Review: The Apex is good, but is it good enough?

#1
I purchased the Apex DT250 two days ago at Best Buy for about $65 including tax (before appying the $40 coupon, total cost out the door was $25 w/ tax).

My first impressions are...to take this dtv box back to BB and exchange it for something else. Here are my top 3 items that bug me the most about it:

  1. The auto-channel scan took over five minutes to finish finding all of the digital channels
  2. The EPS guide is terrible! It only displays the current channel program information, nothing else! Other converter boxes show programming on the current channel for the next 4 hours and also displays program information on all other channels.
  3. Was not able to receive ABC and NBC, this is pretty poor since I use a great antenna, and the fact that a Tivax box I purchased 2 weeks ago received all of the available dtv channels connected to the same TV and antenna

This is kind of an innitial review since I haven't had a lot of time to tinker around with the menu and settings. I don't think I can recommend it to anyone, given the fact that the pricing seems to be a bit higher than other converter boxes, and yet the features on this unit are so limited. Another small citicism of this box is that it runs hot! I'm afraid to leave it on over night, and when I turn it on with the rest of my home theater equipment in my open wooden cabinet, it puts out a ton of heat.

One thing I have not figured out on this box, is how to add or delete channels manually. Would like to know how to!
 
#5
You either have cheap A/V cables or you're viewing the OSD while watching TV. it does have a bit of hum or buzz while the program guide or other OSD features are on while watching.

My opinion of the box is it's ok, it's a little simplistic but it does have a nicer EPG, it shows more than the current show and the next one, it can show up to two days in advance; a lot of other converters, some even more expensive (the Apex is only $49.99 here) boxes only show a 'simple guide' that only gives info for the current and the next show, no better than the channel showing what's coming up....the only thing about the Apex is that like the DigitalStream, it requires you changing the channel to view EPG info on the other channels; the guide only shows info for the channel you're already viewing only.

The OSD is cheap and cheesy low-res looking. but the box succeeds in the signal dept. it isn't a victim of 'red-zoning' at all (Red Zone is my nickname for a box that has an ok signal but it varies so much that the box 'gives up' and simply pegs the red area of the signal meter and stays there, resulting in sub-par pixelation and requires the box turned OFF then back ON repetively) you can be in the first half of the 'red area' and still have a watchable non-cutty outty picture. and also, the box is forgiving of weak signals. it won't black out and say 'NO SIGNAL,' or cut out audio. it can work with a partially pixellated picture and still have perfect audio, and if it does get bad enough, no skipping or stuttering, it just stops as if a 'pause' button was hit. in fact, the OSD shows a 'play' icon similar to that in VCRs when the picture is ok, and a 'pause' icon if it's not. it's currently the only box i know of that can view a pixellated picture and still hold the audio stream, making it sorta like weak analog signals.
 
#6
yeah this box got horrible reviews on best buy. People say that after like 2 weeks it just stops working or the box overheats.

They should recall these if everyone is having problems.
 
#7
Must've been fixed already, this was at BB and was part of a new stock (still on the pallette, too) and from my experience it doesn't get hot at all, the only one that i know of that seemed to be a 'hothead' was the RCA DTA800. this one gets warm just as usual, and no hotter than the Zenith. it's possible it's been updated and redone, as are a lot of boxes now being shipped with the same model #.

I stand on it outperforming the Zenith with no red zoning and its ability to hold the audio stream even on pixelated channels.
 

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