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ATSC Converter Box comparisons - Page 3

post #61 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 will be surprised if any of them do. After all, their intended "market" is people who already have TVs with (only) NTSC tuners.
post #62 of 1867
According to their web site, RadioShack is selling the Zenith DTT900 for a new price of $59.99 (instead of the previous price of $69.99).
post #63 of 1867
Use this coupon: https://moversguide.usps.com/img/cou...clientarea.gif with your $40 gov't coupon at Best Buy and get a few more bucks off your CECB. Good until 2/29.
post #64 of 1867
I doubt you will find one with an internal NTSC tuner....none so far....

What you need to look for is whether they have "RF PASS THRU",
which will connect the antenna through to your existing TV.
post #65 of 1867
Regarding EPG, some certainly will be much better than others. The Zenith for example only displays the current and next program and will only remember programming for channels you manually tune to.

As far as an NTSC tuner, unfortunatly I think the rules prohibit it. Many of the chips being used have a built-in NTSC tuner so it could be provided with little or no cost, but it is disabled in the boxes.
post #66 of 1867
As I understand it, the purpose of coupon-eligible converters is to maintain the same functionality for owners of analog-only sets that they've always had via the set's internal NTSC tuner, but now within the ATSC realm.

It may sound primitive to us, but I'd bet the vast majority of the intended buyers for these converters currently have a simple OTA antenna feed running straight to the TV's RF input. Others run OTA into their VCR tuner, with a second coax link from the VCR's RF output to the TV. (The fact that CECB's are required to have an RF (ch 3/4) modulator appears to confirm this.) Since MTS stereo has been included in TVs and VCR tuners for many years, customers can currently view and record OTA with stereo audio using nothing but these basic RF connections.

That's why I find it so odd that CECB's are not required to deliver MTS stereo via their RF modulator output. Without this, people with RF-only connections completely lose their stereo sound unless they can figure out how to use the more complex composite + RCA audio connections instead -- and that assumes their TV even has these inputs. A lot of these folks have trouble just setting their VCR so it's not flashing "12:00" -- can you imagine trying to teach them about composite video, L/R RCA audio connections, and how to setup their TVs and VCRs to view those inputs instead of the NTSC tuner?

Rob
post #67 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by rvonder View Post

That's why I find it so odd that CECB's are not required to deliver MTS stereo via their RF modulator output.

The vast majority of VCRs do not deliver MTS stereo via their RF modulator output, so users with VCRs are accustomed to either listening to programming in mono or using the AV cables. From my experience most if not all stereo TVs have AV inputs so delivering MTS stereo via RF modulator is not an important feature. To keep the cost of the box down, they want to only require features that are important.

I just wish they permitted it to have an NTSC tuner to make it easier to surf both analog and digital channels.
post #68 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by roger1818 View Post

I just wish they permitted it to have an NTSC tuner to make it easier to surf both analog and digital channels.

This seems to be the product of sheer cluelessness on the part of the NTIA. Even after 2/2009, there will be analog broadcasts (only full power stations are required to cease by that date).
post #69 of 1867
I have never seen ANY consumer device anywhere that will output an RF MTS stereo signal. I have seen analog cable boxes that will, but they only change the frequency and to not otherwise alter the signal, so that doesn't count.
post #70 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by rvonder View Post

As I understand it, the purpose of coupon-eligible converters is to maintain the same functionality for owners of analog-only sets that they've always had via the set's internal NTSC tuner, but now within the ATSC realm.

It may sound primitive to us, but I'd bet the vast majority of the intended buyers for these converters currently have a simple OTA antenna feed running straight to the TV's RF input. Others run OTA into their VCR tuner, with a second coax link from the VCR's RF output to the TV. (The fact that CECB's are required to have an RF (ch 3/4) modulator appears to confirm this.) Since MTS stereo has been included in TVs and VCR tuners for many years, customers can currently view and record OTA with stereo audio using nothing but these basic RF connections.

That's why I find it so odd that CECB's are not required to deliver MTS stereo via their RF modulator output. Without this, people with RF-only connections completely lose their stereo sound unless they can figure out how to use the more complex composite + RCA audio connections instead -- and that assumes their TV even has these inputs. A lot of these folks have trouble just setting their VCR so it's not flashing "12:00" -- can you imagine trying to teach them about composite video, L/R RCA audio connections, and how to setup their TVs and VCRs to view those inputs instead of the NTSC tuner?

Rob

You're making a big deal out of a trivial issue. These same folks probably can't tell the difference between stereo and mono.
post #71 of 1867
Just bought an RCA DTA 800. Input is a 75 ohm F-connector, outputs are 75 ohm F (Ch 3/4 selectable) and composite video, with Left and Right channels for audio. There is also an RJ-45 for the smart antenna, which I don't have (does this make it a "B" model with the Broadcom chip?).

Initial testing, with two sets and four antennas (two inside, two outside):

The unit is exceedingly easy to program and control. Sensistivity is good (listed as -83 dbm to -5 dbm), and I was able to pick up KNLC-DT on reverse on one of the outside antennas (neat trick). Easily better performance than my Samsung 4th gen reciever.

I live in front-end overload hell, right under the guns, plus some multipath. Good performance for a first try. I'll try some DX'ing later.

One feature of use to indoor antenna users is an audio tone that allows the installer to check signal stregnth while moving the antenna (no looking/running back to the set). Huge buttons on the remote. Unit is an all-or-nothing program scan, so any channel you want to antenna-test must be captured first. No additional channel update feature. The unit does allow for letterboxing on a 4:3 screen (default is off/4:3).

All output is 480i.

Using any analog tuner with the converter box passing RF (converter unit off) is going to result in seriously degraded signal stregnth. It's DTV or snow...choose. Do not split or chain devices downstream from this unit.

In summary, the box does what it is advertised to do- allow an analog set to recieve DTV.
post #72 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by roger1818 View Post

The vast majority of VCRs do not deliver MTS stereo via their RF modulator output, so users with VCRs are accustomed to either listening to programming in mono or using the AV cables. From my experience most if not all stereo TVs have AV inputs so delivering MTS stereo via RF modulator is not an important feature. To keep the cost of the box down, they want to only require features that are important.

I just wish they permitted it to have an NTSC tuner to make it easier to surf both analog and digital channels.

I have seen ONE device in my entire life that delivered RF stereo over channel 3 / 4 - and that was intended to take a composite A/V signal from a DVD player to an older stereo TV without said A/V jacks. I have seen UHF frequency agile stereo modulators.

For most of the intended market - what the CECBs are delivering is plenty. Analog passthrough when off would seem to be a no-brainer to include in these, but you can always split the signal and use a switch. Yes, I would also like an NTSC tuner in one of these - I have a digital tuner TV in my bedroom that the NTSC tuner went out, but the digital tuner / composite A/V inputs are fine. My solution was to dig the old unused VCR out.
post #73 of 1867
Am I the only one who finds the idea of including an NTSC tuner in an ATSC converter completely absurd? Why would they jack up the price to include something everyone already has, and will be obsolete in the next few months?
post #74 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbios View Post

Am I the only one who finds the idea of including an NTSC tuner in an ATSC converter completely absurd? ?

No, I agree it would be a dumb idea, and would lead to a lot of problems when analog is turned off. And the box the "gubmint" made people get no longer gets all the noisy, ghosty channels it did before,
becuase it won't get the digital ones with the .99 walmart antenna.
post #75 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbios View Post

Am I the only one who finds the idea of including an NTSC tuner in an ATSC converter completely absurd? Why would they jack up the price to include something everyone already has, and will be obsolete in the next few months?

If it doesn't support NTSC, then it requires a more complex setup to receive analog (split the antenna signal, etc).
post #76 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbios View Post

Am I the only one who finds the idea of including an NTSC tuner in an ATSC converter completely absurd? Why would they jack up the price to include something everyone already has, and will be obsolete in the next few months?

Those in remote locations are probably receiving signals from Low Power stations or translators, these stations can still transmit in analog past the 2.2009 cut-off date.

I have one such station, they currently transmit analog and digital, and I've tried to receive it with the Samsung set top HDTV tuner, but I cannot get it. Analog, it is watchable, but snowy.

If the STB had an NTSC and ATSC tuner, it would just allow you to not have to switch inputs on the TV, that's all.

If I find it that much of an inconvienience, I'll just use a DVD recorder as my tuner.
post #77 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luke M View Post

If it doesn't support NTSC, then it requires a more complex setup to receive analog (split the antenna signal, etc).

If you have it connected via RF (which I assume the majority of the target consumers will) it should only be as complex as pressing the power button on the remote, putting the remote in TV mode and changing the channel... And for those who have it connected via composite, they would simply need to connect the included coax cable to their TV so the box would pass the signal to the TV when the box is off.
post #78 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by Symbios View Post

If you have it connected via RF (which I assume the majority of the target consumers will) it should only be as complex as pressing the power button on the remote, putting the remote in TV mode and changing the channel... And for those who have it connected via composite, they would simply need to connect the included coax cable to their TV so the box would pass the signal to the TV when the box is off.

Pass through is an acceptable alternative, sure. But directly supporting NTSC is better, and not absurd, given that it's a "free" feature of many digital TV chips.
post #79 of 1867
With PASS-THRU, Grandma has to remember to turn the box OFF and use
TV R/C to watch some channels and turn the box ON and switch to the box
R/C to watch others....unacceptable....even with an integrated R/C.

If an RF Splitter is used to feed both the box and TV, then she still has to deal
with the remote control shuffle....still unacceptable....

Integrated ATSC/NTSC tuner would solve confusing remote control shuffle problem....
post #80 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinkSplice View Post

Just bought an RCA DTA 800. Input is a 75 ohm F-connector, outputs are 75 ohm F (Ch 3/4 selectable) and composite video, with Left and Right channels for audio. There is also an RJ-45 for the smart antenna, which I don't have (does this make it a "B" model with the Broadcom chip?).

The "A" model uses Zoran/Oren-Cascade and "B" model uses Broadcom ATSC Decoder chips.
Press releases from each manufacturer say they support Smart Antenna I/F.

Apparently you'll need to pop the cover to let us know which big chips it uses.
If you could, also let us know part numbers on the tin can tuner.
And a few pictures??? (macro mode, offset angle to prevent flash reflections).

Maybe the serial number series are different for the two boxes???
post #81 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

The "A" model uses Zoran/Oren-Cascade and "B" model uses Broadcom ATSC Decoder chips.

Sure would be nice to do a side by side comparison of actual production units. So far these units are
not available here yet.
post #82 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

The "A" model uses Zoran/Oren-Cascade and "B" model uses Broadcom ATSC Decoder chips.
Press releases from each manufacturer say they support Smart Antenna I/F.

Apparently you'll need to pop the cover to let us know which big chips it uses.
If you could, also let us know part numbers on the tin can tuner.
And a few pictures??? (macro mode, offset angle to prevent flash reflections).

Maybe the serial number series are different for the two boxes???

Should have looked first. It's right next to the S/N#: DTA800B S/N PA111J026A1360. One of the menus I paged through had a firmware date of 8 JAN 08.

OK, case open, $50 shot.

My cell phone shots are low-res, so I'll have to write down the chip information.

Chip is a Broadcom. 1ST LINE: BCM3543KPB5G. 2ND LINE: TN0749 P20 3RD LINE: 849780 U3

Presumed S/N sticker on PCB board is : 08 01 34570
Inlaid number on PCB board shows DTA800B-07

I'll post photos, if I can figure out how to do so
post #83 of 1867
Ok, here are shots of the interior and back of the unit. Apologies for the low-res and background; it IS a ham "shack" after all...
LL
LL
LL
post #84 of 1867
Put the box back together. Still works.

RF passthrough for analog, converter box power on or off, is horrible. Tried on three sets now, all bad results. Great for DTV, death for analog. To those wishing for an NTSC tuner, I think this is what they had in mind: DTV, or nothing.
post #85 of 1867
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whidbey View Post

Use this coupon: https://moversguide.usps.com/img/cou...clientarea.gif with your $40 gov't coupon at Best Buy and get a few more bucks off your CECB. Good until 2/29.

They have not even started mailing coupons out yet have they?
post #86 of 1867
The DTV2009 site says coupons will be mailed at the end of the month.

Circuit City pulled the converter box from their website, and nothing released has RF pass-through. Is there any word on the release date of the Echostar CECB?

My tuner just died on my VCR (great timing), the line in recording still works, so it looks like I'll be buy one of these soon.
post #87 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrBri99 View Post

The DTV2009 site says coupons will be mailed at the end of the month.

Circuit City pulled the converter box from their website

I believe they are supposed to be mailed out on the 17th. But that's a Sunday, so more likely the 18th. I'm hoping to have my coupon on time to use the BB coupon. Plus I have a BB gift card so my box will be free to me. If the coupons are mailed from Portland, I'll have mine Tuesday or Wednesday.

CC will probably add the CECB back once people start showing up at the store with coupons in hand.
post #88 of 1867
I hate to say it, but I hope the OTA digital signals that I will get with the new boxes are missing a few channels or requires regular re-adjustment/re-tuning in my area....haven't had cable, while saving for our new home....now that we are moved in, this would help convince the Mrs. that we need to go ahead and get D*...
post #89 of 1867
I'd like to know if they're RoHS or not. I'm hoping not really what with having to deal with hairline cracks in solder joints and other problems associated with non-lead solders.

I'm all for the ideal of RoHS but until there is a lead solder replacement that is at least as good it's a waste since devices will fail much more often. They're close but not close enough.
post #90 of 1867
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsc View Post

I'd like to know if they're RoHS or not. I'm hoping not really what with having to deal with hairline cracks in solder joints and other problems associated with non-lead solders.

Why would they be, none of the CECBs are going to Europe.
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