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Which STB? Panny or Zenith or Other

1105 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Carl Brinkman
Hey Guys,

Needing to purchase an HDTV STB for my 720p DLP.

I only know of the Panny and Zenith Units which can display at these native rate. Any one have any experience with these units or another recommendation?
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Samsung SIR-T150 does 720p. The question becomes, do you want just OTA or OTA + Sat(cable)?
There is a new Samsung due out soon that might do it as well.

It is model SIR-T160 I believe.

I've done about everything I could to find out when it will hit the market (checked various vendors, wrote Samsung, talked to some insiders, etc.).

The best I can guestimate is that information onthe new product will be available in about two weeks. When it will hit the shelves is anyone's guess.
I can't receive any OTA so just Satellite. Are there advantages of the Samsung models over the panny and zenith? Or are they all pretty darn similar.
If the new Sammys are like the 150, they will be the only ones capable of outputting HD and SD simultaneously, so you can tape or tivo what you are watching in HD. JR
Samsung has two new models scheduled for July 2002 release. Their model SIR-T160 supports both Directv and OTA reception and includes a DVI/HDCP digital output as well as HD analog component/RGB outputs. Their model SIR-T165 only receives OTA (i.e., no Directv) and includes both IEEE1394/DTCP as well as DVI/HDCP digital outputs. Zenith's new SAT520 is due out in August and includes an DVI/HDCP digital output as well as RGB/component analog HD output. The new Zenith will support 480i, 720p and 1080i selectable output as well as a native rate output (similar to the current Panasonic STB). Panasonic's new STB is also due out within the next few months, but I don't have much info except that it will include a DVI/HDCP digital output.

For more info on upcoming STB check out my web site: www.dtvmax.com

Ron Jones
As for the Panny and Zenith units, it depends on what features you want, and what quirks you are willing to live with. The Panny has a "native" setting that will automatically pass the signal through the component outputs in the format that it comes in on (480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i), so if you want to minimize the up/down onverting, that's your best choice. The Zentih has a switch on the back that you have to physically toggle among the different settings, and won't output 480i on component. Both the Panny and Zenith have very good picture quality, with some users giving the Zenith the edge. The Panny is slow to tune and has a slow guide. One study showed the Panny with slightly better ability to lock in distant signals, but users have reported varying views about which is better. Neither has DVI/HDCP or 1394.
I'm happy with my panny but the guide is so slow that I'd go nuts if I was using it for anything besides HD. I have a DirectTivo that I watch SD on so for the handful of stations I watch on my panny it's not that big a deal.

Ron do you feel pretty confident about the July release data for the Samsung?

I think I could hold off until then if it looks good for July.
Greg or anyone else,

Is the guide the only thing slow about the Panny, or is it slow about changing channels as well? Also, how slow are we talking about?

Sounds like it would be best to wait just a little bit longer for those STB's with the DVI. This would work with the Marantz DLP, right?
The Panasonic and Zenith both do 720p, and PQ is not much different for HD but the Zenith is way superior on upconverting 480i material. Also the Zenith has a signal strength meter for OTA while the Panasonic does not.

So, if you want to buy something now rather than wait for July (and remember, none of the current STBs came within 6 months of their original projected release date), I'd go with the Zenith.

If you are interested I have a brand new never used or opened Zenith DTV1080. I will sell it for exactly what I paid for it. I ended up buying two and rather than returning one of them I thought someone would be interested in it. I have been currently using mine for two weeks now and it performs flawlessly!! Email me for more info if your interested.
The July release date for the new Samsung STBs is what Samsung is currently saying. However, the general history of manufacturers actually meeting their stated release dates for STBs has been poor.

Ron Jones
I just purchased a used Panasonic STB to use with my Marantz 12S1 and couldn't be happier. Using the 720P out gives a noticeably better image than through 1080i.

I'm also amazed at how much better DirecTV NTSC signals look than they did with my former analog cable feed.

The channel changes are indeed slow but not a real problem. I haven't yet used the guide system at all.

I have given up on waiting for the next generation of STBs. Who cares about DVI/HDMI connections right now? By the time they are really useful or needed I'll be on my third generation of STB anyways, probably with a new projector.
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