Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
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
- Simple, fast operation, plenty of connectors
- Interface is a little ugly, initial channel scan takes a long time
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).
Price$ 149.00 (AUD)
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.
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