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Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 31st 08, 09:10 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 4,938
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

On Oct 31, 4:57*pm, David Nebenzahl wrote:
Just used my gubmint'-issued $40 credit and bought the box (at a local
Circuit City). Got the only one they had, the Zenith DTT901. Now I'm
wondering whether I should have shopped around first.

My main complaint is that the picture quality ain't great. I saw another
converter box at a friend's house that looked really good on their tube;
this one isn't all that sharp or punchy, kind of grainy. Definitely not
as good as the analog picture I get from those stations with the
strongest signals. (On the plus side, not only do I get lots more
channels than I got before, but the picture quality is at least
consistent among all of them, even if it's not the greatest.) I'm
assuming this has something to do with the DAC chipset or the RF
modulator in the box.

Box was super-simple to set up. I'm not thrilled with the user
interface: there's a "favorites" function that's kind of annoying to
use. You can put the most-watched stations in a "favorites" list, then
hit the FAV button to access them. Problem is, the on-screen menu has a
very short timeout, so if you linger too long on one station, it goes
away and you can't pick from the list without hitting FAV again (plus it
bumps the selection up each time you hit FAV; definitely not the way I
would have designed that function).

The remote doesn't turn my TV on and off, but that's probably just
because the TV is so old. (There's a list of 45 manufacturers whose sets
can supposedly be used with the remote.)

Not big deals, since I don't really care that much about TV anyhow. I'd
be curious to hear similar reports on other converter boxes.

Oh, and the box was $60, so I paid $20.

--
* Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

- Paulo Freire


Can you access consumer reports online, an interesting thing is 2/3rds
are not the good ones, the rating is what you describe, poor picture.
Ads
  #2  
Old October 31st 08, 09:38 PM posted to alt.home.repair
dpb
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Posts: 9,954
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

David Nebenzahl wrote:
Just used my gubmint'-issued $40 credit and bought the box (at a local
Circuit City). Got the only one they had, the Zenith DTT901. Now I'm
wondering whether I should have shopped around first.

My main complaint is that the picture quality ain't great. I saw another
converter box at a friend's house that looked really good on their tube;
this one isn't all that sharp or punchy, kind of grainy. Definitely not
as good as the analog picture I get from those stations with the
strongest signals. (On the plus side, not only do I get lots more
channels than I got before, but the picture quality is at least
consistent among all of them, even if it's not the greatest.) I'm
assuming this has something to do with the DAC chipset or the RF
modulator in the box.

....

Well, that's better luck than I've had so far -- nuttin' is coming in
thru the RCA DTA800 I got. It was the only one on the shelves locally
and by dallying, I had waited until it was the day the gubmint credit
expired. (I've not tried yet to see if can somehow get a second thru
the online wizard). It was 40+ so tax and a little was all was out, though.

I haven't yet done the experiments w/ the antenna, cable run, etc., --
in fact I just finished a maintenance job on the hydraulic system of the
lift so I can now tomorrow get up there and futz around doing things
like direct connection off the antenna, thru the necessary cable,
orientation, etc., and see if there's any hope w/ the antenna as it is
on the present tower. Since the lift goes 40-ft, if needed I can take
it off the current tower and carry it on up higher and see if that will
help.

Do wish I had two or three other boxes to compare at the same time,
though, to be able to see if it's ****-poor box or just sol from signal
strength.

The online sites say we're _supposed_ to be in at least fringe
strong-enough signal area, but what do they know?

--
  #3  
Old October 31st 08, 09:44 PM posted to alt.home.repair
dpb
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Posts: 9,954
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

dpb wrote:
....
Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.

--
  #4  
Old October 31st 08, 09:57 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,479
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

Just used my gubmint'-issued $40 credit and bought the box (at a local
Circuit City). Got the only one they had, the Zenith DTT901. Now I'm
wondering whether I should have shopped around first.

My main complaint is that the picture quality ain't great. I saw another
converter box at a friend's house that looked really good on their tube;
this one isn't all that sharp or punchy, kind of grainy. Definitely not
as good as the analog picture I get from those stations with the
strongest signals. (On the plus side, not only do I get lots more
channels than I got before, but the picture quality is at least
consistent among all of them, even if it's not the greatest.) I'm
assuming this has something to do with the DAC chipset or the RF
modulator in the box.

Box was super-simple to set up. I'm not thrilled with the user
interface: there's a "favorites" function that's kind of annoying to
use. You can put the most-watched stations in a "favorites" list, then
hit the FAV button to access them. Problem is, the on-screen menu has a
very short timeout, so if you linger too long on one station, it goes
away and you can't pick from the list without hitting FAV again (plus it
bumps the selection up each time you hit FAV; definitely not the way I
would have designed that function).

The remote doesn't turn my TV on and off, but that's probably just
because the TV is so old. (There's a list of 45 manufacturers whose sets
can supposedly be used with the remote.)

Not big deals, since I don't really care that much about TV anyhow. I'd
be curious to hear similar reports on other converter boxes.

Oh, and the box was $60, so I paid $20.


--
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

- Paulo Freire
  #5  
Old November 1st 08, 12:10 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 6,757
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box


dpb wrote:

dpb wrote:
...
Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.

--


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.
  #6  
Old November 1st 08, 01:00 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 6,757
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box


David Nebenzahl wrote:

On 10/31/2008 4:10 PM Pete C. spake thus:

dpb wrote:

dpb wrote:

...

Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.


I wonder about that: previously, I could get only the closest broadcast
stations, some of them not very well. With the converter box, I get a
lot more stations, including some farther away ones (like San Jose; I'm
in Oakland), and they all come in pretty clearly. And this is with the
same set of rabbit ears as before. So aren't the digital signals
actually stronger? Or are they just inherently clearer because of the
frequency band they're in?


Most of the digital signals are currently transmitting a lot lower than
their final power levels. What you're seeing is the characteristic of
digital transmissions where they can recover the data at quite low
signal levels and if they can get the data you get a clear picture. With
analog transmissions your picture gradually degrades and you get a lot
of snow when you get down to those signal levels.
  #7  
Old November 1st 08, 01:01 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,889
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

"Pete C." wrote in news:490b9e58$0$21513
:


dpb wrote:

dpb wrote:
...
Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.

--


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.


Have heard that several times. Good news for me. I get a bunch of stations
but some nights they are weak and you get that pixeling. Most of the time
they're crystal clear. This is on a DTV with no converter.
  #8  
Old November 1st 08, 01:43 AM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 3,479
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

On 10/31/2008 4:10 PM Pete C. spake thus:

dpb wrote:

dpb wrote:

...

Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.


I wonder about that: previously, I could get only the closest broadcast
stations, some of them not very well. With the converter box, I get a
lot more stations, including some farther away ones (like San Jose; I'm
in Oakland), and they all come in pretty clearly. And this is with the
same set of rabbit ears as before. So aren't the digital signals
actually stronger? Or are they just inherently clearer because of the
frequency band they're in?


--
Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the
powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.

- Paulo Freire
  #9  
Old November 1st 08, 03:32 AM posted to alt.home.repair
dpb
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,954
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

Pete C. wrote:
dpb wrote:
dpb wrote:
...
Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.

--


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.


I don't know that is or isn't true of these--they've not put out any
information regarding that point I'm aware of...

I've asked for info from two of the three; no response so far.

--
  #10  
Old November 1st 08, 01:11 PM posted to alt.home.repair
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,929
Default Review: Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box

dpb wrote:
Pete C. wrote:
dpb wrote:
dpb wrote:
...
Oh, one more thing...in analog pass-thru mode the signal was
significantly poorer, to the point of being virtually unwatchable.

--


Remember that at or shortly after the cutover date, most of those
digital signals will get a lot stronger. Most of the current digital
signals are transmitting from secondary antennas at quite low power
levels.


I don't know that is or isn't true of these--they've not put out any
information regarding that point I'm aware of...


It totally depends on how they decided to implement things. In the case
of my market two of the five stations are running with temporary
installations with a lower antenna and much lower ERP than they will
have after the cutoff. The other five installed permanent equipment and
what you see now is what you will see after the cutoff. I know this
because my buddy does facilities engineering. Sometimes you can get
answers if you call the station and manage to talk to someone besides
the normal staff.


I've asked for info from two of the three; no response so far.

--

 




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