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Thread: Philco TB100HH9 Digital-to-Analog converter

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    414

    Default Philco TB100HH9 Digital-to-Analog converter

    I have recently added the Philco TB100HH9 DTV converter box to my DXing and viewing gear.

    Whereas I had earlier assumed that the conspicuously white Philco unit, being made by Funai, would be identical to the Magnavox black box, further reading showed the Philco has a desirable feature - RF pass-through for watching analog signals without an RF switch or pulling plugs (useful here, since Canadian stations from Windsor will be available in analog for another 2 1/2 years and will likely never go digital).

    After unpacking the product, plugging the CM 3020 (big V/U antenna) into it, and plugging it into the Sylvania 6427GFF (TV set), my first impressions were disappointing - the sensitivity was about the same as the 6427GFF, and the picture quality (using RF out ch3 mode into the antenna jack of the 6427GFF) was only fair.

    I then noticed that all the Toledo DTVs came in perfectly well with the CM 3020 pointed at Detroit. I wondered what propagation conditions were allowing this to happen, then took the antenna off of the Philco and put it on my Sylvania DTV. With the antenna in the same position, only WUPW-DT 46 (36) was reliable. WNWO-DT 49 (24) was spotty, and all three of the other Toledos were completely unlockable!

    With the Philco, a single antenna position at Detroit worked perfectly for all of the DTVs I can receive here but two (WBGU-DT 56 obviously can't be seen under analog WTVS, and WLMB-DT 5 likely suffered from noise).

    Even through the Philco TB100HH9 and my Sylvania 6427GFF are both Funai products, when it comes to DTV performance under multipath, the difference is like night and day! I further checked the Philco with a (lousy) "rabbit ears" in a bedroom on the wrong side of a brick house, where analog reception suffered from ghosting, pictures often rolled, and my RCA ATSC11 had proven to be a basket case. The Philco came through beautifully. This is a quantum leap for DXers and TV viewers alike!

    As for the picture quality, mine seems to have a significantly better picture if you use channel 4 for RF output instead of channel 3. However, you would certainly want to use the (passband) composite video and audio outputs if you possibly can - better picture and much better sound will result.

    Then there's that RF pass-through that drew me to the Philco - almost useless. I was expecting that this meant that the RF would pass-through simply by turning the box off. No, the box has to be ON for the pass-through to work. You access it by going through several steps in the menus, and then the insertion loss is considerable. It is useful if I use video and audio cables for DTV, and the RF output for the pass-through, but I don't think the general public would go to this effort.

    The channel mapping is just like my 6427GFF DTV set. It is DXer friendly. You can enter any actual RF channel directly (you cannot, however, surf through actual channels by going up/down). Channels only go into memory when you add one or when you use autoscan.

    The Philco box has a still (freeze-frame) function, which may be useful if you want to save an ID graphic for a photo.

    Sadly, like the Magnavox, the Philco is totally remote-dependant. There are no switches nor buttons on the unit of any kind.

    Two predictions:
    1) CECBs will replace integral DTV sets, HDTV receivers, and software-driven USB DTV appliances as the tool of choice for DTV DXing. The multipath performance is simply so much better.
    2) After transition, E-skip loggings of the few lowband DTV stations, with moving video and audio, will not be unusual at all.

    All in all, it will be interesting to see what the CECBs arriving in the next few months will offer for DXers. I do not regret buying the Philco TB100HH9 with cash and not waiting the the coupon. I'm sure I'll find at least two more CECBs worthy of my coupons, when they arrive.

    Stay tuned, I plan to test my Philco more scientifically in the next few weeks (up against the 6427GFF and two HDTV receivers) and I plan to give the Philco a test ride in a moving vehicle (don't panic - someone else will be driving!)

    73 & gud DX de N8NU
    (one of the first 2000 DTV coupon applicants).

    Retrospect (October 20, 2009).

    1) I have heard from several people concerned about the lack of ventilation in the Philco box. I do note that, contrary to popular belief, there are some small ventilation holes in my TB100HH9 (S/N U51715312). They are small, and on the bottom of the cabinet at the left and right edges. Whether this is adequate ventilation is anyone's guess. Several large openings on the top (as in the Zenith/Insignia, Sansonic and smaller AccessHD) would obviously provide more ventilation, but a device like a CECB (the TB100HH9 only consumes 8W when running) don't generate anywhere near as much heat as, say, a slide projector with a 500W bulb. Personally, I've had no heat problems with my Philco, but I haven't been using it on a daily basis, either.

    2) Analog pass-through. In retrospect, "almost useless" may not be accurate for everybody's needs. I was disapppointed at first to find that you could not access the analog pass-through by simply turning the box off (I guess in my generation, one expects that turning any gizmo off should restore status quo ante before the gizmo was installed, as we saw in UHF converters and older video games). As mentioned in my review of the Digital Stream, one could prefer the Philco's analog-pass through system for its ability to tune DTV (seen and heard through A/V outputs) while passing a signal through for another tuner (not necessarily analog - you can use the Philco with a digital ready TV to tape one digital program - using the A/V connection to a VCR, whilst watching another - using digital pass through to the digital tuner of a DTV ready set, or another CECB).
    Further observation shows that pass-through insertion loss is negligible on VHF (low or high) and not really that bad on UHF (of course, as DXers, we wish there were none), and would only affect regular viewers if they are already on the fringe..

    All in all, we can find reasons another box may be better for us than the Philco, but it still seems to be a decent product itself.
    Last edited by Robert Grant; 10-19-2009 at 11:40 PM. Reason: added retrospects ventilation and APT

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    15 mi NW Phila, PA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    CECB ???? Help ?

    Also, if those will be lagging behind, there isn't much of a window to use the coupons as they're good for only 90 days from receipt, right ?
    Russ Edmunds
    15 mi NW Philadelphia, PA
    WB2BJH -- Grid FN20id
    Yamaha T-80 & Conrad RDS Manager;
    Yamaha T-85 & Conrad RDS Manager;
    Onkyo T450RDS;
    2) Tecsun PL-310 - all w/ APS-9B @ 15';
    Grundig G8/whip; Modified Sony ICF2010/whip


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    414

    Default

    Coupon
    Eligible
    Converter
    Box


    Elsewhere on the net, I see that several new CECBs are planned to hit the market this summer, including one that can be operated with batteries, another that will output in stereo via analog RF connection, and even one model to be assembled in the USA.

    Maybe I made a mistake applying for the coupons the moment the ball dropped in Times Square.
    I'll have to use my coupons on thise boxes available in late may.

    Rob

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Enfield, CT
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    1,038

    Default

    "CECB ???? Help ?"

    Coupon Eligible Converter Box, Russ. Don't feel bad because I had to do a Google search to find out. Once I knew but had just plain forgotton.
    Mike B.
    Enfield, CT
    -72 30' W/41 59' N
    FN31RX

    Mike's TV and FM DX Page
    Online since 1999 and still going!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    15 mi NW Phila, PA
    Posts
    1,318

    Default

    To which I say TMOA !

    ( Too Many Obscure Acronyms ! )
    Russ Edmunds
    15 mi NW Philadelphia, PA
    WB2BJH -- Grid FN20id
    Yamaha T-80 & Conrad RDS Manager;
    Yamaha T-85 & Conrad RDS Manager;
    Onkyo T450RDS;
    2) Tecsun PL-310 - all w/ APS-9B @ 15';
    Grundig G8/whip; Modified Sony ICF2010/whip


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Shreveport, LA
    Posts
    2,654

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Grant View Post
    Two predictions:

    2) After transition, E-skip loggings of the few lowband DTV stations, with moving video and audio, will not be unusual at all.

    Thanks for the interesting review. I hope you are right about the Es. Although I feel like luck has been on my side (some of the time, anyway) when it comes to receiving DTVs via Es, the Es DTV logs have been among the most difficult of all my 900 TV logs.
    Last edited by Danny; 02-26-2008 at 11:24 PM. Reason: Added missing word.
    Danny
    Shreveport, LA
    Mexico/Latin America TV DX ID Tips http://www.tvdxtips.com
    Submit and read DTV Stats http://www.tvdxexpo.com/dtvdxrecords.html
    TV and DTV DX Photographs http://www.tvdxexpo.com
    My Photographs of 100 Mexico TV DX Local IDs http://www.tvdxexpo.com/100mexicotvids.html
    More than 1,100 TV logs since 1994

  7. #7
    duke Guest

    Default Bought a TB100H9

    First let me say I know next to nothing about setting up audio visual equipment. Yesterday I bought a TB100H9 to see if it would help the reception on my 20 year old RCA TV using Radio Shack amplified rabbit ears. I hooked it up to the TV bypassing my VCR/DVD player. I didn't realize at the time I bought the converter box that I would need an extra set of audio/video cables. It worked like a charm pulling in all local (Detroit) digital channels (10+). The recepetion is 10 times better than the analog. Today I went and got a set of cables and hooked up the VCR/DVD player. There is no problem recording the program I am currently watching or setting the VCR to record at a later time. I have not yet figured out how to record one channel while watching another one but will kep trying. In any case I recommend this converter box. It was priced at $48 less the $40 coupon plus tax.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    Posts
    3,271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by duke View Post
    First let me say I know next to nothing about setting up audio visual equipment. Yesterday I bought a TB100H9 to see if it would help the reception on my 20 year old RCA TV using Radio Shack amplified rabbit ears. I hooked it up to the TV bypassing my VCR/DVD player. I didn't realize at the time I bought the converter box that I would need an extra set of audio/video cables. It worked like a charm pulling in all local (Detroit) digital channels (10+). The recepetion is 10 times better than the analog. Today I went and got a set of cables and hooked up the VCR/DVD player. There is no problem recording the program I am currently watching or setting the VCR to record at a later time.
    Good to hear these are working well. I know I'm very impressed by the performance of my Insignia box.

    I have not yet figured out how to record one channel while watching another one but will kep trying. In any case I recommend this converter box. It was priced at $48 less the $40 coupon plus tax.
    You'll need another box. The box can only convert one channel at a time - if you want to record channel 2 while watching channel 7, you'll have to have one box tuned to channel 2 and feeding the VCR while the other one is tuned to channel 7 and feeding the TV.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

  9. #9
    duke Guest

    Default

    Can a GE RM84964 Universal Remote be programmed to control this converter box? Would anyone know what the codes might be? Thanks.
    Last edited by duke; 03-18-2008 at 04:24 PM. Reason: Additional Info

  10. #10
    robandjeanne Guest

    Default Philco Remote

    Is the Philco remote universal enough to turn on/off the TV and adjust the volume? Performance of the Philco and Insignia/Zenith looks about equal on sensitivity and multipath, see <http://www.wtfda.info/showthread.php?p=4479#post4479>

    Rob

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