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  1. Circuitcity is selling a Zenith Digital TV Tuner for $59.00.
    With the $40.00 rebate from FCC, $19.00 and this will get you in HDTV (I hope).



    See : http://www.circuitcity.com/ssm/Zenith-Digital-to-Analog-TV-Tuner-Converter-Box-DTT900/...oductDetail.do
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    It will get digital, but only at 480. Doesn't even have a S-Video output nor digital audiio.

    So far...all these boxes suck.
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  3. more than enough for analog TV
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Input to these tuners is ATSC DTV (antenna) in any of all 18 formats. Output is composite NTSC. 16x9 material is output as letterbox 4:3 NTSC. Some other models have S-Video out (Y and C separate). None of these units so far will work with QAM cable modulation.

    To get HD out of an ATSC tuner you need to spend over $100 and those models don't qualitfy for the gov't rebate.
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  5. Member GreyDeath's Avatar
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    I'm still waiting for my 2 coupons in the mail. True, I don't really need them with basic cable and satellite, but the output has to be better than what my cable dishes out.

    I got a Samsung H260F that works really well for recording Heroes and other LTX shows in an Anamorphic ratio to make my own DVDs from broadcast. Originally got it for The Tube, but they don't exist anymore. The only drawback to this $180 box is that the menus and display are only shown on the Digital outputs and not the Svideo or Composite jack.
    "*sigh* Warned you, we tried. Listen, you did not. Now SCREWED, we all will be!" ~Yoda
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  6. To clarify the misinformation from the internet and Worst Buy employees:
    The analog shutoff date of 2/17/09 only effects those who use OTA signals on tv's with analog tuners,it does not effect those on cable or satellite.On 2/17/09 all tv transmissions in the US must be digital but this does NOT mean they will be in HD,most tv stations are already transmiting digital signals but only a fraction transmit HD.25"+ HDTV's made after 3/06 have a ATSC tuner(digital) and all made after 3/1/07.
    If you have a 480i CRT tv then composite or S-Video is good enough.

    SingSing:I want a pair of those rabbit ears for my tv. 8)
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  7. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by MOVIEGEEK
    To clarify the misinformation from the internet and Worst Buy employees:
    To my surprise, Fry's seems more truthful about the DTV transition. The guy even warned about lack of HDCP on surround audio receivers.

    When in stores I "listen in" on sales pitches.

    The worse so far:

    Great Indoors (owned by Sears) in Houston TX.
    Various Best Buy
    Sony Outlet Store
    Sony Showroom
    K-Mart

    The hero was an employee at Costco trying to explain why a customer needed a DVD recorder with analog tuner rather than a tunerless model for basic cable. Of course the gov't requires an ATSC tuner before one can get an analog NTSC tuner.
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  8. Radio Shack will take your dtv2009 coupon, and you just have to paid them $19.00.

    See : http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&prod...rt&tab=summary
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  9. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SingSing
    Radio Shack will take your dtv2009 coupon, and you just have to paid them $19.00.

    See : http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?parentPage=search&summary=summary&cp=&prod...rt&tab=summary
    Yes and?
    Doesn't everybody else?

    So you like watching letterbox HD at 640x480i encoded to NTSC ?
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    Subject is *very* misleading.
    I dont know how on earth can you call it "getting on HDTV", SingSing?
    Its a standard definition tv, and the only relation of this SD to HDTV is that the source come from HD signal. But output is same as SD, or most likely worse (since you gotta connect it thru RCA instead of S-Video?! geez!)
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  11. Mid June is when some nicer boxes come out that are just about free after rebate.
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    Have any links to the nicer boxes?
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  13. There are tons of posts about all the available CECB's (coupon eligible converter boxes) at avsforum.com

    If you have an older analog TV that has no video inputs (RF cable/antenna input only) or just has composite video input (no s-video or component video inputs) these work reasonably well for receiving digital ATSC TV signals over the air for free and converting to NTSC.

    They are of no use to videophiles - the conensus is the conversion to NTSC in these cheap boxes is acceptable, but not that great. HDTV receivers generally are much higher quality, even for use as a downscaling converter.
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  14. Member bmwracer's Avatar
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    The RCA DTA800 boxes at Wal-Mart are only $49... But they keep running out of stock.

    Had to buy an Insignia converter from Best Buy at $59 instead, since the expiration date on my coupon was nearing.

    Both models have some slightly different features, like video size control, info/guide functions, and input select control.,,
    Frank Zappa: "People wouldn't know a good movie if it smacked 'em in the face."
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  15. I would hold out for one with Firewire so you can use it as a capture source as well. I am sure they will be available soon.
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  16. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dun4cheap
    I would hold out for one with Firewire so you can use it as a capture source as well. I am sure they will be available soon.
    Not with rebate. The rules are "limiting".

    But why a firewire port capture to S-Video? I don't get it.
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  17. I would want a firewire port on it to hook right up to a PC via firewire. Of course I would also like it to be 1080P.
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  18. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dun4cheap
    I would want a firewire port on it to hook right up to a PC via firewire. Of course I would also like it to be 1080P.
    I'm not aware of any PC ATSC tuners that connect firewire to a PC. Most external tuners connect USB2, analog component or DVI/HDMI. Even Mac EyeTV connects USB2. ATSC max bandwidth is ~19Mb/s. Why would you want Firewire?

    All ATSC tuners are supposed to support 1920x1080P input at 23.976 fps although nobody is broadcasting 1080p. The point of this thread is all 18 formats are converted to composite or S-Video NTSC in these "government rebate" boxes.


    PS: Forgot that DVHS recorders with ATSC tuners do connect by Firewire (1080i/720p only) through apps like CapDVHS. Look at those.
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  19. DTV ANTENNA REVIEW


    264 of 271 people found the following review helpful:
    Antennas Compared, May 31, 2007
    By Y. Chang "ciaconne" (Mamaroneck, NY) - See all my reviews


    I'm a first timer at getting OTA HDTV. This has been an experiment in progress for the past 5 weeks. I have gone through four antennas (they are all here as I write this) before finding something that's satisfactory (rather than tolerable).

    I live around 25 miles from Manhattan, where the towers of most TV stations are located. I am also aware of the directional information from [...], and have experimented accordingly with its effects on reception. My apartment's windows all face north, while the signals all comes from southwest. I cannot get signals from where it comes from, and thus needed to get signals from deflections perhaps off nearby buildings and trees. It's a very poor circumstance for over-the-air reception, maybe just slightly better than being underground. Signals are weak, and are affected by weather. Stormy and windy days have shown effects at disrupting signal reception.

    With this said, and without going into much detail, let's talk about the antennas. Now all these antenna have been tested with the same equipment, setup, directional adjustments, location, etc. etc. and have been tested through good an foul weather, day and night, to observe differences.

    1.Terk HDTVa Terk HDTVa Indoor Amplified High-Definition Antenna for Off-Air HDTV Reception- After reading some rave reviews and high ratings at [...], log periodic types (looks like a fishbone) seems to be the way to go. I got the Terk HDTVa first, thinking that the amplification and VHF antenna should nail my reception problems at the start. However, after more than two weeks of fidgeting around ad nauseam (directions, locations, amplifications, different devices, etc.), I only managed to pick up two ATSC channels' signals, and even those don't have strong enough signals to display anything. I thought maybe it's just my poor location, and that I should probably give up on the attempt. The included in-line amplifier dongle doesn't work at all. Powering it on makes no difference in signal strength readings, which hovered around 5-10%.

    It is well built, looks nice, good concepts, but it just didn't work.

    2.Phlips PHDTV1 Philips PHDTV1 Digital HDTV-UHF Indoor Antenna- The venerated "silver sensor" which was previously sold under the Zenith brand also had great ratings and reviews. It's in fact nearly legendary. I decided, in desperation, to try it out, even if it doesn't have amplification. It seems all my local HD channels are in UHF anyway, so I won't miss the VHF dipoles.

    The unit has startlingly poorer build quality compared to the Terk. It has paint bubbles, hairs and dusts trappings in the paint, sharp edged cheap plastics and much thinner metal blades that's covered in oil and has some dings and bendings. I wasn't impressed with the quality, and didn't expect much from it as I set it up.

    To my surprise, it picked up 9 working channels (note: the terk got two channels' signals, but they didn't work) from the start, even if it's randomly placed. It's thrilling as it was the first time I saw OTA HDTV. After some adjustment and location experiments, I was able to receive 19 channels. However, not all of these channels work well given the same direction.

    The directionally sensitive antenna needs to be adjusted as I switch channels. e.g. NBC and CBS seems to work well in one direction, while ABC has its own favorite direction, which works also with FOX. I tried as best as possible to find a compromise point where everything works. I couldn't. It just needs to be adjusted constantly.

    The transmission is often dogged by reception fluctuations. Signal quality tend to fluctuate quite a bit, especially affected by weather. That means the TV playback would get choppy at times, with its severity dependent on the direction I point the antenna at. I didn't think fluctuating signals was a characteristic until I tried the latter two antennas later. I also found that I had to constantly play with the directional positioning to get a stable signal from each of the stations.

    It works, and I was impressed, but then in retrospect it could only be best described as a "tolerable" HDTV experience as I struggled for a smooth signal delivery.

    3.RCA ANT111 Basic Indoor Antenna- While shopping in stores, I saw this basic and classic RCA loop/dipole antenna for less than $[...]. I couldn't resist the temptation to try it out, just for the heck of it. It is also a different type of antenna than the previous two.

    Again, I was surprised. This cheap antenna worked well, especially considering how it's only a fraction of the price of the two I'd tried. I ended up getting 17 channels, a few less than the PHDTV1, with the same location and setup. Some channels also don't work, even if signals were detected. The quality of the signals seems to be the key.

    So what's so special about it? It strangely had better signal delivery for the channels that worked. It's not as choppy, and quality level is very steady. It is also not as affected by directional positioning. I was for the first time able to view FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC without adjusting the antenna. However, the lack of directionality also makes it ambiguous when I lost the signal. It seems that there's no "favorite direction" for the channels, which also means I can't pull in stronger signals at my choosing. It is also quite susceptible to weather changes, particularly wind (which probably affected signals reflected by trees?)

    The signal strength also seems to be a little weaker, though the signal quality tend to be higher in general. That probably contributed to the smoother video delivery. It also tempted me to get a similar design that has amplification.

    4.Philips MANT510 Philips High Performance Amplified Indoor Uhf/ Vhf/ Fm Antenna- This unit has a "digital TV optimized, patent pending UHF panel array". I thought I'd try it out just for the slightly different antenna design, if not just for the adjustable amplification.

    Well, it works, and works quite well. The antenna doesn't work without power, and with amplification turned off it works a little less than unpowered PHDTV1 and ANT111. Yet with the amplification turned on, I get 24 channels, with strength up to 81% (compared to 3-10% unamplified, and quality consistently above 60 and usually in the 70-90%+. That generates the most reliable video delivery of all the ones tried.

    While thunderstorms still managed to distrupt signals, it's much less often and only momentarily. I also don't have to worry about hunting for signals as I just point it in one general direction and I get everything but three NJN channels (they are even further from here.. maybe a good 50 miles).

    I finally can just set the antenna and forget it. It lets me focus on the programming rather than antenna adjustment. While it needs to be powered, it gives me the confidence to finally enjoy HDTV, rather than tweaking and tolerating it. It's good enough that I can probably stop searching. I hope it'll be helpful to you who may be going through the same purchasing decision nausea as I have.
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  20. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    I'm too far away and in a small valley, the antennas and boxes are 100% useless. I cannot even get analog OTA. It's either cable, satellite or nothing. I feel digital cable is my best option, for price and service.
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  21. I am absouletly stunned at the antenna reviews, my results are the exact opposite.

    The TERK HDTVa is dramatically better than the Phillips MANT510, with the RCA nearly useless.

    My HDTV picture is clear and stable on on all 9 channels with the TERK, the Phillips broke up a lot and could not reliably get one. The RCA slightly worse than the Phillips, when combined with an old Garage-sale antenna.

    Results similar on the HAuppage 1600 tuner with reception, also changing channels much faster with the TERK.

    Having gone thru $5.00, $19.95, $39.95, $49.95, and finally $69.95 on the TERK, I am considering buying a second one.
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    Most places I've seen have almost all negative reviews on any Terk antennas, so consider yourself lucky.
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  23. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    The only real 'advantage' I have seen with the converter boxes is the capability to plug it into a conventional VCR/DVR with S-video or composite to record for time shifting. It's still SDTV. Fine if you have a older TV, but the picture may be worse than the old SD signal when going through the converter box.

    I did get one of the boxes through the coupon, though. Don't know that I'll use it for much.

    Many indoor HDTV antennas are junk, IMO. I have a Philco/Terk/generic 'fish bone' unamplified antenna. A $0.99US pair of 'rabbit ears' type antenna works as well or better. For OTA HDTV, I got a regular UHF outdoor antenna and a UHF amplifier and it's hanging in my laundry room at present. (The only place I had room for it.) I plan to move it to the attic when it cools down a bit here. (About 120F (50C) in the attic at present. )

    Antennas work best when up high, not sitting on your TV in the front room, especially UHF. If you really want good OTA reception, look to AntennaWeb and then decide what your options are. I can't put up a 50ft antenna mast, though that would be optimal. It has to be eave mounted outside or sitting in the attic. With the winds around here, eave mounting may be a problem. So the attic is my probable choice.

    At present I have a LAN HDTV tuner, along with a MyHD HD/SD tuner in my HTPC. I get about 20 HD stations locally. From what I've seen, not really that much decent HDTV content on any of them. I'm sure that will change come February. My cable is SD with a couple of HD local stations included. But for many of us, SD over cable will be our main option for some time.
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  24. Red, I'm gonna disagree with ya here.

    The reviews linked stated that on many boxes, specifically those with S-video, the signal was significantly better than SDTV. "Close to DVD quality" was a standard phrase.

    This agrees with my own experience using S-video output from a Sat box HD recirver. While technically SD in specification, when starting with an HD source, the image was clearly superior to standard SD.

    There a lot of comparisons which muddy the waters, Digital to Analog, HD to SD, Digital to S-Video, Digital HD to S-video SD, this last being my focus.

    Probably going to get the Apex today, for $20 with the coupon little risk here. I may get a dedicated HD tuner, as I happen to have a rare bird, an HD TV with no tuner, and a 4:3 CRT at that.
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  25. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The Bullshit To English Dictionary says:
    1. "Close to DVD quality" = about like TV quality in 1980s-1990s, sometimes like a VHS tape
    2. "VHS quality" = so shitty that it may not even look good on an iPod screen, way below what a VHS tape ever looked like even in SLP mode from a faulty VCR
    3. "DVD quality" = a little better than a VHS tape, but not up to DVD standards, often with butchered interlace and other artifacts
    4. "HD quality" = often about the quality of a DVD, typically from downconvert HD, but not anywhere in the same ballpark as an HD stream

    I have no idea what's being discussed in this thread (not paying attention), I just wanted to point out the standard definition --- as used by liars and stupid people --- for phrases like "close to DVD quality". Too many online reviews are written by stupid people.
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  26. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    Nelson37, no problem. What I was thinking was that if you have a older TV, the converted signal will likely look the same as a SD signal at best, as that is the limitation of the TV. A TV with S-Video could benefit with a better picture from the box.

    And a S-video signal to a DVR would be a easy way to timeshift OTA video for SD viewing.
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  27. Originally Posted by Nelson37
    Probably going to get the Apex today, for $20 with the coupon little risk here. I may get a dedicated HD tuner, as I happen to have a rare bird, an HD TV with no tuner, and a 4:3 CRT at that.
    The apex converter is extermely hot, you should able to heat up a cup of beverage on it.
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  28. Well, picked up the Apex, plus a second un-amplified Terk antenna.

    Very disappointed in the antenna, can't pick up weak stations. Oh well, the other was out of stock and it was only $24.00. You win some, etc. Somewhere I still have a coax amplifier, this may solve the problem. Used same TV and same positioning as identical Terk with the amp. Also re-tested RCA + old rabbit ears and the Philips, I can get the RCA combo close but not quite as good. Much more sensitive to positioning, Raised it 6 feet, still can't beat the Terk, with the amp.

    Now the Apex. Better than I expected. Bear in mind I am using an HD, 4:3 CRT, 32" or 36", I forget which. Excellent picture, also a very definite difference comparing same channel on SD and HD.

    As for the labels mentioned, I frequently use " It's all a matter of 'compared to What?' ". Definitely crisp, noticeably cleaner lines on the HD version of the same channel. Difference in on screen text unmistakeable.

    Is it HD? Well, it is, and it isn't. There is only one way to compare this and that's the next project.
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  29. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Nelson37
    As for the labels mentioned, I frequently use " It's all a matter of 'compared to What?' ". Definitely crisp, noticeably cleaner lines on the HD version of the same channel. Difference in on screen text unmistakeable.
    Good man. 8)

    I often make people descrbe to me what they mean by "DVD quality", "HD quality", "VHS quality", etc
    And 9 times out of 10, they're overrating it.
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