Recycle an old STB instead of buying a DTV Converter
Good for anyone with a non digital TV, looking for some free OTA locals with a plain old
antenna. This one's to repurpose an older Dave box, but I'd say it's possible some of Chuck's older boxes would work too. Includes a list of models and suggestions to determine if others will work for this purpose in SD or dual SD/HD.
Source URL included within code box at the very end.
How to Recycle an Old Satellite Receiver Set Top Box instead of Buying a DTV Converter Box
Posted on July 27th, 2009.
If you missed the window for the government program to apply for up to two $40 coupons toward the purchase of digital converter boxes which ends 07/31/09, don’t worry. You can save money and not even need or want to buy a converter box ($50-$100+), after you read this blog post. There is a way to access the free Over The Air (OTA) Digital TV programming without a digital converter box for little or no money, by recycling an old set top box from a satellite service provider that is now obsolete. In fact, my father, an electrical engineer and electronics/antenna hobbyist, pointed out that the converter boxes you could purchase with the government coupons were required to be Standard Definition (SDTV) only, but not High Definition TV (HDTV).
Many of these older satellite set top boxes (STBs) were also equipped with OTA Digital TV. At one time, these were very expensive pieces of technology equipment to purchase separately ($300-$900) or you had to subscribe to basic satellite service with 2 year commitment that would land you the equipment you needed fairly cheaply.
However, the MPEG2 platform became obsolete when satellite service providers, like [DaveTV], required new STB devices with MPEG4 security encryption card slots built into them to help them prevent pirates from illegal hacking into satellite tv viewing. Although these STBs no longer receive satellite services, many of the older [DaveTV] satellite HD receivers will still work for OTA DTV. Pretty much any [DaveTV] non DVR HD receiver other than the H10 and the H2X models will work.
Some of the discontinued satellite receiver boxes to look for include:
* DIRECTV HR10-250 DVR TiVo
* DIRECTV H10
* Samsung SIR-TS360
* Hughes HTL-HD
* LG LSS-3200A
* Toshiba DST-3100
* RCA DTC-210
* Sony SAT-HD300
* Samsung SIR-TS160
* Hughes HIRD-E86
* Zenith HD-SAT520
* Sony SAT-HD200
* RCA DTC-100
* Toshiba DST-3000
* Mitsubishi SR-HD5
* Zenith DTV-1080
* Philips DSHD800
* Sony SAT-HD100
* Panasonic TU-HDS20
* ProScan PSH-D105
Look at the specs in the manual (if no hard copy of manual available, search for it online). If the STB decodes 480i then it supports SDTV only. If the STB decodes 480i, 720p and/or 1080i then the box supports both SDTV and HDTV. The number stands for the amount of frames per second streaming data decoded, i stands for interlaced scan, p stands for progressive scan.
Note: You also have to have an HDTV-ready television to view HDTV programming.
Where you might be able to find one of these older satellite receivers for free or very cheap:
* Garage sales
* Craig’s List
* Your own or your neighbor’s basement or garage
* Your local town dump or swap shed
* Local eWaste Electronic Recycling events or centers (try calling and asking them)
You will still need an antenna for good reception. Make sure the box you choose has an antenna jack on the back panel.
In addition to saving money on the cost of a new digital converter box, another benefit of using an obsolete satellite STB instead, is that you give an old electronic component a second life and repurposing keeps them out of the landfills.