AfterDawn.com
Smart antenna? No
Closed Captions? Yes
CECB certified? Yes
Recorder? No
EPG? Yes
NTSC tuner? No
Analog cable tuner? No
QAM tuner No
Component video inputs 0
S-video inputs 0
Composite video inputs 0
Digital audio input No digital audio inputs
DVI outputs 0
HDMI output No
Component video outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
Composite video outputs 1
RF outputs 1
Digital audio output No digital audio outputs
480i Yes
480p No
720p No
1080i No
1080p No
Surround sound No
USB/USB2 No
Additional info Manually programmable timers to change stations. Minimal EPG.

 
  • CECB certified (Is this a certified Coupon-Eligible Converter Box)

    CECB stands for Coupon-Eligible Converter Box. This means that a box that is CECB certified is eligible for U.S. government coupon which is worth $40. Households can apply to get such coupons via U.S. DTV web page and then use the coupon to get CECB certified DTV converter for free.

  • EPG (Electronic program guide (EPG))

    EPG stand for Electronic Program Guide and is an on-screen guide to scheduled broadcast television or radio programs. EPG allows the viewer to browse upcoming programming with the remote control.

  • Recorder (Integrated video recorder (HDD))

    If the DTV converter has a built-in recorder it can be used to record broadcasts.

  • NTSC tuner (Integrated analog over-the-air tuner (NTSC))

    NTSC tuner is an analog tuner which can pickup over-the-air (OTA) broadcast signals. The tuner will become obsolete on Feb. 17, 2009, as the USA switches to digital only OTA broadcasts.

  • Analog cable tuner (Integrated analog cable tuner)

    Analog cable tuner is required to receive the analog cable broadcasts. Cable companies are not obliged to switch over to digital transmissions on Feb 17, 2009, and thus the analog tuner can still be of use in some regions.

  • Smart antenna (Smart antenna)

    A smart antenna system combines multiple standard antenna elements with a signal-processing capability to optimize the reception pattern automatically in response to the signal environment. In other words, smart antenna saves the trouble of manually adjusting the antenna for optimal reception.

  • Closed Captions (Support for Closed Captions (CC))

    Support for closed captions means that the digital-to-analog converter box can convert over-the-air digital closed captioning for display on analog TV sets. According to the FCC rules all DTA converters are obliged to support this feature.

  Rating: 1 / 5 Value for money: 2 / 5

I have two Zinwell ZAT-970A units, and I'm having problems with both of them. The reason I bought them is because they can be programmed to pass programs to my VCR's.

There are many problems;

1. They do not always pass a good signal. My home has a TV antenna, with a signal booster, in the attic. On my main set-up, I have a splitter attached to my coaxial antenna cable. One signal goes to a Insignia Converter box which then goes to a A/B switch and then to the TV. This works fine. I need this set-up because we will often want to tape a show while watching another show at the same time.

The second signal goes to my Zinwell ZAT-970A unit, then to my VCR. The VCR is connected to the A/B Switch which then goes to the TV.

My problem is that my Zinwell units will, quite often, scramble the signal, sometimes for a half hour or more. It will also say "BAD SIGNAL" or "NO SIGNAL". At first, I thought I had a problem with my antenna set-up. But then I found out that, after switching over to the Insignia converter, the reception is fine...the Insignia box is not having any trouble with the signal quality or strength on any channel.

2. Once the Zinwell converter box has encountered what it thinks is a bad signal, everything is out of sync. Even if the picture clears up, the sound and the picture no longer match. The sound lags by 3 or 4 seconds. If this happens while you are watching, you have to power the unit off and on to get it back in sync. If it happens while you are recording a program, you are out of luck.

3. Another annoying habit that the Zinwell units have is that, every once in a while it will not start recording the program (channel) you programmed, it will jump to the last channel in your channel list and pass that channel to the VCR. Then, when you get home, surprise surprise, you have a recording of some obscure show, on a channel you never heard of.

4. We use closed captioning a lot. When you play back a program you recorded through the Zinwell box, the closed captioning is totally scrambled.

I purchased these units back when the initial HDTV switch was supposed to happen in January so my warranty may now be in question, but I need to get these issues resolved before the new season begins.

I have tried their Customer Service number 1-866-444-3739 many, many, many times. I have never been able to connect with anyone at their "CUSTOMER SERVICE" or "TECHNICAL SUPPORT" extensions, EVER. Go ahead, you try them. Do it BEFORE you buy. I sent emails to the two addresses they list on their web site. No answers so far. Are they still in business???????

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