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I need a STB by next week, your suggestions?

1419 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Bogney Baux
Hi guys, first time poster, long time reader.

I finally gave cable the ax and although I've already got one non-hd DirectTV receiver (has to go in another room), I need a second one.

I guess I'm trying to decide between the Hughes and the Panasonic, both of which I can get for less than $500. I read that there are issues with the Panny, but I like the idea of it tuning all formats in one guide. Is there any chance of getting one without problems? Also, are there any advantages to the Hughes?

I live, the best that I can tell, about 35 miles away from the station transmitters (in Henderson, Ky) if that makes a difference between the two mentioned receivers and am using a Mitsu 55089 tv.

Thanks for your help, I sure need it in making up my mind.

I guess my other option is to get a $50 walmart standard receiver and wait till later this summer, but I'm entitled to a $100 credit if I buy one soon.

Thanks again!
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Get the Hughes E86/Toshiba DST3000/Mits HD-5

They are all the same and all have APG(Advanced Program Guide). This is the feature that allows all formats to be included as one output. All your OTA and all your Directv channels integrate seamlessly, so there is no need to change inputs constantly. I hope this helps.
My suggestion? Charge it! :)
Bash, my suggestion too would be the Toshiba 3000 (have to quit agreeing with ADebar so much!!). You can obtain such from VideoOnly, out of Calif, for $449 plus $20 shipping, and activate it as your 2nd receiver. Any questions let me know.
I don't know where you live, but many owners of Toshiba DST3000 STBs all over the country are having major problems maintaining a lock on certain digital stations. Spontaneous switching to seemingly unrelated analog channels has been occurring.

Toshiba seems to display no apparrent willingness or ability to address the problem.

Be warned!
No comments on the Panasonic other than a loud fan and slow menu? I'd like to hear about it as well, but please hurry.. I plan to order tomorrow.

Thanks again!
My DST3000 has always worked great. WOrd on the street is that the panny is so slow it only displays guide data from yesterday. The guide on the Hughes/DST3000 with the recent firmware is lightning fast.

There are lots of posts about OTA tuning issues but if you need a single antenna input and don't tryu to plug your cable in through a diplexer into the Satellite input (its been done) things seem to work reasonably well.

Plus you gets lots of support here if thiongs go wrong. As for support from any of the STB vendors good luck.
If your interested, I have a brand new in the box Zenith DTV1080 that I will sell for what I paid for it. I purchased two of them and I only need one. I have been using mine for two weeks now and love it. Email me if your interested. [email protected]
I have the Panasonic, and I hate it. I mean, it's basically useless for surfing through the guide.

However, I'm usually on one of the HD channels, or ESPN, so I don't browse the guide a lot. I don't hate it when I'm watching.

I Agree with IUnkown, I have had my Toshiba box for some 6 months, and lost the channels on the guide only once. And all I had to do was re input my zip code, and they reloaded. As I stated in another thread, this equipment is quite sophisicated these days, and your bound to have some hiccups. And I think what happens is that some people are not quite 'mechanically or electronically" inclinded these days, and aren't sure how to fix problems when they crop up. Nowadays we all (including myself) want instant gratification, and get frustrated when something does not work correctly, or we have to fix it ourselves. Some people are better at tracking down step by step processes, and figuring out how to fix things, others are not. I am not putting those people down, its just the way it is.

I have not found one STB that somewhat has not complained about. I ask, is there a tv that is perfect??
I have the Pan tu-hd20. I hated it at first; except for the GREAT OTA tuner. The fan is not an issue with me. The speed is not an issue with me either.-- My issue was the remote-- "was" being the key operative. I put all the codes in the sl900. Don't need the factory remote fer nuttin! Not sure where it is. Most menus take some adjusting to; whatever you buy.Geo
IUnknown & PTS:

I'm glad everything is working well for both of you in Michigan. I don't know where Bash is located, but several areas of the country are being severely impacted by problems with recent software downloads.

He should investigate carefully whether the STB he decides on is prone to problems tuning in and maintaining a lock on stations appearing in the local version of the program guide he will be downloading to his receiver.


Care to fill me in? My decision (limited by entertainment funds) is limited to the Panny or the Hughes. I'd like to order within the next hour.

I'm about 35 miles away from the towers.
Well Bash, it sounds like you are set on a Panny, so why ask anything further? I mean the decision is really yours. I spent 20 minutes reading thru the thread that Kevin listed, and forgive me, but to blame Toshiba??

I dont see where the Toshiba box was at fault, it did not malfunction. I mean sure it is frustrating, but it sounds like some problems when Direct made some changes. But the choice is yours. I was just giving you my opinion. I have had good results with the Toshiba.

Like I said in another thread, these electronics are getting quite advanced now, with several mfg's, Direct, Dish, OTA, etc, there is bound to be some problems. WHen one starts to mix different brands , this is bound to happen. My Denon receiver drops out of 5.1 when I switch channels, but I dont get peeved and want to throw away my Denon. I am sure it is just some quirk, incompatibility with each other.

I just think alot of mfg's products get hammered here, because someone's box does not work exactly as expected. But that is just my opinion. I am sure the Panny will give you good results.

PS My Toshiba lost its guide one day, for no reason at all. No big deal, I just reentered my zip code in 2 different areas, and rescanned for my APG, and it reloaded.
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To tell you the truth, I'm still undecided. Here's a question that may help me. I understand that the Panny passes native, with the Toshiba or Hughes, are all channels upconverted, or just the Hi-Defs? The reason I ask is that I like to have control over my stretch modes, but don't think I'll be able to if all channels are upconverted to 480P or higher.

I have a Mitsubishi 55809 in case anyone can help me any more with this specific question.


PS.. check out my thread on the free oval dish if anyone needs one.
With the Toshiba DST3000, in order to avoid upconversion on non-16:9 material, you must access an option in the menu and switch from the component video output to a composite output. Then you retain full control over your stretch modes.

To respond to the post by PTS, I will only say that the Toshiba works perfectly...in many parts of the country where no such conflicts occur with the available digital and analog stations. PTS is welcome to come to my home anytime and plug in his DST3000 and see if he can maintain a lock on FOX-DT in the New York area with his own unit. I don't think it will work.

The point is that the local channel guides are filled in with different stations in different parts of the country. However, the software that controls which stations are present in the channel guide and how they are accessed is written by the STB manufacturer and distributed by DirecTV.

Bear in mind that the problem discussed in the thread I indicated was not always present on my DST3000. Prior to the WTC collapse, my box worked perfectly, too. Then FOX and WOR began to share a a transmission facility on the Empire State Building. This brought about changes in the way the channels were listed in APG (Advanced Programming Guide).

Over time, the problem has manifiested itself, improved and then became worse as different software versions were automatically downloaded to the STB over the past few months.

The occurrence of problems such as these is not nearly as bad as the refusal by the manufacurer to investigate and resolve them. It is especially annoying when the service representatives are not kept informed of reported problems and continually respond with a sense of vuja-dé, as if this had never happened before.

When a manufacturer's attitude is set this way, watch out for the next group of software updates. The next time your local stations begin to include sub-channels (eg. 44-1, 44-2, 44-3, etc.) you may be affected, too. Once it happens, you can be guaranteed the problem will be with you for months or more.

Encourage them to make things right. Find out which products work correctly now in your area and avoid purchasing ones that don't.
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Kevin, not sure what you mean about next time my local stations include 44-1, 44-2, etc. I have direct, and use an outside antenna for my locals. I had Direct locals for 1 month, then finished putting up my outside antenna and cancelled Direct's locals. I then added my 2nd receiver, Toshiba 3000, and paid $5/mo for the extra receiver. I

Yes I do get 004, 4-1, 007, 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 44-1, 44-2, etc. but 7-1 is one channel, 7-2 is another, 7-3 is another. Each one is a different channel. My scan brought up alot of extra channels, picking up fringe channels, since i have an outside antenna/rotor. For a while my 004/4-1(local NBC) was also coming in some something like 54-1 or something. But they were separate channels numbers but same programming.

Then for some strange reason, I lost my whole guide, etc. I just played around, (at the time not knowing what I was doing) but I looked around, noticed the zip code was gone, so I reentered, twice I think, and re down loaded. It all came back.

So I am not sure what you meant about next time your local channels begin to include sub channels? I mean, that is what I thought it was suppose to do! Correct me if I am wrong, but the digital channels are suppose to be uhf numbers (14-82), with the -1 then. So I am not sure what you meant by that, maybe I am missing something.

All the Toshiba's are made the same, regardless of where they will be used. Toshiba does not know where that STB will end up. I guess I don't understand. It comes across like they did something wrong, but to me, it had to do with either WOR, FOX, or Direct, no? I don't know, maybe I am not understanding your point.
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I am not an HDTV technician. All I know is that everything was working well until the transmission antenna atop the WTC went down. Until then we had CBS (56-1), NBC (28-1), WABC (45-1), WPIX (33-1), WOR (38-1), FOX (44-1), WNET (61-1) all broadcasting digitally and everything was stable.

On 9/11, several OTA digital stations were lost. A short time later, FOX (44-1) began to share their facility at the Empire State Building with WOR (44-2). FOX remaps to 5-1 and WOR remaps to 5-2.

Initially after that sharing of facilities began, two occurences of channel 5-1 appeared in the channel guide. If you entered 44-1, you were remapped to FOX (5-1) properly -- no problem. If you initially pressed 5-1, you would be incorrectly mapped to a weak analog signal for a New York station called PAX. You could then press your channel-up button and access the second occurence of channel 5-1 which was indeed FOX. The extra button press was a small inconvenience, but you could get to the proper station and remain there as long as you might like.

As new generations of software were automatically downloaded to the STB, the second occurrence of channel 5-1 disappeared from the channel guide. From that moment, you absolutely could not access channel 5-1 directly. You are forced to enter 44-1 and be remapped to 5-1. Again, not so much of an inconvenience.

After being tuned to FOX for a couple of minutes, the STB will spontaneously change itself to the analog PAX station (channel 31). Several individuals on this forum have speculated that this loss of channel locking may be caused by commands written into the software that give the PSIP information transmitted by DirecTV precedence over the the PSIP information transmitted by FOX. Ultimately, the cause of the problem is the software.

Additionally, in New York using a DST3000, if you are tuned to the FOX digital channel and press the DST3000's remote to access the channel guide or the menu, you are immediately switched to PAX on analog channel 31. You don't get to remain tuned in even for a couple of minutes. Sounds like another software problem to me.

During the course of my many phone calls, Toshiba representatives and technicians have to the best of my understanding admitted that this problem is brought on by an incompatibility problem caused by their software. They admit no understanding of the cause nor can they estimate how long it will take to fix.

Clearly their software cannot distinguish between the presence of digital station 44-1 and analog station 31. I am not the only person who has been told by Toshiba that their software is the cause of the problem.

Strangely enough, the only solution they have offered was to replace the hardware. I can only assume they would replace it with another sample that would perform exactly the same way. They are no longer telling callers that a hardware exchange will help the situation.

I understand that in the very near future, other New York based digital stations lost on 9/11 will begin to transmit temporarily from the Empire State Building. I berlieve those stations will make arrangements similar to the agreement worked out between FOX and WOR to share existing facilities. As the stations begin to use subchannels (eg. 56-2, 56-3, 28-4, whatever) that have not yet been utilized and tested, who knows what new software incompatibilities with existing analog stations may surface?

Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Hughes, etc. are writing the software for their own STBs. Who is at fault?

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad you are happy with your unit and it is performing up to your expectations in Michigan. In New York and other locations across the U.S., other people are major difficulties.

September to May? It's time things were straightened out.
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