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Channel Master CM-7000 Review - The Ugly Duckling

The first thing you're going to notice about the Channel Master CM-7000 is its looks. Not the prettiest girl at the dance but I'm so sick of buying products that look great and work like "crap". This bad boy might have a black eye, but performs like the heavyweight champ it is.

The box has a METAL case!! Yes, metal!! Hard to believe in this day of plastic composites, but it's true. It's also a Coupon Eligible Converter Box (CECB) so you can use those rebate coupons to sweeten the deal. Don't have a coupon? Too late to get one? Spent your coupon on some other peace of junk? Well, you would be hard pressed to find a box better than this one even if you do have to pay full price for it.

Picture quality has been rated as "Best" by a popular consumer rating group
and by real life consumers. This unit comes equipped with an Auto-Off feature that's factory set to 'Off' so you won't think the box quite working on you. You will need to deliberately set this feature to 'On'. You'll also find an Electronic Program Guide (EPG) that displays 12 hours of programming - oddly for only one station at a time, but 12 hours is fantastic for those channels you do frequent.

One of the BEST and most unique features of this box (and why I feel it ranks as "One of the Best") is the
Auto Channel Update. By initiating this feature, you can "Update" the channel selections to include any new channels the box has discovered. This is an absolute MUST HAVE feature for anyone in a rural location or those folks using an antenna rotor. All the other boxes on the market make you start over with an Auto Scan. This wipes out the channels already in memory and refreshes them with whatever the box newly discovers. Remember that DTV signals tend to travel in straight lines... So if you pointed your antenna in one direction and did an auto scan, then turned the antenna to another position in the sky and did another auto scan, the stations found during the first scan would most likely not be found on the second scan. See where I'm going here? Your box would only retain the signals found during the last scan. To be fair, there are a few boxes that allow you to do manual adds to the channel directory, but you would have to KNOW the channel you want to add.

With the Update feature, the Channel Master CM-7000 will ADD those new channels found and not eliminate those from the first scan. This is THE BOX if you plan to use a rotor.

Ok, so those are the beauty marks - how about the warts?

First off, there's no analog pass-thru but as I've pointed out in other reviews, I don't find this to be a real serious drawback because you can imitate this feature by turning the box off and manually tuning the TV to the low powered station. Secondly, the font used for closed captioning is small - tiny actually and there's no way to change or over-ride this. And finally, the remote is not a universal version, although the buttons do function well and provide good tactile feedback.

All-in-all, I consider this box one of the best on the market. Sure it looks utilitarian in nature, but WOW - it's about time a product appears like it can do the job instead of just looking pretty, right? Don't let this one pass you by.

Channel Master CM7000 ATSC Digital Converter Box CM7000