I hooked up our new Channel Master CM-7000 digital TV converter last night and was I amazed. The picture is stunning! It makes the picture we got with analog cable look like total crap! In fact, it may even be better than digital cable as digital cable takes an already-compressed MPEG signal (the ATSC broadcast signal) and recompresses it with QAM. Compressing the same data with two different algorithms always diminishes the quality of the data.
Setup was a snap, too. I simply hooked up the antenna cable, the SVGA cable, and a patch cable for stereo audio. Then a few clicks on the on-screen display and it automatically searched for and added all the available digital channels. It was a total breeze. The antenna I used was an old “rabbit-ears” antenna, too. I haven’t even hooked up the big honking attic antenna to it yet.
Sure, the Channel Master costs more than the $40 government coupon covers, but for me it was worth it to get an S-Video picture and a stable, cool-running converter. The only thing I can think of that would make it a total home-run would be if the remote control was a learning remote. That way I could turn on both the tuner box and my TV with the same remote. As it stands I still need two remotes. Seems like a simple feature for Channel Master to add, but I suppose a lot of people won’t think to demand it.
If you’re anxious to get a digital TV tuner before the February cut-off, if you’re a satellite subscriber who wants to ditch the “local channels” subscription, or you simply want to get a better signal right now, you’ll be very happy with the Channel Master CM-7000.