Experts and users are unanimous in saying the Channel Master CM-7000 delivers one of the best pictures of any digital converter box. It is one of the few converter boxes that offers an S-Video output, but that's only useful if your TV is capable of accepting video in that connector. However, video is also excellent over the standard composite video connection. A small and cluttered remote control has drawn some criticism, and we spotted a few user complaints of a customer service department that could be more helpful. The CM-7000 can be hard to find, but Channel Master sells it directly to the public.
Although the electronic program guide is far more basic, and picture quality, while good, is not quite as nice, if you need a DTV converter to use with a VCR or DVD recorder, the Zinwell ZAT-970A (*Est. $40) might be a better choice thanks to its eight built-in timers. Channel Master also offers an advanced version, which combines a two-tuner DTV converter box with an over-the-air (only) digital video recorder that can store up to 250 hours of standard-definition programming (or 30 hours of HD) onto an internal hard drive. However, while reviews of the Channel Master CM-7000PAL are good, it is notably more expensive.
ConsumerReports.org includes the Channel Master CM-7000 in its roundup of digital converter boxes, which is the most comprehensive we've found. A long user review at the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association might be of interest to some. Lots of users at AVSForum.com have weighed in with their opinions about this Channel Master DTV converter box as well. A review at HDTVExpert.com was also helpful, but it is no longer available online.
The Channel Master CM-7000 is among the many digital converter boxes covered by ConsumerReports.org. Discussion about individual boxes is brief. Boxes are grouped by picture quality, but the magazine's traditional ratings are missing. This review is available to both subscribers and non-subscribers.
Review: DTV Converter Box Guide, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, March 2009
2. Worldwide TV-FM DX Association
The Worldwide TV-FM DX Association is a group for those whose hobby is trying to receive distant signals, including TV signals. Senior member and publisher Jim Thomas says that the CM-7000's inability to manually enter channels makes it useless for experimenting with distant signals. However, he adds that the CM-7000 is "awesome" for more casual users -- including most families.
Review: Channel Master CM-7000 D2A Digital Analog Converter Box, Jim Thomas, July 31, 2008
The Channel Master CM-7000 is among the many DTV converter boxes discussed at this busy user forum. It rates highly, coming in second in an informal poll of best converter boxes, and is well ahead of the rest of the field.
Review: Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB), Contributors to AVSForum.com
Peter Putman compares the Channel Master CM-7000 and the RCA DTA800 (now discontinued) digital converter boxes. He prefers the remote control and the user interface on the RCA box, but he says the CM-7000 scores with picture quality that is notably better via the S-Video connection, as well as with a better tuner and better build quality.
Review: RCA DTA800 and Channel Master CM-7000 Digital TV Converters, Peter Putman, May 9, 2008