Whats the best OTA tuner/converter box

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by saturn456, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. saturn456

    saturn456 New Member

    Jul 7, 2006


    I now see that TIVO has a list of supported tuner/converter boxes.


    I have my government coupon on order.

    Does anyone have recommendations of boxes that work better than others or have better features? ( I listed some of the ones I could buy locally with my coupon.)

    (I did find this page that has reviews http://site.dtvboxanswers.com/reviews)

    Afterdawn seems to carry almost every one of these and has specs on each:


    * Access DTA1010D
    * Apex DT250 (Bestbuy $60)
    * Artec T3Apro
    * Cadence DTVC9
    * Channel Master CM-7000
    * Coship N9988T
    * GE 22729
    * Insignia NS-DXA1 & NS-DXA1-APT (BestBuy $60)
    * Lasonic LTA-260 (RadioShack $70)
    * Magnavox TB100MW9 (Walmart $50)
    * Microgem MGMG2000
    * Philco TB100HH9
    * RCA DTA 800A (Walmart $50)
    * Sansonic FT-300A
    * Tivax STB-T9
    * Venturer STB7766G (Target $50)
    * Winegard RC-DT09
    * Zenith DTT900 & DTT901 (Circuit City $60)
  2. techieunite

    techieunite New Member

    Oct 18, 2005
    My brother uses one of these with a projector.

    Basically, some of them have problems with audio output when using the coax out.

    If you use the RCA cables, then this is typicaly not a problem.

    The one issue that you might run into is how the converter box shows HD channels.

    Not all digital shows are HD. For the HD ones, depending on the box, you may see a black/grey box around the shows. Different boxes handles this differently.

    A smart idea would be to buy a box and test it. If you like it, return it and re-buy with the goverent coupon.
  3. MikeAndrews

    MikeAndrews Registered abuser

    Jan 17, 2002
    Any of them do QAM so we can use them on cable?
  4. saturn456

    saturn456 New Member

    Jul 7, 2006
    I found that afterdawn.com (link above) carries almost every one of these boxes. THe also have detailed specs on each. I went through almost every one and did not see any with HD support.

    BestBuy carries the Samsung DTB-H260 and HDTV expert says it supports QAM but it is not on the TIVO list.

  5. SMWinnie

    SMWinnie Dis Member

    Aug 17, 2002


    OP seems to be interested in a CECB (coupon-eligible converter box). A number of features, like QAM tuning, disqualify a box for the coupon program.

    The Samsung DTB-H260 would also be disqualified based on, among other things, its component and HDMI outputs.

    Looks like TiVo decided not to support any non-CECB boxes. I'm a little surprised that there won't be any OTA boxes with USB or serial tuning - must not be many OTA-only series 2es floating around out there.
  6. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    Interesting that the Samsung webpage linked to has nothing about a "Samsung DTB-H260", not even when you do a search of the website.

    It does list a "DTB-H260F", but that's listed as an NTSC device, and mentions nothing about QAM.
  7. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    Don't confuse picture shape with picture definition.

    You can have a 4x3 (old style) shaped picture, and it can still be high def.

    It is shows done in the newer format tho' (16x9), that are more apt to be high def.

    If you're watching those on a widescreen set, those shows will NOT have any black bars. Being widescreen, they'll fill the widescreen display just fine.

    It's when widescreen shows are run on a TV with a traditionally shaped screen (4x3) that will lead to black bars on the top and bottom. (Unless the tuner allows you to crop the image down to 4x3, and then you're losing part of the picture.)

    Worse, if the digital station runs 4x3 video in the middle of their widescreen image, it appears on a standard TV with black bars all around it. I really wish they'd switch the coding or whatever and send out 4x3 AS 4x3. More than one digital channel in this area broadcasts in 4x3 pretty much all the time, and their picture fills a traditional TV screen. (It doesn't show up letterboxed, let alone framed.)
  8. newskilz

    newskilz New Member

    Jul 11, 2008
    I'd personally go for a box with S-video out and ,not necessarily as important, Smart antenna support. I don't think there are very many out there that do the latter, and only a handful that have S-video. That's my two cents, and for me at least the Apex DT250 works fine.
  9. TiVo Steve

    TiVo Steve New Member

    Nov 8, 2005
    Seattle WA.
    I use the Channel Master CM-7000 (D2A). :up:

    It is one of the CECB units with S-Video out, it has a metal (not plastic) enclosure, uses a standard AC power cord (not an AC adapter), and works great with my Sony SVR-3000 (Series 2) TiVo.

    Check it out on the AVS Forum...
  10. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    What does Smart antenna support mean?

    BTW, has anybody heard of any kind of official ignoring of coupon expiration dates or reissue of cards? Mine expired (a few months ago). I seem to remember hearing various rumblings from senators (IIRC) about the expiration of the cards.
  11. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    smart antenna
    antennas that support it can hook to converters that support it and when a channel is asked for it can move the antenna to a predetermined configuration to get the best signal for that channel.

    I just picked up 2 APEX 502 as they have Svideo 480i and support smart antenna. 59$ at Best Buy and they had a bunch on the shelf. My coupons expired today(16th) so I just picked up the ones that had the most confirmed features and figured I would deal with IR instead of having serial control.

    ETA -and it is metal case and uses standard power cord as well.

    Best Buy had Insignia on the shelf as well but that did not look to have s video or 480i based on the box details
  12. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    A Smart Antenna is not necessarily mechanical. It could be an electronically switched multi-directional antenna, which is a number of directional antenna elements, which a set is switched in on electronic command.
  13. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I bought the Apex to use on a little 20" set. Just playing around with it for a very short period, I noted at least 1 channel that was boxed on all 4 sides and it was pretty minimized. When pushing the "aspect" button, it said it couldn't be changed, when trying to maximize. Can that be remedied?

    It's on a set that was moved down to the basement when I got a flat panel about a month ago, so I only really used the Apex that one tme, for about 10 min.
  14. flaminio

    flaminio New Member

    May 21, 2004
    {bump} What's the current SOAK on the best OTA digital converter that works with TiVo?

    I have a Series 2, and just kicked Comcast to the curb. I'm looking for a SD converter that the TiVo can easily control, either through the IR blaster or a serial port. I'm interested in hearing in good/bad experiences people have had with a Series 2 OTA setup.

  15. dstoffa

    dstoffa Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    New York, NY
    I love the Channel Master 7000. Does S-Video Output.

    Problem is, they are getting kind of scarce. I would think that everyone who needed one already bought one. I ended up getting mine for $8 shipped after my coupon back in the summer....

  16. TheGreenHornet

    TheGreenHornet Don

    Oct 31, 2007
    Kudos in kicking Comcast to the curb! I have not missed the bill in the two and half years that they got the boot at my house. I have survived quite well and often overwelmed with so much to watch with ota and dvds.

    In the past year and a half, I have a Best Buy Insignia box connected to my six year old series 2 in my office. I set it up the day I received the software update in the summer of 08. The software was a breeze to get the box up and running. The set up added years of usefull value to my 15 year old sony tv and s2. The box is performing like a champ by showing no issues.

    The up front cost of the box and antenna to make the upgrade to your series 2 would probably be paid for by just one month of a comcast bill. Hell, I bought a series 3 with my cable savings.

    I do not think the box is in the store any longer. I am sure they are all over e-bay. I agree with the previous poster, I would have opted for the channel master first had it been available when I wanted to set up my s2 with an antenna.
  17. dstoffa

    dstoffa Member

    Dec 14, 2005
    New York, NY
  18. flaminiom

    flaminiom New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Holt, MI
    Before I bought an HD unit I had a CM 7000. Bought it on name, reviews, and the S-video connector. It worked well for the short time I used it.
  19. tootal2

    tootal2 Active Member

    Oct 14, 2005
    I like the Channel Master CM-7000. only thing i dont like is the zoom is off center. but you cant use the zoom with tivo.
    it also has super vhs(s-video) out.

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