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TV converter box recommendations

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June 11, 2009, 02:35 PM
Jamie
TV converter box recommendations
I don't need it for Friday (I have Dish Network), but I did get coupons for converter boxes for a couple extra TVs I have. Does anyone have a recommendation for a converter box? Meritline has a package deal: Airlink101 ATVC102 Digital Converter Box, Analog Signal Pass-Through (201-111) with TIVAX STB-T9 Digital TV Converter Box with Remote Control (201-082) 201-133

I'm considering this at $5 after use of the coupons.

I understand that a digital antenna is also necessary. Any recommendations for an antenna?

Thanks,


Jamie
June 11, 2009, 03:15 PM
Jack Beckman
You don't need a "digital" antenna - that's marketing hype. You need a good antenna that works well on the UHF band where most of the stations are (I think Chuck R. mentioned that channel 2 was still going to be on VHF, at least temporarily, in another thread here). I'm getting good results with a cheap pair of rabbit ears from Radio Shack with one set - no better than the powered antenna I bought for the other set.


===
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Nothing is impossible. Not if you can imagine it. That’s what being a scientist is all about.”
Cubert J. Farnsworth: “No, that’s what being a magical elf is all about.”

June 11, 2009, 03:17 PM
Mike Gawet
I bought a Zenith Digital TV Tuner Converter Box (Model DTT901), using the coupon. It worked well. Same quality or better as my Comcast cable connection. Easy to hookup. I only used an "OLD" rabbit ears antenna. So, you really don't need a special (or digital) antenna. If you want a larger antenna, or one to pull in channels that are further away from your location, this should be a useful link.

http://antennaweb.org/aw/Welcome.aspx
June 11, 2009, 03:41 PM
James R. Cutler
Easy question first:

There is no such thing as a "digital antenna". All of the Detroit area channels will be UHF except WJBK on channel 7 and CBET on channel 9. So, any good VHF-UHF antenna will do. See antennaweb.org for some suggestions.

Depending on your location, you may want a lower gain antenna (wider view angle) or a higher gain antenna (more sensitive but narrower view). My current antenna is a Channel Master medium gain antenna with a rotator. From Plymouth, I turn to look at Toledo or Ann Arbor instead of Detroit. Since I have several sets, requiring splitters and lots of coaxial cable, I also have a mast-mounted preamplifier - A Channel Master 7777.

Harder Question now:

In southeastern Michigan, get analog pass-through. Keep your US low power TV and Canadian TV options open. I would not recommend RCA or Magnavox. My personal favorite is the Zenith DTT901. It has reasonable sensitivity and picture quality. The remote and menus are easy to understand. It provides both RF and composite/stereo outputs so that it works with old old sets and with newer sets with inputs for DVD player and the like.

Aspect Ratio control, channel management, and channel select on box are all good things. Here are some reviews which seemed reasonable to me:

http://www.hdtvantennalabs.com/converters/
http://www.hmtech.info/av/dtv.php
http://www.consumerreports.org...er-boxes-ratings.htm
http://tvconverterbox.blogspot...ONTHLY-1241157600000

See your PM.
June 11, 2009, 04:04 PM
Jamie
Thanks for all the info... I'm doing my follow-up research now.


Jamie
June 11, 2009, 04:46 PM
Terry White
I bought a box for my Dad at Radio Shack and took it over to his place and hooked it up. Don't remember the brand (it's the only one they sell). I knew he probably needed an antenna. The Radio Shack guy told me they had 3 models. $9.99, $19.99 and $59.99. I went with the middle one and it all worked fine. I was worried at first because channel 4 wasn't coming in without distortion. However, moving the antenna closer to the window fixed the problem. He's happy, I'm happy.


----
You can never go wrong by doing the right thing.

http://terrywhite.com

There are two kinds of computer users: those who have lost data and those who are about to — backup your Mac!
June 11, 2009, 05:15 PM
Chuck Reti
Post-transition (6/12), WJBK will be transmitting its digital signal on VHF ch. 7. All other Detroit market stations will be digital on UHF channels. Because of this shuffle, don't forget, even if you already have a digital set or converter in operation, to re-scan in order to receive all available signals.
Jim C. mentioned CBET ch.9 Windsor. However, Canada has not yet begun over-the-air digital broadcasting, so you will have to watch "real" hockey coverage in analog on Ch. 9 for the foreseeable future. CBC and other Canadian services provide High Def only via cable and satellite.

I have a couple of converter boxes branded "Zinwell," purchased at Meijer. This got good reviews on a few sites. One of the few that has the ability to set up timer events for off-air recording. Also very easy to set up and navigate.
June 11, 2009, 06:54 PM
James R. Cutler
Chuck,

The reason I recommended analog pass-through was to watch "real" hockey coverage on CBET (9). NBC doesn't even broadcast the national anthem. CBC Hockey Night in Canada does. CBC doesn't trade coverage of play for features. Also, they have Don Cherry.
June 11, 2009, 07:04 PM
Phyllis Evans
Big Grin A fellow hockey purist! I also hate NBC coverage.
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Cutler:
Chuck,

The reason I recommended analog pass-through was to watch "real" hockey coverage on CBET (9). NBC doesn't even broadcast the national anthem. CBC Hockey Night in Canada does. CBC doesn't trade coverage of play for features. Also, they have Don Cherry.



"I really need a new tagline"
—P M Evans
June 11, 2009, 07:14 PM
Jack Beckman
The scary part is that NBC's coverage is *better* than it used to be...


===
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Nothing is impossible. Not if you can imagine it. That’s what being a scientist is all about.”
Cubert J. Farnsworth: “No, that’s what being a magical elf is all about.”

June 12, 2009, 10:19 AM
Chuck M
Jamie: there's no such thing as a digital antenna. All antennas are analog.

Putting aside discussion of CBC NHL hockey coverage for a moment, the time may come when CBC is the only TV station available to Detroiters. Buying analog pass through is probably a good precaution to take for Detroiters, even though most US broadcasters will be digital.

A lot of DTV stations haven't been broadcasting at full power (to save on energy costs). After they make the full transition, you might want to buy extras, like better antennas, boosters, etc. Or just mount your existing antenna higher, to pull in a distant DTV station better.
June 12, 2009, 12:08 PM
Chuck Reti
quote:
Originally posted by Chuck M:
A lot of DTV stations haven't been broadcasting at full power (to save on energy costs). After they make the full transition, you might want to buy extras, like better antennas, boosters, etc. Or just mount your existing antenna higher, to pull in a distant DTV station better.


Some DTV facilities have been running at lower power under temporary authorization. Many were using side-mount or lower height antennas, but now will hoist their DTV antennas to tower top and at full power.
WKBD-DT 50.1 (RF ch14) just recently upped to its full authorized power, others will be following suit soon.
Not sure what you mean that CBC/CBET (YES to HNIC/Don Cherry) would be the only TV station available to Detroiters. Certainly the only full-power analog station. Licensed "low power" TV stations, of which there are a few in this market, are for now exempt from having to go digital. The push for including analog "pass through" on converter boxes was made by the LPTV broadcasters, who were rightfully concerned about completely losing their viewers.

Finding it kind of amusing but sad that viewers were being told to NOT call 911 about stations going off the air today.
June 12, 2009, 12:31 PM
Chuck M
Chuck: Regarding "Not sure what you mean...."

I guess I meant exactly what I said so nebulously. Under some circumstances, CBC might be the only TV/news link to the outside world for those with the right resources. For those with the wrong resources, I hope your cable provider prorates your bill if you lose service. Some providers haven't been willing to do that.

Another reason to go terrestrial broadcast - DTV picture quality is better than cable.