Digital Stream HD3150 HDTV Tuner
14 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches $229 Pro Brand International, pbigroup.com, 770-423-7072 •Selectable 720p, 1080i, or 480p format via component-video or RGB output •16-day electronic program guide •Simultaneous 480i format via composite/S-video output •inputs/outputs RF (antenna) input; RGB, HD-capable component-video, and composite/S-video outputs; coaxial and optical digital audio and stereo analog outputs •Inexpensive •Excellent reception and output flexibility •Superb graphical user interface •Comfortable, easy-to-use remote control •No HDMI or DVI output
An onscreen channel guide gathers data from the off-air signals and provides information up to 16 days ahead. Along with a signal-strength reading that appeared when I pushed the remote's Meter button was an indication of signal-to-noise ratio - a surprising feature I've never seen before on an HDTV tuner.
The HD3150's excellent onscreen graphics got me up and running quickly. Setup consisted of telling it whether I had a 16:9 widescreen or traditional 4:3 TV and activating the channel-scan function to load my local digital stations. The sensitive tuner quickly picked up all the digital channels I normally receive - as well as one I don't usually get because it's east of my westward-pointing roof antenna.
In day-to-day use, the HD3150 worked with ease. Besides the usual operations, the comfortable remote provided access to such features as a sleep timer, freeze frame, and display-mode control (Wide, Narrow, and Zoom). The large SEL button displays an onscreen information banner, the most complete I've seen on an off-air tuner. Instantly, it showed me the channel number, call letters, and signal strength; day of the week, date, and time; and program title and start/stop time. Symbols informed me if the broadcast was in high-def, stereo, or Dolby Digital surround sound or carried closed captions or multiple soundtrack languages. Channel numbers are also displayed on the front-panel LCD.
The Digital Stream HD3150's selectable outputs, electronic program guide, and fine reception makes it a great economy model to partner with any EDTV or HDTV monitor.