sucked in the default settings, as to color etc.
I haven't explored that yet.


Have you seen any info on the Artec's older overheating issues?
I think they must have fixed it in time, because I've heard too many recent good things.
I'm having trouble getting through the pages about the box.

The guy I got mine from kept one and had no issues.
I'll test it this weekend.

Meritline was out of everything yesterday.
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floydage View Post

Website problems > Maybe that explains the Adobe Flash nonsense I was seeing (it quit doing it today).

Same here. Stopped today using IE. Never happened when using Firefox or Opera.
post #30 of 38
I'm on firefox already.
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