Recently, I wrote about the Venturer digital tv converter set top box. Since then, I have installed the box on my Mother’s television. The converter box improved her reception tremendously. Stations that were previously very grainy were suddenly nice and sharp and crystal clear. An occasional breakup marred what would be a perfect experience. The breakup is due to a weak signal. All of the in-town stations come in great, no breakup. Of course, the one channel she likes to watch the most is also the weakest (it is a UHF station located about 40 miles northeast of the city yet carries Richmond as it’s home city.) Anyway, I put an amplified antenna on the box (Radio Shack, thirty dollars(US)) which helped a great deal. She is happy with the box and even happier to see her favorite channel clearly. She also loves the extra channels that several stations broadcast (“Its like I have cable now” she told me.) Indeed, there are several stations multicasting. We now have two weather outlets, something called ‘MyTV’ from FOX, an international news channel and two PBS sub channels. We did have something called ‘the Tube’ which looked like MTV in the late 80’s, but it has ceased operation. Anyway, the Venturer is working great. BUT…you knew there was one, right?
The Venturer comes with this nice little remote control. The television also has a remote control. One of the documents that came with the box implies that the remote is programmable. Well, after looking and looking, I could not find any information on how to program the remote. After a short search online, I found the web page for the device. Of course, it was less than helpful. I did find a support page with an email address. So I submitted a question. That was a week and change ago. Well, today, I got an answer. It does not do that. That and a message telling me not to reply was all I got. So now my Mother will have to put up with one remote to turn the tv on, and one that changes the channel. I’m hoping a universal remote will solve this, but the box only came onto the market two months ago. Who knows when support will be available. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem. However, my Mother is 80 and not in the best of health and is easily confused.
The more important thing is that the box is working very well. The picture quality-for the set it is on-is outstanding. The sound is a tick better too. She is happy and will be able to watch her shows post Feb. 2009-and that makes me happy.
The Venturer is a steal at 8 dollars (US) so make sure you get that voucher from uncle Sam. At fifty dollars, though, you might want to get the GE model instead. It is nicer looking and has a few more features for the same price. Even so, the Venturer is a solid product that does exactly what it is supposed to do and nothing more.