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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.

Signalmax SDT4100

This is a fairly new brand onto the market, brought to you by the same people as the Nextwave brand. The SDT4100 is a fairly conventional looking unit, being a full-width sized component in similar fashion to a VCR or DVD player.

The unit has all the normal outputs, including coax & digital audio, composite & S-type video & also has an RF modulator, which has come in quite handy for those people with older stye TVs without AV inputs. In some areas, such as the NSW Central Coast, this can be a hindrance where the available free TV channels are very limited if you need to use this method of connection, but for people in other locations, or those in extreme fringe reception areas, this is a massive benefit & does not have to be used if you instead wish to connect via AV.

This model uses the same basics as the Nextwave TDR3190 & has been designed for optimum signal holding capabilities. As our benchmark units are the Nextwave TDR3100 & Thomson DTI500AU, we've compared the Signalmax with those & it indeed does hold up well in terms of signal hold. We have been using these in extremely bad reception areas & the holding capabilities are indeed up to par with those benchmark units in the field.

The backplane of the unit is well laid out, with the modulator in/out connectors separated from the antenna input/output by the AV connectors. Similar to the Nextwave units, there is a hard-wired on/off unit, which does save pulling the power plug in the event of a lockup, a trait which almost all set top boxes possess, though I haven't seen one of these particular units lock up. Looking at the front, there's a nice display out front to alert you to the channel you are on.

The remote control is a nice size & the unit responds well to it. It's possibly a touch narrow for my liking, but for most people, this won't be a problem. All customers who we've installed these for so far have liked the feel of them.

The installation interface is also quite good, easy to understand for newcomers to the technology & works well in practice. Though not as fast as their cousins at scanning in, we're still only talking a couple of minutes or so to do an auto-scan. Should you feel the need, there's also a factory reset option. There is also no channel sorting ability, but as with most of the units on the market, this is definitely not unusual.

The Verdict: The SDT4100 is a solid entry into the free to air set top box market. Despite it's budget price point, there's no feel of bare bones here. The performance is up there with our normal benchmark units & I've been recommending these to our clients, as well as those people who are simply calling us for information. A couple of very minor points for us as issues were that no RF loopthrough cable was included, which is not really that unusual as quite a number of set top boxes do not, plus the fact that it's not possible to delete channels if needed, nor sort channels to a favourite channel map. All up, this is a very good unit that goes into our recommended basket.

IT & AV Services rating - 92%

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