DIGITAL HDTV CONVERTER BOX TESTS

Best Buy, K-Mart, Radio Shack, Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, eBay and other popular Boxes Tested

We've Tested 18 New Converter Boxes!
Batch One Digital Converter Boxes
TWO BATCHES PURCHASED AND TESTED IN A FAMILY HOME SETTING
RETAIL STORE
...or On-Line
CONVERTER BOX TYPE
Press Name for Factory Specifications
PRICE
(We Paid)
PRESS IMAGE TO ENLARGE
AND TO SEE ITS REMOTE
Best Buy                   Apex DT250
Analog Pass-Through
 $59.99
 
Press to Enlarge
Sears/K-Mart             Magnavox TB100MG9
Analog Pass-Through
 $49.99
 
Press to Enlarge
Radio Shack             Digital Stream DTX9900            $59.99
 
Press to Enlarge
Target                           GE 22729
Venturer STB7766G
 $79.99
 $49.99
Press to Enlarge
Wal-Mart                  RCA DTA800  $49.87 Press to Enlarge
eBay     Tivax STB-T9
Access HD DTA1010D
THESE TWO ARE THE SAME INSIDE
 $79.97
 $44.99


Press to Enlarge
On-Line Channel Master CM-7000  $69.98 Press to Enlarge
Batch Two Digital Converter Boxes
- - - - - - - - SECOND BATCH of POPULAR CONVERTER BOXES - - - - - - - -
On-Line Coship N9988T  $40.01 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Insignia NS DXA1  $49.98 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Sansonic FT-300A  $54.99 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Winegard RCDT09  $69.98 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Digital Stream DSP7500T  $69.98 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Alpha Digital AT2016  $48.99 Press to Enlarge
On-Line DTVPal
Analog Pass-Through
 $40.00 Press to Enlarge
On-Line Zinwell ZAT-970A
Analog Pass-Through
 $47.99 Press to Enlarge


Hands On Digital Converter Boxes Batch One Converter Boxes and Remote Controls What They're Like and How They Feel
PRESS for Converter Box Components
Converter Boxes are fun!  Imagine a new TV in your living room. That's what it's like when you hook-up a Converter Box to your old TV. Clear sights and sounds fill your room like never before.

Thirty-five million Converter Boxes have been made and shipped in the last three years. They do a fantastic job converting TV signals, but to have qualified for Coupon discounts they had do other things.

They had to have alerts, parental control, auto-off, zoom, strength indicators, energy saving and program guides. But most couldn't turn your TV off at night. Last minute production pressure and bureaucratic mandate didn't promote practical development.

Many still have trouble synchronizing sound and video. Lips move before they're heard. Even so, watching your television today is much more enjoyable than ever before.

Batch Two Converter Boxes are Smaller
MOST of SECOND BATCH of CONVERTER BOXES TESTED were SMALLER


PERFORMANCE TEST PROCEDURES
Converter Box Test Environmental Constants - Press for Control Tuner Detail All Tests were conducted at the same home with the same antenna and TV.
A CE LABS CONTROL BOX was used to monitor all incoming signals.
Every Box was subject to identical signal qualities and strengths.
Every Test was performed on every Box every day for 10 days.

In order to grade 18 Converter Boxes for quality of reception and usability in a Real World environment of complex variables, a "standard" for judging each Box by various family members was established. Unlike all other Converter Box tests, our's were done 33 miles from the stations.
Channels Used in Our Converter Box Tests
The 12 Channels we used here are further broken into 26 Multicast Channels
i.e. WUSF-DT channel 16 broadcasts programs on 16.1, 16.2, 16.3 and 16.4

Our standard consisted of 26 RF Channels, received on an amplified antenna, being split into a Test Control Box and a Converter Box. Each Box was compared to the same Control Box by the same people during two different ten day test periods. This assured test uniformity.

CE Labs HDTV Test Control Box
Circuit Diagram and Notes from a 2 Hour Test Cycle of 18 Converter Boxes
Two component antenna inputs on the TV allowed us to switch between boxes to compare screen and stereo qualities. Fast switching accented the differences. Tests were performed on 10 Converter Boxes by people of different ages at various times of day. Another group tested 8 boxes. Screen/Sound grades and incidents were recorded.

Signals were monitored for uniformity during each two hour test cycle consisting of each Converter Box being observed, in random order, for 10 minutes followed by a 2 minute intermission while preparing the next Box for testing. By switching the Control Box for another Converter Box we could directly compare two different Converter Boxes.

Screen color and sound variations were automatically adjusted by our RCA TruFlat CRT TV. Each Converter Box tested was made in China except the Channel Master CM-7000, which was made in Bulgaria. All had similar features and each qualified for using a $40 Government Coupon.

Response time to remote control varied by Converter Box. Many had aggravating sensitivity issues. They just didn't work very well. If not pointed precisely toward their Converter Box they would NOT work. Since remote controls were critical to Converter Box testing, they, too, were graded.



TEST RESULTS

Radio Shack's Digital Stream models DTX9900 and DSP7500T tied for First. Their video, stereo and unique remote control qualities are excellent. Both models quickly tune all local and distant channels clearly over long periods of time, with little or no variation.
Extremely user friendly with the only remote controls we tested with TV control; users, even those with cable or satellite, can easily switch to/from local HDTV, adjust TV volume and turn the TV on/off from anywhere in a large room. Plus, as with all other Converter Boxes we tested, they host parental control, zoom, signal strength indicators, energy saving options and program guides.

Channel Master CM-7000 and Coship N9988T tied for Second. With 95% of the winners' qualities, they lack only TV and "decimal" remote control buttons.
The RF Channels must be scrolled in. Otherwise, both are practical, well built, durable and attractive pieces.

The GE 22729, with incredible distant-channel reception, wins Third. Powerful screen and stereo on all channels. Great full-screen program guide.
Best tuner for every TV on the farm. Locks-in weak signals perfectly but the remote control must be aimed precisely at the Box to work. This unit is more of a stand-alone TV receiver than a family style channel tuner.

Dish Network's DTV Pal earns Forth Place. Like a Channel Master CM-7000 at twice its price, DTV Pal does the job on all channels with only a few remote control drawbacks.
Small Box with an external power transformer. Best Converter Box for analogue pass-through control.

Insignia NS-DXA1 takes Fifth. Sharp screens with brighter colors than most. Excellent Remote features but two High Numbered VHF channels were untunable.
These are family Boxes. Durable and easy for everyone, the remote control works well from anywhere in the room. Its "Recall" button shows selectable channels' strengths to help you select a usable one.

RCA DTA800 and Access HD DTA1010D are Sixth. Excellent screen images, sound and zooming control but slow to respond to, and difficult to aim, remote control.

Magnavox's TB100MG9 comes in Seventh. Sharp screen lacking bright colors of most. With analogue pass-thru and combat ready remote control, kids can't break it or waste its batteries.

Please note that better Converter Boxes come from established companies.

Five small boxes - Winegard and Venturer, identical units, Sansonic, Alpha Digital and Zinwell - tie for Eighth. Too small for kids, all have bright screen colors with good stereo but each has a variety of remote control problems.

Apex is Ninth. With its aggravating remote control, tuning the Converter Box from across a room is nearly impossible.

Last place goes to Tivax.


All Tests Performed Using Vendor Specifications!
Converter Box Manuals and Full Cycle Test Record
Cable and Satellite services don't even come close!





HDTV Over the Air

HDTV envelope imageALL TV BROADCASTS ARE DIGITAL-OVER-THE-AIR NOW! Regular TV set tuners will not work long. You'll need a Converter Box for each TV using an antenna. Different tuners are described here. Some work good outside of town, some don't. Some on any channel, some not!   BUT...

FIRST YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW WHICH HDTV CHANNELS AND ANTENNAS WILL WORK AT YOUR PLACE near:
Abilene, Akron, Albany NY, Albany GA, Albuquerque, Alexandria LA, Allentown, Amarillo, Anchorage, Appleton WI, Asheville, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Auburn AL, Augusta GA, Austin TX, Bakersfield, Baltimore, Bangor, Baton Rouge, Bend OR, Billings, Birmingham, Bismarck, Bluefield WV, Bloomington, Boise, Boston Metro, Boulder, Bowling Green, Branson, Buffalo, Burlington, Brownsville, Canton, Cape Cod, Cape Gerardo, Casper, Cedar Rapids, Champaign, Charleston SC, Charleston WV, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Chattanooga, Cheyenne, Chicago Metro, Cincinnati, Clarksburg, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbia SC, Columbus GA, Columbus OH, Corpus Christi, Coos Bay, Dallas Metro, Dayton, Davenport, Decatur IL, Denver Metro, Des Moines, Detroit, Dothan, Dover, Duluth, Durham, El Paso, Erie, Eugene, Evansville, Fairbanks, Fargo, Fayetteville, Flint, Flagstaff, Florence, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Myers, Ft Pierce, Ft Smith, Ft Wayne, Fresno, Gainesville, Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, Green Bay, Gulfport, Greensboro, Greenville NC, Hartford, Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford, Hattiesburg, High Point NC, Hopkinsville, Honolulu, Houston Area, Huntington, Huntsville, Idaho Falls, Indianapolis, Jackson, Jacksonville, Johnstown PA, Joplin, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Kearney, Key West, Killeen TX, Kingsport, Knoxville, Lafayette, Lake Charles LA, Lansing, Laredo, Las Vegas, Lexington, Lincoln NB, Little Rock, Los Angeles Area, Louisville, Lubbock, Macon, Madison, Madisonville, Manchester, Mansfield OH, McAllen TX, Memphis, Meridian, Miami Metro, Midland, Milwaukee, Mobile, Modesto, Minneapolis, Monroe, Monterey, Montgomery, Morehead City, Morgantown WV, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, Naples FL, New Bern, New Haven, New London, New Orleans, New York Metro, Norfolk, Oakland CA, Ocala, Odessa TX, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Oxnard, Paducah, Panama City, Peoria, Pensacola, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland ME, Portland OR, Prescott AZ, Providence, Raleigh, Rapid City, Reading, Reno, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester, Rockford, Sacramento, Saginaw, Salisbury, Salt Lake City, Saint Joseph MO, Saint Paul MN, Saint Petersburg, Saint Louis Area, San Angelo TX, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose CA, Santa Ana CA, Santa Barbara, Santa Fe, Sarasota, Savannah, Schenectady, Scranton, Seattle, Selma, Shreveport, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Spartanburg, Spokane, Springfield MA, Springfield MO, Springfield IL, Syracuse, Tacoma, Tallahassee, Tampa Area, Terre Haute, Toledo, Topeka, Trenton NJ, Tri-Cities TN, Troy NY, Tucson, Tulsa, Tupelo, Tuscaloosa, Utica, Valdosta, Vermont, Vincennes, Virginia Beach, Waco, Washington, Waterbury, Waterloo, Watertown, West Palm Beach, Weston, Wichita, Wilmington, Winston-Salem, Yakima
LARGER PRINT

CALIFORNIA - ARIZONA - TEXAS - ILLINOIS - PENNSYLVANIA - OHIO - NEW YORK - GEORGIA - NORTH CAROLINA - FLORIDA


New Multicast channels look like this...
during setup and tuning with a Converter Box.

Please Pardon Poor Photography

Converter Box Screen HDTV Converter Box Menu Screen Converter Box Menu Screen Shot DigitalStream Converter Box Screen Example Converter Box Screen Shot Converter Box Screens Converter Box Screen Shot Television Converter Box Screen Converter Box Menu Screen Shot
Cable and Satellite DON'T carry most local channels!

     TV Guides are FREE on HDTV Converter Boxes!

...currently only 34.9 million (11 percent) of the 304 million television sets in the U.S. are used to view over-the-air television programming. The phenomenon is driven by the fact that television today is largely a wired (i.e., cable or satellite) service.

Converter Box Coupons Issued

Government DTV Converter Box Coupon Statistics

Converter Box Coupon Costs

Government DTV Converter Box Cost Statistics

National Telecommunications & Information Administration Data

Each $40 coupon cost taxpayers $48

Free HDTV in America