Around-Oz: Living the Dream!


Wintal Digital Set Top Box - the Future Here Now!

Digital set top boxes are coming down in price almost everyday and Ron and Maureen invited us over for a sneak preview of their recent purchase. Maureen is a self confessed gadget junkie and their 5th wheeler "Hawk Eye" is much like Alladins Cave! The one shown below left cost a bit over $150.00 and worked superbly - came from Godfreys in Shepparton. We tried it out in the bush south of Shepparton in the Jolly's Bend State Forest on a long weekend with the Fifth Wheeler Network. A great chance to compare all types of gear as "bushy" type chapters, really know their stuff due to their choice of remote camping locations - usually freebies by the way. The Wintal set top box performed as well as many of the satellite dish systems. This chapter has more SAT's than any other group in Oz!, but the set top box won hands down on set up and ease of use. If you are a channel 2 or SBS fan, then this is just the ticket, as they are leading Australia in taking up this new technology. Digital either works or it doesn't. You CANNOT get ghosting and vertical polarisation doesn't seem to bother it at all. The sample pictures shown used a standard Winegard aerial. Now the most interesting thing was it didn't matter which way the aerial was pointed - the picture remained crystal clear, as demonstated by grand daughter young Katelyn of Shepparton. Truly amazing stuff! If you must have 12 volt, then the Saturn TV aerial people at Hervey Bay sell one for under $300.00. So how do you use it? The RF lead from the aerial goes into the back. AV RCA leads then go to your TV (most sets have these now). You then tune the "box" which is fully automatic in about 30 seconds - fits in well with our roving lifestyle. It found 8 stations and three radio channels. Our own analogue set up (LG & Samsung) could only find 4 and all absolutely dreadful quality (dropping out and weird outlines with severe ghosting). So if you enjoy your TV, but don't relish the constant setting up hassles of satellite, then this is the non-technical way to go! Below left is channel 9 and below right is channel 2.

The photo shown below of channel 2 at EXACTLY the same location in the forest, graphically illustrates exactly what a set top box can achieve. This picture is absolutely putrid, and only total devotees of The Bill could stand to watch it! Yes the sat guys at the rally all got excellent pictures as well, but the drawbacks are slow getaway in an emergency as most were mounted on the ground, higher cost and the time needed to set up. Lots of exact info on where you can receive digital and tons of other background info is on this excellent page. We are totally stoked on this technology and can only wonder why we didn't go down this path sooner, as it will be compulsory by 2006, which is not that far away either! Don't forget if you take grand children away with you that you can access ABC Kids - this is virtually 24 hours of excellent childrens programming and you can't get it any other way. If you would like to learn more about this emerging technology we have put up extensive information on this page.



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Last updated: March 30, 2006
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