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 > TV Converter Box Review

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Sluggo54

Livermore, CO

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Posted: 11/14/08 03:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I bought two different boxes, so we wouldn't be changing each others' channels. There are differences between the Magnavox and the RCA.

First one is the RCA DTA800B1. From initial turn-on, it guided the setup very quickly and effectively. The remote is very useable and well marked. It allows you to scan for channels, then rotate the antenna and scan and ADD channels. The Magnavox will not do this; when it scans it dumps previously scanned channels. The RCA's captioning works well off a dedicated button on the remote. The Magnavox requires navigating through a menu. Downmark: RCA supplies no 800 number for assistance - you must send an email and wait for a reply. Five days later, I am still waiting. It was a basic question to check response time. The RCA's on-screen appearance is much clearer and much more helpful. Navigation is intuitive.


Number two is the Magnavox TB100M69. The remote is a disaster. The markings are very tiny, and in the current style are almost the same color as the remote, a silvery gray. I absolutely cannot read them without lots of light and turning it this way and that. It's idiotic. I looked for an enlarged picture in the instructions that I could copy and keep handy for reference, but there is none. I would eliminate this one because of the remote alone. Magnavox does offer, through an apparent third party, phone assistance. That's the good news; the bad news is that even though this item must be one of the top subjects they deal with, the assistance was pretty thin and tentative. It was the same question asked RCA (where in the chain of antenna, satellite feed, satellite box, VCR/DVD, TV does the box go? In both cases, I ran the OA antenna lead to the converter, and the output of the converter to the OA antenna input of the sat box. The on-screen appearance is not as clear nor are the menus as intuitive as the RCA.

If I were doing it again now, I would get two RCA's and put aluminum foil up between the rooms!

Sluggo


DH = Bruce, DW = PK, DD = Maggie (Lab, Pointer, Viszla)RIP 4/13/2007
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mike4947

N. Syracuse, NY

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Posted: 11/14/08 04:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

moved from folding trailer forum

Phils

Cherokee, CA

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Posted: 11/14/08 05:05pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sluggo,

Can you post the power consumption for those two units please? I'm 'on the fence' about getting one. It'd be the RCA after reading your review but I was also looking at a Zentech and the DTV Pal. I already have my coupon.

I saw some posts a few weeks ago about the DTV Pal and how people add cooling holes because it gets pretty warm. This tells me it used a lot of power, "a lot" being in relation to my RV's battery charge life. My RV TV uses about 160 watts and if a converter added 50 watts, for instance, I'd be inclined to pony up $350 and buy a low end LCD TV.... I've seen some that use only 50 watts. That'd be only 1/4 of the power usage and the charge would last longer, meaning less generator use as we usually boondock.

Since I have until February, I'm counting on some great deals around or after Christmas. But if these converters use only 5 or 10 watts, I'll get one and save some money. I've sent queries to online sellers with no responses.

Thanks in advance,

Phil


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Wadcutter

IL

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Posted: 11/14/08 05:34pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've played with a few different models and searched the web for comparisons. You'll find that Zenith (or Insignia if from Best Buy) is the model everyone compares others to.
The Digital Stream and Zenith are the top 2 rated makes. Each has features I like over the other but they are subjective and personal preference. I like the Digital Stream remote better as, to me, it seems better organized and a bit more substantial altho I haven't had any problems with the Zenith remote. I noticed the Digital Stream does have a bit of heat from use. None from the Zenith. Side by side the Zenith scanned quicker and locked on channels quicker. The Zenith has the EZ Add channel which, after you do your initial scan, you can turn your antenna in a different angle and do the EZ Scan which will add any additional channels it finds looking in the other direction. Some models will drop whatever it finds on the initial scan. The Zenith uses 7 watts.
If I couldn't find a Zenith then I'd be happy with a Digital Stream.
Magnavox - forget it. Sure it's $10 cheaper but spend the extra $10 and get a lot more in a converter.


Camped in every state


Phils

Cherokee, CA

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Posted: 11/14/08 06:08pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks, Wadcutter. With your suggestion I did some searches and unless other posters have better suggestions, I'll be visiting Best Buy soon. The reviews of the Insignia are all high (except one that died after a week and he had tossed his receipt).

Phil

jharrelson

Carson City, Nevada

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Posted: 11/14/08 06:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have two RCA DTA800B1 and they work great... stays cool to the touch, easy to read remote control buttons, gives clear picture on the television and was extremely easy to install ...

.... and I only paid $9.99 plus the government coupon and state tax at the local Walmart Store...

The Office Depot store wanted $20 plus the government coupon and state tax..

John


John Harrelson
Carson City, Nevada
fulltime since 1977
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TWO CENTS WORTH
The story goes that a man died and was approached by the Devil who told him that he could buy his soul back for a dollar. The man searched his pockets and could only come up with 98 cent. While begging the Devil to forget the two cent he was short, an Angel happened by and hearing the Devil laughing, asked the man, "Would you mind if I put in my two cents ?" The Devil got so mad that he exploded in a puff of smoke and the man's soul was saved.
The moral: Sometimes putting in your two cents worth makes a difference.
JOHN "the cook" 1997

livingaboard

Everett wa

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Posted: 11/14/08 07:48pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would take both of them back and get the Zenith/Insignia model from Best buy. Unless the tv's are next to each other I don't see the remotes changing channels on the other tv.

The wattage is low..about 7 watts as the other poster stated.


Dave
Everett, WA
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Cocky_Camper

Rock Hill, SC

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Posted: 11/14/08 10:24pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sluggo54 wrote:

I bought two different boxes, so we wouldn't be changing each others' channels. There are differences between the Magnavox and the RCA.

First one is the RCA DTA800B1. From initial turn-on, it guided the setup very quickly and effectively. The remote is very useable and well marked. It allows you to scan for channels, then rotate the antenna and scan and ADD channels. The Magnavox will not do this; when it scans it dumps previously scanned channels. The RCA's captioning works well off a dedicated button on the remote. The Magnavox requires navigating through a menu. Downmark: RCA supplies no 800 number for assistance - you must send an email and wait for a reply. Five days later, I am still waiting. It was a basic question to check response time. The RCA's on-screen appearance is much clearer and much more helpful. Navigation is intuitive.


Number two is the Magnavox TB100M69. The remote is a disaster. The markings are very tiny, and in the current style are almost the same color as the remote, a silvery gray. I absolutely cannot read them without lots of light and turning it this way and that. It's idiotic. I looked for an enlarged picture in the instructions that I could copy and keep handy for reference, but there is none. I would eliminate this one because of the remote alone. Magnavox does offer, through an apparent third party, phone assistance. That's the good news; the bad news is that even though this item must be one of the top subjects they deal with, the assistance was pretty thin and tentative. It was the same question asked RCA (where in the chain of antenna, satellite feed, satellite box, VCR/DVD, TV does the box go? In both cases, I ran the OA antenna lead to the converter, and the output of the converter to the OA antenna input of the sat box. The on-screen appearance is not as clear nor are the menus as intuitive as the RCA.

If I were doing it again now, I would get two RCA's and put aluminum foil up between the rooms!

Sluggo


I was wanting the RCA becuase it had buttons on the box and volume on the remote. But Wal Mart only had the Magnavox and n one within 100 miles of me seemed to have them after calling around.


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Rangerdave

Austin Texas

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Posted: 11/14/08 11:49pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Zenith was the best out of my pick. Also a pass through..


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Cocky_Camper

Rock Hill, SC

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Posted: 11/15/08 10:15am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I bought to Magnavox Wednesday because Wal Mart didn't have any RCA and said that they weren't getting any in. Well today they had RCA conveter boxes for the same price as the Magnavox. I'm going to go try to exchange them. Hopefuly they will let me do it for a even trade even though I used the coupons.

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