Thursday, May 29, 2008

Zenith DTT900 Digital TV Tuner Converter Box

- My coupons were about to expire so I went ahead and picked up my converter boxes.

- I picked this model since after a bit of research it's suppose to currently be the best box out there with a very good sensitive tuner. $20 at circuit city. Make sure you look for April 2008 manufacturing date on the box near the upc code. Supposedly earlier builds could potentially have an audio issue in the left channel that produces a hiss when down sampling 5.1 audio content to stereo.

- You've got composite and RF (channel 3 or 4 selectable) outputs and that's about it. No RF pass through but I hear a new model will be released soon with that feature.

- It's pretty small, completely silent, and has good amount of vents for heat dissipation.

- Initial setup wizard walks you through a few very easy steps. Initial channel scan was pretty quick. Clock was set automatically.
- info and setup screens:

- The tuner is very nice and picks up all the same channels that my hdhomerun did. This is with a silver sensor antenna with a channel master 7777 amplifier. You can display the signal strength which also causes it to beep more rapidly as your signal strength increases. I guess this helps with aligning your antenna if you are in another room.

- The guide only shows current and next. It's pretty small with just a small horizontal strip across the top. Wish there was a more traditional full screen grid view.

- There are all sorts of zoom/aspect ratio modes to help deal with SD/4:3 content especially during the day. It also supports 4:3 or 16:9 displays.
- Picture quality is fine considering it's ATSC down sampled to composite.
- Favorites and Recent let you cycle/toggle or pick from a popup list which is kind of nice.
- All settings are maintained between power cycles.
- The remote is fine and uses one AAA battery. It even has the ability to power on/off your TV (didn't test this). The only buttons on the box are channel up/down and power.

It is what it is. It grabs that nice HD DD 5.1 ATSC signal and down samples the crap out of it to SD 480i stereo composite to be coupon compliant. It works just fine and won't break the bank at $20. Recommended if you actually needed one of these devices. I'll probably be giving mine to my parents.

Nice list of CECB units:

CECB at avsforum

Lots more info on the zenith:

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