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Anybody receive their digital TV converter box coupons?




 
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Author Topic: Anybody receive their digital TV converter box coupons?  (Read 20106 times)
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W9GT
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« Reply #25 on: March 10, 2008, 04:49:37 PM »

Not sure if there is any parallel to the "off-the-air" digital converters, but if you are a Verizon FiOS customer, they are giving out digital converters for "free".  They are converting to 100% digital in April.....they say all TVs must have set top box or digital converter.  You just call them and they send them to you.  I asked for one for an extra TV, they sent me two.  I don't know how these boxes compare to the off-the-air models.  They are manufactured by Motorola.
Haven't hooked one up yet...but hope they are not susceptable to RFI problems(in or out).

73,  Jack, W9GT
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Jim, W5JO
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« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2008, 09:46:52 AM »

The stagecoach with the mail finally arrived in Southern Oklahoma yesterday and my coupons were in the sack.  I noticed Bill asked if anyone had seen reports on various models and there weren't many answers.  Around here the RS store won't take the coupons so it leaves only Walmart (whopee). 

They have only two brands, the RCA (I hate RCA, cheap built and if they quit, the best place is the garbage can) and the Magnavox brand.  I have not seen a way to purchase on-line, I suppose because you must sign something to veryify you actually purchased the unit(s). 

Has anyone bought the Magnavox brand, and if so, what is your experience with it?
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KB1IAW
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« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2008, 10:52:47 AM »

Quote
The stagecoach with the mail finally arrived in Southern Oklahoma yesterday

Well, the dog sled with my coupons hasn't found it's way to Maine yet. I just checked the site and get the same message as before:  "Your application was recently approved and we are currently preparing to mail your coupons."
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Tom W2ILA
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« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2008, 10:57:40 AM »

Wow - is this free money from our government? 
Bailout (or stimulus) candidates now:
TV watchers
or
Broadcasters
or
Wallyworld and the Chinese manufacturer of converter boxes.

   Tom
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Jim, W5JO
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« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2008, 10:35:45 PM »


Wallyworld and the Chinese manufacturer of converter boxes.

   Tom

I do wish someone would explain why foreign auto makers have built plants here saying they can manufacture autos cheaper here than at home and we send most of everything out to China or elsewhere.
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Patrick J. / KD5OEI
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« Reply #30 on: March 19, 2008, 11:15:47 PM »

Get one with an S-video output. That is the highest quality output signal allowed under the rules.

Unfortunately, they do not allow standard definition analog RGB/component outputs nor any kind of analog "VGA" or digital outputs. I wonder if the box could be opened and the analog RGB/component signals found inside. Need to know the chips being used.
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W4EWH
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2008, 12:48:59 AM »

I bought two Zenith units at Circuit City: they had them for $60, and with tax I paid $45.83.

First impressions:

  • Audio is a lot better
  • Sensitivity is very good, although I do have to move the rabbit ears if I change stations. The audio tends to drop out before the video freezes, and there's definitely no snow or noise - it's all there or none of it's there.
  • An outdoor antenna is probably essential

FWIW. YMMV.

73,

Bill W1AC
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ka3zlr
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2008, 06:31:15 AM »

To be Honest... We're ready to throw the thing out the door...why shud my capitol gains be used to further the addition of more LEO Space Junk...I think the continual bombardment of the planet with Controlled Media Wave lenghts is an Invasion of my Personal Air Space... Cool
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WB3LEQ
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« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2008, 07:24:48 PM »

Well they finally came today.  Two cards in two separate envelops.  Must have something to do with automatic processing or something.  Looks like we have a trip to Wallymart on Monday.  I think later I may send out a few signal reports to the chief engineers of the TV stations that I now watch on analog but no longer receive via the new improved digital system.  I know there will be quite a few of those.
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Bob  WB3LEQ
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« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2008, 01:03:24 AM »


I think later I may send out a few signal reports to the chief engineers of the TV stations that I now watch on analog but no longer receive via the new improved digital system.  I know there will be quite a few of those.


I've disconnected my converter and gone back to analog, since I'm using rabbit ears and the digital signal was always dropping out where the analog wouldn't.  HDTV definitely needs an exterior antenna.

Good luck.

73, Bill W1AC
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K3ZS
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« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2008, 09:26:13 AM »

Probably due to local conditions, but I went from receiving two snowy analog channels to 10 perfect digital channels most of the time with rabbit ears.    At times though some of them drop out and would be improved with an outdoor or attic UHF antenna.    Around here all the VHF stations are and will be on UHF after the transition.    One advantage of digital TV is the capability of same-channel repeater stations.    That is the case here, the local closest PBS and NBC stations put up a local repeater.    Apparently with digital TV, the echo cancellation capability will eliminate a weaker signal on the same frequency allowing same channel repeaters.    I can get all networks over the air now and could do away with the cable TV.    My wife still likes the Food channel so we keep the cable.   If you ever tasted my wife's daily gourmet dinners, I won't complain about that.
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N0WVA
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« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2008, 11:13:24 AM »

Ive gone to FTA satellite,anyway, so only thing I might need a converter for is local weather. Im really enjoying the signal and the live news feeds are fun. When over-the-air finally goes to UHF, Im pretty sure I will have trouble receiving them because there are a couple analogs up there right now that are barely making it with a snowy drifty picture. And I have a deep fringe antenna.

With Ku band FTA I can get several PBS feeds, Create TV, Fox, Abc, NBC, tons of RTN, and another station that plays old b/w movies. I look for more stations to pop up as they migrate from the old C-band.

The complete system only cost me $250 and thats with a rotor and satellite finder!
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K3ZS
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« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2008, 11:32:16 AM »

I was going to ask what FTA is, but I googled it and found out.    I didn't know free satellite TV was around anymore.    I thought it left behind free C-band and was replaced by Dish and DirectTV networks.   I am going to look into this.
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WB3LEQ
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« Reply #38 on: March 24, 2008, 04:07:31 PM »

I did some searching around and found Radio Shack was offering a $59 Zenith version converter and since it was priced at only ten dollars more than the one Wallymart was selling I figured I would buy it at Radio Shack.  We jumped in the truck and headed out to Radio Shack.  I went in and inquired about this converter.  The clerk informed me it was $69 and not $59 as Radio Shack.com was advertising.  So back into the truck and on to Wallymart.  We went in and found a stack of Magnavox units on a bottom shelf priced as advertised at $49.98  Pick one up and headed over to the clerk for the payment.  I handed the converter and the government issued card to her.  She looked at the card and had no idea on how to enter the transaction.  So ten minutes and two clerks later we were headed out the door and on our way home.

We got home and I unpacked the unit.  Since I have the VCR, antenna, and dvd players on a home cable system I opted to add it by using a UHF TV modulator and added it as UHF channel 16.  The setup was relatively simple after hooking it's input to the antenna and the video and audio outputs to the modulator.  Some units do an automatic setup scan to locate available channels but this one requires some manual input.  After doing the channel setup scan I checked on what was available to me.  I now have a total of two stations available which is eight less than what I currently have on VHF.  Of the two one that I get is ABC out of Pittsburgh.  It will not play more than three minutes without loosing the signal which causes picture blocking.  If I move the antenna more than about four degrees I totally loose the Pittsburgh station.  I am using a rotor controlled fringe range antenna at 37 feet with a Channel Master preamp and low loss coaxial cable into the house.  The antenna tower sets against the chimney and is a foot away from the house so there is not an excessive cable run from the antenna to the house.

So the bottom line is when February 2009 gets here I will have free to air tv that rivals the reception that I had when I was growing up here in the 50's and early 60's.  I'm not going back to cable or satellite tv where I have to pay for local programming. 
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Bob  WB3LEQ
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« Reply #39 on: March 24, 2008, 04:53:23 PM »

About the same results here, instead of picking up the additional digital channels being broadcast, I'm missing whole networks like ABC and CBS that I pick up fine on analog. Unless the digital co-transmitters are running a lot less power now than they will on the day of the big switchover it doesn't look good for digital. When half my channels go away, I may just say the heck with TV and concentrate on other things. Not like it would be a big loss most days...   I have no desire to start paying for cable or satellite.

I live in the fringe, but live on a hilltop and can see clusters of all the major networks on analog from 3 or 4 different cities (Primarily watch Syracuse feeds, but also see Binghamton, Elmira, and Rochester, and some days Toronto!) using a good sized antenna and rotor. I can see Fox's blowtorch in Syracuse P4 in the basement with no antenna!

So, now that congress has 'fixed' my television viewing, now they want to take over and fix my health care?

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73 de Kevin, WB2EMS
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« Reply #40 on: March 27, 2008, 06:52:39 PM »

Just an update on the new whiz bang digital TV.  I said earlier I was back to two stations that I can receive.  Well today it has been a rainy day.  Channel 4 WTAE-DT 4.1 has had the error block up "NO SIGNAL" during most of the day.  It is still not watchable with the signal strength hovering from 0 - 17.  Attached is a screen shot during peak signal conditions.  Looks like I will have to look into one of those Free To Air satellite systems.  It's that or watch PBS out of Morgantown, WV and nothing else forever!


* WTAE-DT Digital 4.1.jpg (79.35 KB, 800x600 - viewed 213 times.)
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Bob  WB3LEQ
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Jim, W5JO
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« Reply #41 on: March 27, 2008, 07:35:50 PM »

It turns out the retailers are not confident they are going to sell many of these boxes in this neighborhood.  The local RS only had the Data Stream and did not take the coupons.  The one about 35 miles away had the Zenith and does.  The Wal-Mart stores only had the RCA and none of them plan to order additional boxes when the supply is depleted.

So I bought the Zenith for my location.  I receive two analog channels here, 10 and 12.  10 is marginal and 12 is very clear with analog signals.  With the converter box attached, I can't find 12 and 10 is the only station I receive.  Fortunately I only wanted it for weather here in tornado alley, for when the storms arrive from the Southwest they block my satellite dish wiping out any storm reports on TV.  By going to the DTV station I receive I should be ok.  They broadcast radar 24/7 until storms approach then they switch to weather related information.

But with my HDTV the new 16:9 format does not fill the screen.
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WB2EMS
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« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2008, 10:05:36 PM »

I'm wondering if the digital transmissions at this point are at the power level they will be after the big switch next year. I think I remember reading that a lot of the stations that were putting digital streams on the air because of the FCC mandate were doing it at lower power levels than their main analog transmitters. I think it was both a cost of the transmitter issue for some of them, and also the cost of power. It's pretty expensive to run a pair of transmitters sucking down the watts when there's only maybe 5% of the folks watching the digtal one yet.

In fact I think I recall some folks talking about an upgrade path using a digital exciter on a lower power PA, and then switching it over to the current high power PA when analog goes off. Anyone have any hard data on that? Something I picked up wandering around NAB I think.

If the current crop of digital stations I'm trying to receive are 10 db down from where they're going to be after the switch, then I'm not too worried about my current results. But if this is all the better they are going to be then I think the whole thing is a big swindle. But maybe that's ok, less TV, more radio!

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73 de Kevin, WB2EMS
N0WVA
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« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2008, 10:30:08 PM »

Currently Im getting a good analog picture and am also receiving FTA which is digital,MPEG. Switching back and forth on the same programming showed that the analog picture was crisp, more defined, and had truer color than the blurry,smudgy digital picture. Is this the way over the air digital is going to look?

I just dont get it. All the hype and for less quality. Whats the point in going hi-definition with a huge screen when all it will see is you-tube quality video? Seems like there should at least be some standards required here.
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N0WVA
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« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2008, 10:53:48 PM »

Here is a good treatise on that nasty ole MPEG signal. Its all in the compression,man.

http://www.digitaltvdesignline.com/howto/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=180207633&pgno=1

So digital CAN be better, but it wont be because no guidlines are in place to limit the amount of compression and artifacts which can be in the signal.
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« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2008, 06:13:27 PM »

Yes, how well the compression is done is a big part of it. But also how the stations choose to use their bandwidth. I run an IPTV service at the University where I work. We stream standard definition video at 3.8-6 mbs and it looks pretty good. The stuff that comes out of the high end encoders looks better than the $1000 portable units we use for field use, but both look better than VHS. The stuff that is put up on the digital birds looks better yet, they use higher end encoders, some of them do more than one pass. The mpeg on DVD's is better yet, very high end encoders with no worry about real time - make multiple passes and really optimize it.

As far as how they use their bandwidth, the allocation can carry one HD channel. Or it can carry 4 lower end SD channels. Which choice do you think offers more advertising revenue to the station owner? I doubt you can sell commercials for 4x when they are paired with an HD program.
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73 de Kevin, WB2EMS
Tom WA3KLR
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« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2008, 07:12:24 PM »

I received my DTV converter coupon today.

I ordered it February 16th on-line.
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73 de Tom WA3KLR  AMI # 77   Amplitude Modulation - a force Now and for the Future!
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« Reply #47 on: April 21, 2008, 10:15:10 AM »

    I got mine in the mail Friday...now all of the local retailers are out of stock.
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Tom WA3KLR
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« Reply #48 on: April 23, 2008, 08:33:34 PM »

I bought my DTV converter today at the Wal-Mart in Clinton, NJ.  What they have in stock is the Magnavox TB100MW9.   With taxes added, I wound up shelling out $13.36 in cash along with the $40 coupon card.

I probably won't hook it up until this weekend.
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73 de Tom WA3KLR  AMI # 77   Amplitude Modulation - a force Now and for the Future!
k4kyv
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Don
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« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2008, 09:23:17 PM »

My voucher came in last week.  I took it to the local Wal-of-China Mart, but they were out of stock, but the employee was able to access the computer and  found another store about 5 miles up the  road that had one.  The computer showed 2 in stock, but when I arrived, they had about a half dozen.

With the voucher I paid a little over $12 for a Magnavox unit, which included sales tax on the full cost of the unit.  Last night I connected it to the little TV my wife has in the bedroom that uses rabbit ears.  In analogue mode the picture has always been snowy and only 2 or 3 channels come in well enough to view.  I was  surprised when I got it set up that the picture comes in as clear as on the TV downstairs that is fed with cable, and was able to receive about a half dozen channels.  On one of the channels I kept getting a pixelling effect and frequent "no signal" error messages, but a slight repositioning of the antenna seemed to cure that.

I notice on some channels the picture doesn't fill out the full screen, leaving the 19" screen looking more like a little 15" or 17" screen.  On other channels I get full screen.

The system works better than I thought it would as long as I  can get enough signal from the rabbit ears to maintain lock.  Digital is more like a wide-band FM signal in that you either have a perfect full-quieting image or nothing at all.

I am wondering if when they turn off the analogue signal they will put full power into the digital to make it more  reliable.  What they are running now is a hybrid signal kind of like IBOC radio, but at least the digital doesn't seem to degrade the analogue signal as in the case of IBOC AM.
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