Converter Box Buying Guide

DTV Converter Box
Buying Guide

Which features matter when shopping for a converter box.

DTV converter boxes now referred to as CECBs (coupon-eligible converter boxes) are fairly simple devices that take a digital signal in and send an analog signal out. Reviewers have singled out some boxes over others. For example the Zenith DTT900 or 901 Insignia NS-DXAl, which appear to be manufactured by the same source, look like the best ones at the moment.

Program Guide
Digital TV offers a nice addition over the old analog signal; you now can get a program guide similar to what you get with cable or satellite service. Most boxes use PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) however, some boxes provide more information than others. The Microgem MG2000, Channel Master CM-7000, and the Artec T3A Pro are three converters that have “Better” guides according to Consumer Reports.

Universal Remote
A converted box will require you to change channels on the box while the volume may still be controlled on the TV (many boxes let you change the volume on the box itself). This means that a universal remote that can control both the box and the TV will be more convenient. The Insignia NS-DXA1, Zenith DTT901, and the RCA DTA800B come with Universal Remotes

Analog Pass Through
This should only affect TV owners in areas with low-power TV stations that will not be required to switch to digital. Low-power stations are more common in rural areas. The Philco TB100HH9, Magnovox TB100MG9, Insignia NS-DXA1, and Zenith DTT901 all offer analog pass through. On the other hand, it’s not hard to create an analog pass through on your own using an inexpensive splitter.

VCR Timer
If you have an old VCR and you record different programs on different stations at different times then you’ll want to buy one of the few converter boxes that can change stations at programmed times. Otherwise you could always upgrade to a new DVD recorder. The Dish Network DTVPal and Zinwell ZAT-970A have this feature.

Retrevo for Convert Box Info

Don’t forget to check out converter boxes on Retrevo.com along with reviews and manuals for the latest gear and gadgets like HDTV, Digital Cameras, GPS,Laptops, and more.

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