EPS (justeps) wrote,
EPS
justeps

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The DTV Transition Continues to Suck

What's happened since my last DTV entry?
Consumer Reports finally got around to updating their ratings of Digital converter boxes.
What hasn't changed?
The Carefree CB8899, HOME.TEL RC-HT888L, SUMC LSA-801L, and TRT TACB-2009 are still unavailable.

I went ahead and purchased a Channel Master CM-7000 for live viewing.

Channel Master CM-7000

Pros:

  • S-Video output
  • Awesome picture quality ... better than I've ever seen out of a cable box (and no monthly fees, ha!)
  • Can respond to Pioneer cable box codes
  • Good sensitivity

Cons:

  • Ugly "industrial" appearance
  • No Analog Pass-Through; requires a splitter (or second antenna)
  • Poor user interface; difficult to navigate
  • No way to add channels directly; must rescan (it took ten attempts to register all my local stations)
  • Added one channel with its "real" channel number rather than its virtual one
  • "Delete" hides channels rather than deleting them
  • Small text for closed caption display and channel guide
  • Volume levels can vary considerably when changing channels
  • Channel Banner doesn't always time out
  • Zoomed picture seems scrolled too far left (noticeable when HD broadcaster pillarboxes SD content)
  • Ventilation holes on top let dust in

Conclusion: If they made a "version two" with Analog Pass-Through, a Smart Antenna interface, and fixed most of the little annoyances, I'd trade up


Compare with...

DISH Network DTVPal Plus

Pros:

  • VCR Timers
  • Excellent Electronic Program Guide
  • User-friendly controls
  • Allows you to rename channels
  • There's a Picture Format setting that Just Works Right

Cons:

  • External power supply blocks adjacent outlet on power strip
  • Can take a long time to come out of standby
  • Can't select Analog Pass-Through as a Timer channel
  • Gets really confused if a station broadcasts the wrong time-of-day
  • Completely locked up twice in the first month I had it, necessitating hard resets
  • One of the crashes occurred when I had five timer events programmed: it recorded the first two OK, but the VCR recorded no signal for the rest; I suspect disabling the inactivity standby would have prevented this
  • Suffers EPG "amnesia" ... I'm guessing this model has too little RAM and/or there's a memory allocator bug in the firmware
  • One day, it mysteriously decided to renumber channel 38-1 to 70-1 (leaving 38-2 untouched); deleting both subchannels and re-adding them fixed that
  • Nauseating to view under marginal signal conditions
  • Too easy to accidentally change volume setting on remote

Conclusion: Great concept, poor execution

Tags: dtv
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