: ATSC Converter Boxes (Non-HD, Non-Recording)
How big is the TV?
If it's just a small TV, then it might be more economical to just buy a 32" LCD HDTV with a built-in ATSC digital tuner.
In the GTA at present, there seems to be a shortage of external ATSC HDTV tuners. If you can find one, they're in the $85 - $125 plus tax price range. And none of them come with quality progamming guides like you're hoping for. They have current show, plus upcoming shows for the channel you're currently on.
You can probably get a new 32" TV for about $250 possibly with a better programming guide. Even the programming guide on my Dynex is pretty good.
2011-10-12, 11:39 AM
I was in Toronto yesterday and I saw that the TigerDirect store had AccessHD boxes in stock, probably the same one as mentioned by Apple IIGS.
This fellow needs an external ATSC tuner, not a digital-to-analog converter box -- at least that's what I think he wants. Othewise if 480i will do then the AccessHD d2a converter might be good enough for you. If you get the AccessHD then also buy some RCA connectors (red and white for sound, yellow or black for video). Don't connect the AccessHD to a TV using a coax cable. In my experience, there is a loud buzzing sound. With the RCA connectors the sound and picture are both good.
For shopping see the
Where To Buy OTA Digital Converter Boxes In Canada
(http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=127559) discussion thread.
2011-11-02, 09:16 PM
Haven't used the Zenith DTT-901 in about a week or so.
It was left on WNED-HD, a PBS station in Buffalo.
Went to use it this evening and it was completely unresponsive,
Picture and sound were fine but there was no response to the remote, or the front panel.
Had to unplug it to reboot it.
Strange, have never seen that happen before, I've had it since 2009.
2012-02-17, 12:12 AM
I’ve been using an Access HD DTA-1080 occasionally for the last few months. It’s okay, but gets extremely hot and suffers from poor sound quality (with both coax and RCA).
After looking for an inexpensive alternative for a friend, I ordered a Viore ATB150V, which after a brief test appears superior to the DTA-1080 in all respects. It was $18!
(Limited time clearance item, online only, at a department store with the slogan “Save Money. Live Better”)
2012-06-19, 12:42 PM
The converter will not decode channel 67.2,3,4 and the fact it displays 67.1 tells me the tuner is functioning but cannot decode the 3 sub-channels. Anyone experience the same? CTC graciously exchange it after their 30 day warranty period and RCA CS was like a Abbott and Costello scene of "who's on 3rd". In the end they gave me an RMA and would likely exchange it for another but could not guarantee I would receive the missing sub-channels.
All responses welcomed
2012-06-20, 04:30 PM
So, you get 67.1 but no subchannels? Seems odd! But this is not likely a reception issue, but rather a converter box failure.
PS> I am familiar with some random issues with those boxes and CTC should give you a refund or a store credit.
2012-06-20, 08:36 PM
I have seen some PC based applications fail to scan in the subchannels of WBBZ properly also. Mythtv comes to mind (scans in as 7-x, 7-y, 7-z, so I have to manually redefine the subchannel name and remap to 67.2,3,4 myself).
Something with their PSIP some devices may not like I'm thinkin.
The RCA you have will also likely not receive the program guide from CBC once they get the recent picture quality bugs ironed out and turn it back on.
Forum member El Gran Chico has reported CBC guide issues using the same converter box, but I don't know if he is able to receive WBBZ to see if it scans in properly for him.
2012-06-23, 08:46 AM
OTA_Canuck / Majortom
Thanks for your responses. CTC took it back after I had it for 4 months and gave me the last sale's price (i.e. which I didn't realize at the time is what I purchased it for) so I'm whole again. RCA wouldn't give me a refund but would only exchange it - dealing with them is torture. CTC took it back under a manufacturers policy and hopefully they have more clout to bring it to RCA's attention that there is what I and Majortom suspect a PSIP issue. If I remember correctly I don't believe the unit had any program guide capability (i.e. like my newly purchase ******** / Electronic Master DTV-5000HD) but I may be wrong as I was concentrating more on getting the missing sub channels to work with my recently constructed super hawk antenna. I got the plans from one of OTA_Canuck's threads - thank you OTA_Canuck. I made it out of coat hangers mounted above a 2 story house on an 18 foot pole. I'm able to receive 2.1,2; 4.1; 5.1; 7.1; 9.1; 11.1; 17.1,2,3; 19.1; 23.1; 24.1; 26.1,2,3,4; 29.1,2; 35.1,2; 49.1,2; 54.1,2,3; 66.1; 67.1,2,3,4 with it set in one position. Of course, on some days channels do drop out. I've been able to pick up 41.1,2 (i.e. Global) by adjusting the antenna direction but never my goal - 57 (i.e. CITYTV). I was struggling to find the appropriate thread - I'll repost in the suggested area.
2012-06-23, 09:13 AM
I ignored all the reports posted (i.e. on the stores website) regarding the unit crashing due to loss of signal and went ahead and purchased it anyways - I like the S-video, HDMI, RCA outputs and the fact it has all the bells and whistles and was on sale. Sure enough, I get it home, do a scan and after about 15 minutes of watching TV it starts to crash every minute. After sleeping on it overnight I came to the conclusion it must be a heat issue, so I put a fan on it and sure enough the unit stops crashing.
El Gran Chico
2012-06-23, 09:23 AM
Yup, there are firmware issues with that RCA. See the discussion I had with majortom in the CBC Network Status thread for more. I bet you also see program guide issues on WUTV too.
I received WBBZ once last year (I only get it tropo) and had the same experience as you.
Don't count on RCA on ever fixing this. 3 years after the US transition and 1 year after the Canadian transition, these products are in the sunset phase of the product life cycle.
2012-06-23, 10:56 AM
With the lowered retail pricing of HDTV ATSC televisions on today's market,.. you may be better off to consider buying an upgraded ATSC TV set and avoid these random issues that seem so common with the set-top converters. It seems that nearly all set-top converters have 'various quirks' and some even seem to have a 'predetermined death date':( [example: CM7000's red light only syndrome]
What you have now will hopefully do the job for now,.. but for a long term solution you might consider getting an HDTV ATSC television set.
2012-09-17, 11:01 PM
The ACCESS HD-1030d - Digital Convertor Box showed up "on sale" for thirty bucks ( $30 ) in a factory direct store flyer here in Ottawa.
So I picked one up.
[ Note, it is not really a HD, high definition, ota convertor box - that is just the Mfg & model name. It's an SD - standard definition - ota convertor box ]
On sale for only $30 "Special Deal" the flyer says.
This particular factory direct flyer says:
Sale starts Sept 13, 2012 ENDS Sept 26
" Most of the products advertised in this flyer are usually available in limited quantities and they sell out quickly. Visit our website for inventory levels by store "
There were still some on the shelf as of tonight, Monday Sept 17 , at the Merivale Rd, Ottawa, factory direct store. 8 or so. Maybe they have more in back - not sure.
None in Kingston, yesterday, Sunday morning, Frontenac Mall store.
So I picked up one Access HD-1030d here in Ottawa tonight to test and evaluate in the near future.
I read back several pages in this thread, and I see a few of you have them and have been using them for awhile.
Others mentioned: Maybe some sound issues on the RF out. Maybe some quirks or glitches here and there. Maybe it has the scan with add. Maybe it has a basic EPG program guide, and I see some are trying to get the detailed guide info to work, or the look ahead guide to work.
Well anyway, for just Thirty ($30) bucks plus tax [sale price pretty good if it works ok] you get:
- compact convertor box
- a remote w/batteries
- power adaptor / wall wart
- a short coax cable
- manual and quick start guide page
Looks like it has some decent features for the low sale price.
Will have to test ...
But according to manual:
- looks like it has a signal meter
RF out, ch 3 or 4
Composite out - RCA yellow red white output - good to have for this sort of box.
Reading the manual looks like these are product coming from the U.S. DTV conversion. Manual has U.S. based info in it. Example:
" This unit will enable you to view digital broadcasts after Feb 2009 when analog transmissions will be turned off in the USA. This unit has been approved by the NTIA for the coupon program. For more information, visit www.DTV.gov or www.dtv2009.gov or call ... "
Manual is in English and Spanish - a sure sign it was destined for U.S. sale.
[ would have been English and French if originally destined for Canadian Sale ]
... and they're in a plain brown little cardboard box - ok, no problem for me ...
... in any case ... here they come ... discount, extra stock, bargain basement sale price, ATSC Digital OTA convertor boxes from the U.S.A.
Extra good here in Ottawa - where we *DO* have local channels broadcast over the air in digital.
2012-09-17, 11:29 PM
Thanks for the tip. :)
2012-09-18, 08:58 AM
It a good little unit for those who need a converter box. Only downside I have with it is no guide info and it runs a little hot...
2012-09-19, 06:36 AM
Re: Access HD 1030d
Yes, runs a little too warm for my liking.
I tested a little last evening.
Does all the basic functions O.K.
As mentioned by others earlier - the RF out ch3 or ch4 has a fair bit of white noise on the audio, and does not go very loud. Audio a little silent on RF out.
The Composite Out Y R W is much better for audio. less noise and goes a little louder - so if buying this unit, plan on using the Composite RCA outputs, Yellow Red White.
I was able to take the top cover off, fairly easily.
- one screw at the back connection area
- two screws under the front two rubber feet
- then carefully pry a tab at the back connection area and sides, and pop off
- disconnect cable on board for front controls
- then front controls can be removed from front cover, carefully, by removing two screws.
There is a pretty good aluminum heat sink, about one inch square, on one component in the center of the board. That must be the source of most heat.
I hope to open up the enclosure more - more holes, esp. top, or cut a piece out of the top cover and glue in a wide open metal screen.
Adaptor is rated 5.5V 1.72 A.
This unit could use a little mini 5V fan - it generates enough heat.
I would space it up higher than the rubber feet with something, so the air can get into the bottom easier. And don't place it in a closed or warm area.
Ya, I think heat can be a functional problem with this unit - I think someone else mentioned it earlier.
2012-09-19, 10:02 AM
Sounds like it would do the job for me though. I am wanting it for a bedroom TV that will only get occasional use. It won't be on for too long at a time (will probably turn on the "Auto power down timer" to ensure it doesn't get left on accidentally), so the heat won't be as much an issue, though adding a fan might be a good idea (might have just the fan for it in the basement).
2012-09-20, 09:07 AM
I also have an Access HD 'box' and surprisingly it has lasted two years. It is my crude solution to recording TV off air as I have it fed to an old RCA VCR. Yes it runs hot but only over the vents. If you buy one of these make sure you can return it if it fails within 30 days. I know of at least one Canadian distributor of off air TV antennas & accessories who gave up selling these because of the high mortality rates. Good news is it has decent sensitivity and it lets you scan for 'new channels' with out wiping the old channels. If you're like me & have some stations south & some north that's a good feature.
2012-09-21, 06:37 AM
"It is my crude solution to recording TV off air as I have it fed to an old RCA VCR."
Yes. Exactly. Mine too. For now.
But not so crude actually, because I have done the same sort of thing with great success into a Digital DVD Recorder with internal Hard Drive - via the Analog out of Convertor box, and Analog In of the Recorder - same idea as yourself.
So ... If you want to record off the air, then you need an OTA digital, ATSC receiver that has outputs - to feed to the recorder. I don't think there are many TV's that provide video outputs - to be able to provide a signal to a recorder.
To record ...
Some use a Computer with ATSC receiver card(s). Called an HTPC.
Or a recorder that has the ATSC receiver inside. (probably the best solution)
Or some people use TIVO's - I have read. But I guess that is probably like an HTPC.
Or else it's the good ol' Digital Convertor Box - with the outputs.
I think the OTA Digital Convertor Boxes will be useful units into the future. So best to keep a few around, and keep them running COOL and HAPPY - for a long time - hopefully.
I'm thinking of finding some small bargain basement laptop cooler pads w/fans, and placing the various Convertor Boxes I have on top of them. I've seen some inexpensive laptop cooler pads, with fans, in the discount stores.
All will be powered by a surge protected power bar with switch - so all can be switched OFF easily when not in use. Convertor Box and fans.
... and save that power too, when not in use.