Magnavox TB100MW9 review: Magnavox TB100MW9

Connectivity is basic on the TB100MW9. There are two RF-style F connectors, which are the connecters that have the screw threads on the outside and the small hole inside. One is an antenna input and should be connected to the antenna using a coaxial cable. The other F connector says "ANT OUT" and is an audio/video output. This means you can send analog video and audio from the TB100MW9 to your TV by connecting a coaxial cable. In addition to the F connectors, the TB100MW9 has a composite video output along with stereo RCA analog outputs--the standard yellow, red, and white outputs. If your TV has the proper inputs, you should use the composite video output for improved video quality; unfortunately, Magnavox stingily only includes an RF cable in the box.


If you plan on using composite video for better image quality, you'll have to buy a cable because Magnavox doesn't include one.

While the TV100MW9 certainly has enough features to get your analog TV tuning into digital stations, it is missing some extras seen on other boxes. The TB100MW9 lacks analog pass-through, which means the box won't pass standard analog TV signals to your TV--not a huge issue for most buyers, since the majority of those analog signals will be turned off in 2009. We've also seen boxes with ports for S-Video, which can improve video quality substantially as long as your TV has a matching input, and Smart Antenna, which enables compatibility with specialized antennas that can move to face different directions.

Performance
Reception, overall, was on par with what we've seen from competing boxes. From our Manhattan location, the TB100MW9 pulled in 24 stations clearly, which is consistent with what we've seen from other top-performing DTV boxes. Of course, every location is different, and you can use tools such as Antenna Web and TV Fool to determine how strong the signal should be in your area. Also remember that, as with all DTV converter boxes, you'll only be able to tune into the free stations broadcast over the air--that means no Comedy Central, CNN, and so on.

Video quality overall was above average, looking much better than the GE 22730 and just slightly softer than the Zenith DTT901. We took at look CBS' eye logo, and it was mostly smooth and round, although we could see slight chunkiness along the outer edges. With both the TB100MW9 and the DTT901 connected, we flipped between the two boxes while watching a documentary on PBS, and the image quality was very similar, with us seeing just a tad more detail on the DTT901. If you're looking for absolutely pristine image quality, check out either the DTT901 or the Apex DT250, which has a high-quality S-Video output.

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