Remote controls TV's power, input-source & volume
Change channels on the box w/o remote
Guide shows several hours of program info
Channels change quickly
Aspect ratio control
Unexpected bonus features
While not enough to lower the rating (since the majority of the TVs that this box is purchased for may not even have such inputs) I find it worthy to note that the box does not come with an RCA cable (Yellow/Red/White Video/Audio-L/Audio-R)
After extensive research, I grew discouraged when I saw that nearly every box on the market had multiple negative reviews. It seemed that every box had it's pluses and minuses (mostly minuses) and that there was no box that could satisfy all of one's basic needs, let alone "... Read full review
After extensive research, I grew discouraged when I saw that nearly every box on the market had multiple negative reviews. It seemed that every box had it's pluses and minuses (mostly minuses) and that there was no box that could satisfy all of one's basic needs, let alone "desirements." Then I found and purchased this delightful box.
First surprise was the size. In the pictures it's hard to tell if the remote is big and the box is small, or if both are average, etc, but the box has the exact same foot-print as a VHS tape. It's only slightly thicker. Hence the box should have virtually zero impact on anyone worried about their space limitations.
Physical setup literally took less than 45 seconds. The only way it could take longer is if you're unable to easily gain access to the back of your TV.
Configuration was intuitive. As soon as you turn the box on, for the first time, you are presented with a walk-through setup wizard. Language & timezone are chosen (which can automatically set the time by the way. A big plus for those who after every power outage leave clocks flashing "12:00" for several weeks) and then channels are sought. Less than 90 seconds later I'm informed that 63 channels were found, and all of them are crystal clear!! Now granted about 7 of these channels are duplicates (a few networks have 2 or 3 channels reserved for the same broadcast. Perhaps later they'll send a different language or resolution to each??) but I was still very impressed. Especially since I originally only had about 19 channels. I should also note that my box is attached to a powered indoor/outdoor antenna, and though I have not attempted to see how many channels I can get with no antenna attached (which wouldn't make much sense because these boxes are only tuners) it was interesting to notice that my TV's reception dramatically improved once the box was attached -even with the box turned off and the channels being changed through my TV's tuner. I must also note that the box is currently attached using only the RF/coax connector (circle with pin in the center) and I'm still very pleased with the clarity! I suspect that the image will only improve if/when I use a composite video cable, but I honestly don't know how the image can get any better.
Every channel surfer will appreciate the speed at which the channels tune-in when changing. Though it's not INSTANTaneous it's pretty close and it's literally 3 times faster than DirecTV. This is a definite plus and it might not sound like a big deal, but it's one of those little things that would otherwise add-up after continued use. Besides, how many times have you flicked through channels and noticed something that looked interesting but you passed it because you were in a rapid button-pushing rhythm, then you tried to change back to see what it was, but the image/show/commercial was long gone because the channel took so blasted long to reload?
Sound quality is fantastic as well. I feel as though I've added an amplifier to my TV set. You can control the volume of the box and the TV seperately, allowing you to fine-tune the strength of the audio. It's like being able to adjust the gain on an amplifier. Of course nearly every box has this ability, but not with this clean of a sound or with the ease of using only one remote.
The Menu structure is also very clean, organized and responsive. You can even control the opacity of the menu so that you're able to see the television show behind it while you're making your selections/adjustments.
Other bonuses are the ability to parental lock channels, choose favorites, revisit the previous channel with one button push, and check the signal strength of each channel so that you can optimally adjust your antenna for the programs that you most care about.
Those skeptical or upset about having to make the transition to DTV should not be concerned. Once you do so I'm certain that you will embrace the change. The cool thing about digital TV is that it's all or none, meaning that once you get a channel you either get it crystal clear or you get it with choppy sound and/or a pixelated image. With a slight adjustment to your antenna, all programs are crystal clear, and for those broadcasts that are still in analog, the box allows for analog pass-through as well. This can be achieved either by powering the box off, or by pressing the pass-through button on the remote.
I haven't even read through or accessed all the features of the box yet but the above should more than address all of the most popular concerns. I'm certain that as time goes on I'll only find more things that I like about the box. Since it already does everything that I care about, and does those things well, everything else will just be gravy.
Finally the days of old have returned, when you can watch multiple TV channels at home without having to sign-up for a pay service (just to see more than zero) and now there are no snowy images or static.