Digital converter boxes Radio Shack

March 22, 2017
The quest for a DTV converter

Watchability Now - And
Unwatchability After the Switchover (No TV for you.)
The trouble is, that many analog channels which are acceptably watchable now, snow and all,
will show "no signal" after the change to digital, even though you have a brand-new digital converter box.
I currently can view about 4 of these analog channels (7, 9, 20, 46 - San Francisco Bay Area).
I expect, that after the digital switchover, I will see nothing on any channel.
To complicate matters further, TV stations will be dropping their output power to 85% of what it was
using an analog signal, since the new digital signal is "higher quality", and the higher power is "not needed".

"The problem with DTV is that it doesn't degrade gracefully, the way NTSC (analog) TV does: when NTSC signals are marginal, you get snow in the picture, but the audio doesn't cut out until the (FM) signal is too weak for full quieting. With DTV, the audio cuts out as soon as the picture does, and there's no "good enough" middle ground: it's either very nice or very gone." . . . from W1AC on

My Choice - #12
Since the government, I moved forward, and bought at full price Item #12 above, the Zenith DTT901, even though it lacks an S-Video output. I have always liked Zenith TVs, well-known for quality and reliability. There is A LOT of positive feedback on this unit from real radio-head type gurus (Radio Amateurs) - you don't BS these guys. When swapped into position, it is reported to receive signals that some others do not! It appears to have the best "front end" - the ability to capture weak signals (which implies high gain, low noise figure first amp, and a high Signal/Noise Ratio, manufactured by LG Electronics). Note that Consumer Reports does NOT give it a top rating, for some reason. I think they're wrong.
FOLLOW UP - After purchasing the Zenith DTT901, I now receive ZERO CHANNELS. The box onscreen signal strength meter (great feature) indicates a digital signal on 16 channels, but NO CHANNEL is good enough to produce a picture or sound.

Current Digital Channels -
Here are 4 example representations of the Zenith DTV box onscreen signal strength meter ->



Signal Strength Meter =
"No Signal Present"

Most channels
No picture or sound

Signal Strength Meter =
"Weak Signal Present"

Channels 10, 12, 13, 19, 24, 29, 30, 33, 34, 39, 43, 45, 56, 57, 58
No picture or sound, ever

Signal Strength Meter =
"Medium Signal Present"

Channel 32 (46-1, 46-2)
Intermittent picture and sound

Signal Strength Meter =
"Strong Signal Present"

No Channel
Receives picture and sound

The Gold-bar goes from left to right, as the antenna signal strength increases.
As signal strength varies, the sampling rate (gold-bar update rate) is about once per second.
This is apparent during windy weather, and other poor-reception conditions (auto traffic, etc.).
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