The Good Unique box design; good aspect ratio controls for handling wide-screen programs on standard TVs; program guide with eight days of guide information.
The Bad Poor video quality, even by standard-definition standards; pulled in fewer channels than competing boxes; lousy remote with small buttons; changing channels isn't intuitive; program guide layout and sluggishness limits usefulness; composite video cable not included.
The Bottom Line The GE 22730 DTV converter box is difficult to use and has subpar video quality, so you're better off going with a different converter box.
The FCC has pushed back the DTV transition several times already, but it looks as if it will shut off over-the-air analog TV signals on February 17, 2009. That means owners of analog TV will need to pony up for a DTV converter box if they want to continue getting their free over-the-air TV (read our Quick Guide to the DTV transition to find out if you'll be affected). Luckily, it shouldn't cost you too much, as anyone affected can apply for a $40 DTV converter box coupon from the U.S. government.
The GE 22730 DTV converter box is one of the boxes you can buy with the coupon, but you're probably better off going with a different model. Its video quality is substantially worse than the other boxes we've tested, and the lame remote may confuse DTV amateurs with how it interacts with the box. The GE also pulled in fewer channels than the other boxes we tested, and we encountered more interference on the channels we did pull in. One of the lone bright spots is that it includes an EPG with eight days of program data, but its usefulness it tempered somewhat by its clunky interface. If you really want an EPG with multiple days of data--and can't wait for the Echostar TR-40--the GE 22730 delivers on that count, but everyone else should go with one of the alternatives. If you don't need a DTV box right away, the best strategy might be to wait until more boxes hit the market.
The GE 22730 has a unique design. The top of the unit has a wavelike shape to distinguish it from the pack, but that will make it more difficult to stack anything on top of it. We didn't really like the look of the GE 22730--we preferred the utilitarian look of the Zenith DTT900--but it may be attractive to buyers who want something different than a standard gray box. The casing is made of dark gray plastic, with ventilation holes on the top. The front panel had two LEDs on front--a red always-on LED that indicates the unit is plugged in, and a green LED that lights up when the unit is on. Further to the right are channel buttons and a power button.