Olin HVBT-2000 set-top box

This cut-price digital set-top box has everything you need to watch digital programs on your analog CRT television

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Olin HVBT-2000
  • Olin HVBT-2000
  • Olin HVBT-2000
  • Olin HVBT-2000
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Simple, fast operation, plenty of connectors

Cons

  • Interface is a little ugly, initial channel scan takes a long time

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a cheap device to make your older television digital TV ready, the Olin HVBT-2000 set-top box is a great choice. It’s simple and fast, with no serious issues (bar a bland interface).

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The Olin HVBT-2000 is a cheap and easy to use digital television set-top box that operates quickly.

It’s not a bad looking unit, with a form factor similar to the Sharp DVSL1200W DVD player and other half-height A/V equipment. A matte black body and glossy front are complemented by a few chrome buttons and a simple vacuum fluorescent display that displays a single line of information. There’s nothing flashy or complicated here, but the up-side is that the device is exceedingly simple to operate; we’re confident that anyone could use it without any training needed. The remote has clearly labelled buttons and is intuitive to use.

This simple operation extends to the Olin HVBT-2000’s on-screen interface. In red and white hues it’s a little bland, but it uses large, high-contrast text and is easy to read from a distance. The interface doesn’t hold a candle to the sophistication of units like the Panasonic DMR-BW850, but we think it’s a better choice for those unfamiliar with technology.

For hooking up to your television — whether old or new — the Olin HVBT-2000 has all necessary connectors built in. The inclusion of HDMI is interesting given that most HDMI-enabled televisions will have a digital television tuner, but we can applaud the inclusion of the interface for its all-in-one nature. For older televisions, component, composite, S-Video and VGA are welcome, and the Olin HVBT-2000 will display a picture from any of its connectors without any settings needing to be entered, so set up is hassle-free. Picture quality from the Olin HVBT-2000 was as good as you can expect from broadcast television. Granted, we flattered it by testing with a Pioneer KURO PDP-C509A plasma television which will bring out the best in any digital video device, but we did note that the Olin HVBT-2000 had no problems displaying any of the fast motion or vibrant colours on the ONE HD sports channel.

The set-top box’s digital television reception was also top-notch, with no low signal strength or quality on any of the channels we watched. This may have something to do with the fact that the Olin HVBT-2000 undertakes a comprehensive channel scan upon its first start up, taking around 5 minutes to fully complete.

An electronic program guide (EPG) is integrated, showing a dozen upcoming shows for the channel you’re currently watching. You can’t view other channels' guides without switching to them, but this is standard fare for budget set-top boxes.

All up, the Olin HVBT-2000 is a competent set-top box that does everything it professes to, for a low price. It’s not full of features or brilliantly refined, but it’s a trouble-free solution for bringing your old analog television into the digital future.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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