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Old 12-13-2006, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default RCA RTD-260 and Sirius SCH1 Review

I just got one a couple of weeks ago.

My impressions, in no particular order (skip to the end for how it sounds):

IMO, it was the 'Sirius Ready' capability that sold this home theater for me. Maybe a higher-end, more expensive home theater would sound as good or better, but I doubt it. You could get the new Conductor for an existing home theater. I was ready to upgrade my DVD player and liked the idea of combining Sirius with it, but, IMO, RCA missed out on a few details I noted below that would have made this a fantastic, can't-live-without product.

It is fairly massive. In the box, it weighed 40 lbs. The box measured about 2.5 X 3 X 1 feet.

The receiver is very wide, but not very tall. The manual calls for 4" of air between the sides and top. After yanking my old DVD/VCR combo, it fit beautifully.

The TV menu is slow to update. When switching from DVD to Tuner, for example, it takes a few seconds. I am using the HDMI out, now. It's nice to free up the component outputs for something else.

The DVD changer is slow to change. The output is good, but not noticeably better than the S-VHS and component outputs. It is progressive scan, but the output resolution can only be selected using the HDMI output.

It has a coax digital input, but not an optical digital in. An oversight that is somewhat annoying.

The system comes with six speakers. Two front, two rear, a center front, and a powered subwoofer. All have color-coded wires to make connection simple. One pair of optional speaker stands are included. A front-surround mode can be used if rear speakers aren't possible.

The display is similar to the Sportster Replay or Starmate Replay in color, blue with black text. The text is somewhat difficult to read at any distance and not repeated on the TV. A critical omission, IMO. A small, lit, red circle illuminates the Power On button on the receiver when it is turned off. When turned on, a large, lit, blue circle illuminates the volume control on the receiver. Between the screen and volume control, the receiver puts out a log of light. There is a menu selection for 'night mode' of varying levels to reduce that, somewhat.

The controls, front and remote, are harder than average to decipher. I actually had to read the instructions to figure out how to program and recall Sirius channels.

The SCH-1 is fairly easy to connect. The 8-pin mini-din cable and a power adapter, and, viola! it's ready to go. The tuner is capable of being powered through the interface cable, but RCA chose not to support that, so one more outlet will be required to power the tuner. You can use an older Sirius antenna, like the ones included with the Sportster Replay, an outdoor antenna, or extension cable. A new antenna is included with the tuner, as well as the power adapter, but no remote. When properly connected, the tuner automatically turns on when the receiver selects it. The update on first turn on took six years. Well... it seemed like it, but wasn't much longer than usual. I left it on overnight, but it stayed cool to the touch. There are holes on the underside to mount it vertically, but it is very unobtrusive. I just leave it out in the open. I left it on all day, went to work, and called in to activate it. It was working correctly when I got home.

When I got an HDMI cable installed, I tried playing a DVD (Young Frankenstein, ironically). It sounded horrible! Apparently, the audio signal through the HDMI cable is noticeably delayed. I had to disable the speakers on the TV (a 32" LCD HDTV). Then the sound was great. Unfortunately, every time you adjust the volume of the receiver, a massive volume adjust slider (two, actually, but you can adjust all six speakers) shows up high on the screen, where it usually blocks the picture.

Using a SCH-1, the sound was fantastic. The subwoofer doesn't engage powerfully, IMO, but does enrich the sound adequately. It makes the Sportster Replay and boombox sound like a kid's pocket radio. I now use it like I used to use my Sportster Replay: I tune in the game on TV, then monitor the game I can't watch on the RTD-260. Otherwise, I listen to good music and read when there's nothing on the small dish worth watching and I don't feel like a DVD.

One side note: there was an error in the description on the tss-radio.com website. Even though I told them I didn't consider it their fault, they made it right. They had a 'free delivery' special that I took advantage of, so I feel tss-radio.com did well by me, and I will use them exclusively in the future.
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Old 12-13-2006, 06:58 PM   #2
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Great Review... very fair assessment of what it has and what they could have added to make it better. Good Job! Thanks for doing this Capn, I appreciate your hard work on this. OH wait a minute you had a bit of fun too now didn't you? LOL
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn Ramius

Using a SCH-1, the sound was fantastic. The subwoofer doesn't engage powerfully, IMO, but does enrich the sound adequately. It makes the Sportster Replay and boombox sound like a kid's pocket radio. I now use it like I used to use my Sportster Replay: I tune in the game on TV, then monitor the game I can't watch on the RTD-260. Otherwise, I listen to good music and read when there's nothing on the small dish worth watching and I don't feel like a DVD.

The Sound is fantastic. For a bit after using the System it is hard to describe the Boomboxes as sounding great, like you said. There is no comparison.

Mutt from SFN has one too. He likes it but has some small criticisms we may all agree with.

-It has a Blue Screen that displays like a Sportster Replay or Sportster 4. The Problem is it's not easy to read anything from more than 3 feet away. The Blue Screen could be better. If the screen were MORE like the Sportster Screen it would be perfect.

-He was disappointed that it didn't Display any SIRIUS info on the TV, which I didn't suspect it would do either.

For people who want to listen to SIRIUS with Amazing sound right now, this is one of the best options. There will be other manufacturers to join RCA. And the choices are very limited. But for now, this sounds fantastic.
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Old 12-14-2006, 09:01 AM   #4
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I watched a DVD last night ('Beerfest', if you must know) and cranked up the sound. It was sick! (In the good way.) Towards the end, there was music during a competition that had the walls shaking.

Maybe I should have waited for a Sirius ready home theater from some maker I trust more, but, overall, I am fairly satisfied.
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Old 12-14-2006, 11:43 AM   #5
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By the way Ramius, I recommend you'd get the USB cable from Mitch, then you can record Sirius songs.
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Old 12-14-2006, 03:01 PM   #6
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I was looking at that. His program looks hot! I think I'd want a sound card with a digital input, too.

The SCH1 runs cools, take up little space, looks nice, and can be mounted vertically. All those make it a natural for using with a computer.

BTW, the RTD-260 has a front USB input so you can play MP3 files or display JPEG files. Also, the disc player does play CDs or MP3 files and displays JPEG files. That's a little limited, though. It can't handle more than 600 or 700 different files.
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