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ATSC Converter Box comparisons - Page 2

post #31 of 1867
Thread Starter 
I'm still wondering which of these boxes will have the best tuner performance. That is imprortant for my situation. I figure the LG (Zenith) box will have their 5th or 6th generation tuners in it which are purported to handle multipath and weak signal well.

The attachment show my weak signal even though I live only 20 miles from the Atlanta towers. I have a roof mounted 4228 and preamp that does a good job considering. However, my DLP TV does a much better job with the OTA signals than does the HR20 DVR hooked up to it.
LL
post #32 of 1867
Walmart has the Magnavox converter box on their website as for sale (though you can't buy it online...just in stores.)...$50.
post #33 of 1867
Thread Starter 
The attachment shows why good ATSC tuner performance is relevant for me. I live in the blue area shadowed by Kennesaw Mtn.....only 20 miles from the towers.

This picture from tvfool.com is for WATL-DT 25
LL
post #34 of 1867
Magnavox TB100MW9 $49.87 In Limited Stores
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=8283870

PHILCO TB100HH9 $48.32 (?stock)
http://www.emartinc.com/catalog/prod...ducts_id=38102

RjTECH RJ-900ATSC (Not CECB but includes QAM) $59.99
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882107064
post #35 of 1867
post #36 of 1867
Do the included remote controls power off various brands of TVs and control volume?

This would certainly make these boxes more Grandma friendly.

"You mean I have to have TWO remotes....!"

I can hear it now. "No Grandma you have to buy another remote that knows the codeS for both devices" "WHAT!?!!?"


post #37 of 1867
Not on the approved converter list, but got my RJTech RJ900 today. First impressions are quite positive, and the tuner sensitivity is above average.
More in this thread later this weekend once I play more. Much better box than I expected especially for a no-name.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=984939
post #38 of 1867
In your CECB spreadsheet I added a few new columns of interest and updated several entries.

I found a Zoran 3Q2007 Quarterly report that listed which NTIA SD-STBs used Zoran parts:
http://www.zoran.com/ZORAN-CORPORATI...recherche=ntia

" Zoran-based NTIA-certified DTV converter boxes, designed to meet Energy Star requirements,
include models from AMTC, AccessHD, Apex Digital, MicroGEM, RCA, Tivax and others."

Three generation of Zoran parts have fully met ATSC A/74 Performance Guidelines
and have been successfully tested by CRC (Canadian Research Center):
http://www.zoran.com/SupraHD-741?var_recherche=ntia
http://www.zoran.com/Zoran-s-ATSC-Digital-Television
http://www.zoran.com/Zoran-Demonstrates-ATSC-Set-Top

Note that all NTIA Approved SD-STBs on the CECB list must meet ALL of the
minimum performance requirements in Appendix to Manu. Coupon Guidance:
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/DTVmanufacturers.pdf

NONE of the prototype units tested by CRC (Canadian Research Center) a few years ago
met all A/74 requirements at that time., incl 5th Gen LG and Samsung "Gemini" chips):
http://www.crc.ca/en/html/crc/home/r...broadcast/rtnt
Back then, they didn't even test the "real-life" Field Ensembles, which is
where the greatest advances have been made.....we've come a long way....

PS: Since spreadsheet couldn't readily be printed, I tweaked the format as well:

 

SD-STBs on NTIA CECB List - 2Feb2008.doc 133.5k . file

 

CECB_list_wip - mod 2Feb2008.zip 6.8583984375k . file
post #39 of 1867
Note that RCA DTA-800 comes in two very different versions:

RCA DTA-800B uses Broadcom's new BCM3543 "super-chip"
which has an internal ATSC Decoder function:
http://www.broadcom.com./press/relea...45&source=home

RCA DTA-800A uses Zoran SupraHD 640 "super-chip" with a
separate Cascade 220 ATSC Decoder chip (an older design):
http://www.zoran.com/Zoran-Corporati...che=rca+dta800

Apex DT1001 uses the latest Zoran SupraHD 741,
with internal ATSC Decoder function.

========================
But we still don't know whether 5th or 6th Generation LG chip
is used in LG Insignia and LG-Zenith boxes....or maybe something else....
until someone checks the part numbers:
http://english.chosun.com/w21data/ht...612280032.html
The smaller 6th gen is on the left and 5th gen LGDT3303 on the right....
and 4th gen LGDT3302 was in LST-4200A HD-STB.

=========================
Sansonic FT300A and FT300RT use Auvitek AU8515 ATSC Decoder chip with
MicroTuner MT2131 Double Conversion RF Mixer/IF chip:
http://www.microtune.com/products/pdf/mt2131_11.pdf
Nearly all HDTV/HD-STBs are Single Conversion....it is not yet sorted out
how the advantages & disadvantages of each are somehow "better" overall....

Auvitek's "6th Generation" had longest equalizer length ever tested by CRC:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0115/t.10652.html
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0115/t.10454.html
More re Auvitek AU8515:
http://www.auvitek.com/Products/AU8515.html
http://www.auvitek.com/News.html#0

=========================
FYI: More info re earlier CRC Tests (Samsung outperformed LG 5th Gen):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...=basic+english

No one ever made a "Gemini" ATSC Decoder chip...but Samsung DTB-H260F
actually uses AMD-ATI Xillion 240H chip with an Alps Tuner NIM.
PrimeDTV PHD-200 & PHD-205 also use AMD-ATI Xillion 240H w Alps NIM.

An AMD-ATI report re A/74 Field Ensemble test results:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6517693762
Two "best" chips are their own products--no doubt Theater (T312, T314)
and/or Xillion chips.

=========================
FCC OET comparison test of various HD-STBs & HDTVs (Sec 6 Field Ensembles):
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/r...ent=6517693762

No names, but one low performance HD-STB has Smart Antenna control...
hence is my Sylvania 6900DTE (with 3rd Gen AMD-ATI NXT2004).

There were two groups: high performance HDTVs and low performance HDTVs/HD-STBs.
My guess is the high performance units contained Theater/Xillion and/or LG 5th Gen chips.
And the "best" low performance HD-STB was probably the LG LST-4200A
(highly rated at the time)....with a dearth of 5th Gen HD-STBs.

=========================
Wish CRC would release these new reports....newer should be better....

Since the LG 5th Gen and Zoran Supra 640 + Cascade 220 chips are older
designs, I'll be avoiding those units (e.g. RCA DTA-800A, the "A" version).

Unless some specific test results magically appear, I'll equally consider
Zoran SupraHD 741, Broadcom BCM3543, Auvitek 8515 and LG 6th Gen....

But I'm only interested in boxes with EIA/CEA-909 Smart Antenna interface.
post #40 of 1867
Are the better 6th gen ATSC tuners only in converter boxes and tvs?
post #41 of 1867
> Three generation of Zoran parts have fully met ATSC A/74 Performance Guidelines
> and have been successfully tested by CRC (Canadian Research Center):

Where does it say that CRC tested three generations of Zoran parts?
I don't see where they actually say exactly which chip(s) the CRC tested.
(I do see a lot of marketing weasel wording.)

> I just wish CRC would release these new reports...

Yes!

BTW, we need something a LOT better than A/74. :-( I have the Cascade2 demod
which they claim meets A/74 and it frequently drops the ball big time. Despite
plenty of signal strength and beautiful analogs (no snow, no ghosts, no interference).
post #42 of 1867
I had a similar experience with my Huappage WinTV-HVR-950 USB Stick Tuner (5thGen LG)
& Silver Sensor antenna last summer while on a road trip from San Diego to Canada & return.

With my laptop I could find station locations via *.kmz overlay on GoogleEarth (from www.tvfool.com).
And I could even run a quick propagation prediction via Radio Mobile....(and now also tvfool).
And watch error statistics via tsreaderlite while it tried to decode a DTV signal....

Must be something about motel construction...analogs came in okay, but digital was always breaking up...

============================
Note that HVR-950 changed from 5thGen LG to Auvitek and HVR-950Q (now with QAM) uses Micronas:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0115/t.10652.html
post #43 of 1867
SMART ANTENNAS (I thought you would never ask.....):

says the DX Antenna DTA-5000 Smart Antenna works with
PROTOTYPE RCA DTA-800:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post12140562
Which begs the question: which version, Zoran (A) or Broadcom (B)???

I posted a summary re my experience with DX Antenna's DTA-5000 Smart Antenna,
as controlled by the Sylvania 6900DTE (aka Funai STB400), the one-and-only HD-STB
with an EIA/CEA-909 Smart Antenna control interface (thus far...hopefully more to come):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...00#post9948798
plus this one:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...00#post7727812
I compared indoor and outdoor performance against 4-Bay and 8-Bay antennas.
You'll also find internal pictures and descriptions, including algorithms.

The current implements appear to simply search in all 16 compass direction, looking
for the "best" reception setting, rather than using a Maximal Ratio Combiner....
MRC is available with European dual and quad antenna DVB-T (DTV) car installations.

=============================================
More on optimum Maximal Ratio Combiners (MRC) for antenna diversity:
http://www.freelists.org/archives/op.../msg00434.html

Antennas diversity has even been tested with the (apparently difficult to implement)
ATSC signals:
http://lrts.gel.ulaval.ca/publicatio...ication_11.pdf
http://www.fuzing.com/vli/00287106a3...with-diversity
http://www.mrcdefense.com/files/othe..._43_295110.pdf

=============================================
Some technical papers of interest to the ubberrgeekk:
http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?...2&DISPLAY=DESC
http://itl.knu.ac.kr/member/lim/04_c...ion%20with.pdf
http://itl.knu.ac.kr/member/moon/ccct03_final.pdf

Fol. require IEEE document on-line subscription...or a good University library:
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/lo...1/01387977.pdf
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/lo...0/01400005.pdf
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freea...number=4266904
also
“Antenna Diversity for Improved Indoor Reception of US Digital Terrestrial
Television Receivers”, J. Meehan, Philips Research USA, IEEE Trans. on Consumer
Electronics, Vol 48, No. 4, Nov2002.
and
“An EIA/CEA-909 Compatible Smart Antenna System for Digital Terrestrial
Broadcasting Applications”, Andrew Youtz, John Zygmaniak,
Samuel Reichgott, David Koeger, ATI, IEEE Broadcast Symp., Oct2002.
post #44 of 1867
The (Japanese) DX Antenna DTA-5000 Smart Antenna seems to be
much less available than last year:
http://www.dxantenna.co.jp/english/p...a/dta5000.html
http://www.summitsource.com/dx-anten...acturers_id=54
http://www.ftasatellitesales.com/ota.htm
BTW: I've seen many different brand names attached to the DTA-5000...

=======================================
GE-Jasco announced a Smart Digital Antenna:
http://www.jascoproducts.com/hdtv/GE...al-Antenna.asp
Which they say ONLY works with the new GE STB.
[So does that mean it doesn't conform to the EIA/CEA-909 standard???]

====================================
Broadcom also seems to have a new Smart Antenna design:
http://www.broadcom.com/products/Sat...utions/BCM3543
which was spotted at CES2008 (see slide 17):
http://www.lightreading.com/document...umber=17&site=

Seems to be two side-by-side cross-loop antennas, one pair offset 45-degrees
to the other. In a cross-loop antenna, one loop is 90-degrees to the other.
Gee, maybe they simply cycle through each of the four loop antennas.....or
go the next step and form mixture signals to scan all 16 compass directions.

Reportedly, it came with Broadcom's merger with Pause-TV:
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0157/t.8709.html
http://www.pause-tv.com/
http://www.pause-tv.com/great-picture.html

==================================
Audiovox announced Smart Antennas at CES2008: indoor Terk HDS01 (HDSA1?),
indoor/outdoor Terk HDSA02 and outdoor RCA ANT2000 (note brand name!!).
http://www.audiovox.com/pressrelease...200801075.html
http://www.tvtechnology.com/pages/s.0115/t.10651.html

I'm pretty sure the ANT2000 is in slide 43 along with the RCA DTA-800:
http://www.tvfmtranslators.com/2007_...0%205-5-07.pdf
[Keep retrying...download seems to get hung up....]
Also shows DTV transmitter for PBS station in New Mexico....
and some measurements for a few popular antennas.
DTA-800's Smart Antenna control connector looks same as my Sylvania 6900DTE.

The Terk HDSA1 was awarded an Innovation Award at CES2008:
http://www.cesweb.org/attendees/awar...ategory=896080
this is the image they posted (really, a flat panel with nulls on the sides???):
http://www.mblast.com/files/companie...rkleader2.jpeg

===================================
Darn, I missed seeing ANY Smart Antennas while at CES2008....
it would help if they announced these things BEFORE the show....

I have yet to find any of the new Smart Antennas available for sale....

=============================================
A step back in time:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m..._7/ai_99693172
http://www.ebu.ch/en/technical/trev/...4-nab2003.html
ATI DTV-5000 picture is at the end of the NAB2003 Report.

I also saw a picture of another early Smart Antenna, which was probably
four Silver Sensor type antennas stacked vertically, each pointed towards
a different compass heading.

==========================================
And one of the more unusual Patent Applications I ran across:
http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/66...scription.html
On 15Jun2006, Zenith filed a patent for a Smart Antenna control system that would
automatically ROTATE A MAST mounted with a lo-band VHF, hi-band VHF and UHF antenna,
depending on which channel the user is tuned to....mumble, mumble...mumble....
[Beats me why these patent sites don't post the patent figures....]
post #45 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

I have yet to find any of the new Smart Antennas available for sale....

Same here, I'm looking for one myself to test with the RJTech RJ900 STB,
which seems to be the Mustek box..
post #46 of 1867
Channel Master posted spec sheet for CM-7000:
http://www.pctinternational.com/chan...2A_200801b.pdf
Yup, it is A/74 compliant, has an EPG, S-Video and Coax Digital Audio.
post #47 of 1867
> I had a similar experience with my Huappage WinTV-HVR-950
> USB Stick Tuner (5thGen LG) & Silver Sensor antenna last
> summer while on a road trip from San Diego to Canada & return.

What? Silver Sensor? I thought you were Mr. CM4228?

> Must be something about motel construction...analogs came in okay,
> but digital was always breaking up...

I don't live in a motel. I always assumed that crappy motel tv pictures
were due to cheap TVs and indifferent owners.
post #48 of 1867
CM-4228 wouldn't fit indoors (Volvo Turbo Sportwagon)...no attic....
and roof mount wind resistance would slow me down too much....

Now if I only had a high-gain, mobile, Smart Antenna....an oxymoron...
post #49 of 1867
CECB speadsheet as of 02/15/08 SMP
Updated speadsheet has links to sources http://octopus.freeyellow.com/CECB_list_wip.xls
Screenshot can be found at: http://octopus.freeyellow.com/CECB_Spread.jpg

post #50 of 1867
I am glad to see a common place for the new CECB comparisons and wondered if there is any info about the programming guide availability that can be added?
post #51 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by indyjack View Post

any info about the programming guide availability

EPG is part of the requirements for the coupon eligible boxes so they all have one. The question is if the EPG in each box is worth a damn but hopefully they put enough thought in to it so the gripes will be minor.

If you meant channels to fill it up though there are local reception threads here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=45
post #52 of 1867
CECB applicants can verity the status of their application at https://www.dtv2009.gov/CheckStatus.aspx

If it's in process, you should receive this message:

Coupon Status Found
Your application was recently approved and we are currently preparing to mail your coupons.
post #53 of 1867
>I am glad to see a common place for the new CECB comparisons and wondered if there is any info about the programming guide availability that can be added?

There is a modified version of my spreadsheet that has some EPG info.
See:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post13012449

I don't see anything in the specs about requiring EPG, but it looks like most if not all of the converters have some form of EPG.

If someone can verify that a model doesn't have EPG, I might add the info to my version.
post #54 of 1867
[quote=smpowell;13056337I don't see anything in the specs about requiring EPG, but it looks like most if not all of the converters have some form of EPG.
.[/QUOTE]

EPG is a requirement for the coupon boxes.
post #55 of 1867
Ran into government web page that lists # of coupons requested

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/status.html

As of 2/6/2008 4,407,645 were requested


Just to state the obvious. If you have cable or satellite but want a CECB anyway, you need to get in on the first 22 million. The last 11 million are for OTA households only.

But you might want one for:

-Back up during cable outage on your analog TV
-Analog TV that's not connected to sat/cable
-See if a newer tuner would help reception on an older HDTV or DTV
-Gift for someone who needs more than 2 converters
-Gift for relative in Canada or Mexico, especially if they are within TV range of the US border. Canada is going ATSC 8/2011, Mexico, eh, sometime.
post #56 of 1867
The Echostar TR-40 will have TV Guide's EPG. Has anybody used their EPG?
post #57 of 1867
"Your application was recently approved and we are currently preparing to mail your coupons."

Yay! Now I just have to hope enough boxes are ready and available with specs before they expire.
post #58 of 1867
One other feature I would like to see on the spreadsheet - does the box include an NTSC tuner as well ? I have one application that this would be a good thing to have.
post #59 of 1867
post #60 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

One other feature I would like to see on the spreadsheet - does the box include an NTSC tuner as well ? I have one application that this would be a good thing to have.

I would like to second that request, since LP's and translators will still be transmitting analog signals.
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