DTV Converter recommendations

Discussion in 'Over the Air TV By RabbitEars.Info' started by dfecarter, Apr 27, 2017.

  1. I reactivated my OTA antenna system recently (inc. new antenna in attic).
    I bought a ViewTv AT-163 DTV box.
    I have 2 tv sets using the signal. At first I didn't realize the signal strength disparity but now it is clear that the set (32" Roku TV) that is drawing the OTA signal from the ViewTv box, (unfortunately the coaxial port came loose and just spins around so I have to use an external source )that TV signal reception is significantly weaker and less stable that the other TV , a samsung 25" I think, which actually has a longer cable! But the signal locks in solid on the samsung, granted it's a little smaller but still it is surprising.
    I can return the ViewTv over the next few days but I can't decide if there is any point to it.
    Any thoughts on the ViewTv box, and/or rec. for a different DTV box?!
  3. try to find a good price on a used or refurb TIVO Roamio OTA or Basic with lifetime. Don't get a Premiere as they have a weak tuner. The TIVO boxes just work and support most streaming services.
  4. I have an AT-263 and it seems to work fine with my computer monitor. The guide is barely functional and takes some serious getting used to.

    I have not tried the DVR functions.

    Tuners don't "draw signal" from each other. They may inject noise but what they receive is entirely dependent on the cabling and fittings (including splitters) that feed them. With two tuners you should be using a two-way splitter. Larger splitters will "waste" signal.
  5. The downside is that are likely going to cost much more than the $30 the ViewTV box goes for. If the goal is to replace the TV's built in tuner, it should do fine.
  6. We seem to keep butting heads on some of this.
    I agree that the TIVO costs more, especially new. I recommended refurb or used. You can find the 500GB OTA models with lifetime for $100-150 on eBay or craigslist. TIVO itself recently had a $99 sale on refurb OTA models with lifetime.

    The reason I keep coming back to TIVO is that it just works. You plug it in and you will get an integrated box that does the DVR and streaming functions you became addicted to on cable. Once you have had a DVR it is tough to go back. Some of the other boxes are getting better, but most, especially the cheap ones still require a certain knowledge and a willingness to be an experimenter.

    I probably wouldn't recommend a TIVO for you as you have stated you are an expert in all aspects of TV. However, the folks that usually ask these questions are a lot less sophisticated and IMO the TIVO package is the best integrated and has the most thought out user experience. I'd probably put the channelmaster as a reasonable alternative, but you really aren't saving any money. I will continue to tell them to go with the proven and stable alternative.
    osu1991 likes this.
  7. We're butting heads because the TS is asking (after the fact) for a TV tuner to replace the TV's physically damaged tuner and you're recommending a full-blown used DVR at three to five times the cost.

    To be sure, if the TS expressed a desire to actually use the DVR feature that the device they currently have features, it would cost another $60 or so to add an external 1TB hard drive making the used TiVo look very attractive but that's not what seems to be in play here.

    Personally, I would rather have the storage space than all the TiVo features but I'm a hoarder. For the time being, I've given up on the idea of ATSC 3.0 making any serious progress in the next 8 years so I'm no longer advocating that users consider waiting for ATSC 3.0 capable hardware (unless the investment is significant -- such as a TiVo Bolt at $749 -- where upgrading doesn't have a clear path).
  8. not worth it.
  9. I use Mediasonic and Ematic OTA PVR from Amazon 27 to 32 dollars a piece. They are not bad plus you don't internet to run the schedule or at all.
  10. A Homeworx HW-150PVR works great and is inexpensive (less than $40 including shipping on Ebay). Since it has PVR capability you can add an external harddrive in the future for HD recording. The tuner is quite strong, I locked 68 channels where I'm at. That's more than any of the three TV's, all bought in the past year, have locked.
    Corrado and dfecarter like this.
  11. Yeah I am not interested in the DVR capability on the 2 sets that this receiver would serve.
    Say Jeepguy does the Homeworx HW-150PVR have a signal meter feature in it like the AT-163?
    The idea of a Tivo OTA tuner is interesting but more than I am looking for, unless the tuner was far superior than others.
    I haven't read a lot of positive reviews for the Channel Master STB, the non DVR units.
    thanks everybody
  12. any thoughts or experiences with the Zenith DTT901? I guess it was one of the first after the DTV conversion.
  13. So dfecarter, we can assume you just want some sort of a signal then. The zenith only outputs ntsc analog and not any HD format. You need to have a composite video jack on your TV (yellow RCA jack)
  14. I'd suggest chasing after something that was introduced in the last year or so. The AT-163 debuted on Amazon in 2013 and may feature an older generation tuner.

    I'd also suggest that you try the ViewTV at the Samsung location to verify that you don't have something goofy going on with your cabling. If your cabling is sound, the signal should not improve but if the signal on the ViewTV improves, you've got problems that a different converter probably won't solve.
  15. good point, I now realize the older model Zenith DTT901, does not have an HDMI output which is a deal breaker for me for sure, actually last night I fine tuned the aiming of the antenna a little bit and increased signal levels a bit, now atmospheric conditions were perfect for reception when I did that, so I'll have to check reception quality over the next week or so, but I am thinking the converted box that I have already (ViewTv atc-163) may be just fine or should I say I don't stand to gain much by trying a different STB, btw all cables are brand new and no longer than 35' and I am only using a 2 way splitter once. So I don't think signal loss there is significant.
  16. Well, there ain't no free lunch. A splitter will drop signal strength by at least 50% or 3.5 dB. The connectors, even good will often kill another 0.5dB. This is why they say to minimize the number of splitters. Good discussion of splitters here (semi technical)

    RG-6 will lose about 5 dB/100 ft at UHF frequencies.
    At 35 ft, you are likely losing on the order of 2 dB

    If you add it all up you get 3.5 + 2 +1 which is 6.5 dB or close to 3/4 of the potential signal. You can gain some of it back by using an amplifier as close to the antenna as possible.

    If you are up for experimenting, try eliminating the splitter and feed direct to the ViewTV box. You can do this by using a barrel connector to join the two pieces of cable. If the signal is good in this configuration, then you are a reasonable candidate for an amplifier.
    dfecarter likes this.
  17. A pre-amp at the antenna will go a long way towards reducing the effects of signal loss over long cable runs and/or via splitters. Yes, the HW-150PVR does have a signal quality indicator bar.
    danristheman and dfecarter like this.
  18. I have one of those boxes similar to the Homeworx PVR. I bought it simply for time shifting OTA programming, mainly the MeTV red eye sci fi programs after midnight Saturday . I think it was around $30 shipped from Amazon. It's most likely a clone, it only has ATSC on the box itself and the splash screen when it boots. Probably the best money I ever spent on a simple gadget. It works absolutely perfectly recording to a simple flash drive, even HD looks great.
    danristheman likes this.