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Converter Boxes Sold In The Major Stores

post #1 of 259
Thread Starter 
This thread covers which converter boxes are sold in the major stores. Because we are at the starting point of seeing the boxes arrive at the stores, I thought it would be interesting to see who is selling which box. My selection for a "major store" is any store that is likely to be found around the USA.

The major stores I could think of are: Best Buy, Circuit City, Sears, Target, Radio Shack and Walmart. If someone knows of any to add to the list, lease let me know.

As of Wednesday, 2/20/2008 here's what I've found on the WEB pages for the major stores:


Best Buy: Insignia NS-DXA1, SKU: 8624081 $59.99

This model is the same as the Zenith model DTT900 found at other stores. The only difference appears to to the brand name on the unit.

While the customer reviews are limited, most give the box good marks.


Circuit City: Zenith DTT 900, $59.99

This box is the same as the Insignia NS-DXA1 found at Best Buy. The only difference appears to to the brand name on the unit.

While the customer reviews are limited, most give the box good marks.


Sears:

Sears does not show any DTV Converters in stock, but I believe that they should have some coming in the next few weeks.


Target:

Target does not show any DTV Converters in stock, but I believe that they should have some coming in the next few weeks.


Radio Shack: Zenith DTT 900, 15-148, $59.99

This box is the same as the Insignia NS-DXA1 found at Best Buy. The only difference appears to to the brand name on the unit.

While the customer reviews are limited, most give the box good marks.


Walmart: Magnavox TB100MW9, $49.87

I'm very troubled by the fact that 4 out of 10 people had trouble with the unit. (See user reviews on the Walmart WEB Page.) Maybe this was due to problems with the first units, but I would need to see if later reviews look better. For now, I would not pick this model.

Everything must be controlled by the remote, there are no buttons on this box; so if you loose the remote, you have a problem.


Walmart: RCA DTA800, $49.87

The one review that appears so far, gives the box good marks. However, I like to see at least several reviews to judge the product.




That's all I know so far, I will update this list as more models appear in the stores. If I made a mistake, please post a correction.



Thanks,

Bob Diaz
post #2 of 259
I reserve judgement on the Magnavox units sold at Walmart. I have a feeling that the users may think these are just plug and play as they may be used to watching OTA TV programs in continuous snowstorms or ghoststorms. A crappy signal from an indoor antenna or attic antenna, or a bad antenna may lead the users to think that it's the box, where in fact it may be the signal quality fed to the receiver. Like I said, I reserve judgement.
post #3 of 259
Webpages aren't the be-all/end-all. Around here, Radio Shack is carrying the Digital Stream DTX9900.
post #4 of 259
Since K mart owns Sears will they have the same units?
post #5 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobDiaz View Post

Target:

Target does not show any DTV Converters in stock, but I believe that they should have some coming in the next few weeks.

Target has announced they'll start selling DTV boxes starting in May 2008, so it'll be more than a few weeks.
post #6 of 259
For those of us with an HH Gregg, they have the Zenith at only $49.97 (at least listed that way online)

http://www.hhgregg.com/ProductDetail...roductID=20363
post #7 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by troydog View Post

Since K mart owns Sears will they have the same units?

One would think so.
post #8 of 259
The Zenith will be interesting, I wonder if LG put in the 6th gen chip set, or at least some part of it.
post #9 of 259
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

The Zenith will be interesting, I wonder if LG put in the 6th gen chip set, or at least some part of it.

I think the answer is yes, but I'm not 100% sure. If you go to this link you will find External photos, internal photos, the user guide, and more.

https://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/oetcf/eas/...QKE00710\\\\\\'

While the photo of the chip is a bit fuzzy, it does look like the 6tg generation chip. I could be wrong however.

http://english.chosun.com/w21data/ht...612280032.html


Another reason to believe it's the 6th generation chip is the following press release:

Quote:
LG Electronics Launches Sixth-Generation ATSC Digital TV Broadcast Receiver Chipset
LAS VEGAS, April 17 -- In anticipation of the 2008 launch of its digital-to-analog converter box to support the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition in the United States, LG Electronics Inc. is launching its sixth-generation reception circuitry in a wide range of DTV products hitting the market this year.

Building on the proven success of LG's fifth-generation chipset, which set the standard for over-the-air DTV reception, the sixth-generation ATSC digital broadcast receiver chipset is being incorporated into LG's broad 2007 line of flat-screen HDTVs and digital TV receivers.

http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/5168


To me this strongly suggests it's 6th generation.

Bob Diaz
post #10 of 259
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

Webpages aren't the be-all/end-all. Around here, Radio Shack is carrying the Digital Stream DTX9900.

You're right, at first I didn't find any DTV converters on the Walmart pages, but through reading other web pages, I located the links. Radio Shack page does not show the Digital Stream DTX9900 when I do a search on it. Odd, but maybe they haven't gotten enough stock to post it yet... I don't know.

I can guess that there's a lot more that doesn't appear on the web, but others can point out what they find.


Here are the links I've found so far...

Best Buy:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1199495190393

Circuit City:
http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Zenit...oductDetail.do

Radio Shack:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

Walmart: (Magnavox)
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=8283870

Walmart: (RCA)
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=8343230


Sincerely,

Bob Diaz
post #11 of 259
I bought and returned two different Magnavox CECBs at Wal-Mart in early February. Both were literally unable to power up. It is not a good sign to unpack a brand-new unit, read the instructions carefully, set up everything per instructions, and get no power from the unit whatsoever. Magnavox/Funai quality control seemed to be utterly lousy. You might get lucky, though. YMMV.

I'm waiting for the $40 coupons to arrive. My plan is to buy either the Zenith/Insignia or the RCA - the latter intrigues me because of the Smart Antenna interface and the big-button remote, but the Zenith/Insignia is interesting as well.
post #12 of 259
I have two digital TVs both with digital tuners and both hooked up to my roof top antenna. They both get a beautiful picture from the antenna signal.

I bought the Magnavox converter box from WALMART for use with my PVR (It has an analog TV tuner). The Magnavox unit didn't work at all! Scanning several times the result was always the same "No Signal"!

This thing is a piece of junk! Walmart should send the whole lot of them back to China where they came from and cancel their contract. It appears that the Chinese have no quality assurance program at all!
post #13 of 259
Ironside, my educated guess is MOST CECBs are manufactured in the Peoples' Republic of China. Not all Chinese-sourced electronics are bug-ridden. IMHO Magnavox/Funai's quality control on their CECBs needs improvement, though others apparently have had better luck. In addition to questionable quality control, the Magnavox box design offers very little ventilation for the electronic circuitry. The RCA DTA800B is much better in this regard.

I'd like to find NON-coupon-eligible converter boxes which have more than an RF-only video connection and somewhat broader functionality. The NTIA certification restrictions sharply limit the appeal and usefulness of these boxes.

Upon receiving my $40 coupon, I'll probably buy ONE box (probably the RCA) to cover the 1975-vintage Sony black-and-white TV in my house which doesn't have a cable tuner, and wait for the emergence of better converter box products.
post #14 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

I'd like to find NON-coupon-eligible converter boxes which have more than an RF-only video connection and somewhat broader functionality. The NTIA certification restrictions sharply limit the appeal and usefulness of these boxes.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095
post #15 of 259
Thomasnet link above to 6th Gen LG chip press release was truncated...try this one:
http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/516849
post #16 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

Ironside, my educated guess is MOST CECBs are manufactured in the Peoples' Republic of China. Not all Chinese-sourced electronics are bug-ridden.

I understand what you're saying, but I think Ironside has a valid point: there really isn't any quality assurance in the Chinese manufacturing process. Any quality is more likely to come from a fool-proof original design than any quality in the manufacturing process. The thing is, I don't think they really care whether the product actually coming off the line works or not: it's been done according to budget.

The fact is, while I could produce nearly perfect output of product in my job, if I don't check my work, I'm just as likely to produce a product full of mistakes. The difference is, I'm held responsible for it since my company cares more about the end product than how much they paid me to produce it.

The fact is, those companies that have their products produced in those factories are counting on two things: 1) a certain percentage of people will not bother to return a defective product, especially if it works even a little bit and 2) any returns can be written off. They'll collect that money lost in other ways.

The thing is, whenever you subcontract out, you're taking the gamble that the money saved in producing it will outweigh the fact that the employees producing the product simply aren't as invested in it as a direct employee.
post #17 of 259
Network TV offered good insight into quality control issues. My own experience with two defective Magnavox CECBs that wouldn't even power up, as well as reading consumer reviews of quite a few Chinese-sourced TVs, certainly lends credibility to the notion "there really isn't any quality assurance in the Chinese manufacturing process."

Chinese manufacturers benefit from being in a very low-wage country which possesses a basic industrial infrastructure in its urban centers: readily-available electricity, water, telecommunications and other public utilities. Chinese manufacturers are able to offer such an enormous manufacturing cost advantage that effective quality control measures is deemed to be an unaffordable luxury.

In the earliest years of electronics manufacturing in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, there were times when product quality was sharply criticized. I vaguely recall there was a time in the early 1960s when the phrase "made in Japan" was associated with very low-quality goods. That certainly isn't the reputation associated with Japanese manufactured products today.

The staggering size of China's manufacturing sector and workforce raise questions whether Chinese makers will have the incentive to strive towards sharply reducing product defects and enhancing quality control.

For those of us buying consumer electronics, an increasing number of products are made in the Peoples' Republic of China. In some cases, the U.S. marketplace simply doesn't offer non-Chinese-manufactured choices for a particular product category. The new CECBs are an example of this predicament: personally I'd much rather buy a CECB which was made in Korea, made in Taiwan, made in Japan or made in the USA...but those don't appear to be marketplace choices at this point.
post #18 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

personally I'd much rather buy a CECB which was made in Korea, made in Taiwan, made in Japan or made in the USA

Interesting order of preference. Just sayin.
post #19 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

In the earliest years of electronics manufacturing in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, there were times when product quality was sharply criticized. I vaguely recall there was a time in the early 1960s when the phrase "made in Japan" was associated with very low-quality goods. That certainly isn't the reputation associated with Japanese manufactured products today.

The staggering size of China's manufacturing sector and workforce raise questions whether Chinese makers will have the incentive to strive towards sharply reducing product defects and enhancing quality control.

If China wants to evolve, they have to move up to the standards that Japan and other countries moved to. Cheap only goes so far. In addition, the recent issues with lead paint and other toxins in toys has soured people quite a bit on goods from China. Before that, it was burns caused by cheap cell phone batteries. If that continues to be their legacy, then eventually the bad press will prompt companies to get their cheap goods made elsewhere. While I doubt we'll see an increase in the "Made in Taiwan" or "Made in Korea" label, it may well result in a move toward "Made in Mexico". With the desire of those citizens to come here for jobs of any type and the increase public outcry to keep them out, the market is primed for another slide of businesses into that region. In other words, cheap labor is literally just down the road.

The bonus? A decrease of over seas shipping and a boom to border towns where shipping depots and distribution centers would be increasingly necessary to accomidate the additional product.

It becomes a win-win situation. We avoid supporting a market that continues to show a lack of concern for product safety and reliability while providing an incentive for people to remain where they are rather than attempting to "hop the fence". In short, if the product is being made outside the USA anyway, it might as well be where we can keep an eye on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsc View Post

Interesting order of preference. Just sayin.

Korea and Taiwan were huge centers for US goods prior to the recent interest in China. Those companies tended to produce both inexpensive and reliable goods as opposed to simply cheap. Unfortunately, cheap outbid inexpensive.

Japan, on the other hand, produces reliability, but is no longer the bargain it once was. Instead of being seen as cheap, they're reflecting quality and innovation. Gone are the days of the economy product. They've become a center for premium goods instead.

Since most people shop by price first (only wishing they could shop purely by brand and features), the order isn't surprising. Of course, that mentality is what brought us to the situation we're currently in. The price club has taken over our methods of shopping and quality and service is something people only think they're willing to pay for.
post #20 of 259
Interesting thread, although way OT, so let me add to the OT talk.....
The problem I'm having, with consumer DVD recorders in general, is they are ALL made in China, and IMO they all stink. Some sooner and more than others.
I as a consumer have NO choice to buy a quality product. Even quality mfg's of the past, namely Panasonic insist on all there new product be "made in China" for I would guess cost savings. Personally I have been through (5) $200+ Panasonic DVD recorders, all dying between zero days and 2 months from purchase date.
They have been for the most part new, from sealed boxes. I think the days of being able to pay more for certain consumer electronics and get better are mostly gone.
A sad state of affairs indeed. It sounds like the new converter boxes will be just more of the same, problems waiting to happen....and the only people that will be happy with theirs are the people who don't use them
post #21 of 259
Actually, because better standards are starting to be put upon the Chinese now (and their standard of living is going up, and laborers are starting to organize, etc.), their manufacturing costs are starting to rise to the point that they are starting to outsource more to places like India and Vietnam.

So now we'll have to worry about still inferior stuff coming from those places instead.
post #22 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

Actually, because better standards are starting to be put upon the Chinese now (and their standard of living is going up, and laborers are starting to organize, etc.), their manufacturing costs are starting to rise to the point that they are starting to outsource more to places like India and Vietnam.

So now we'll have to worry about still inferior stuff coming from those places instead.

...and when the folks in India and Viet Nam get organized, things will shift to Africa or South America. At some point, the standards of the rest of the world will be high enough that we'll be back to having manufacturing plants in Iowa...
post #23 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

...and when the folks in India and Viet Nam get organized, things will shift to Africa or South America. At some point, the standards of the rest of the world will be high enough that we'll be back to having manufacturing plants in Iowa...

... assuming by then it's still called Iowa and the country it's in is still called the United States. :/
post #24 of 259
www.digitimes.com reported:
"Zinwell, Artec & Mustek - Three Taiwan STB makers land certification
for coupon-eligible ATSC STBs"
http://www.silobreaker.com/DocumentR...em=5_818163981

Which you can use with your Chinese made TV....while wearing your Chinese made sportswear....and surfing via your Chinese made laptop....
post #25 of 259
I went to our new Super Walmart just to see what was available. (The Super Walmart's electronics section is about double the size of the regular Walmart that it replaced.) I was surprised that they only had the crappy Magnavox converter box and did not have the RCA box. When I asked them if they were going to be handling any other brands like was listed on their website, they told me "No". So much for buyer selection in a smaller (27,000 people) town. We don't have a Best Buy, Circuit City, or any other outlet that is currently selling the boxes.

I'm really interested in how the Echostar box will fair and who will be selling those when they become available. It'd be great if Kmart would be selling those since that is the only other bigbox store in my town.

medoug.
post #26 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by medoug View Post

When I asked them if they were going to be handling any other brands like was listed on their website, they told me "No".

And tomorrow (2) pallets of converters could show up. The floor people at Wal-Mart really know *nothing* about what they "will" stock in the future and in many cases, store management doesn't either.
post #27 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobDiaz View Post

As of Wednesday, 2/20/2008 here's what I've found on the WEB pages for the major stores....

Many brick & mortar stores stock different items than what is stocked online. The typical person in the market for these boxes will be buying them in person, not online. Then again, this is an AVS forum where the typical consumer will NEVER venture.

FWIW, I did see an Insignia set-top in a Best Buy store yesterday.
post #28 of 259
Check out the Endgadget article Industry expects some "loose ends" in digital switchover

NCTA president Kyle McSlarrow seemed more focused on putting more work into the the pre-switch side, while the CEA's Gary Shapiro called for cooler heads to prevail after the first hiccups. Seriously, no matter how much information is blasted out, there are going to be some people that are unable (or unwilling) to put together the pieces necessary to keep TV flowing into their homes

IMHO, a fair number of non-techie "Jane and Joe Consumer" OTA folks are going to be confused about DTV reception problems like pixellation, macroblocking, momentary loss of picture and sound, etc.

Most significantly, I haven't seen any retail stores actually have a CECB demonstrator model connected to a live TV and antenna. Obviously they are afraid of cannibalizing sales of new TVs, but they could certainly sell antennas to CECB customers. Retailers could also provide more information about how to deal with reception problems through antenna selection, placement, and amplification. Perhaps it's just not much of a priority!
post #29 of 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

Perhaps it's just not much of a priority!

No it isn't. They're trained to upsell, a larger TV or a Tivo or local cable or one of the sat subs. Often they will mismatch these things in order to maximize sale dollars. Sure they could make a little on selling antennas and generating good will with customers by actually teaching them how to use the eqipment but ********ting for sales pays better.
post #30 of 259
China factories differ in quality a lot.

My wife is an importer of Chinese garments. Primarily womens and girls. She has a factory in China that is maybe 10% higher in cost than others but it produces the garments at the promised time and they pass incoming American quality control reliabily. Several of her customers a while ago told her that since her factory was more expensive they would no longer work with her. You know what, they came back after some big orders with the other factories.

Rick R
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