I’m looking into getting some coupons for a couple of digital converter boxes. I’d get them now, but once you get them, you have 90 days to use them. Since it is a new technology, I suspect there are some bugs. Has anybody rated the various converters?
No convenient cite, but supposedly the Insignia (from Best Buy) and Zenith (wherever you can find them) boxes rate highly on the various AV message boards. I’ve got two Insignias, and they seem to work fine.
Reminds me of the days of UHF converters, only they had names like the “Hudsonmatic Streamliner De-Luxe 500”.
Using the $40 coupon I sent for, I bought one NHENS DIGITAL, INC. DIGITAL STREAM DTX9950 from Radio Shack less than two months ago. It retails for about $60 so I paid $23 plus change for it, including tax, and it works great. It adds about fifteen channels to the six I used to get, though I only watch two of the new ones.
My outdoor antenna is in pretty bad shape because I didn’t lower it before one of the hurricanes that passed thru here back in '04 or '05 and it got beat up pretty bad, but the digital channels are much, much better than the analog versions. I should have gotten one of these earlier.
Here’s a site that reviews them:
Trying to get the Magnavox unit sold at Walmart to respond to the remote is frustrating. You have to be close and have the remote lined up visually with the units front, while pressing solidly down on the key, for a few seconds. It takes to long to recover from a channel switch. It is not just my unit that does this.
The Insignia sold at Best Buy changes works beautiful. You can quickly press a button and it responds. You can stand far away and not lined up with the unit and it responds. It recovers from a channel switch quickly. This is a nice unit. My sister has this one, and I’d like to have it.
Here’s one of those forums that Elmwood was talking about.
There’s no clear answer on which is best, but the Zenith DTT901 had no major complaints so I bought one at Circuit City. I’ve had it a month or so and it’s been fine. I haven’t tried any others though, that seems a bit excessive.
The actual tuner can be very different. Tuners are what locks on channels. If you receive a 90% signal or better you won’t notice, but if you are in an area with bad signals you will
For instance, in analog I can get 15 full power and 2 low power stations near perfect. In digital I only get three stations. And two of those are pixilated. So come Feb I need to move or get cable.
I tried different options and some boxes carry better than others, but none lock the signal cause where I am at best I only get 20% signal strength. And I’m only 5 miles from the Sears Tower. It’s just digital signals are subject to more interference. Since I can’t get a master antenna and have to use rabbit ears with a UHF loop or a silver sensor (neither is much help) I have no choice.
So yes tuners are different from box to box and one box may lock a signal better than another.
A friend who has strong opinions about this sort of thing suggested the same thing. I guess they’re both almost the same thing besides branding, and I believe they both have internals by LG? I have an Insignia and I like how I actually get channels now even though my TV is SD (and two years younger than me). With just an antenna I only got three channels of static.
A lot of the boxes you have to go in-store to get. Also, the coupon took a few months to come to me, you might want to order it ASAP.
Consumer Reports seems to like the Tivax STB-T9 and the Microgem MG2000. FreeDTVShop.com is one possible retailer. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/televisions/digital-tv-converter/ratings/dtv-converter-boxes-ratings.htm