Digital TV tuner!

Adel Gabot

8:08AM

I finally have the new RCA DV1501 Digital TV Box to test and review, and compare to the first model which I already own, the DV1402.

(Full disclosure: I was given a review unit by the official distributor, Search Commercial, Inc. Thanks, Abell and Margaret. They met up with me yesterday to give me the unit and an interview.)

Now the only reason I bought the original model was because of the HDMI output; the original ABS-CBN box only had analog output. On the DV1501, the HDMI port is still there, although Search still doesn’t include an HDMI cable with the unit (they’re a bit expensive), and include only the analog connectors.

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Nothing much has really changed, in terms of operation. It’s still got the same interface and the same GUI, the same connectors at the back—HDMI, analog video and audio, coax antenna input, and a single USB port on the front to connect a flash drive or external hard disk to. Aside from providing clear digital TV, it still is also a media player and a TV recorder, and those things haven’t changed.

The casing of DV1501 is slightly bigger than the first model, because it now has its power cord directly coming from the unit and making an external power supply unnecessary, as it’s built-into the unit itself. The DV1402 had an external power adaptor, which allowed for the model itself to be slimmer and smaller, but added something to the mix. Well, at least that’s one less thing to worry about.

The DV1501 now has actual buttons at the front of the unit to turn the power on and off, a dedicated menu button and a four-way rocker navigation switch that allows you to completely control the unit from the unit itself. Previously, all the controls on the older model (including the power switch) was accessible only via an on-screen menu controlled by the provided remote. So if you lost the remote of the DV1402, you’re SOL. Now, you can control it directly on the unit itself if you want.

There is also a simple LED display on the front that tells you what channel you’re on, which is convenient, but completely unnecessary as the on-screen display gives you the same information. On the DV1402 you only had a single light that switches from green (power on) to red (power off).

Perhaps the best and most useful improvement is that the DV1501 includes a bigger, powered five-meter cabled indoor antenna.

(There is this menu option from the old model that always puzzled me, because it apparently didn’t do anything even if you switch it on and off: “Antenna Power”. Turns out, it was for this antenna!)

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The new powered indoor antenna has a longer 5-meter cable, is much bigger than the old one and has a wide base with a light that turns on if you power up the antenna from the menu.

The new antenna has a built-in 5-watt booster in it that delivers better signals, and ostensibly, more stations. I don’t really know about that, but I noticed that some of the signals, which had previously been intermittent and unstable, had become solid and steady. But you still really need an outdoor antenna to catch some of the weaker stations. That requirement hasn’t changed.

While we’re on the topic, there is the question of authenticity of the product as actually being made by RCA. It has long been in discussion, particularly in forums like PhilMUG, that the units are fakes.

They aren’t.

I’ve confirmed that they aren’t just some Chinese knockoffs rebranded with some famous and more established name so they will sell to the unsuspecting public.

It is designed and made by RCA abroad specifically for the Philippine market, and also for some of our Asian neighbors. But the packaging is made here, with a simple manual in Tagalog included in the box to make sure buyers actually understand how to use the product and not have to bug Search Commercial, or return the product because they couldn’t figure out how to use it.

If you can live without the special “blocked” ABS-CBN channels (which is weird because it’s supposed to be “free” digital TV), the RCA DV1501 Digital TV Box is available for around P2k in selected stores, while the old model is still available at P1600. It’s loads cheaper than the analog-only ABS-CBN TVplus, which sells for P2.5k.

For my money, this is the one to get. Hey, it’s got HDMI, plays media and records TV broadcasts, aside from providing clear digital TV. And it’s branded. And inexpensive. What’s not to like?


36 Responses to “Digital TV tuner!”

  • Edz Says:

    Thanks to this wonderful review and its useful to compare and differentiate both models and other brand. this item is bang for buck. 2in1 media player, digital tv.

  • Max Says:

    thank you for reviewing the item, very helpful. I’d rather get this than the ABS CBN black box. I think kaya naka block yung ABS CBN is because para bilhin yung DTV receiver nila

  • Omar Says:

    Thanks for the review. It is very informative. By the way, do you have any suggestions for a reliable outdoor antenna that will complement the awesome box?

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Omar: Sorry, I don’t. I just use the included powered indoor antenna. Although I suspect any easily available outdoor antenna, such as those from CD-R King, would do.

  • Omar Says:

    Alright. Thanks Adel. 🙂

  • duck Says:

    Thanks for the review. Have you tried the recording capability? How was it? Can you post a sample please? Thanks.

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Duck – This sample isn’t for the DV1501, but rather for the DV1402, but they’re basically the same internally anyway: https://youtu.be/Xwwjt7PsmI0

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Duck – To answer your question: recording is a straightforward affair and is very easy and simple to do, as long as you have an external USB drive connected to your box. It’s a matter of pressing the record button on the remote.

  • James Says:

    Can it receive an analog input from the cable instead of the antenna?

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Uh… nope. It can’t.

  • lynxneo Says:

    where can i buy this?”

  • Duck Says:

    Thanks Adel!

  • Duck Says:

    One more question, is that the the maximum quality of the recording 360p? If not, what’s the max resolution?

    Thanks again man, I might get this thing based on your review! 🙂

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Duck: It doesn’t say in the manual, but I think it is 360p.

  • jerik ko Says:

    hi adel ,i just bought a new rca dv1501 . many of my mkv video files has no volume or audio especially those 4gb and above videos. sayang i love to watch these crystal clear high definition videos but sadly no sound . is this normal? do you experience this . will appreciate your reply .

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Hi Jerik. I don’t really know if that’s normal or not, because I rarely use my digital receiver to watch my videos, if ever. I heard from some users that it has trouble with files larger than 4GB, but I don’t know this from personal experience. But I’ll try to find out. Let me get back to you later this week.

  • jerik ko Says:

    thanks for your reply . very much appreciated . if you have an high definition file thats over 4gb in your hard disk . so easy to check just plug it in the usb slot of your rca unit and use the remote to play the files. thanks good day sir

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Yes, of course I know how to view a video file. I did try a 4.59 MKV, and didn’t experience any problems. Maybe you haven’t updated the firmware yet?

  • jerik ko Says:

    firmware latest already still the same. no volume on many mkv files . thanks for your info . maybe ill visit the shop and test it there

  • mark Says:

    can you list the channels that it can scan?

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    All the local free TV channels.

  • Babes Victorino Says:

    Bakit walang chan 4,5,9,11,13 Hindi ko ma set up ang RCA digital tv box ko model DV1501

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Not all broadcast channels have digital feeds yet, and technically they’re not required to yet. Be thankful you get what you do at the moment.

  • jhune carol Says:

    good day sir,can u help me were can i buy RCA.,i want to try in pangasinan.

  • magnelume Says:

    I just bought one online… http://www.itruemart.ph/products/rca-dv1501-digital-tv-box-w-recorder-2356029470704.html
    I will receive on Monday. So excited to try it out.

  • Les Bramwell Says:

    Had this for three weeks now. Initially took home the RCA1402 from Ace Hardware as they only had that one in stock. They demoed it with the active antenna. However, when I tried the ‘stick’ antenna results were very poor.
    Next day took it back to Ace and they had a shelf full of the 1501. Much better but the antenna is outside. New channels added over the weeks, now up to 30 with TV5 just in time for Olympics. Much annoyed at the RCA generated graphics which linger over the screen for a full 10 seconds (count them). Remote buttons need some hard pressing. Will change antenna for a directional Yagi/Ouda pointing at Cavite tower. Remember to switch off antenna power when using passive antenna as that will give a short circuit to the power. Also the 1501 has an antenna pass through which will enable multiple boxes to connect to one antenna.
    As I cant get cable TV (not available) and only internet is pocket wifi this will have to suffice until fiber internet arrives.
    Les (retired satellite engineer) in Las Pinas

  • Sonny Says:

    Lage nawawala signal ng GMA 7.. alam na kung kanino to.. kakaasar gusto ku balik!!!

  • Paolo Says:

    Sir adel. Ask ko lang nag update ako frmware tapos boot lang ang lumabas pag restart ko ayaw na mag on. Dv1505 ang unit ko. Please reply. Or text me here 09179309400

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    I don’t really know. You’re the first case I heard that happen tp. Try installing the update again. Good luck.

  • Paolo Says:

    Ayaw na bumukas e, hindi na rin umiilaw yung standby light.

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Then I don’t know na. Is it still under warranty? You can have them fix it or exchange it for a working unit.

  • Gab Says:

    Pano po kapag nasira ang remote control? Nakakabili pa ba ng replacement? Nasira kasi yung sa akin.

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    Why do you guys think I’m an expert at this? I just did a review a long time ago, that’s all.

    But to answer your question, do you still have a warranty? You can get a replacement if you do. Barring that, you can contact the manufacturer and buy a replacement.

  • kichi Says:

    nakakalungkot lang isa’t kalahating taon lang sakin nagtagal… katulad nung kay “paolo” ayaw na rin bumukas at wala nang standby light.. nabili ko sya ng july 2015 at nasira lang ngayong november 2016.. hndi na under warranty pero ifoforward ng store sa RCA service center sa makati yung unit ko.. di ko alam kung magkano magiging bill ko.. pero sana wag naman umabot sa kalahati ng presyo nya..

  • FRLS Says:

    Nagkaproblema yung unit ko help guys! Actually same kami ng problem ni sir Paolo, nagfirmware update ako then hindi na sya nagturn on after the update process. Tapos nag-boot nalang sya nang matagal then pagrestart ko, wala ng LED na nakabukas pati stand-by.

    Ang main question ko lang ay covered pa ba ng warranty ito?

  • Viocel Samas Says:

    Sir san po ikakabit ung connector ng dv1501 pag sa back ng tv

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