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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking for the best OTA only STB for my Fijitsu P50.


All have been open box specials with full 30 day return policy, all cost between $320 and $355.


My wants in priority order are:

1. Picks up the largest number of digital channels, with an acceptable signal.

2. Properly displays digital programming, most important 16:9, regular programing I can get from cable.

3. I like using the box and it's looks


I mounted a channel master 4221 on my chimney. My first box was the panny HU-DTS52. I received 5 digital channels. I not love the box, it only allows me to change the aspect ratio on some channels. There is no zoom. I was frustrated that I could not get a 4:3 digital program to fill my plasma screen on some channels, but could on others. I was loosing the signal too often, so I added a preamp and them I received 5 addition channels. So I assume as new channels are available, it will get more of them.


I then tried the SIR-T151, it only received my original 5 channels (preamp still in place.) That went back in the box within 15 minutes, it failed my number one want.


So I tried the HDV420 yesterday, it receives the same channels as the panny. It is more willing to change the aspect ratio which I liked. It also tells me on the screen that the aspect ration can't be changed, not just ignoring the button push as on the panny. It has a zoom. I am not sure yet if it is always outputting 1080i or if it outputs what it receives. I want it to output what it receives and let my P50 scale it. It had some trouble holding a good signal, but I need more experience with it. I like the signal strengh meter.


So for me its going to be either the DTS52 (if it holds the signals better), or the HDV420 that has an interface I like better. The HDTV picture is the most important feature.


Other experiences or comments before my 30 days is up would be great.

- Dan
 

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Thanks for the comparison. I love to see this sort of thing.


I don't know if this is possible, but it would be great if you could hook up mutiple STBs at once (to the antenna with a splitter and to separate monitors), and see which one had the fewest dropouts or other problems with reception over a longer period of time. This might be a bit much, but would be interesting to see that kind of side-by-side comparison.


Another interesting experiment might be to turn the antenna, to see which box(es) lose signal lock first. Again this may be difficult if you don't have a rotor already installed, but might give some ideas about which boxes handle multipath or weak signals better.


Just for your own benefit, it could be worth redoing what you've already done several times: at night, during the day, during good and bad weather, etc.


Good luck with your choice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
jckessler -


You have some good ideas. I will try to hook both to each of the component input in my P50 so that I can quickly switch between them, this is the best I can do to compare.


It is also interesting to note that the additional channels I am receiving with the preamp are about 135 degrees the station I aimed the antenna with.


I am planning to keep them for at least a week so I can compare with different conditions.


Thanks for advise, I will report more later
 

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Sounds like the Samsung isn't dealing as well with multipath as the other receivers. I bet if you swung the antenna around towards those other stations, it would pick them up.


Thanks for the report.
 

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I've had the Panasonic for a little over a month now. In that time it has performed quite well. I am able to get solid locks on all the local stations with one exception(they are operating on lower power right now and I haven't attempted to finetune my antenna alignment). Never any problem holding a signal. Overall, it was easy to setup and is easy to control with the remote for most of my needs. Not too worried about the lack of zoom. Wish the aspect ratio feature worked on all material but occassional 4:3 viewing hasn't been much of an issue. Use the STB primarily for HD viewing. Overall, very happy with the unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This past weekend I tried switching between the Panny and the Zenith. Mostly I was looking for differences in sensitivity. The weather was good and I had no problem receiving the most important channels. There is rain in the forecast for the next 2 days, so I will continue to test. They both seem similarly sensitive. If one has trouble locking on a station, the other does as well. Again, I have likes and dislikes for each, but the most important is how well they pickup OTA HDTV.


I have one more week to decide, has anyone else compared these two OTA STBs?


Does anyone know if the Zenith is up converting all digital signals to 1080i or just passing what it receives (I'm using component cables)

- Dan
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by meldari
... Mostly I was looking for differences in sensitivity. The weather was good and I had no problem receiving the most important channels...
The CM 4221 is not nearly as directional as a yagi-type antenna. That's why you can receive channels that are in different directions. You might try re-pointing the antenna exactly between the transmitters, instead of directly toward one transmitter. If you have multipath problems (often indicated by dropouts), you may have to aim the antenna multiple times, to find a sweet spot to leave it in.


Are any of the problem stations broadcasting in the VHF band? If so, you may need a VHF/UHF antenna.


Also, what brand/model preamp are you using?
 

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I am enjoying the Zenith 420. It is an upgrade over the DTC-100 I had been using. It also looks nice and has a nice UI.


All in all, a box I recommend.


Mark
 

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I tried all three and kept the Panny.


My biggest reason, it was the only one of the three that would letterbox 1080i on a 4x3 projection tv.


I also thought it was the best at acquiring and holding signals.
 

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TiVo_Al,


When you say that the Panasonic is the only one that will letterbox 1080i on a 4x3 set, what exactly does that mean? That is, if someone owned say, the Samsung STB and watched a 1080i program on a 4x3 set, what would they see? Does this apply to the composite video output as well, or only the HD component output?


--Bill R.
 

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Not sure about the Samsung SIR-T151, but the TS-160 (OTA + DirecTV model) is supposed to do 3 modes on a 4:3 set, when receiving a 720p or 1080i program; regardless of the output jack used:
Full - makes people look "tall & skinny" unless 4:3 TV has anamorphic mode. My 4:3 TV is switchable to this mode via the TV remote.
Zoom - zooms the 16:9 frame to fill the 4:3 screen, cropping the L & R sides of the image.
Letterbox - Black or gray horizontal bars across the top & bottom of the 4:3 screen.


BUT, the TS160 has a bug and will only do LTBX format when receiving a 720p program. LTBX format is disabled if receiving a 1080i program. Since my 4:3 HDTV has anamorphic 16:9 mode, I don't need this feature on it, but I do need it when connecting an analog TV to one of the SD outputs.


Samsung is aware of this problem, and hopefully will fix it in the firmware update scheduled soon.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by arxaw
BUT, the TS160 has a bug and will only do LTBX format when receiving a 720p program. LTBX format is disabled if receiving a 1080i program.
Ouch! That's quite a flaw. I was considering perhaps picking up the Samsung SIR-T151 if I can't get the "centering" issue resolved with the Panasonic TU-DST52 -- but I think I'll reconsider that based on what's been said here.


--Bill R.
 

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VBB --


Unfortunately, that's all I have right now (a 4:3 set with no "squeeze" mode). I am planning on buying an HD set (probably this fall), so it would be a moot point, but until then, that's a problem ...
 

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If you don't have an HD set, most boxes can letterbox HD material downconverted to 480i (or 480p) without a problem. The only problem is letterboxing a 1080i signal on the early HDTV monitors that don't do the squeeze.
 

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OK, so let me get this straight -- if I had the Samsung SIR-T151 and connected the 480i NTSC video output to a standard 4:3 set (which lacks a 16:9 mode), it would display 1080i material letterboxed?


--Bill R.
 

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VBB --


Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like the Samsung would work for my purposes, since at the time where I get an HD set, I won't care if the thing can't letterbox a 1080i image on the HD output -- I'll let the monitor do that. In the interim, I just wanted to make sure I would be able to view letterboxed 1080i material on my old 4:3 NTSC set.


--Bill R.
 

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To those with the DST52: do you get occasional digital audio drops? That is when picture and analog audio are normal. I am still trying to find out if this is the STB problem (according to broadcasters) or broadcasters' problem (according to Panasonic's tech). Thanks.
 

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okay, here is what I am looking for. I have an integrated set but it is a Mits so it won't take a 720p signal. Is there a set top box that has both inputs (for xbox 720p games) and outputs. That way I could upconvert my xbox stuff to 1080i plus have ota capability.


suggestions???
 

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tuquet--


I do get ocassional audio drops with the DST52 but suspect that it is broadcast related. In my area CBS has been rock solid but ABC is sketchy and NBC hasn't been in the game much. Overall performance is still quite good.
 
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