"Ok box, but wish it were a better one"3.0 starson by dave1973
Pros: compact, picks up most channels, allows coax or A/V hookup
Cons: Doesn't pickup all channels, no buttons on the box, certain functions are on the remote only & not in the menu option, doens't allow you to use RF channel in most cases
Summary: I bought this box in 2008 at the time the $40 coupon program from the government was offered. It was the only box available at the time, and didn't have much time to redeem the coupons. I didn't get around to hooking them up until a year later, when i had time to hookup te outdoor antenna. Living in the Chicago market, it picked up all the full power stations, but it has difficulty picking up certain low power TV stations. Both during the pre-transition digital & post-transition digital, I had no problem receiving WBBM-TV when they broadcasted on channel 3 (mapped to 2.1). During post-transition digital, WBBM-TV moved to channel 12 (still, mapped to 2.1). WLS-TV was originally on channel 52, and that channel was always trouble for me, but improved dramatically when their digital channel was moved to 7. I however hate it that the whiners who refused to use outdoor antennas for those who could use them, or who did have outdoor antennas, were using UHF only antennas, thinking they can get VHF stations with a UHF only antenna. Because of all the whiners, WLS-TV caved in and moved their main channel to 44, but for now, keeps 7 running until they get their signal worked out. The problem here isn't VHF itself, but the fact that some people refusing to invest in VHF antennas, all because VHF antennas are bigger than UHF antennas (especially VHF antennas optimized for channels 2-6). People knew that WBBM-TV was broadcasting on a VHF channel duringpre-transition digital, but blamed the station itself for broadcasting a poor signal, instead of blaming themselves for buying the wrong antenna. Had WMAQ, WGN-TV, & WTTW gone back to their original analog channels (5, 9, 11), their coverage would have shrunk, and instead stayed on their pre-transition UHF channels.
Now when I have problems with certain stations, all the channels I have problems with are stations that broadcast on the Sears Tower (that's what I still call it) and on the UHF. That includes WMAQ, WJYS, WCPX, WLS-TV (UHF channel only), WSNS, & WTTW. The 2 stations that stayed on the John Hancock: WYCC & WGBO-DT never gave me problems. I however have problems with WWME-LD because it's a low power digital, and the signal is weak by the time it reaches Gary Indiana, but I do get it from time to time. I have a big antenna that's optimized for this station, along with other stations. I didn't have problems getting WWME-CA on analog. So I don't know what the problem is with the digital station.
As for the channels themselves, I don't like how this box goes by PSIP channel itself, and not allow you to go by RF channel. While it's possible to enter in the RF channel, that doesn't work if a station is already mapped to that channel. So to enter 44.1 would give me WSNS instead of WLS-TV. 50.1 would give me WPWR-TV instead of WXFT. I'm just one of those people who would have rather learned the new channel lineup instead of a channel mapping system that goes by the old analog channel. Here's a much bigger problem that the box can't solve, due to the problem coming from WCIU themselves, and not the box itself. WCIU in Chicago insists on having their MeTV & MeToo stations (digital WWME-LD & analog WMEU-CA) mapped to 23.1 & 48.1, on top of being mapped to their subchannels 26.2 for MeTV & 26.3 for MeToo. 23.1 & 48.1 are mapped from WCIU channel 27 instead of their low power stations. Since MeTV is digital, WCIU has WWME-LD on channel 39, and maps that station to 23.2. Whenever I punch in 23.2, I immediately get the No Signal message. I have to go to 23.1 first, then press the channel up button to go to 23.2. Also, if I punch in 27.1, then all PSIP channels go to 23.1 & up. If I lose the channel mapping for WCIU & their subchannels, then I must do a full scan in order to find this station again. I don't have to do this with other stations, because I can simply delete the channels that have overlap PSIP & RF channels, and punch in the RF channel, and it will give me the channel I'm looking for. WCIU claims they have a valid reason for mapping 23.1 & 48.1 to channel 27, but all it does is wreak havoc on my box. This is a problem on select brand name TV's as well. So the box isn't 100% at fault for this problem.
While this box works ok, I would have preferred a different coverter box, as some boxes have buttons on the box itself, and have better reviews. It's now 2010, and waiting to save up money to just get a new TV. If I hadn't had to replace my original TV in 2004, I wouldn't have needed to get this box at all. There were few TV's with digital tuners in 2004, and out of my price range back then. That was the only reason I got one, and unfortuntely, this model was the only one at the start of the coupon program.