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#23999 12-Jul-2008 20:07
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Is there a thread on GeekZone devoted to Set Top Boxes?  Like, prices, comparisons of features etc?


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  #150111 22-Jul-2008 09:18
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There is the first Zinwell, either the official for around $499 in most stores ($400ish on freeviewshop I think) or the Dick Smith variant, which is same box/different badge but includes an HDMI cable for $399.

The Draco (freeviewshop) seems to be the biggest selling alternative so far.  $399 and also does HD on component outs -at least until it's accredited by freeview maybe.

Saw a new one in a flyer/pamphlet out last night.  Was $350 from Bond and Bond (I think), was listed as an introductory offer.
That seems to be the first alternative accredited box on the market.  Good price but I haven't got the page in front of me to get the name sorry.

There is one more on trademe/some websites with two HDMI outputs but selling for around $499 anyway.  Not accredited but does have MHEG5 EPG. 

There are a few others around which do the picture only, but have no MHEG5 EPG.

Others are coming but the MHEG5 EPG requires a lot more effort to get going.  Most seem to have sorted the MPEG4 and the HE-AAC audio which was the other slightly different thing.  Opting for the EPG this way has really meant suppliers have to approach freeview directly to get this working, which is totally different to the DVB-S setup.

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  #150541 23-Jul-2008 08:31
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Checked out Bond and Bond last night.  Their new unit is called the Sommet and is apparently a freeview approved HD receiver.  Surprise surprise though they have been delayed (why advertise then?) and at this stage are expected mid August.  Their 'introductory' offer of $349 was only supposed to be for two weeks but that will be the price now permanently because of the delay. 

So at this stage there is still only one approved receiver available -Zinwell/DSE and one major alternative -Draco.


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  #150590 23-Jul-2008 11:23
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Thanks Jaxson, that's the sort of info I was seeking.

I'm a bit of a noob as far as Freeview, MySky and HD are concerned, but I'm trying to get up to speed.  I bought an el cheapo Freeview stb (Aetna) on TradeMe, and it's performed..hmm, so-so.  The first two boxes I received were faulty and I really only managed to get the third one by physically visiting the Asian importer in Mt.Roskill (which wouldn't have been practical if I hadn't had to come to Auckland from Arrowtown on a family matter).

This final box works, but not well.  It has no S-Video out from either of its two scarts, and its audio out is mysteriously low-pitched; you need to turn the TV volume right up to achieve an acceptable level of sound.

Plus the clock has its own agenda: Mars time I think.  Anyway, it was enough to get me started and I can record a Freeview channel to my Sony recorder, while we watch SKY, and it was cheap at $80 (I think, LOL).  However, once the MySky and Freeview things settle down I'd like to get an stb that's a little cleverer that the Aetna.  Which may emulate its namesake and blow up at any time :-)

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  #150612 23-Jul-2008 12:21
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Check your STB remote or front buttons for a volume control.  I've run into that situation before only to find the STB has it's own volume control and by default this was very low.  Some SCART plugs don't have all the pins connected and many only do composite (the yellow RCA plug) plus stereo, even if the format can handle others such as component.

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  #150617 23-Jul-2008 12:42
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I bought a Draco 3900 and it works well.  However I see this guy has just list a new STB  at $290



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  #150626 23-Jul-2008 13:12
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Yeah that ones not far off.  I'm hoping to get a bulk buy discount (maybe) for me and my mates.  PM me if anyones keen for one!  Heard good things about the Draco.  Most problems turned out to be freeview early issues so most boxes seem pretty stable on the service now which is all good.

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