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Reviews placed here are based on our experiences with the units described. Faults & advantages of the various models are listed as we have encountered them.

DGTEC DG-5000i Digital Set Top Box

While DGTEC have had their problems with the 2000a, I like the 5000i a lot better & to me, the whole box seems a lot more solid all round. The 5000i is a full-width component, allowing it to sit nicely in place with current VCR & AV components in a stack, though you will need decent ventilation.

The remote control is well set up with a much more responsive feel than the 2000a, though the placement for the channel up/down buttons & the volume up/down is a little strange when compared with other similar remotes. The addition of a front panel display over the 2000a is very welcome & at least you do get an idea of what's happening on the unit rather than literally being left in the dark. In addition, the 5000i definitely has a better response to the remote than the 2000a, so it's a big points winner there.

One rather unusual feature on the 5000i is the inclusion of an AUX input for routing your VCR or whatever other component you may like to feed in for looping out to your display or TV. This is definitely something that's quite desirable, particularly if, like some people we've installed for, the AV inputs are running low.

Connections are plentiful, with component, S-Video & composite RCA. Having been able to compare the 5000i alongside the 2000a, I have to say there is a big difference in picture quality on both composite & component - where the 2000a units we've seen are somewhat grainy, the 5000i offer nice crisp images & there is indeed a noticeable difference on component video as opposed to the composite, which is as it should be. As with most set top boxes now, an RS-232 port is offered for software upgrades, while audio is via coax RCA (SPDIF) or left/right RCA.

We're also treated to teletext, though I haven't spent much time playing with that on this unit - suffice to say that we're talking the normal teletext features. In terms of installation, possibly the only downside on this model is the length of time it takes to auto scan. Whereas the 2000a takes anywhere from 2-3 minutes, it's at least double the time on the 5000i. Having said that, the tuning unit in the 5000i is definitely superior to the 2000a - our usual light 'tap' test shows up no pixellation at all.

The Verdict - We're definitely more impressed with the 5000i than the 2000a. I can't say that the 5000i is the perfect set top box, but it's a big improvement over it's high definition cousin. The inclusion of a decent front panel is welcomed, as is the much imrpoved response from the remote. For those with a lack of inputs to their existing components, the auxiliary in is pretty useful as well, something that other boxes would do well to imitate. As mentioned, the length of scan time is a little disappointing, but at least it seems more solid than the 2000a. The 5000i also scores points for the improvement of the composite & component video output, though I'd have liked to see the RGB connection included as well. All up, I think the 5000i isn't a bad set top box.

IT & AV Services rating - 85%

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