Since digital TV was announced heard that the TVs without built-in digital tuner will not become obsolete. It would be enough to put in it a “converter” and watch the digital channels, as it happened a few decades ago when the first stations in UHF and TVs tuned only VHF. But several years have passed without a single decent converter arose in the market. Big brands were not interested. Sony even release a converter, but only for their own TVs and exorbitant price. The market disappeared shortly after. Semp launched a converter, but it has bugs that have never been solved. He has also has been discontinued.
The Brazilian Digital TV System (SBDTV), although derived from the Japanese system, is incompatible with the same in terms of codecs, so you can not import from Japan converters, much less the US or Europe that has completely different standards. Converters need to be made exclusively for the Brazilian market. The promise was to give a little push in the domestic industry with it, but no one wants to face the high tax burden that the Brazilian government imposes. Remember again that Lula promised a tax reform and 12 EN years after she did not come out. So instead of generating jobs in Brazil, again were generated jobs in China, where the Brazilian Digital TV converters are being manufactured. No Brasil, little known companies only care these devices to sell here, adding their brands, manual in Portuguese and giving some local warranty. And so far, all decoders launched in the market had serious problems.
Another attraction of DTV receivers is that many of them also implement the PVR function (Personal Video Recorder), in other words, they can record TV programming. This was a feature that in the past was in the hands of all who had a VCR, for all models I met were not only breeding tapes, but also recorders. With the emergence of the DVD that was a feature that was lost, because the vast majority of DVD players are just breeding. Appeared on the market some desk DVD recorders, but none was a great success, and apparently had their own problems. Pay-TVs try to meet the demand for recording to add this feature in their decoders, as Net and Sky made. But the recordings are encrypted and can only be played in the decoder itself, in other words, is not something you can record and save forever. Sooner or later the HD or the decoder will goes down and the recording will be lost. To take the recording of the decoder is necessary to deal with high definition capture cards, and they are expensive and also has its own dose of problems. Besides all this, not all open channels are present on cable TV. Na Sky, for example, The channels are present only in SD, HD is none.
Another interesting feature that is being added to digital TV decoders is that many of them are also media players in general. In other words, they can play MP4 files on it, MKV, etc. they are on a flash drive or external hard drive. The video format H.264, that has been used in most of the videos available on the Internet, is the same used by the Brazilian digital TV.
The first Digital TV decoder that purchase was a Visiontec VT-7200e. It was a big disappointment. At the beginning of sales VT-7200e was a great promise. It was little better than your competitors, they were almost all terrible. But Visiontec released an incomplete product. Even PVR was only added later with a firmware upgrade. Firmware upgrades corrected most defects, but some persisted, as some random crashes. The Visiontec just abandoning the development of VT-7200e never complete it. So this is a brand that not recommend.
And my last acquisition was the EKOTECH ZBT-670N. It is a relatively new decoder, but the first reports of buyers has been very positive. Earlier models were microtravamentos problems EKOTECH, many of the same decoders. But this seems to be an exception, because in my tests so far have not seen any locking.
The tuner EKOTECH ZBT-670N looks pretty good, took all the channels in my area, and some other cities also. Note that I use a UHF antenna Proeletronic PQ45-1300, with a gain of 16dBi and RG-6 cables, then it also facilitated the life of ZBT-670N. The processor seems to be fast, because it responds quickly to remote control commands, channel switching, etc. I can not comment much about the image quality, because I'm using it on a CRT TV, without high definition, using the composite video cable. My intention is only to have a better picture on this TV (the digital image is much better than analog, even without the high definition) and also enjoy the PVR features.
The ZBT-670N has HDMI output, Coaxial digital audio output (plug RCA), one output composite video and stereo audio on a single plug P2. I would rather 3 plugs RCA, which is the most trivial, instead of P2, but at least the cable came with the device. Also missed a component video output, unfortunately. The remote control is quite complete, brings even a button to select the audio, something that does not exist in HD TVs from Sony, for example, that force you to scroll through menus just to select the audio 5.1 channels. There are also buttons to adjust aspect, resolution, closed caption, and buttons for recording and playback functions. The menus are friendly. It is rare to find good usability in this type of device, so I was quite satisfied. As my TV is 4:3, have to choose between a stretched image vertically, an image cut in the side (pan scan) or an image with black stripe on the lower corners and higher (letterbox). In general opto by letterbox and alternate to or pan scan if programming 4:3 and has side edges.
The PVR was a pleasant surprise. I connected a USB stick and he recorded perfectly, without choking. Also connected an external hard drive, powered by USB port, and he also worked perfectly. Some devices are more chatinhos and do not write well in pendrive, or fail to feed a HD, requiring hard drives with power supply. Thus, the ZBT-670N was very good in this regard also. The resource “live pause” It is also present. At any time you can press the pause button and the image freezes, but the schedule starts to be recorded. Upon return of the page the recorded file is played from the beginning while the recording continues.
The files generated by the PVR are in .TS format and has all the audios, which is also a pleasant surprise, because the VT-7200e only recorded the audio that was selected at the time of recording. I did a test recording minutes from Globe. Then open the video in the PC and tried to convert it to MKV, recoding the video and AAC audio 5.1 channels. Only I succeeded in this task with TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5, which is a paid software. MediaCoder x64 and Handbrake failed in this task. The AAC 5.1 of our TV is still a problem for most software. I hope this will change in the future. As for the stereo audio, did not do the greatest tests, but I could convert it with MediaCoder x64.
Regarding the media playback, Nor did many tests, since I already have the WDTV Live that plays practically any media I put in it and can access files directly on my NAS via network, without my having to copy them to a USB stick or external hard drive. But in the few tests I did I saw that the ZBT-670N correctly reproduced the H.264 video with AAC audio, but apparently he does not decode Dolby AC-3. Maybe connecting directly to a home theater it sends the AC-3 audio pure so that it makes the decoding, but as I turned on the ZBT-670N directly on TV, it is muted when selecting Dolby AC-3. Not tested subtitles, but I saw that it has support. Missed the display shows the time of video playback, instead of staying showing the TV channel that was tuned before the video is played.
The power supply is external, which gives the ZBT-670N a very small size. The source is 5V and 1.5A and comes in the Brazilian standard. I also tested the power consumption with a P3 International P4460 Kill A Watt EZ Electricity Usage Monitor. And energy consumption is low, only 6 W with the unit connected. And standby consumption drops to zero. In fact can not be zero, but Kill A Watt does not show the decimal, but it is certainly much less than 1 In. It was also a good surprise, because the VT-7200e consumes about 10W both connected as in standby. When in standby the ZBT-670N is showing a clock on the display. This is very interesting, it is a watch that will not help or delay, since it synchronizes with the TV channels when the decoder is connected. But if the last station is tuned to the wrong time (Oi Band!), the clock will also get wrong.
As my TV only has a composite video input, which was already being used by slave Sky point, I ended up using a Switch to switch between the two sources, that is equipment that can be seen in the photos on the drive.
I was fully satisfied with the EKOTECH ZBT-670N if not for a single problem: I was awarded a display defective. One of the segments of the last digit of the display does not light. You can notice it in the photos. I contacted the seller and he has said he will make the exchange and sent me the posting authorization and-Sedex on their behalf. Now the way is to wait for the machine to get there for them checking the defect and send me another. I'll update the article when it does.
Check out the photos EKOTECH ZBT-670N: