The Good Solid video quality and reception; excellent remote, especially for those with poor eyesight; easy-to-use basic EPG; works with Smart Antennas.
The Bad No guided setup; initial setup can be a bit tricky; composite video cable not included.
The Bottom Line Good reception, respectable video quality, and a basic EPG make the RCA DTA800 an excellent DTV converter box, despite some slightly tricky setup snags.
The DTV transition has been pushed back several times already, but it looks as if over-the-air analog TV signals will officially be turned off 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. Luckily, the box shouldn't cost you too much, as anyone affected can apply for a $40 DTV converter box coupon from the U.S. government. Read our Quick Guide to the DTV transition for the full details.
The RCA DTA800 is a DTV converter box that can be purchased using this coupon, and it's one of the best we've tested so far. The remote's extralarge buttons are intuitively arranged (perfect for older users with poor eyesight), and its video quality and reception capabilities are solid as well. It's not perfect; there's no guided setup, which can make the setup process a bit tricky for digital TV amateurs. But with other extra features such as a basic (but useful) EPG and a Smart Antenna port, we were able to overlook the start-up speed bumps. As with other DTV converter boxes currently on the market, our current biggest hesitation is price. With a $60 list price, you'll have to pay $20 of your own money to take home the DTA800 (although we've seen it at Wal-Mart Stores for $50). With Echostar releasing the $40 TR-40 this summer--which is supposed to have a full EPG--the best bet might be to wait at least until a few more boxes are on the market.Design
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