It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about the upcoming DTV transition. The DTV coupon program is in full swing and converter boxes are widely available. I got my two $40 coupons a few weeks ago and bought my first box yesterday. Based on reviews at AVS Forum and the comparison on Wikipedia I chose to get the Zenith DTT901. Circuit City showed them in stock in their Harrisburg East store, so I picked it up from there. I already had a Radio Shack ATV 1000 combo VHF/UHF/FM indoor antenna, so I plugged that in to the DTT901. I was pleasantly surprised when I performed the first auto-scan and received all the local digital stations clearly except for WPMT-DT (Fox).
I haven’t yet tried to adjust my antenna and manually tune in Fox, but I’m not all that concerned since I’m setting this up mainly to give us TV access in the event our cable goes out. However, I like the ability to choose 16:9 or 4:3 for HD/widescreen shows and the 4:3 picture I get from the DTV is noticably cleaner than what we get over cable. Checking back in on my DTV post of over a year ago, I think Mark Cuban’s comment hits the mark. At the time I was convinced that the broadcast networks would go native widescreen and not worry about 4:3 protection. In the meantime, they’ve moved their corner bugs in and graphics are 4:3 safe. Our local stations (along with most others, I presume) aren’t producing any HD content. Even WGAL and WHTM switch their HD feed into SD mode to do graphics overlays for station ID or weather alerts. What remains to be seen is how cable providers will feed analog cable customers. Will they have a choice of aspect ratios or be force-fed 4:3?
I really like the DTT901. It’s small, has low operating heat, and its remote is small and simple. I like being able to quickly zoom/crop the HD channels to optimize viewing. I’ll probably buy another one with my second coupon.