Digital Receiver Vantage VT-X111SCX ,The digital receiver market is currently booming and so it should come as no surprise that one new receiver after the other is finding its way into our test labs. The Vantage VT-X111SCX is the newest entry into this market from the German manufacturer Vantage.Just taking the receiver out of the package gives you the immediate impression of a sleek and elegant box that should have no trouble fitting in with any living room environment.
The front panel is very nicely equipped:in addition to the obligatory buttons for operation of this box with a missing remote control,there is also a four digit display as well as a card reader and a set of CI slots hidden behind a flap.
This receiver is available in three different versions: as a simple FTA receiver, as a CI box and also as one with embedded Conax. The rear panel is also very pleasing to the eye. You have the IF input with looped-through output, the two Scart connectors, three RCA jacks for video and stereo audio outputs, a coaxial digital audio output, an RS-232 serial interface to link this box to a PC, a UHF modulator and a main power switch. What more do you want? The included remote control sits nicely in your hand with buttons that are very logically arranged and easy to read. Overall,the workmanship of the receiver and remote control left us with a very good impression.
After turning on the receiver for the first time,the VT-X111SCX displays the main menu so that the proud owner can immediately take care of the initial settings such as language selection and satellite configuration. The user can select from German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Hungar-ian, Arabic, Persian and Greek.
Additional basic settings are handled in the System Configuration menu.The receiver can be set to acquire the current time automatically from the provider and can therefore offer the possibility to automatically switch between standard time and daylight savings time.The video signal can be supplied in CVBS and RGB and also in 4:3 and 16:9 formats.YUV or S-Video outputs for connection to projection TV or flat screen monitors were unfortunately not available.
The desired color system cannot be manually selected in the menus, although the receiver has no trouble handling PAL and NTSC signals. Before you can actually start to enjoy watching TV, you still need to configure the desired satellites in the Installation menu and then perform a channel scan. 113 European and Asian C-band and Ku-band satellites are pre-programmed in this box; eight additional satellites can be manually set up.This number of satellites makes the VT-X111SCX one of the top receivers in terms of pre-programmed satellites.If only the satellite and transponder list were more up-to-date, it could have been ranked #1.
In order to use as many satellite as possible, the Vantage supports the DiSEqC 1.0, 1.2 and 1.3 protocols. So, if it’s a DiSEqC motor you want to control, you can do this very easily with the USALS protocol.
Unfortunately,owners of multifeed Dish antenna with multiple LNB’s might not have much luck since this box does not support DiSEqC 1.1 nor does it come with a programmable 0/12-volt output.
A sufficient array of pre-programmed local oscillator frequencies (LOF) are available for the C-band and Ku-band and should you need an unusual value such as for the S-band, these can be entered manually.The channel scan of an 80-transponder satellite was competed very quickly; just about four minutes was needed for the VT-X111SCX to process every transponder.The manufacturer also plans to include the SatcoDX protocol at some point in the future so that up-to-date transponder and channel data can be comfortably downloaded from a PC.It can’t get much easier and faster than this.
In addition to the automatic channel scan, it is also possible to perform a manual transponder scan.Transponders can also be added, deleted or edited. The experts will be especially happy with the manual PID entry feature.
Once all of the initial settings have been taken care of and a channel scan has been completed, the main menu can finally be closed and the Vantage VT-X111SCX will switch over to the first channel that it found. An Info bar appears showing data on the current channel (if teletext is available, language selection, etc.) and also displays the EPG information for the current and upcoming program.
The Info button can be used to access expanded program information. With the EPG button all available EPG data of the channel can be viewed.The presentation of all the data is very clearly organized and optically pleasing to the eye. As long as it’s made available, expanded programming information is also displayed.
As with most other receivers, the channel list can be called up by pushing the OK button. This also provides access to a variety of sorting possibilities as well as the ability to restrict access to only specific satellites.The Favorites button in the lower right corner of the remote control gives you single button access to all of your favorite programs. The time to switch between channels is fair; an average of one second is needed for picture and audio to be correctly presented.
If the TV in use doesn’t have its own teletext decoder, the decoder in the VT-X111SCX can help save the day. And so that you won’t miss any of your favorite TV series on those days when you might not be at home, the receiver also comes with an eight-event timer.
Digital Receiver Vantage VT-X111SCX The model that we tested came with an integrated card reader for the Conax encryption system. While this systems was previously used primarily in the Scandinavian countries, you can find it being used more and more now in central and western Europe.A test with a Conax card functioned perfectly as soon as the card was inserted the channel became visible.The tuner from the manufacturer is very sensitive:even weak signals with high FEC’s did not present any problems for this receiver.Our SCPC test on NSS7 at 22° west with a 1028 Ks/s signal did not work out too well.Only signals starting at 2.0 Ms/s could be properly handled and this is what the manufacturer specifies any way in their data sheets.
The RS-232 interface can be used to upload new software and channel lists and will have the future ability to upload up-to-date SatcoDX data as well. The included user manual is written in Russian and German the manufacturer should consider making the user manual somewhat more international.