Rate your DTV converter

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When I got my coupons, it was near impossible to even find a DTV converter in the stores. I finally had to drive a long distance to buy and Apex converter which was the only one available, and I only had 2 days left before my coupons expired. I was not impressed by this converter, at least as far as reception in my rural area. Of course I live in a fringe area, and I can not get much for stations. The nearest station is 50 miles, and it gets further for others. I use a fairly decent rooftop antenna, which is about 24feet from the ground, and I have a rotor.
What I was getting was one channel (from 50 miles) that worked on and off, and would fade in and out, and some days did not come in at all. The only channel that worked all the time was one of the PBS channels (and their secondary channels). Note: On analog, I get 5 channels well, and 3 more that are fair to poor.
A elderly relative lives in a large city, and I took my Apex converter over there and hooked it up. She was satisfied with it, and she needs something real simple, being elderly. So, I told her to keep that one, and give me her coupon. Now I want to buy one that will work in my fringe rural area, and there are piles of them in the stores. I'm trying to determine which one to get. My biggest concern is getting one that will get the best reception in a fringe area.
Please post which converter yoiu have and rate it. Are yoiu satisfied, or dissatisfied? What are it's pros and cons? And in particular, how well does it perform in a fringe area?
Thanks
Jim
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On 1/7/2009 1:16 PM Jimw spake thus:

Zenith DTT901. Satisfied; I give it a 7 out of 10.
Functionally it's all I need; remote, menus, user interface in general is pretty well designed.
Operationally, I'm not sure about picture quality. Could be my old freebie Panasonic TV, as others have said it actually has superior picture quality. It does seem a little better than the analog picture, so it's probably good.
Sorry, not in a fringe area so can't help you there.
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That is the one I picked up to play with. I am a ways off from the stations and I hooked it up to a ham antenna that is made for 145 Mhz. that is only up about 20 feet. Picked up 22 stations in the auto tune mode. A much higher antenna at 60 feet gave me 29 stations. The antennas are not even made for regular TV reception. I won't talk about the quality as I only had it hooked up to an old 16 inch TV. Think it was about $ 60 at Circuit City before the $ 40 discount card.
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On Wed, 07 Jan 2009 18:33:09 -0500, Ralph Mowery wrote:

Yet another 901. The consensus on various forums was that 900 (without the analog pass trough) was the best of the boxes available at stores within ~25 miles. Since I wanted the pass trough, I waited until the 901 was released to order coupons (mid-summer). Of course the 901s immediately went out of stock. But did eventually get one, then another.
The 901 gets the one local station (25 miles) that's currently on-air with digital fine. And, one that's about 75 miles away occasionally. No joy with the other three stations 75 miles away. I do expect to get the other local station when it goes digital 2/17 (or whenever they get their act together).
Imo, fringe reception probably has more to do with location and antenna than with the converter box. Incidentally, according to antennaweb.org, there is no TV reception at my location.
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A lot of people are having reception problems with digital. The digital signal is much more "fragile" than the analog signal. All of the promotions that claim digital provides a better picture are BS. IF you can get a picture it might be better but getting it is the problem. Complain about this to your congressman.
---MIKE---

>> (44° 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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On Jan 7, 7:25 pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (---MIKE---) wrote:

The reviews I read by a store address the issue that some work better in reception, and give ratings.
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Most of the stations are currently broadcasting their digital signals on temporary UHF frequencies. UHF has poorer performance than VHF. After the switchover, many stations will use their VHF analog frequencies for their digital channels, potentially improving their signal coverage.
Bottom line is that you can't judge your converter box performance by what you see today.
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Isn't VHF getting reassigned? Actually, there's three bands, 2-6, 7-13, and the "cable" channels between 6 and 7. I don't know if it is one or all are getting reassigned.
Here in phoenix, the tv stations with VHF assignments are also broadcasting hidef and a one or two lowdef DTV channels alongside their analog broadcast on the same VHF channels. For example, channel 12 (NBC) has one hidef and two lowdef ATSC channels on 12.
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The space between channels 6 and 7 are being used for FM broadcasting (88 to 108 mc). These will not change and a VHF antenna would still be needed for these stations.
---MIKE---

>> (44° 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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From several reviews there seems to be 4 catagories from poor to very good covering several areas, do you believe they are equal or the present reviews wrong in what you will get. From my take on it online is where the better box is, and price is a reason, it is a fact WalMart demands low prices from supliers.
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Which reviews and where did you read that actually reviewed anything that one could relate to such issues as S:N, input sensitivity, noise, etc., that have direct correlation to signal pickup? All I've seen is stuff that is peripherally related at best ("slightly fewer pixel dropouts") while concentrating on peripheral issues like setup and convenience of program content.
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On 01/07/09 08:25 pm ---MIKE--- wrote:

I just looked through our local channels using an outdoor antenna connected to the built-in tuner(s) in our Sam sung LCD HDTV. In some cases the analog signal was horrible -- ghosting -- while the digital version was crystal clear.
Keep in mind that some stations are not yet running their digital transmissions at full power. Your digital signals may well improve further after Feb 17.
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

Digital is either on or off--you have a perfect picture or none. That's its strength and weakness. It doesn't degrade gracefully.
Stations are in general not going to be licensed to run their digital signal at the same level as their analog signal. A lot of people are just plain going to lose reception.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (---MIKE---) wrote in

I have a cheapo $300 RCA DTV I got a year ago. I have it on amplified ears. On analog it gets snowy crap...on a good day. Hit digital flip-over button and I get like 28-30 stations crystal clear.
So, your general statement is BS. "It all depends" would be more accurate. Accroding to antennaweb.org, I'm 43 miles from the majority of transmitters for Raleigh, NC (north of here). I can also get a couple of stations from the Myrtle Beach SC area which is about 60 miles (Florence, SC transmitter) in the opposite direction south from here.
You're in White Mountains of New Hampshire. I lived in VT area a little over a year ago. Yea, I did the cog railway up Mt Washington. They aren't transmitting much from BTV let alone the Mt Washington area of NH.

If you look on antennaweb.org for zip 03589 (Mt Washington I believe) there's only like two stinkin' digital stations available now. What do you expect? Ruralness has some drawbacks.

About what? Where you choose to live?
DTV 03589
Antenna Type    Call Sign    Channel    Network    City, State    Compass Heading    Miles From *uhf    WLED-DT    48.1    PBS    DURHAM, NH             299°              22.3 *uhf    WVTB-DT    20.1    PBS    BURLINGTON, VT        321°         35.6
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I have a Magnavox converter and get excellent digital reception. In fact I get NBC and FOX which I never got on analog. A friend who lives about 15 miles away gets only one station with digital even though he has good analog reception of 5 stations. He has a good outside antenna and uses RG6 cable. He is not happy.
---MIKE---

>> (44° 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (---MIKE---) wrote in

You don't get ch 3, WCAX (CBS) out of Burlington? They transmit digital from the top of Mt Mansfield. You're around Mt Washington. You on the wrong side of the mountain or do you have sequoias outside your door?

Next door neighbor huh? :-)
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Red Green asked:

Yes, I get ch 3. Their digital signal is on ch 53 right now but will switch to ch 22 on Feb 17th (maybe). I also get 5 (NBC), 11, 20, 22, 33, and 44 (FOX), They all have good digital signals. I have a roof antenna and use RG6 cable. I also have an amplifier. My friend only gets ch 11 (which is actually ch 49 out of Littleton).
---MIKE---

>> (44° 15' N - Elevation 1580')
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On Wed, 7 Jan 2009 18:33:09 -0500, "Ralph Mowery"

I'm surprised it worked at all on a ham antenna. I know the wavelength affects the reception, and a half wave antenna is half the length, etc. What is the actual frequency band for DTV, and how does that compare to the 145Mhz ?
By the way, are there any decent antenna amplifiers for DTV, or does a person just use the standard UHF VHF amps they always sold? I know I can not raise my antenna any more or the mast will bend in high winds, and towers are way beyond my budget.
Thanks
Jim
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Today most DTV signals are UHF, between 470MHz and 800MHz. After the switchover, many will move to the VHF band.
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Sorry, Rob, but that's *TOTALLY* incorrect. One of the primary purposes of the switch is to open up the VHF bands for other uses. *ALL* digital transmissions are on UHF now (on channels 14 through 51, between 470 and 698MHz, to be exact) and will remain there after the switch. This includes the digital signals from stations that are currently transmitting analog on VHF channels. What will change is that the analog signals (whether they're currently on VHF or UHF) of all stations will be switched off, leaving only the digital signals that are on UHF frequencies. The only other "change" will affect some stations that are currently transmitting digital at less-than-full-power - They'll bump their output up to their full licensed power once the switch is completed.
The only exceptions will be what are termed "low power" stations (I haven't bothered to find out exactly what it is that makes a station "low power", although the information is certainly out there if someone cares enough to look for it) which will remain where they are, transmitting in analog mode as they always have.
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