Zinwell ZAT-970A Love It

Crashmore

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
Absolutely love my four and the local price was perfect. Two were totally free... price plus tax = exactly $40.

It is a fantastic device for installing and fine tuning new DTV setups. It even helped me locate and replace high(er) loss RF connecting cables and a noisy distribution amp. It never forgets a previously tuned digital station (unless told to do so) and has a manual frequency selection with on screen all the time tuning meters for finding that perfect antenna pointing direction.

Gave new life to my VCRs and DVDRs. Using three or four of the eight built in programming slots, I have it tune various digital stations and feed them dumbed down to the DVDR or VCR. Unlike a VCR, the Zinwells is able to change channels at programmed times AND even override your manual setting one time per program. You have the unit on and are watching something. At the programmed time, the Zinwell changes channels. You decide to change it back to whatever you were watching. No problem until the next programmed change. It outputs to channel 3/4 and its Line outputs.

Read some complaints about weak pass through and poor time keeping. A splitter on the TV and Zinwell inputs will fix that. Of course the Zinwell output to the TV is then limited to strictly line out. Clock?? Never noticed except during the DST fiasco.
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#2
I like everything about the specs on the Zinwell, I just don't care for the boxing. ;) It looks like something circa 1980's electronics.



It even helped me locate and replace high(er) loss RF connecting cables and a noisy distribution amp.
That's new to me, does it have some type of status bar that guides displays stats on high / loss?
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
It's amazing that these converter boxes are selling at $40 considering the technology that you get. Makes it kind of nice for those on fixed incomes.

Anyway, good review. Weak pass through? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thougt pass-thru was a 2-way street. Either you've got it, or you don't.
 

Crashmore

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#4
New to this type forum but in reference to:

It even helped me locate and replace high(er) loss RF connecting cables and a noisy distribution amp.

I quickly learned that using the signal strength and quality meters (on a manually tuned station) allowed me to substitute cables/couplers and splitters while noting changes in signal strength. Above a certain minimum signal strength, the quality never changed. Needless to say, I selected parts that gave the highest signal strength (and quality).

However.. one of my distribution amps increased the signal strength while decreasing the overall signal quality. It's now on an extended vacation in the closet.

crashmore
 

Crashmore

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
I think you are thinking about a different kind of "pass through"... pay per view signaling versus analog stations (not being converted but being) passed directly through to the TV tuner on that same frequency (and not digitally converted and sent out on channel 3/4).

While experimenting with my setup, I had a very noticeable loss that was inversely proportionate to the frequency... channel 2 was affected the worst with hardly an loss noted above channel 5. Four converters and one digital tuner equipped DVDR/VCR later, it's a moot point... except for channel 2 which won't go digital until February 18.
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#6
I think you are thinking about a different kind of "pass through"... pay per view signaling versus analog stations (not being converted but being) passed directly through to the TV tuner on that same frequency (and not digitally converted and sent out on channel 3/4).

While experimenting with my setup, I had a very noticeable loss that was inversely proportionate to the frequency... channel 2 was affected the worst with hardly an loss noted above channel 5. Four converters and one digital tuner equipped DVDR/VCR later, it's a moot point... except for channel 2 which won't go digital until February 18.
Ahh, ok, thanks for clarifying. Is channel 2 on the VHF frequency?
 

Crashmore

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#8
According to on going PSAs from Channel 2, they will cease all analog broadcasting February 10th and come back up February 18th (as 2.1) on channel 5... the last of the low VHF stations.

Not sure how to answer your question about receiving UHF on a VHF antenna. As you know, anything down to and including a coat hanger can work as an antenna. The best results occur when the antenna is specifically designed to receive a given channel or group of channels.

If you can find manufacturer's data, check the specs on those deep fringe things rated up to "you name it miles". Most have horrible gain (fewer miles) on the lower VHF channels. February, I want to receive channel five from 45 miles away with an antenna inside my attic. A coat hanger won't hack it.
 
#10
Specs from the Zinwell Zat 970 website:

· Terrestrial 8-VSB demodulation
· ATSC 18 video formats decoding
· ATSC HDTV complaint MPEG2 MP@ML/ MP@HL decoder
· Compatible with HDTV, EDTV and SDTV displays
· User-selectable CH3/CH4 NTSC RF output
· ATSC AC3 audio decoding
· Modern design with user-friendly OSD interface.
· Aspect Ratio 16:9/ 4:3
· Multilingual support
· Automatic and manual channel scan
· Closed Caption, V-Chip and EAS (Emergency Alert System) Support
· Support Advances Rating (Rating Region Table downloadable)
· Software upgrade
 

Lauri0318

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Does any know what STORES are carrying the Zinwell ZAT-970A? I live in Orange County, CA, & all I can find are places online to buy one. Thanks for any help! This model was rated #1 in Consumer Reports.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#13
Does any know what STORES are carrying the Zinwell ZAT-970A? I live in Orange County, CA, & all I can find are places online to buy one. Thanks for any help! This model was rated #1 in Consumer Reports.
Only place I've ever seen is at Amazon online. Wonder why they like it so much. There are so many with better tuners and EPGs.
 
#14
Albertsons should have them. 49.95 with Preferred Card. With the $40 coupon, you pay 9.95, plus tax. Coupon card MUST be surrendered, for book-keeping purposes.
 

Lauri0318

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
Thank you for referring me to Albertson's in Orange County, CA. They had the ZAT-950A for $49.95 which was the same price as the ZAT-970A. Also, do you think I'll need to purchase the yellow & red cables as described in the instructions?

Now, I was wondering if someone knows where in Lakewood or Denver, CO that my friend might find Zinwells' for sale. TIA!
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#17
Thank you for referring me to Albertson's in Orange County, CA. They had the ZAT-950A for $49.95 which was the same price as the ZAT-970A. Also, do you think I'll need to purchase the yellow & red cables as described in the instructions?

Now, I was wondering if someone knows where in Lakewood or Denver, CO that my friend might find Zinwells' for sale. TIA!
That's great, and also, your ZAT-950A should come with both RCA (Red, White, Yellow) and RF Cords. Have you opened the box yet?
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#18
alot of markets are staying away from low VHF because the interference is terrible. Analog 2 (PBS) in my market sounds like a cat screeching.
Couldn't agree more Low Band VHF is a waste land of noise, skip, big antennas, huge percentage bandwidth problems. I really believe the only reason they let TV keep it is no one wanted it in an auction.

The poster was talking about KCWX in San Antonio market, moving from Analog 2 to Digital 5. At least they are running 23.7 KW at 412 meters up. That give people within 10 to 20 miles a chance of it working with frequent pixelization, if you call that working.

I keep saying that Low Band should be allowed to stay analog with low power stations. No full power allowed. It would be a cheap way for local stations to get on the air. It's worthless for digital as many that bet on it like KCWX will soon find out. There are no good highband channels left in their area but some nice clear UHFs. They will most likely be sorry they thought Ch 5 would give them a lot of range with a small electric bill. Loss in transmission line at that channel you can feed a 400 meter antenna with less than a 1/2 db loss. A 6 db antenna if there is room at the top of the tower is possible at ch 5 letting them run 7.7 TPO or probably about 10KW in from the plug which is low for a TV station's electric bill.

Ch 5 to me is the best of the Low Band VHF channels. It's a little too high for a lot of e-skip and has a little less noise than 2-4, and isn't up against the FM band like 6. But no matter how you cut it's still full of noise. We have still (for the next 2 weeks) a Full power Ch 5 here in Gainesville on analog that is at 100KW at 300 meters only 29 miles from me that is LOS and it gets full of sparkles, enough I know from high band would break up digital if on that frequency.
 
#19
Well, someone didn't love the ZAT-970A. At work (a grocery store) someone returned a 970A to exchange it for a 950A. The customer didn't have an amplified antenna.

Most likely the 970A that was returned would be destroyed. Such a shame, that model works great with a perfectly-set antenna. I'd want to buy it, but I don't have $50 lying around.

I wanted to tuck in a DTV Helpline with my email/cell number in the box (stuff it through the crack in the box, well inside so it can't be pulled out by store workers) to give some quick tips the manuals always leave out.
 
#20
I wanted to tuck in a DTV Helpline with my email/cell number in the box (stuff it through the crack in the box, well inside so it can't be pulled out by store workers) to give some quick tips the manuals always leave out.
It's amazing how many people don't actually read the manuals anyways. Can you imagine the volume of calls the converter box manufactures are going to get around the transition day.
 
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