in Reviews, X-Geek

Digital TV ready

I spent a moment this morning doing some research on which digital TV converter box to buy. We’ve got an HDTV but also have a standard-definition TV which is is very good condition.

Wikipedia made it easy with a handy comparison chart. It seems that very few of these converter boxes (a large group of which are known as Coupon-Eligible Converter Boxes or CECBs as they qualify for the $40 government subsidy) sport S-video outputs. The clearest input for my analog TV, a mid-90s model Sony, is its S-video input. To me it doesn’t make sense to have a box convert from a perfect digital signal to an analog output if that analog output isn’t going to be at least S-video quality.

Apex, familiar for their dirt-cheap DVD players, has a few models with S-video outputs. Like their DVD players, these converter boxes have mixed reports on their quality, the main beef being that they run too hot.

I don’t want to buy a piece of junk, so I purchased a Channel Master CM-7000. Consumer Reports rated it highly, in its “close to DVD quality” category. And, while it is more expensive than the Apex models, its only $20 more. I can live with that.

Once it arrives we’ll be set for February’s digital TV transition.