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I was wondering what people’s experience has been with regard to the built-in HDTV receiver/decoder in the 64†Philips 64PH9905. I have just purchased one of these sets and am currently trying to decide what set top box to buy. I am debating between:


RCA DTC-100

Relatively very cheap at this time

Good reviews from most, if not all users


New Zenith Receiver

On paper, head and shoulders above anything else out there

I particularly like the Digital coax output and the newer generation tuners


If the receiver/decoder on the Philips TV is relatively good, I would consider using that with an OTA antenna for now and wait a couple months until the verdict is in on the Zenith receiver. If it blows, I will have to think about getting the RCA set top box.


Any suggestions/reviews/advice would be much appreciated.


Thanks in advance.


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Next month I'll have put a year's use on my 64PH9905 receiver, but it's all been at ghost-central, mid-town NYC. They may have updated my early-generation receiver/decoder circuits in the latest 9905 builds, but mine doesn't seem to have any special multipath-rejection capabilities. There have been a few threads here from folks asking about 2nd/3rd-generation tuners, but haven't seen any definitive comparisons. In sum, my 9905's receiver/decoder seems mediocre, but haven't tested it for weak-station sensitivity.


Assume you're shopping for another tuner/decoder either for the missing satellite reception, or yours just isn't performing adequately. If it's the latter, the initial least expensive step, of course, is a better OTA antenna.


BTW, had one repair visit for my 9905 where some boards were replaced that corrected total sync loss when my DVD machine was plugged into the HD progressive inputs. Expecting another tech visit next week to correct, hopefully, what seems to be a case of red push . My experience with red push translates it into 'weird blues', since you can minimize red push with color/tint controls (for nearly normal flesh tones), which in turn puts too much red into blues, often making them purplish, or distorting related hues. Lots of threads out there about Mitsubishi's red push problems. -- John


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Probably the other extreme of John Mason's environment; I'm located approx 18 miles north of the Boston digital towers, with no large hills, valleys, or big buildings anywhere around me.


During the six or so months I had the 9905 I had a fair amount of video dropouts and breakups that, at the time, I attributed to the Winegard GS2000 bi-directional antenna I'm using. The video dropouts were very inconsistent; with near perfect viewing for a couple of days and very frequent dropouts on others. A key frustration is that the 9905 does not have a user accessible signal strength meter, making any kind of antenna adjustment pure trial and error. There is, however, a signal strength meter buried in the service diagnostics menu that can be used for this purpose.


I also had a significant amount of audio dropouts when using the spdif output running to my Kenwood DD receiver. Philips service was pretty quick to point the blame on the Kenwood. And since I thought it silly to buy a new receiver to prove/disprove if the Kenwood was to blame, I took the easy way out and used the 9905's analog audio outputs.


Several months ago my 9905 was replaced with the 64PP9751 (no integrated ATSC Tuner) and a Dish Networks 6000 sat/hd STB. Since then, I seldom get video dropouts/breakups. Spdif audio dropouts happen very infrequently; once every couple of days or so with OTA signals. By comparison, with the 9905's ATSC tuner/DD Decoder I was getting audio dropouts once every couple of minutes.


It's interesting to note that I have made no adjustments to my roof top antenna since it was originally set up with the 9905. Seasonal differences aside, the only difference is the ATSC tuner. Also, the Boston digital tower went to full power while I still had the 9905, and while the dropouts improved slightly, I don't think my issue was ever related to low signal strength.


From a color accuracy standpoint, my 9905 seemed to have difficulty with brightly lit outdoor scenes. Diagnosis Murder has frequent Beach scenes that caused the 9905's image to be noticeably washed out. Conversely, shows like Dark Angel and The X-Files had very poor shadow detail with frequently blotchy blacks instead of gradient levels of grays to black. Adjusting brightness and contrast had little to no effect in curing either of these problems. By comparison, the Dish Networks receiver does better with the very bright scenes, which in some cases still appear a little dull. Shadow detail problems are now fine. I'm not sure how much of this relates to the 9905's ATSC tuner versus set calibration or source material accuracy. If it's not related to the set it's a pretty odd coincidence.


Hope this helps -- Steve




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