Analog TVs will be outdated by February 17, 2009 (now June 12,) according to the FCC. Recently we’d aquired an 32″ HDTV and a 22″ HD monitor to get ready for the change. The monitor was paid for by Microsoft I got from a settlement program. On a side note, Bill Gates, with his philanthropy program, isn’t so evil after all. The LCD TV will be the third most expensive item our family would ever own, but not the most important item.
If you have an antenna that recieves signals off the air you will need one of these converter boxes in this chart. If you want a $40 voucher go here.
The Tivocommunity has created a small poll. The poll shows that more people are choosing the $40 ECHOSTAR.
This poll chart is compiled by the Tivocommunity forum as seen here.
One of the DigitalSTREAM model might be on my wish list because it has a better video output, actually a already have it and updated this post at the bottom. The voucher won’t allow high definition outputs. I’ll also be owning the CoShip 9900T soon. It claims to store up to 3000 channels with fast inter-channel switching capability, with 7 day EPG and supports a picture in picture capability (some models only.) But I had problems getting it at BSATs website when I entered the wrong coupon code into the BSAT shopping cart. It took five days before I knew that I’ve entered the wrong code. I will also be buying the RCA DTA800 if I get a chance because this model can be able to remotely control an external antenna system automatically. It can be a pain to get up and twist the antenna every once in a while. And this model takes care of that. They are sold at the BSAT website which sells like hotcakes.
Remember that it can take up to ten days before the item is shipped. After a few days mine was shipped and it took two weeks to arrive. I was very satisfied with the Coship. Switching between channels isn’t somewhat fast which feels much like a normal vacuum tube TV when changing channels. The only drawback is that the audio on some channels are as bad as the Digital Stream converter box. The remote has an antenna meter button which put out a strength indicator beep while you adjust the antenna. Some converter boxes will not have a reception meter button on the remote. The reception and image quality on the Coship is pretty good. The remote (with volume control and many other features) can adjust between various screen size easily in case the network decides to broadcast in wide screen. It will come in handy if you will want to see what the director intended on the left and right side of the screen at a press of the button. I didn’t find this feature in the digital stream. I recommend the Coship over the digital stream.
A practical antenna for homes (with trees nearby)
I’ve tried a few low cost dtv amplified and twist-knob antennas with such brand as RCA, Terk and so on. But what really worked somewhat decently is the Philips Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna which sells for about $30 at Lowes that uses a DC adaptor. You can probably put it inside the attic or sit it right on top the television set or put another dtv antenna in the attic and plug it into the back of this thing. There were a few random 1-second drop-out in audio on some hard to get channels once every two hours but it was worth it since our house is surrounded by large dense trees. In this kind of dense trees, the grill and whiskers type of antenna didn’t work well. The broadcast tower is about 35 miles away. If there had been no tree obstructions the reception would have been superb with the grill and whiskers type of antenna also known as a Multi Directional HDTV Antenna [image]. But the amplified antenna seems to squeeze in the signal from between the trees pretty well, except on a typical storm or some severe weather conditions. Sometimes, it won’t recieve a few high definitions (HD) signals, usually early in the morning. All in all, it seems to pull in digital broadcasts pretty decently.
A short video about the hazard of television on our mind (must watch)
I tried out the Digital STREAM DTX9900 from radio Radio Shack and it was an easy setup. Took only a minute to auto scan and collect the channels.
Digital STREAM DTX9900; LG Chip, LGDT1111D
The DTX9900 doesn’t have the S-VHS output or programming more than a few hours. Without S-VHS, the lack of quality clearly shows on the screen but the image quality is great on an analog TV set. The converter box comes with a volume control for convenience but I can’t give great reviews on its sound quality. Many of the channels will sound just as though the TV is speaking thru a tin can (or the sound you get when your speaker is stuck at the 6-10kHz frequency bandwidth, which can be really annoying if you’re sensitive to these frequencies.) Reception is just as great as my Sharp Aquos. Switching between channels can give you a delay of about 1 to 1.5 seconds, somewhat slow but better than my Aquos. One of the best feature to have handy is the reception button on the remote. By pushing a single button on the remote, a reception meter pops up on the screen allowing you to quickly adjust the antenna. Another plus is having buttons on the unit itself for quick channel change in case you loose the remote. Overall it’s a practical box if you need one that produce a decent image on your square screen TV. But I think I need a better receiver, hopefully with a better video output, a few days of EPG and a faster inter-channel switching.
The following copyrighted information is compiled by Ken of EZ Digital TV used with permission. You can go to Ken’s site to see the updated online retailers.
|COSHIP N9900T SPEC||Buy at BSAT||$51.99|
|Digital STREAM DTX9900||Radio Shack||$59.99|
|Insignia NS-DXA1||Best Buy||$59.99|
|Tivax STB-T1||Tivax Online||$69.99|
|Zenith DTT900||Radio Shack||$59.99|
|Zenith DTT900||Circuit City||$59.99|
|Zenith DTT900||Radio Shack||$59.97|
Example Coupon Eligible Digital Converter Box with EPG*
*EPG (Electronic Program Guide) time zone specific. You can see what will be showing up to a week in an advance. Check to be sure that some of these do have 7 days of programming guide. Some will show only 2-3hour ahead of program guide.
CoShip 9900T (7days)
The Echostar TR-40 (7 days)
Note: All Sold by solidsignal. All images by solid signal. (I’m not affiliated with this site)
Other features worth mentioning: The RCA DTA800 is equip with smart antenna jack which controls the smart antenna. The smart antenna isn’t probably available until Feb 2008. Smart Digital Antenna uses sonar technology to seek and lock the strongest DTV signal available. This gives consumers the convenience of never having to physically adjust your antenna.
You can probably find some of these boxes at a local store near you:
My HDTV will be used primarily to watch details in documentary movies such as Nature and the sciences. Our analog CRT TV had lasted about 10-15 years and they’re still manufacturing the same poor image quality as of ten years ago. Our LCD HDTV is expected to last 20-25 years because I bought spare parts along with it. But the technology will probably be outdated in about 18 years.
The LCD HDTV by Sharp has a PC VGA input that has excellent details in still images. Viewing HD broadcasts is perfect. With the VGA input, you can turn your PC into a DVR (digital video recorder) or into a hard drive DVD jukebox. To turn your PC into a DVR you’ll need MythTV or Windows Media Center and a video card that will pickup broadcast signals. You will most likely need Vista in order to use Windows Media Center – that’s their way of trying to make us upgrade to Vista. I’ve been using Windows 2000 Pro for years. I feel that Win2000 Pro operates much faster because it’s lighter.
MythTV offers multiple tuner cards and multiple simultaneous recordings. Grabs program information using xmltv, skips commericals and more.
My HDTV will require a new set of HDDVD player or a DVD player that is capable of upscaling to 1080i and will plug into its HDMI port. I’ve got an LG DVD player with HDMI but the sound quality and image quality isn’t within my standard of quality. The player works great for a door jamb. Eventually, I settled with the Sony because of its acceptable image and great sound quality. The best way to get the most detail from your DVDs is, in my opinion, to view them on a HD monitor. I only trust two brands, Viewsonic and Dell.
Advantages: Wide viewing angle, fast response time and refresh rates, more channels than standard TVs.
Disadvantages: This TV changes channel very slowly, has poor quality on analog broadcast (I don’t need to worry about that because the government will make analog channels obsolete.) And finally, it refuses to allow Smart Stretch (widescreen viewing) on some channels, this is probably caused by the broadcasting company. Eventually, it develop a red line (dead pixels effect) from top to bottom right in the middle of the screen but it is bearable. The bad component is most likely the pixel controller transistor. I’ve acquired the part and ready to install it but is proving to be too challenging to install it.
A new service called Yahoo! HD for AQUOS’, which was unveiled at the CEATEC Japan 2007 show basically upscales content from your PC using Yahoo’s Japanese portal to make the most of a 1920 x 1080 resolution LCD TV.