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  1. Member
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    I need some help in finding the right digital converter box. I recently got my two $40 vouchers for my converter and there is a list...


    https://www.ntiadtv.gov/cecb_list.cfm

    Now I don't know which one of these boxes are getting. I don't want to go too far above the $40. No more than $15 more. Does anyone have any reviews of these boxes? I need to find out which are good because the coupons are only valid for 90 days and I'm getting close to that. Thanks for any help in adavance
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  2. Member
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    I got mine at Walmart($49.00) and found it to be ok. It is easy to setup and use. It is a Magnavox TB100MW9 and your cost should somewhere aroung $13.00 which includes tax. I do recommend it. Good luck.
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  3. Member
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    There are a lot of user comparisons and experiences of the available boxes in several threads over at AVSforum:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=25

    I just picked up the RCA model at Walmart last night but haven't hooked it up yet. I'm waiting for awhile to apply for my second coupon until some more models roll out later this year. Most of the ones now available seem to have some sort of weakness which may or may not concern you. You will find them talked to death over at AVSF.

    They're often referred to in the threads as CECBs (couon-eligible converter boxes).
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  4. Paid a little more and got the Zenith from CC, $20 +tax with the coupon, don't trust anything Philips or RCA, works good and doesn't get hot, easy to set up.
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I think the Zenith is better rated. I got a 'Digital Stream' for $60US before rebate from Radio Shack, but I haven't tried it yet.
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  6. Member edDV's Avatar
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    I've seen some models in stores that lack an S-Video connector. I'd avoid those.

    I'd also seek a model with digital audio out.

    This class of ATSC tuner has SD out only. Those wanting HD out (analog component or HDMI) need to up the $$. The coupons only apply only to SD out models.
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  7. Member
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    There's a good chart comparing the features of the various converters at:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_CECB_units
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  8. Member
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    Thanks for the help guys. I'm gonna check all those sites out. Why did they have to put a 90-day time limit on this? I guess they figure some people will miss the deadline so they don't actually have to pay up.
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  9. I wondered about the 90 days too. Echostar is supposed to release a box for $40, free with coupon, in mid June. It supposedly will have timers for recording. My coupons will already be expired.
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  10. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    From what I read, they have to appropriate the money for the rebates. They can't easily get more unless they can show that the money has been spent..or not.The 90 day limit closes out the books to help set up the next appropriation.
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  11. Member
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    have you checked out dtv-hdtv forum?

    here is a link to their converter box forum page

    http://www.dtv-hdtv.com/viewforum.php?f=6
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  12. Member
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    I got the RCA DTA 800 from Walmart for $ 49.00. I like it but it has its peculiar problems. On one of the stations that is in the fringe area, and only that station, a loss of signal might cause the device to loose either sound or video. So far, the only way I have found to reestablish proper functioning is to shut it off and turn it back on.

    The unit has a signal strength meter has provisions for a smart antenna and it is very small and can be set up horizontally or vertically. The remote works well and has provisions for selecting your TV.
    Finally, and unexpectedly, it does hold a signal better than either of my HD TVs.

    Tony
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  13. Member
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    @cal_tony,

    A DTA 800 owner says on avsforum that you can get the audio to come back on without re-starting:

    "A quick fix without having to turn the box off is to enter the main menu and then exit and then the sound should return."

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=13620174#post13620174

    Doesn't mention any video dropout problems, though.
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  14. Member
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    I've recently purchased a Insignia converter box from Wal-Mart and it didn't work well, the audio sometimes goes off, you need to reset the box. Then I purchased a Sansonic converter box, $54.99. It works great! Great video picture quality & audio sound. I recommended to everyone. You can go to www.sansonic.net to find a retailer nearest you. I live in California, & got it from R1M3 in Whitter.
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  15. You didn't get an Insignia, the same as Zenith, from Wal Mart. Insignia is BBs brand.
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  16. Sling has a new box out, free after coupon:
    A joint venture between sling media and echostar, the tr-40 over-the-air, digital-to-analog converter allows analog tvs to receive digital over-the-air broadcasts and comes with an onscreen setup wizard for easy installation. Other features include up to a seven-day electronic programming guide (epg), program search, parental locks and vcr auto-tune timers.
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    I looked for specs, i.e. formats/outputs/etc., but couldn't find any.
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  18. Are you sure it's been released? Last I heard it wasn't supposed to come out until mid June.
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  19. It's OOS, so yes, you're right, they are probably just putting it on the web site & get orders & then it comes out sometime soon & ship....

    SLING MEDIA 159365 DIGITAL TO ANALOG CONVERTER WITH BUILT-IN DIGITAL TUNER AND PASS THROUGH CAPABILITY
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  20. Member
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    We bought 2 Zenith Dtv Converter Boxes at radio shack .... Now I'm wondering how to rest the boxes....
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  21. Member
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    An update: The Echostar TR-40 won't be out for some time, although it is still supposed to be priced at about $40.00. DISH Network's version of this product, the DTVPAL, is scheduled to be available for sale the week of June 23, but the MSRP has gone up to $60.00.
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  22. Member
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    Dish Network began accepting orders for the DTVPal as of this morning. My coupons arrived earlier this week, and I decided to use one for this converter box. With a coupon applied, my cost with shipping and tax came to $33.77. It will ship in 7-10 days.
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  23. What's the difference between the two?
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  24. Member
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    There is little reliable infomation available about the TR-40 at the moment, really just that it is still going to be released. I am also waiting to hear something more about TR-50 DVR, which will not be coupon-elegible since it records.

    As far as rumors go, the TR-40 is supposedly awaiting certification from Uncle Sam, and the software would provide fewer features than the DTVPal. I'm sure there must be some hardware differences though, or the price difference would be smaller. I would be very surprised if they kept the price at $40, since most CECB's seem to be in the $50-$70 range before the coupon is applied. We all know that two weeks before making it available for sale, the MSRP for the DTVPal was unexpectedly increased by $20, leaving a couple of online retailers who had accepted pre-orders in an awkward situation.
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  25. Member
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    There is something important which I forgot to mention regarding ordering direct from Dish Network -- All sales are final. The fact that they are not standing behind their product is somewhat worrisome, but it suited my needs better than any other CECB, and reviews have been favorable, so I decided to take a chance.

    Since I ordered, I found there are a few other retailers selling the DVTPal, and I could have saved a few dollars at a couple of them had I been a little more patient. I located a post in the AVS Forum where somebody was keeping track of other sources: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1022201
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  26. Member yoda313's Avatar
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    Just my two cents - The Insignia converter box is quite excellent.

    I finally got the other week and checked out some reviews at Target.com. The ge and zenith were so so and the Venturer model had mixed reviews also. I was suprised to see mutliple reviews praising the insignia model at a different website from bestbuy's. Even Bestbuy's website had mostly 4 or 5 star ratings for it. Hardly any negatives.

    I got it for 60 then the 40 coupon. I think it was 23 out of pocket with tax. Not bad. The setup was simple and easy. I am using it on a small 10" tv that is not hooked up to my comcast cable. I like it a lot.

    It has a nice auto crop feature to get rid of the letterbox since its a square tv. The picture is great with a powered, non hdtv antenna. Unfortunately the unpowered one I was using before didn't have enough signal strength so I had plenty of signal breakup. I plugged in the power one and it cleared up great.

    Now channels that were fuzzy at best are crystal clear. I haven't seen any downside to the unit. It's small form and black color are attractive and it is a flat surface, no fancy designs like that one I saw that was wavy.

    So I'd definitely recommend the insignia brand one that is offered at Best Buy.

    By the way it has coax in and out AND rca audio/video out. No svideo out but it at least has audio/video out for a little extra compatibillity.
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  27. Insignia and Zenith are the exact same boxes manufactered by LG.
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  28. Member
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    The DTVPal that I ordered on June 26th from Dish Network arrived yesterday. I also received a statement for my order as a separate mailing, which was at first disconcerting because they sent mostly the same paperwork as one wouild receive for a Dish Network subscription order. One must read carefully to tell that it is just an invoice for a DTVPal.

    The DTVPal is very small, about the same size as a pocket-sized paperback book. It comes with a remote, screw-on coaxial cable, 2 AAA batteries for the remote, and manual. There are no control buttons or on/off switch on the DTVPal, so one must have a remote to use it. The remote can only control volume, and the functions of the DTVPal itself. One still needs the TV remote to control the TV.

    I took a little time to play with my new toy last night, and it has met almost all my expectaions so far. Basic setup was quick and painless. I found it reasonably easy to use, but I suspect my elderly parents would probably find it overly complicated because of the number of menus/menu options, and buttons on the rather small remote.

    I can't compare the picture to the one from any other converter box, but it is the sharpest I have ever seen on either the 13" or 20" analog TV's that I used to test it. There are a couple of distant/low powered digital stations that I can't tune in using my indoor antennas, but these were also almost unwatchable in analog. There are 3 picture options. Normal (unmodified), Full (Squeezes 16x9 to fill a 4x3 screen), and Zoom (fills 4:3 screen using the center of the picture).

    If one has a G-Link cable, it can be used with devices that have TVGOS, but I don't have anything that I can use to test that feature.

    There is a timer allowing up to 5 programmed events, for those who want their TV tuned to various shows at specific times during the day, or who want to use this box with an analog recording device. The choices are Once, Daily, Weekly, or M-F, for 1 to 999 minutes. It can't be used to turn on a TV or recording device, so one must synchronize the timers for both devices. The DTVPal turns itself on a couple of minutes ahead of time and displays a countdown for timer events, if it has previously been off. If it is already on (for events that follow one another) it simply changes channels. I found a possible bug: When I turned off the DTVPal during a timer event, it did not turn itself on for the next event, though the event was still active.

    The DTVPal can be set up to turn itself off after a specified period of inactivity. The default is 4 hours.

    It has a good program guide, which can be used to set timers by selecting individual shows. New guide information is downloaded each time the unit is turned on. In my area the guide covers between 24 and 36 hours, for the most part, depending on the channel. However, I believe it would be capable of covering several additional days, if the information were available. One can seach the guide, by title, category, or both.

    There is an analog pass-though button on the remote that gives a 9-second delay to allow the chance to cancel it. This seems to work well, though there will only be one low-powered analog station left to watch after the switch. Analog signals also go through with the DTVPal turned off, though perhaps not as clearly. It is hard for me to tell because my reception for analog varies so much.

    It has a lot of options for displaying digital closed caption. I have not had a chance to go through all of them yet, though they seem as complete as one could ask for, except that there is no way to change where they appear on the screen. Also, there are times when they don't entirely erase text from earlier dialog.

    I haven't tested the SAP, or parental lock features yet, since I don't use them, but they are available.

    [edit] I set the timer for 15 minutes last night, and the DTVPal came on, but didn't shut itself off. I will have to do more tests. This may be another bug, since it accepts any time one enters, from 1 minute to 999 minutes. [s:02dac6c015]Timer events lasting 30 minutes or 60 minutes were handled correctly[/s:02dac6c015] It turns out these timer events were not handled as I thought after all. The inactivity monitor apparently turned off the DTVPal instead of the timer. The timer turns on the DTVPal, and changes channels automatically, but does not shut it off. This is a bit of a disappointment, since I expected the timer be like the timers on my TV and recording devices.

    Also for those who are wondering, like most of the other converter boxes, it doesn't have S-Video out. The only connections are coaxial-in, coaxial-out and composite-out.

    [update] Someone elsewhere asked me if this converter box gets hot, so I"ll post the answer here too. It does get rather warm, although not too hot to hold. This is in spite of having a wall wart instead of just an internal power supply, and having been turned off. It doesn't seem to get any warmer when in use, though. (I've since determined that the DTVPal stays warm for somewhere between 3 and 4 hours, after being turned off using the remote. After that, it finally does power off for real and cools down to room temperature. I presume what actually happens is that the DTVPal enters a standby mode for a while.)

    Since the previous edit, I did discover some other things that are flaws, to my mind. I found when the DTVPal was set to analog pass-through, the inactivity monitor didn't shut it off. Since power consumptions is low, I suppose I can live with that for another 7 months, until it becomes a non-issue, but I do like things to be consistent.

    Unfortunately, last night, I discovered what could turn out to be a major defect for some people. I noticed the time shown was off by a few minutes and I soon found there was no way to set it manually. Then, I tried three times to force it to download the program guide via the set-up menu, but it couldn't complete the process, and the time stayed wrong. Today, I forced the program guide download again. This time, it finished and the time displayed is finally correct again.

    Initially the DTVPal seemed to download the program guide every time it was switched on, but it has stopped doing that. I don't know what schedule it is keeping now and I am beginning to wonder if perhaps it doesn't keep good time on its own.

    Whatever is at fault, not being able to correct the time manually could pose a real problem if I ever wanted to use the DTVPal with a recording device. This kind of thing has also happened with my recording devices, which are connected to cable service, but I can always turn off the automatic update and set the time it manually, so events happen when they are supposed to.
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  29. Originally Posted by tweetyboop
    I've recently purchased a Insignia converter box from Wal-Mart and it didn't work well, the audio sometimes goes off, you need to reset the box. Then I purchased a Sansonic converter box, $54.99. It works great! Great video picture quality & audio sound. I recommended to everyone. You can go to www.sansonic.net to find a retailer nearest you. I live in California, & got it from R1M3 in Whitter.
    The Sansonic really is a great box; Consumer Reports even rated it a top DTV converter box. Sorry about the non direct link, but I couldn't find the original CS article.

    I had a tough time deciding though and ended up going with the Philco as the Sansonic was out of stock at my store. It's good too.
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  30. Member
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    The TR-40 was released earlier in the week, priced at $40, plus tax and shipping, on the DTVPal website. I was told it is exactly the same as the DTVPal, except for the logo on the box. Sears already is or soon will be selling the DTVPal at $60.

    I ordered a TR-40 on Wednesday. I never seem hit the local brick-and-mortar stores when they have the Zenith or Insignia converter boxes I wanted in stock, and the price was too good to resist.

    The DTVPal I have definitely has a problem with the internal clock and looses a few minutes a day if it is not corrected by program guide dowloads. Supposedly, it isn't an issue with all of them though. I hope the problem is not present in my new box.
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