Archive for May, 2009

Insignia NS-DXA1 Digital Converter Box Review

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

 

The Insignia NS-DXA1 is one of our favorite boxes

The Insignia NS-DXA1 is one of our favorite boxes

 

Picture Quality: The Insignia NS-DXA1 digital converter box offers up a very nice picture, approximating that of a DVD player.  This is a huge upgrade from an analog signal.

 

Audio Quality: You may notice something on this site.  Namely that digital converter boxes all have very good sound quality.  So does the Insignia NS-DXA1 digital converter box, about equal to that of a DVD player’s sound output.

 

Product Features: The Insignia NS-DXA1 digital converter box offers up a program guide, manual tuning, auot-scan, a universal remote, adjustable closed captioning, “set by program” aspect ratio option (a first for us), and A/V cables!

 

Sadly the one feature this box lacks is analog pass-through.

 

Recommendation: Great picture and sound and great features.  If you’re looking for a solid, affordably priced box — $28.78 through Amazon – and you don’t need analog pass-through, this is the box for you.  If you do need analog pass-through, we suggest the Tivax STB-T8 or Dish Network DTV Pal.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10

 

Access HD DTA1080D Digital TV Converter Box Review

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

 

Access HD DTA1080D Digital TV Converter Box

Access HD DTA1080D Digital TV Converter Box

 

 

Picture Quality: Picture quality for the Access HD DTA1080D digital TV converter box is solid, approaching that of a DVD player. 

 

Audio Quality: We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – pretty much any digital TV converter box is going to have good sound (rivaling that of a DVD player).  And the Access HD DTA digital TV converter box delivers what you’d expect in this area.

 

Product Features: The Access HD DTA1080D digital TV converter box has a pretty solid feature set, including analog pass-through, electronic program guide, on-box buttons (in case you lose your remote), adjustable closed captioning, composite video, RCA audio, and RF (coaxial) inputs, V-chip, sleep timer, a remote control, coaxial cable, and even 2 AAA batteries!

 

Unfortunately, the Access HD DTA1080D digital TV converter box doesn’t have a smart antenna port or a universal remote control.  This lack stops us from rating the Access as highly as we’d wished.

 

Recommendation: With its workmanlike picture and sound and fairly robust feature set, this is a decent box.  And at $43.99 before your FCC digital converter box coupon, it’s a great value.  If you’re holding out for the best picture or the most bells and whistles, we recommend the Channel Master CM-7000 and the Dish Network DTV Pal.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

 

Lasonic LTA-260 Digital Converter Box Review

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

 

The Lasonic LTR260 Digital Converter Box

The Lasonic LTR260 Digital Converter Box

 

 

Picture Quality: The Lasonic LTA260 delivers the picture quality you’d expect from a digital converter box, rivaling that of a DVD.  This is up there with other digital tv converter boxes in terms of picture.

 

Audio Quality:  As we’ve said before, digital converter boxes aren’t going to set themselves apart by their audio quality.  All of them deliver audio better than regular analog TV, roughly equal to a DVD’s audio quality.

 

Product Features: The Lasonic LTA260 digital converter box features a program guide, auto-tuning or manual/individual tuning, an on-screen signal meter, a smart antenna, A/V cables, and RF cables, as well as its most interesting function – the ability to tweak the closed captioning text by changing the font, color, and size.

 

These nifty features don’t make up for what the Lasonic LTA26 lacks, namely auto aspect ratio, a universal remote, buttons on the box in case you lose your remote control, or analog pass-through.

 

Recommendation: With a solid picture and sound and neat closed captioning tweaks, the Lasonic LTA260 looked poised to pull ahead of the pack of digital converter boxes.  Unfortunately, at $70 before the FCC converter box coupon, it’s  a bit pricy, especially when you note what it’s lacking.  There are other, better boxes out there for your money, particularly the Tivax STB-T8.

 

Overall Rating: 6/10

Alpha Digital AT2016 Digital Converter Box Review

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

 

The Alpha Digital AT2016 is a solid, if unexceptional digital converter box

The Alpha Digital AT2016 is a solid, if unexceptional digital converter box

 

Picture Quality: The Alpha Digital AT2016 digital converter box has a very sharp picture.  While not quite as good as the Dish Network DTV Pal and the Channel Master CM-7000, it is still superior in the visuals department.

 

Audio Quality: Once again, all digital converter boxes have better than analog broadcast quality audio, including the Alpha Digital AT2016.

 

Product Features: The Alpha Digital AT2016 digital converter box has quite a large number of solid features – program guide, channel scan, individual channel tuning, adjustable closed captioning, on-screen signal strength meter, remote control, and smart antenna function.


Two significant areas it lacks are analog pass-through (used so you can watch digital and analog signals without disconnecting and reconnecting your digital converter box) and a universal remote.

 

Recommendation: For $53.99, it’s hard to go wrong with the Alpha Digital AT2016 digital converter box.  After applying the digital TV converter box coupon, you’re only looking at $9 coming out of your wallet!  However, if you’re looking for a box with analog pass-through or a universal remote, you should look elsewhere.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

Artec T3AP Pro Digital TV Converter Box Review

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

 

The Artec T3AP Pro digital converter box is a great value

The Artec T3AP Pro digital converter box is a great value

 

 

Picture Quality: Artec manages to deliver a decent picture, just slightly below DVD quality.

 

Audio Quality: Sound seems to be an area that any digital TV converter box delivers on.  And the Artec T3AP Pro digital TV converter box is no exception.

 

Product Features: The Artec T3AP Pro digital TV converter box comes jammed with features – a remote control (with 2 AAA batteries included!), electronic program guide, on-box buttons for control at your TV (no remote needed), analog pass-through, external power adapter, multi language function, composite and RHF jacks, stereo jacks, sleep timer, and V-chip.  Lacking are a universal remote and smart antenna connection port.

  

Recommendation: At $45, the Artec T3AP Pro digital TV converter box represents a good feature set and solid picture and sound for a fair price.  After applying your digital TV converter box coupon, you’re only out of pocket $5.  If you’re on a budget, this is a great digital TV converter box.

 

Overall Rating: 7/10

 


Zinwell ZAT 950A Digital Converter Box Review

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The Zinwell ZAT 950A is a great all-around digital converter box

The Zinwell ZAT 950A is a great all-around digital converter box


Picture Quality:
The Zinwell ZAT 950A digital converter box has above-average picture quality.  There are better boxes out there (namely the Dish Network DTVPal and the Channel Master CM-7000), but the Zinwell delivers visuals much sharper than normal analog broadcast quality.

 

Audio Quality: The Zinwell ZAT 950A digital converter box pumps out a respectable audio, whether it’s dialogue, music, or sound effects.

 

Product Features: The Zinwell ZAT 950A digital converter box features a veritable boatload of bells and whistles – channel auto-scan, analog pass-through, electronic program guide, a VCR timer, adjustable closed captioning, and a whopping 8 outputs!

 

Recommendation: Zinwell delivers a wonderful digital converter box for a relatively inexpensive $64.99.  After using your digital TV converter box coupon, you’re only $25 out of pocket.  We recommend it.

 

Overall Rating: 8/10


Dish Network DTVPal Digital TV Converter Box Review

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

The Dish Network DTVPal Digital TV Converter Box 

 

The Dish Network DTVPal Digital TV Converter Box

 

 

Picture Quality: The Dish Network DTVPal digital TV converter box ranks up there with the Channel Master CM-7000 for top picture quality.  This digital TV converter box transcodes digital TV into near DVD-quality images on your analog TV.

  

Audio Quality: The Dish Network DTVPal digital TV converter box has the same great sound quality as other DTV converter boxes.  You’ll experience crisp, clear sound, whether its rock music blaring on the soundtrack or your favorite TV star speaking lines of dialogue.

 

Product Features: Ranking up there with its top-of-the-line picture quality, the Dish Network DTVPal digital TV converter box steps up to the plate with great features.  Among them, three aspect ratio options, adjustable closed captioning, analog pass-through, and what’s easily the best electronic programming guide we’ve ever seen.

 

Recommendation: This is a great all-around digital TV converter box, with an amazing picture and great features.  At $53.99, it’s also a good value, coming out to just $14 after your digital TV converter box coupon from the Federal government.  We heartily recommend it.

 

Overall Rating: 10/10

Channel Master CM-7000 Digital TV Converter Box Review

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

 

The Channel Master CM-7000 Digital TV Converter Box

The Channel Master CM-7000 Digital TV Converter Box

 

 

Picture Quality: The good people over at Channel Master have set the bar high, producing the best-looking picture out of any digital TV converter box we’ve ever seen.   The CM-7000 digital TV converter box picture is so sharp and clear, it rivals DVD quality.

 

Audio Quality: Audio quality for all digital TV converter boxes is quite good, and the Channel Master CM-7000 digital TV converter box is no exception.  It produces sound equivalent to that of a DVD player.

 

Product Features: The Channel Master CM-7000 digital TV converter box sets itself apart from the pack with S-video output, a nice touch that can result in a higher picture quality (if your analog TV has an S-video input).  Of course, the Channel Master CM-7000 digital TV converter box also comes with autoscan tuning, adjustable closed captioning, and a wonderful programming guide.  The only downsides to the Channel Master CM-7000 digital TV converter, and unfortunately these keep it from getting a perfect rating from us, is that the box doesn’t include several nice features – namely auto aspect ratio, a universal remote, or analog pass-through.

 

Recommendation: We were really rooting for this box from Channel Master.  Out of all the digital converters we’ve seen, the Channel Master CM-7000 had, hands-down, the best picture quality.   But, at $80, it’s at the upper levels of digital TV converter box cost.  And at that price point, you’d expect all the bells and whistles.  We recommend it wholeheartedly, particulary if your visuals are important to you.  But it’s going to take a ding in the ratings due to the price/feature ratio…

 

Overall Rating: 8/10


The Digital TV Switchover is Coming!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Remember, folks — June 12th is the date by which the FCC mandates all television programming in the United States must be digital.

Don’t be left out in the cold, watching static on your old analog TV.

Find a digital TV converter box here, with our handy digital converter box reviews.

Confused about what you’ll need to make the digital TV switch?  Read our guide to the digital TV transition.

Want to keep watching TV on your existing analog set?  Don’t want to pay a lot to do so?  Find out how to get an FCC digital converter coupon (which knocks $40 off the cost of a box).

Sunkey SK-801 Digital Converter Box Review

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

 

The Sunkey SK-801 Digital Converter Box

The Sunkey SK-801 Digital Converter Box

 

 

Picture Quality: The Sunkey SK-801 digital converter box has average picture quality.  You’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite programming after the stations switch to digital TV, but there are better boxes out there with sharper digital pictures.

 

Audio Quality: Like other digital converter boxes, the Sunkey SK-801 digital converter box has outstanding audio quality.

 

Product Features: : The Sunkey SK-801 digital converter box has analog pass-through, a nice feature if you plan on watching channels that haven’t made the digital switch yet (and you don’t want to disconnect and reconnect your box every time you go from analog to digital and vice-versa).  Rounding out the bells and whistles are a remote control, electronic program guide, composite video and RF outputs (it’s nice to have a choice), and VCR timer (if anyone still uses a VCR these days).

 

Recommendation: The FCC seems to like the Sunkey SK-801 digital converter box, as its on their list of certified digital converter boxes.  At $50, you’re only looking at a ten-spot from your own wallet after applying the FCC’s digital converter box coupon. So if you’re in the market for a digital converter box, you don’t need the fanciest piece of equipment and the planet, and you want to spend as little as possible, the Sunkey SK-801 digital converter box is a good bet.

 

Overall Rating: 6/10