Sony SAT-HD200 HD receiver - menu pictures?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jay Mitchosky, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Does anyone have screenshots (personal or links on the net) that show what the Sony SAT-HD200 DirecTV HD receiver's menus and program guides look like? The user interface is an important aspect of these receivers and it amazes me that the manufacturers don't make a point of showing what they look like.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Jay,

    I regretfully am unable to comply with your request as I am not equipped to post pix of the menus and such on my Sony HD-200.

    I have owned a Tosh 3000 and used a Hughes E-86 briefly, and find the user interface on the Sony to be much easier as one doesn't have to delve thru "layers" of menus to reach a desired adjustment.

    The graphic presentation is clear and easy to read with no jarring colors.

    I would also like to make a point about HD receivers vs regular DirecTV receivers:

    Just about any currently available DirecTV regular receiver can be relied upon to work reliably and all have pretty much the same functionality. One could choose among them on the basis of the user interface and appearance of the onscreen displays with no risk.

    HD boxes are much more variable in their performance. This is especially true for the local ota digital tuning capabilities. Some are very good and some are dismal at getting reliable solid over the air digital channels.

    Their scanrate output capabilities and aspect ratio controls also vary widely, as does the quality of their up or downconversion.

    For this reason it is (in my opinion) much more important to pick an HD capable receiver on the basis of it's performance capabilities than on the appearance of it's onscreen displays or the user-friendliness of the user interface.

    Unlike standard DirecTv boxes, one could choose the box whose menus and interface are most appealing to one's particular tastes and end up with a box with serious performance or functional deficiencies.

    In my experience with the Hughes clones and Sony boxes, I find the performance of the Sony to be far superior, and also like the interface much better. But while performance is an objective evaluation, user interface is mainly subjective so YMMV.

    My main point, put more bluntly, is to forget what the onscreen display looks like and get the box that works the best.
     
  3. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Hey Steve

    Excellent points all. I agree with you 100% about performance criteria being most important. But all else being equal the decision goes to how the interface looks and feels. There seems to be relatively few HD receivers out there that now incorporate DVI and HDCP - hopefully that will change. You mentioned three specific receivers. Did you look at others before purchasing?
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I owned a Toshiba DTC-3000 for almost 2 years, it was the only box I could find locally back in fall of 01. It's local ota digital performance was always pretty dismal in my area.

    It finally quit responding to the remote a few weeks ago and I had the DirecTV protection plan so they sent me out a replacement which turned out to be a Hughes E-86, virtually the same box with the same dismal local digital reception. I tried 2 new antennas, an amplifier, new lead in cable to no avail.

    Out of desperation I went down to CC and bought a $399 ota-only Zenith 420 box just for "trysies". Brought it home and hooked it up and got all 9 local digital stations solidly.

    The Zenith 520 and Sony HD-200 are both made by Zenith's parent company, LG electronics and have the same ota tuner as the 420, so I returned the 420 and swapped up to the Sony as they didn't have a Zenith 520.

    They did have a Samsung T-160, but I didn't consider it as they have had some problems as reported over at AVS forum.

    The guide and user interface on the Sony/Zenith is much faster, much better looking, and more logical than on the Hughes clones, but I've never seen Samsung's so don't know how they compare.

    Scanning for and setting up local channels was a breeze with the Sony, can be a true pain with Hughes. Selecting output formats and stretch/zoom modes is also much easier.

    From all my research over at AVS Forum's HDTV hardware forum I've concluded that all things just aren't equal yet as far as HD stb performance, so went with the one that seems to give the least trouble and have the best ota performance. I think for DirecTV HD and SD they are all pretty much equal, but I wanted good ota HD as well.

    I know it probably would not be practical, but I think the stores ought to have all the different boxes actually hooked up and running so one could play with them and get an idea of what the user interfaces and menu appearance are like.

    In order for me to evaluate the performance and menus and such of the Samsung I'd have had to actually buy one and take it home, and since I was already returning a 1 day old ota-only box I just didn't want to take the chance of having to return that one too, since I'd already found the Zenith/Sony would perform as required for ota.
     

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