Sunday, January 18, 2009

Apex DT502 Review, North Seattle

I've had a little more time to play with the Apex DT502.  Here's my take on it:

Manual Tuning  
A number of reviews say that this device cannot tune channels manually.  Maybe I don't understand digital tuning, but is seems that it can.  Here's the process:

When it is turned on for the first time, it scans for all channels, and automatically adds them.

You can then go into a menu and remove channels that it has found manually that you don't want.  You can also add or subtract channels from your favorites list.  The removed channels are still in it's memory, you just won't see them until you reactivate them.

In my area (North Seattle), it found 18 channels.  Of those, 13 have a pretty darn strong signal.  The other five (Ion, Qubo, Ion Lite, Worship & Ion W) I decided to remove from the list, as 1) the reception was really bad and 2) from what I saw, I wouldn't want to watch those channels anyway.

Of the remaining 13, there were 8 that I really liked (KCTS Create is awesome!  Seems like nothing but Bob Ross & other cool people hosting "How To" shows).  I made these my favorites.  There are two sets of scroll buttons; one for all channels & one for favorites.  

So, I went from 4 channels to 13, and doubled the channels I like.  Not bad at all.

Screen Zoom
For whatever reason, some channels have black borders on all edges of the image.  That is lame, but not nearly as lame as when I watched Battlestar Gallactica (1970's version) tonight, and there were bars on the sides of it, with a squashed image (everyone looked like coneheads).  Later, on the same channel, a different program had the opposite problem, it was stretched too long.

I think most of these problems are coming from the broadcasters.  The screen zoom function is supposed to fix this, but on every station, it said that the zoom option was not available when I tried to use it.

Other Stuff
It also has parental control options.  I didn't use it yet.  
In general, it's a great box so far.  For more details between it and the other box offered at Best Buy, make sure to read my previous entry.