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DTV Debacle Part 3

(Read Part 1 Here)(Read Part 2 Here)

In my next step, I looked at all the online sellers that were partnering with the government on this program, and took down the prices on the models I might be interested in. I also looked around for reviews and comparisons.

Some reviews used:
Consumer Reports Comparisons
Cnet comparison of five boxes
dtvconverterboxes.blogspot.com compares some converter boxes
dtvboxanswers.com sells and reviews boxes

I couldn't find much information online about the Apex (sold locally at Best Buy) and phoenixredux and I decided the s-video input wasn't that important. We considered the boxes Consumer Reports listed as having the best picture quality, but they all seemed to have some drawbacks as well. I noticed some boxes were listed as having good picture quality on some sites, and bad quality on other sites, while some boxes were only reviewed in detail in one place. I did a lot of searching and didn't manage to find out much.

We decided to get the DTVPal (most highly rated on cnet*), since it has the best programming guide and has analog passthrough for any little oddball stations. Though it sounds like it doesn't have as good picture quality as the best models, no one said it was bad. We won't be using it on an HDTV, of course, like some reviewers did for testing purposes!

The lowest price I found on it was $47.99 at http://dtv.bsat.net/, and I ordered two. To make up for the low price they had very high shipping charges, but even after shipping they cost less than it would to buy any box locally, so I shrugged it off.

We didn't choose to get it, but from what I've read, I'd recommend the Tivax STB-T9 (most highly rated at Consumer Reports) to someone looking for the best picture quality in a cheap converter box. Though even that had a minor flaw in stretching downconverted letterboxed widescreen programming. And it lacked analog passthrough. I found the lowest price for it ($47.95) at digitalstar.com.

Though I put a lot of time into hunting for information, I could have found out more and made a better decision with even more searching. I just didn't have the time for that, and there wasn't a comprehensive, organized source of information anywhere I could find.

* The user ratings for the DTVPal weren't the highest, but most of the bad ratings were due to DishNetwork's lousy customer service for people ordering directly from them. The editorial review rated it highest. I am a little concerned about some software flaws mentioned in one user review, I hope someone will come up with a hack to update the software.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
polyranger
Jul. 27th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Now add up all the money you spent in gas, plus your time...LOL!

Seriously though, thanks for the research information. It'll be helpful!
grenacia
Jul. 27th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Well, I did the in-person research to kill time between work and Bean's Tae Kwon Do open house, driving the path I'd be driving anyway, in my hybrid car. So it wasn't that bad. It was either that or hang out in the library for awhile or something.

If you want to know anything else about converter boxes, I found out a lot and didn't write it all down in these blog entries, so if you have any particular questions, ask me, I might know.
polyranger
Jul. 27th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
Did they have any that pulled in weaker signals? We will need one for our cabin.
grenacia
Jul. 27th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
That's more a question of the antenna. However, some of them do have a feature where it gives a percentage you can watch as you're adjusting the antenna, to play cold-warm-hotter with it instead of just signal/no signal. You'll likely want analog passthrough too, since some small rural stations don't have to switch to digital.
(Anonymous)
Aug. 6th, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
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(Anonymous)
Sep. 10th, 2008 06:15 am (UTC)
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(Anonymous)
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
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I'm happy very good site
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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