DTVPAL-PLUS review

#1
Ok got this today and hooked it up, setup is easy has nice signal strength meter you just point the antenna and scan. if you have a rotator you can turn the rotator and scan for new channels to add them, or you can add manually and scan. remote is just like dish sat remote, in fact a dish sat remote will work the box. the video is far better than the RCA I was using it is a good dvd quality the box has rca and f connections for the tv and f connection for the antenna. also supports stereo sound. channel guide is great just like the one that dish uses on it's sat receivers has a 7 day guide. the box is small smaller than any I have seen about the size of a paper back book. the tuner does a great job of locking onto stations I can be in the general area of a channel and it will pick it up, I get much better signal on all channels than I did with the RCA it also has analog pass through as well. if this box works as well as it seems right now it is well worth the price of 69.00 -40 for coupon would be 29.00 don't buy from dish unless you have to you will pay tax on online sales. also if you are a dish customer they make you call because they don't want to loose the local sales, but if you call they will sell it to you. all in all I would highly recommend this box to anyone who wants top notch video and sound. also has a timer so you can schedule your vcr,tvio, dvd recorder to record a show can schedule multiple events at the time.:)
 
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#2
part 2

ok volume on box is funny has hiss when tv volume is set and adjusted with box. turn box volume all the way up and adjust with tv volume control hiss is no longer there. this may not be there when tv is connected with RCA cables. fyi RCA composite cables are not provided with box just one coax and two batteries for remote.:)
 
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Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
ok volume on bock is funny has hiss when tv volume is set and adjusted with box. turn box volume all the way up and adjust with tv volume control hiss is no longer there. this may not be there when tv is connected with RCA cables. fyi RCA component cables are not provided with box just one coax and two batteries for remote.:)
Good call on the volume hiss fix, I've seen others report that, and never saw any kind of fix or recommendation for it.
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#6
this box is 15.00 cheaper from solidsignal.com than from dishnetwork
Seems odd that Dish sells that box over the web like that, but in this case, atleast they sell the box for a premium over solidsignal. Apple does it too. I would think it would hurt retailers who have to stock and sell instore and still compete against a manufacture who sells the same product online.
 
#7
FINALLY!!! Found one that's in stock. the K-mart by me was chock full of fresh ones.

They're now $59.99 here at K-mart and Sears. they were previously $69.99

They're worth the extra $10 though, if you've been a Dish customer or were used to the way their menus and remotes work, this is the box for you! i love the familiar program guide and the remote is very much the same one as is for a Satellite receiver from Dish. the remote and menus even bear the 'Dish Network' logo which i find funny for an OTA receiver. i don't know for sure if it has the ability to upgrade over the air like the Satellite one does but it does have a sys info menu where there is a software version among other info.

The remote sadly doesn't work the TV though, which is a letdown on a higher-priced converter but if one has some old Dish Network remotes lying around i hear they control this box too, so they will work with the universal remotes used with Dish Satellite receivers if they do if such info is correct.

IT's probably the smallest of the converters too. i never saw one so tiny. so it's amazing it has such nice features like a full program guide up to a week, (and shows info on every channel without changing them and also has the handy 'browse banner' too which allows you to see the current and next show on any channel while still allowing you to watch the current one. )

It operates very much the same as a Dish Network 311 Satellite receiver. but without all the satellite crud. so it's a nice switch.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#8
FINALLY!!! Found one that's in stock. the K-mart by me was chock full of fresh ones.

They're now $59.99 here at K-mart and Sears. they were previously $69.99

They're worth the extra $10 though, if you've been a Dish customer or were used to the way their menus and remotes work, this is the box for you! i love the familiar program guide and the remote is very much the same one as is for a Satellite receiver from Dish. the remote and menus even bear the 'Dish Network' logo which i find funny for an OTA receiver. i don't know for sure if it has the ability to upgrade over the air like the Satellite one does but it does have a sys info menu where there is a software version among other info.

The remote sadly doesn't work the TV though, which is a letdown on a higher-priced converter but if one has some old Dish Network remotes lying around i hear they control this box too, so they will work with the universal remotes used with Dish Satellite receivers if they do if such info is correct.

IT's probably the smallest of the converters too. i never saw one so tiny. so it's amazing it has such nice features like a full program guide up to a week, (and shows info on every channel without changing them and also has the handy 'browse banner' too which allows you to see the current and next show on any channel while still allowing you to watch the current one. )

It operates very much the same as a Dish Network 311 Satellite receiver. but without all the satellite crud. so it's a nice switch.
That program guide feature is nice!! Wish I would have waited. How about the speed of the menu loading?? I've heard of some of the Dish Network satellite receivers loading slow.
 
#9
It's instant. hit GUIDE and there it is. the Guide sadly doesn't have a window of the TV view so using the Guide requires you leaving the channel.

BUT, you can use the browse banner which works like a lot of other CECBs in that it shows you info on the channel you're watching and the others without leaving the channel or losing a moment of your favorite show.

The box is set to power down and any amount of power down requires the program guide 'download' to restart. otherwise skipping it, like with Satellite receivers, won't allow you to change channels. the download takes about as long as a satellite receiver, about 5-10 mins depending on your lineup, but the annoying 'Aquiring signal x of 5' message doesn't exist.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#10
It's instant. hit GUIDE and there it is. the Guide sadly doesn't have a window of the TV view so using the Guide requires you leaving the channel.

BUT, you can use the browse banner which works like a lot of other CECBs in that it shows you info on the channel you're watching and the others without leaving the channel or losing a moment of your favorite show.

The box is set to power down and any amount of power down requires the program guide 'download' to restart. otherwise skipping it, like with Satellite receivers, won't allow you to change channels. the download takes about as long as a satellite receiver, about 5-10 mins depending on your lineup, but the annoying 'Aquiring signal x of 5' message doesn't exist.
Thanks, I am officially listing one of my verts on ebay this weekend and shopping for the Pal. :thumb:
 
#11
I may buy another one, to replace the red-zone-addict Zenith. funny thing about the DTVPal. the DTVPal's signal on my weakest channel (Retro TV and ABC) is 71%! that's the best so far!

on the Zenith it's a badly fluctuating red-zoned signal and tons of artifacting video and audio. and that's using the same antenna which feeds the outlets inside the mobile home. go figure. the Zenith is about 60% on CBS/MyNetworkTV, and it's (get this) 93% on the DTVPal. FOX, my only VHF and hardly working on any other converter, is 71% just like RTN on the DTVPal.

So far it appears the best of em all is the DTVPal. it's the best for EPG, the best tuner, and has the best manual. well-written owner's manual. all three pluses are what makes a good box.
 

TonyT

DTVUSA Member
#12
I may buy another one, to replace the red-zone-addict Zenith. funny thing about the DTVPal. the DTVPal's signal on my weakest channel (Retro TV and ABC) is 71%! that's the best so far!

on the Zenith it's a badly fluctuating red-zoned signal and tons of artifacting video and audio. and that's using the same antenna which feeds the outlets inside the mobile home. go figure. the Zenith is about 60% on CBS/MyNetworkTV, and it's (get this) 93% on the DTVPal. FOX, my only VHF and hardly working on any other converter, is 71% just like RTN on the DTVPal.

So far it appears the best of em all is the DTVPal. it's the best for EPG, the best tuner, and has the best manual. well-written owner's manual. all three pluses are what makes a good box.
But just how accurate are those signal meters, and are the measuring to the same exact standards? :confused:
 
#13
seeing as the DTVPal+'s owner's guide does in fact state that the signal falls out below 54% i would like to think it's got pretty good leeway. don't forget this data was during a t-storm!

The Zenith will lose some channels at 60%, some at 25% or if it fluctuates badly up/down forget even pulling the channel in.

The DTVPal+ has the nicest program guide and gives the feel of Satellite TV without the monthly bill. perfect picture, great features, event timers, well the only thing different than Dish Network is the DVR and Satellite bill (there is a DTVPal Plus DVR btw too, so that former is no longer the case).

The signal meter on the DTVPal+ is the best one so far, it also shows up when you're using the browse banner or while changing channels. no interrupting your view of the TV or needing a separate menu access to show it. and it doesn't plague you with annoying beeps. each channel shows a certain percentage, although i think the cut-out point is the same, as listed in the manual. i haven't had it lose out yet, i have two boxes, and the DTVPal works well when the other one cannot. so long as the signal is above 54% you should be good to go.
 
#14
Solid signal has them for 15.00 cheaper than dish sells them for. just bought two more this week. have had the same experience with the dtvpal+ tuner is much stronger than other boxes I have installed and all where in deep fringe areas.
 

phritzg

DTVUSA Rookie
#15
I have been using a DTVPal Plus for about 4 weeks now. (I bought it full price to replace my third failed Microgem 2000 - see that thread for info.) I have about 30 channels programmed in and I only turn the power on when I want to watch one of them. (The rest of the time we are watching programming on our big dish C-band 4dtv satellite system.) The DTVPal takes only about 30-45 seconds to download the guide information when it is first turned on, not 5 or 10 minutes; I suppose it depends on how many channels you receive? One odd thing we've noticed is the unit occasionally turns itself on for a couple minutes at a time at seemingly random times during the day and night, then turns itself off. Does anyone know what that might be about?
 
#17
I just got this off eBay in new condition.

The power inlet looks very different - it's a micro square socket I think this was intentionally done to prevent the user getting confused as to which power supply goes to what. The power plug also says "Audio equipment," which is a little unusual for an audio/video apparatus. Power supply for an SPDIF-based Dolby speaker system, maybe?

The box uses no screws. I opened it up by using a pry bar set I had bought to fix a friend's Zune.

Opening it up shows lots of chips. Taking the lid off the tuner shield shows a chip, a loop coil. two crystals, a resistor IC and various small parts. The tuner chip is a MT2131F 0JH370023G There are posts inside for a legacy style tuner.

The Flash memory is an 8x8 Spansion S99-50048, possibly 512 MBs Lots of room for a good GUI and a catalog of channels with methods for accessing and storing extended channel guide information.

The work memory is a Hynix HY5DU121622DTP-D43 64 MBs DDR Not a lot of memory.

The main CPU chip is a ST STi7707WUDP, The ATSC decoder chip is a ST STV0373.

There's headers for a 4-pin connector, and a 2-pin jumper

On the bottom there's another unknown 7x7 solder-ball mounted chip It has no markings other than 156054 D822 and the A1 marker dot. There is probably info on the other side (sometimes the case with certain chips like these (from past experience with EEPROMs,) but I'm not sacrificing this DTV converter, but another board suggests that it's a substitute for a subscriber card in a Dish Network box.

The remote control looks pretty heavy-duty with its twin-IR transmitters. It comes preloaded with batteries. It's nice, but not very safe.

There have been reports of this box responding to the remote control of an Echostar Dish Networks box, and vice versa. (the remote says Dish Networks on it)

I'll add to this when I receive the one I bought from a consignment shop - the eBay ad said it was broken, so I got it really cheap. "Item powers up but the setup returns an error state." With any luck, it's in perfect working condition - it was the antenna setup that was no good.

Don't have any time tonight to review it. I got to get to my work early tomorrow morning.
 
#18
It works nice. Instead of repeating what's already said about this box, I'll just give some additional notes based on what's already written here.

Program guide is totally dependent on the data transmitted from the stations, it's read live from the bands' data streams. Navigating around causes some data to disappear. It's good, but, not perfect.

I'll see if I can get my hands on a DirectTV remote control, and try it out. That one should have a TV control option which was left out of the DTVPal's remote.

Channel changing is a little slow, but not too slow. There is no picture delay seen as compared with my VOOM box, response is about the same.

There's a lot of familiar feel in the GUI of this unit, compared with the VOOM receiver, installation menus and everything feels quite similar to a real satellite receiver. I think this box could have had some competition if Motorola had gone into the DTV converter market instead of sitting it out.

Anyways, this DTVPal Plus makes one feel they're getting a whole lot of value out of the free digital TV system with the impressive GUI and program guide, and THAT makes this box really worth every penny spent on it.

I'll burn-test it, see if anything unusual comes up after more than 8 hours of operation, since it doesn't have any ventilation anywhere. Hopefully, nothing.
 
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#20
I got two of them off eBay. The broken DTVPal and the working DTVPal Plus. This one was the working one. It came from an electronics clearing house. DIGITAL-TO-ANALOG CONVERTER BOX DTVPAL TADD - eBay (item 270383334030 end time May-03-09 20:23:20 PDT)

My bids capped at 15 dollars for any box, s/h inclusive. Surprisingly this one went for far less. There's a couple of Car/RV-powered tuners direct from China, running more than 100 bucks a pop. I don't think the picture quality of those would be too good since it states framerate limits. The remote control looks terrible, so thin, it would too easily get stuck behind the chemical toilet. Here's a quick an easy search for converter boxes on eBay. Be sure to read the details before bidding. Some of the prices are criminally high, so watch out for those. DTV converter, Electronics, Computers Networking items on eBay.com These are NOT Tickle-Me-Elmos, people!
 
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