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Digital Stream DTX-9900 ATSC D2A Converter Box - Page 13

post #361 of 375
Postscript: after further futzing I think I stumbled on the answer. To explain it I'll call the coax connection from my CECB thru the VCR to the TV an RF connection, and those through the RCA jacks (R-W-Y) an A/V connection. Tests of both resulted in the following:

VCR turned off
A/V = no sound, no picture
RF = mono sound, digital picture
TV Setting = Channel 3/4
TV Menu Stereo/Mono Indicator = mono

VCR turned on
A/V = stereo sound, digital picture
RF = mono sound, digital picture
TV Setting = AV1
TV Menu Stereo/Mono Indicator = stereo

Thus the culprit was my VCR plus my ignorance of its functionality, or lack thereof. What I didn't know was that my Samsung VR8160 will pass through an RF signal while either turned on or off but it will pass through an A/V signal only when turned on, and then I need to select AV1 on my TV instead of Channel 3/4 if I want to watch a broadcast in stereo.

Thus most of our TV watching will be done in mono with the VCR turned off. Only when watching
over-the-air music or shows w/a good soundtrack will we turn on the VCR to watch in stereo. There may
be a workaround to all of this but I haven't discovered it yet. Maybe in another postscript.
post #362 of 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by batuche View Post

Thus the culprit was my VCR plus my ignorance of its functionality, or lack thereof. What I didn’t know was that my Samsung VR8160 will pass through an RF signal while either turned on or off but it will pass through an A/V signal only when turned on, and then I need to select AV1 on my TV instead of Channel 3/4 if I want to watch a broadcast in stereo.

All VCRs have antenna passthrough. If you look at the remote and the VCR, you'll find a button caller "TV/VCR". That will toggle the bypass relay to select either the antenna or the VCR and send that RF signal to the TV. If the VCR is off, the antenna is automatically sent to the TV.

Since the AV outputs of the VCR are active signals, the power must be on for them to work. That is the case for ALL electronic devices.

Quote:
There may be a workaround to all of this but I haven’t discovered it yet. Maybe in another postscript.

You mentioned an AV1 selection on your TV, which tends to make me believe that there is also an AV2 input and selection.

If you indeed have two AV inputs on the TV, you can either split the output of the CECB with simple cables or buy an active AV distribution amp.

For the more expensive method, you need a unit like this:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2103065

You only need a 2-way amp, but it seems 4 is the minimum.

You connect a short AV cable set between the output of the CECB and the input of the Distribution Amp (DA). Then you take the AV cable set that you used to connect the VCR AV input and connect it to one of the DA outputs. You then connect an AV cable set between one of the other DA outputs anf the other AV input on the TV.

Now you can either select the CECB directly on the TV or the VCR on the TV.

The other way is to get three of these:

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2103862

The splitter cables take the place of the DA. Plug the three splitter cables into the output of the CECB. Then connect two sets of AV cables to the splitter cables, one set to the TV and one set to the VCR.

You should be able to get away without the DA. But if you see problems with the video, you'll need the DA.
post #363 of 375
Thanks again.

Quote:


You mentioned an AV1 selection on your TV, which tends to make me believe that there is also an AV2 input and selection.

If you indeed have two AV inputs on the TV, you can either split the output of the CECB with simple cables or buy an active AV distribution amp.

Yes, our TV does have AV1 and AV2 jacks plus an S-VIDEO port. Currently the VCR occupies the AV1 jacks and our DVD player occupies the AV2 jacks.
post #364 of 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by batuche View Post

Yes, our TV does have AV1 and AV2 jacks plus an S-VIDEO port. Currently the VCR occupies the AV1 jacks and our DVD player occupies the AV2 jacks.

RadShak has AV selection switches

There are all kinds of things I could suggest, but we'll stop at that.
post #365 of 375
Things tend to get simpler once you know how! Hehe, as per my earlier confession, I know little or nothing about electronics, switches and the like, that's why I'm here hat in hand. Thanks for all the info.

We're in the Spring Branch area of Houston & bought a box and put up an antenna before I knew this site existed. Our roof antenna is a DB2 which is on a mast facing south which just clears the top of our single family residence w/no major obstacles other than trees between us and the antenna farm, and about 75' of RG6 Quad bet the antenna and box. We get all the digital stations just fine with one exception KPXB in Conroe, TX, the opposite direction from the antenna farm. Our Digital Stream 9900 picks the signal up most of the time crystal clear but not always (we like channel 49.2 qubo for the children's programming). I tried my friend's Insignia NS-DXA1 on our antenna & while most channels were a tad sharper it didn't pick up 49.2 at all (no signal). Anyway, I'm wondering if moving to a DB-4 antenna would make a big difference in the reception of that channel or if an amplifier would do better or as well. I guess I should look for an antenna thread for this.

Anyway, thanks again for all your help.
post #366 of 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by batuche View Post

Our Digital Stream 9900 picks the signal up most of the time crystal clear but not always (we like channel 49.2 qubo for the children's programming). I tried my friend's Insignia NS-DXA1 on our antenna & while most channels were a tad sharper it didn't pick up 49.2 at all (no signal). Anyway, I'm wondering if moving to a DB-4 antenna would make a big difference in the reception of that channel or if an amplifier would do better or as well. I guess I should look for an antenna thread for this.

Have you gone to tvfool.com and entered your address? What does it predict for the strength of ch49 vs. other channels. Also, is ch 49 at a different compass heading than the other stations? If so, you might angle your antenna more towards 49, if it doesn't hurt reception of others too much.

Both the DTX-9900 and Insignia have signal meter bar displays. I suggest comparing the signal levels between solid stations and ch 49 on each. That might give you an idea of how much poorer your reception of ch 49 is compared to the stronger stations. Also note if the signal level for 49 bounces around more than the other stations.

If 49's strength is in the green area most of the time, switching to a DB-4 might make all the difference. With the DS unit, you're hoping for signals in the 80-100 range. If they are more like 60 - or less, then a better antenna may improve things.

If it is easy enough to do, you might try rotating your DB-2 somewhat and recheck your signal levels. It may or may not make it any better, but it might be worth trying.

Frankly, if you've got lots of trees (pines?) nearby, it may be swaying trees that are causing problems. If so, a different antenna or an amplifier may not solve the problem.
post #367 of 375
Haven't gone to tvfool yet. I'm behind & need to get a defensive driving course out of the way as quick as I can (Blockbuster version). Too many irons in the fire plus I need to borrow my neighbor's ladder to get up to the antenna - it's a heavy fiberglass job & need to do it at a time when I have help carrying & setting up the darn thing. I'll try rotating first (cheapest) although 49 is in almost exactly the opposite direction of the antenna farm here where most of our signals are generated from. No swaying pines in either direction from the antenna and I haven't found any correlation between time of day, weather conditions, etc., and signal strength for channel 49. I think it's mainly a distance issue as 49 is further in the opposite direction than all the others. All the channels here are in the green most of the time except 49 which is never in the green on my DS9900 but we get it clearly 75% of the time just the same, and as I said, the Insignia doesn't pull in a viewable picture at all. I'll post results when I get the time to mess with it further. Thanks.
post #368 of 375
Have you found the design of the DS remote to be more user friendly than the other remotes? It looks like it is well designed and that buttons lead the user to perform a specific action without having to navigate through various menus, as I have found with the Pal Plus and Zinwell's remotes and program design (they're not bad by any means, but lead a little bit to be desired).

Are there any negatives with the Digital Stream box (the most current version) that would lead me to go to another box? (I don't need an "event timer" or a full EPG, since I already have the Zinwell 950-A and PP for these purposes. Also have an Insignia for reception and overall simplicity of use.)

I am trying to decide whether the DS will give me an easier to use box over the Channel Master. I don't need the S-video feature, and wouldn't mind having a "universal remote" feature, something that the Insignia remote features.

Is the EPG of the Digital Stream useful? (no need to compare to the unique design of that of the PP with its grid display). Is text/cc easy to read, as compared with that of the Channel Master? I find that the onscreen display of information on the PP is very good and very readable.
post #369 of 375
I find that the 9900 is a good box, with a good remote. If the CC is hard to read, it does have options to change font and color - so you can choose to suit.

The remote I'll give a 9.0/10. There are one or two things that seem awkward: if you press the EPG button, you have to use the "menu" button to exit; and the universal controls put volume UP on the left, and volume DOWN on the right - kind of backwards. Other than that, it's a great remote.

EPG is easy to read and nice to pull up, as long as your stations fill it in...
post #370 of 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by aethyrmaster View Post

I find that the 9900 is a good box, with a good remote. If the CC is hard to read, it does have options to change font and color - so you can choose to suit.

The remote I'll give a 9.0/10. There are one or two things that seem awkward: if you press the EPG button, you have to use the "menu" button to exit; and the universal controls put volume UP on the left, and volume DOWN on the right - kind of backwards. Other than that, it's a great remote.

EPG is easy to read and nice to pull up, as long as your stations fill it in...

Those negatives on the remote got me to think of the reasoning/logic used by the programmers in designing the layout of the remote and how processes relate to each other. I like the idea of having a button dedicated just for an "EPG." The PP has this on the remote; it's identified as "Guide." Just as with the DS remote, you cannot back out from the EPG just by pressing the button again like a toggle on/off in/out fashion - rather, you have to press a different button - in the case of the PP, you have two choice - "cancel" or "view tv." So the DS design of requiring the pressing of "menu" does the same thing - backs you out of the EPG, although I don't know where it back you INTO.

With the PP, the "cancel" button leads you back to the previous screen which might contain the "information/channel/data" box for the previous channel, whereas the "view tv" takes the user to the tv station visual with no information. It's nice to have available either option to go to.

Some remotes don't have a "favorite" button (the PP doesn't nor does it have a "favorites" channel option).

What exactly does the DS EPG allow you to see? From what I have seen, it lists the name of the program and/or a program description if available. What I am more interested is the extent it allows the user to see into the future. Does it display this feature in a vertical format by time, and you just scroll down from that time to see what is on other channels, or can you scan across time periods for one station also? Once you see the name of the program, can you see its description by selecting that program even though it has yet to be aired?

Is the reception/sesitivity on the DS good (comparable to the Insignia, PP, and Zinwell CECBs)?

Some message board members didn't like the position of the control buttons being on top of the box. For me, I'd RATHER have those buttons on top of the box, as every box I have is BELOW my viewing level.
post #371 of 375
In reading back to older posts on this thread I was struck by the thoroughness o fpost #191, by Dana (dmulvany). I was left with the impression that he wouldn't recommend the DS.

I have smaller tv sets (older ones and non-HDTV), and with the exception of one, I normally view them up close.

From what I saw of the remote for the DS, it looked user-friendly. From Dana's review, the remote is poorly designed (paraphrasing).

I wonder if other members have had a similar experience - and if the DS reviewed is the same one that is being sold at Radio Shack with the better placement of ventilation holes.

Dana did not like the cc aspects of the DS CECB. I had posted recently on a negative aspect of the Channel Master CECB having to do with its smaller cc display. That may be true or I may have confused what I read about the DS CECB with the cc display for the Channel Master. I have never seen the cc display for the Channel Master and for some reason, posts I recall did not regard them as stellar, although the box allows for cc modification.

I have found that cc is displayed either for services 1 or 2. The digital cc doesn't work for my tv sets, so I have limited display options for cc. Only one of my tv sets allows me to view cc from the tv set itself (which many times "garbles" letters into indecipherable words for some programming, while on other programs, the cc is accurate). Inorder to see cc from my other tv sets, I can do so only through the cc function of the CECB tuner.

Dana mentioned how the width of the cc for the DS is less than that of Insignia. The only cc that are operational for NBC for example is "service 1" and "cc1." Both display widths that leave considerable space to the left and right margins. The cc1 option displays text that presents itself in a staccatto fashion. Service 1 displays text in a smoother and much easier to read fashion. I turned on the PP cc and noticed that it presents text in a more narrow width, by about 1/4 to 1/2 that of Insignia. (The Zinwell displays cc even wider than the Insignia although its vertical height of text in relationship to horizontal size looks more scrunched. When I switched to cc2 for the Zinwell, the cc for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno displayed cc in Spanish! I had never seen this on any of my CECB cc displays.)

Is the DS cc width more similar to that of the PP?
post #372 of 375
After a year of use, approximately 6750 hours, our most used DTX9900 died; too early in our opinon. It started intermittently and briefly losing reception saying weak signal on all channels for several minutes and then would not regain any signals on Saturday. I performed a factory reset via the menu which got it working for the rest of the weekend. Today we could not even get it to kick in to see the menu system. The green led just keeps blinking. Hooking it up in another room and using rabbit ears made no difference. We've got one more 9900 and a 9950 left.

Since posting this, I've come across two owner reviews of Digital Stream converter boxes reporting the same issue; one for the dtx9900. Beware continuous blinking of the LED while green.
post #373 of 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbestor View Post

Since posting this, I've come across two owner reviews of Digital Stream converter boxes reporting the same issue; one for the dtx9900. Beware continuous blinking of the LED while green.

Yep. Mine has done the constant blinking a few different times now. The box seems to get too hot. I unplug it for a while, then plug it back in and that fixes it most times. You cannot even control the channels or any functions when it gets like this. I'm thinking soon of just getting a DVD recorder with a tuner built in for the TV this box is on. I have a DVD recorder already on the set, but it is analog tuner.
post #374 of 375
my digital stream dtx 9900 box went out just has blinking green light could someone help with problem
post #375 of 375
I have recently experienced the "blinking light" death of my family's main Digital Stream 9900 after about 2 years of use. This is upsetting because it has been great up until now(other than the green part of the LED blinking due my over use of the signal button in the early days.) About a week ago, it completely died after working for about a week only with 2 boot-up sequences(turn it on, let it finish, turn it off, then back on so it worked correctly).

If I have to buy a new one ever 2 years, it will get annoying quickly.


UPDATE 12-22-10:

I found out that a cap on the power inverter was bad, and after about a month of searching(because the online sources required bulk purchases), I found the capacitor I needed, and after about 5 min of work, my converter box is now working perfectly again(except that bad led that still blinks which is purely cosmetic).
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