[opendtv] New Samsung ATSC STB

  • From: "Manfredi, Albert E" <albert.e.manfredi@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2006 20:23:29 -0400

I've been waiting to see some mention of the new Samsung ATSC STB,
presumably a Gemini chip based receiver, to replace the aging SIR-T451.
The DTB-H260F seems to be the one. Of course, no mention that this might
have the Gemini chip in it, and no performance specs are included in the
owner's manual. For some reason, TV equipment manuals do not
traditionally provide this sort of information, while audio equipment
manuals do.

Since I haven't seen this one mentioned before, I'll assume it's the
real deal,


You can download the user's manual.

The unit can tune in 8-VSB and QAM. No NTSC mentioned.

It appears to offer only one active TV output at a time, or two if
you're using composite video only (there are two composite output
jacks). The combination of the resolution select and the DTV Out Select
switches implies that only one type of video output can be selected.
That's a shame, for those who want to feed a TV monitor and a recording
device with one STB. I guess, buy two STBs.

It provides two sets of stereo audio outputs, along with an optical
digital audio output. These seem to be active simultaneously.

The on-screen menu is only available with the component video or HDMI
outputs(?). How does one set the thing up if it's being used with a SDTV
set? You need to select the antenna input and scan the channels, select
the screen aspect ratio, and select the (digital) audio format, before
you can use the STB. This is done via the on-screen display. So
something doesn't track here.

There's no mention of a "scan update" feature. Since there is an antenna
input and a separate antenna-or-cable input, perhaps they expect that
this is enough. Scan separately for each input. I prefer a "scan update"
feature that allows me to select, externally, any number of antennas I
please, and then retain all the successful channels in memory. But okay,
maybe this works most of the time.

A timer is included, and it appears to be a good one. It does permit
different stations to be selected for different time slots. I assume
that you can turn off the STB after setting the timer, although that
isn't clearly explained. Also, the timer is set using the EPG, which may
or may not be a good thing. It depends how long it takes to get the EPG
info downloaded. With my STBs, if you want to check the EPG days ahead
of time, forget it. It just takes too long to be useful, and many
stations haven't figured out how to populate their EPG anyway,
especially days ahead of time. So I'd much prefer having the option of
just setting the date, time, channel.

This STB continues the downward trend is power requirements. Where the
most recent 3rd gen STBs seemed to require 18 to 22 Watts on, depending
on the exact model, and about 2 Watts standby, this one is 15 Watts on
and 1 Watt standby. Not bad. The standby power meets the California and
Euro rules.

So the real question is how well does this guy perform? I have to say,
the Accurian and Digital Stream have some advantages, in terms of
features. Such as all video outs being active simultaneously and a the
scan update. We need to see some real world performance results. No
mention yet on the Circuit City web site, although they seem to have
dropped the older Samsung STB.

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