The Channel Master 4251 is generally regarded as the most powerful consumer UHF television antenna ever produced. The 4251 has acquired somewhat of a legendary status because production stopped sometime around the year 2000, and no comparable consumer antenna is sold today. It was a 7-foot parabolic dish, similar in design to a satellite dish, but designed for a different set of frequencies. The sheer size of the 4251 meant a large signal capture area, and the parabolic shape meant that it could focus and amplify signals better than any other television antenna available. Unfortunately, that sheer size also meant a large area to catch the wind. A 4251 required careful anchoring to prevent damage during high winds.
Update: The DTVPal has been released, but for a higher price. For more information see DTVPal Is Finally Released.
The DISH Network has set up a new website for the DTVPal, their heavily anticipated digital television converter box. Formerly known as the Echostar TR-40, the DTVPal has been eagerly awaited ever since it was announced. Despite a price of only $39.99 (effectively free with converter box coupon), the DTVPal has some of the best features of any converter box, including:
I’ve noticed that more local stores have started accepting converter box coupons. The BJ’s Wholesale Club store now has a large stock of the GE 22730 converter box. I have my doubts about how many they are selling; there is no price listed on the shelves and the person I spoke to was unaware that the store took converter box coupons. But the converter box coupon website does now list BJ’s Wholesale Club as a participating retailer. I doubt that any store would stock a product whose box prominently states that it is eligible for a coupon and not accept the coupon.
The Washington Post recently published an article asking an important question about the digital TV transition in the United States. Will people who depend on over-the-air television be able to receive the same stations that they could before? The answer is: possibly not.
The latest entry in the battle of set-top boxes is the new Netflix Player manufactured by Roku. It lets you watch movies from the Netflix library on your television using only an internet connection. The Netflix Player costs $99.99, with no other recurring charges beyond a Netflix subscription.
The Netflix Player doesn’t download movies, but instead streams them from the Netflix web site. It comes with a remote control, but no keyboard. To watch a movie on the Netflix Player, you first need to use your computer to put the movie in your “Instant” queue on the Netflix web site. The contents of that queue appear as available movies on the Netflix Player, and you can use the remote control to watch any of them. You can also pause a movie, fast-forward and rewind, and even stop the movie and resume it later.
After the transition to digital television on February 17, 2009, television stations in the United States will move to their final channel allocations. A majority of stations will be on UHF (channels 14 to 51), rather than VHF (channels 2 to 13). Many people will need a UHF antenna if they want to continue receiving their current stations. I previously mentioned two good indoor HDTV Antennas. But an outdoor antenna might be your only option if your stations are weak. Two good outdoor UHF antennas are the Channel Master 4221 Mid-range outdoor rooftop UHF antenna and the Channel Master 4228 Long-range outdoor rooftop UHF antenna.