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Princeton Graphics HDT-2000 HDTV Receiver review:

Princeton Graphics HDT-2000 HDTV Receiver

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The Good Two radio-frequency (RF) antenna inputs; all the necessary cables provided in the box.

The Bad Lacks 5.1 digital audio output; expensive for a terrestrial-only decoder.

The Bottom Line This is a good performer with a second RF antenna input, a clear advantage when more than one antenna is necessary to receive all off-the-airwaves signals.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

6.0 Overall

Review Sections

The Princeton Graphics HDT-2000 HDTV decoder is a bit of an odd bird. While most decoders for sale these days receive both satellite and terrestrial signals, this model works only with terrestrial broadcasts. To compensate, it offers the rare flexibility of dual radio-frequency (RF) antenna inputs, which proves to be convenient in areas where you can receive off-air broadcasts from more than one city. For example, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, you could conceivably receive all of the local Philadelphia channels, as well as channels in New York City and others in Connecticut. In this scenario, using two antennas with the HDT-2000's dual RF antenna inputs would be a boon. The Princeton Graphics HDT-2000 HDTV decoder is a bit of an odd bird. While most decoders for sale these days receive both satellite and terrestrial signals, this model works only with terrestrial broadcasts. To compensate, it offers the rare flexibility of dual radio-frequency (RF) antenna inputs, which proves to be convenient in areas where you can receive off-air broadcasts from more than one city. For example, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, you could conceivably receive all of the local Philadelphia channels, as well as channels in New York City and others in Connecticut. In this scenario, using two antennas with the HDT-2000's dual RF antenna inputs would be a boon.

Missed audio connections
The HDT-2000, in addition to the dual RF antenna inputs, sports one set of component video outputs (Y, Pb, Pr); a single, 15-pin, VGA-style RGBHV output; one composite video output; and one S-Video output. For audio, you'll find a set of stereo audio outputs as well as six analog audio outputs from the HDT-2000's built-in surround sound decoder. For all its high-definition glory, though, the HDT-2000 sorely lacks digital audio output (providing neither optical nor coaxial). As such, you'll be forced to use this decoder with your home-theater receiver's six-channel analog inputs. Because most receivers have just one set of six-channel analog inputs, you'll have to choose between this decoder and a DVD-Audio player. With digital audio output from the decoder, you could easily hook up both.

Setting up the HDT-2000 proved a little quirky; it took several autoscans before the decoder registered all the channels on the air. Set-top HDTV decoders are not the kind of products that offer much in the way of features. But one very cool feature on the HDT-2000 is the onscreen thumbnail view it creates when it receives a channel while scanning. With this, you can see that the channel has been captured, and you know what you're getting before the scan is finished.

Great reception
All in all, the HDT-2000 received all the local-area HDTV broadcasts in the New York area that we were able to get using other HDTV set-top decoder boxes; that list currently includes CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and WPIX. And when you run into some spotty reception, good support is nearby. With a guarantee that includes one year for parts and labor and indefinite toll-free telephone support, you'll be the happiest little couch potato around.

Still, hefting a $899 list price, the HDT-2000 is a bit much for an off-air-only decoder. You could even spend less for a decoder that receives both satellite and terrestrial broadcasts. However, this box will appeal to city dwellers who don't have satellite as an option and to those who live in rural areas, where the unit's dual RF antenna inputs would achieve additional off-air reception.

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