We’ve Cut Our Cable + Fukuda Digibox Review

Earlier this month, we cut our cable. We have been Destiny Cable subscribers for years (analog), but we experienced a billing problem a few months ago, and long story short, there was a misunderstanding, and that led to a family member swearing off Destiny.

So there we were, cable-less. Which, actually, was really not that bad except that I miss keeping up with local news. Aside from the news, we hardly ever watch anything on TV, now that I thought about it. All the TV shows I watch, I, errr, get from somewhere else and watch on my laptop (connected to a TV).

I also watch a lot of YouTube cooking shows, etc… There was also Netflix, iflix, etc…

We don’t have an external antenna set up in our house since we’ve been on cable ever since we moved in. I have no idea how to put one up, and I wasn’t warm to the idea of poking holes in the roof. What of typhoons? Weren’t they going to damage the outdoor antenna? I just wasn’t on board with installing an outdoor antenna, especially since I had the feeling that I was the one who was going to end up doing it myself.

After a few days of trying to live with really snowy local news, I gave up and decided that we needed to get something so that we could watch local news. I thought getting cable again was the only option for getting clear channels, so I checked out what was available for Skycable, Destiny and Cignal.

All I really wanted were the local channels for local news, CNN (the international one, of course), maybe Fox News (not because I agree with them, but because they are the least boring news station with all the talking heads bobbing about and fighting), and the Lifestyle Network, maybe the Asian Food Channel, and Food Network. That’s it, actually. I could also go for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel, but they were not essential.


Skycable had a P99 prepaid plan! I also saw on their website that I could add channels for P20 to P50 each. I already had this vision in my head of paying for the basic P99 plan and just adding CNN (P50), Lifestyle (P20), AFC (P50), etc… They even offered a News Pack for P100, where I could get CNN, Fox News, BBC, HLN, and Channel News Asia. I thought I could get the channels I wanted for the basic (P99) + News Pack (P100) + Lifestyle (P20) + AFC (P50) + Food Network (P50) = FOR A TOTAL OF P319 / month. The only catch was that since it was prepaid, I had to pay for the digibox out of pocket, P3,600 for the HD digibox.

I called Skycable to subscribe. BAD NEWS – I couldn’t add any channels to the P99 prepaid plan. The channel line-up you get is all you get. There was no chance to upgrade it and get selected channels. There was a P250 Prepaid Plan, and a P450 one, but I didn’t like their channel line-ups, either.

I could only add channels to postpaid plans, the least expensive of which was the P299 Dual Def.

Anyway, I had to decide if I was okay with going Skycable Prepaid AND NEVER HAVING THE OPTION TO EVER GET THE CHANNELS I WANT. Could I live with it?

And here’s an interesting thing that I learned – once I had the Skycable Prepaid Digibox, even if I don’t reload P99, I will still get local channels for my news needs. I asked the rep, for example, if after my first month on Skycable Prepaid, I never reload again, like, ever, will I still get clear local channels? She said yes. I clarified – is no one is going to bug me to load a prepaid card if I haven’t reloaded for like a year? Nobody is going to come to my house to disconnect the cable? And she said no one was going to do that.

So this became one of my options. Yup, I was willing to pay P3,600 for the privilege of getting clear local channels just to watch the news! I could just facepalm myself now, but it was an option because having a cable connection meant we weren’t at the mercy of signal strength or of people who decide to build tall buildings around us and block signals.

In the end, I decided that paying P3,600 but NEVER HAVING ANY OPTION TO UPGRADE TO THE CHANNELS THAT I ACTUALLY WANT was just not worth it.

So the next plan I looked at was the Skycable P299 Postpaid Plan. OK. I can add channels here. So, add the News Pack (P100) + Lifestyle Pack 3 (P100) = P499/ mo. Lifestyle Pack 3 has AFC, Lifetime, RTL-CBS Entertainment, TLC, Travel Channel, Warner TV. No Food Network though. Then, I think, hey, that’s already P500! For a few measly channels! Destiny is only P550 and I get a shitload of channels with most of the channels I want and more!

I took a look at Destiny’s channel line-up. It is by far the best value. But it didn’t have the Food Network, the Travel Channel, and the Lifestyle Channel, which I miss from our old Skycable days. I also took a look at Skycable’s P549 Dual Def plan, and also at Cignal’s offerings.

I was comparing channel line-ups and it was driving me crazy. I went back and forth, back and forth. There was no one plan that had everything I wanted unless I wanted to pay a ton of money. It occupied my mind so much that I finally made a table comparison just so my mind had hard data to work with and finally stop nagging me about it.

Skycable Dual Def 299, Dual Def 549, Destiny 550, Cignal 490 Channel Comparison

Sky 299 Sky 549 Destiny 550 (Digital) Cignal Plan 490
3 ABN 45 3 ABN 45
ABS-CBN Sports + Action ABS-CBN Sports + Action ABS-CBN Sports+Action ABS-CBN SPORTS
ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD
ACQ-KBN/Sonshine TV 39
Aksyon TV Aksyon TV Aksyon TV AKSYONTV
Al Jazeera Int’l Aljazeera
Animal Planet
Aquarium Channel*
Arirang Arirang
Asian Food Channel Asian Food Channel Asian Food Channel
Australia Network Australia Plus
Baby TV
BBC World
Basketball TV (BTV) Basketball TV (BTV) Basketball TV
Bloomberg TV Phils
Bloomberg TV Phils HD
Cartoon Network Cartoon Network Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network HD Cartoon Network HD Cartoon Network HD
Channel M
Channel News Asia
Channel V
Chinese News Channel
Celestial Movies Pinoy
Channel M
Cinema One Cinema One Cinema One
Cinemo Cinemo Cinemo
CNN Philippines CNN Philippines CNN Philippines CNN Phils.
Colours HD
Colours SD
CT Channel CT
Da Ai/Tzu Chi
Discovery Channel Discovery
Disney Channel Disney Channel Disney Channel
Disney HD Disney HD Disney XD HD
Disney Jr.
Diva Universal
DZMM Teleradyo DZMM Teleradyo
E! E!
EZ Shop
Fox Channel Fox Channel
Fox Filipino
Fox HD
Fox Family Movies
Fox News
Fox Movies Premium HD Fox Movies Premium HD
Fox Sports Fox Sports
Fox Sports 2
Fox Sports 3 HD Fox Sports 3 HD
Fox Sports News
Global Pinoy Cinema
Good TV
HBO Asia
HBO Hits
History Channel History Channel
History Channel HD
Hits Hits
Hunan TV
IBC 13 IBC 13 IBC 13 IBC 13
Jack TV Jack TV
Jeepney TV Jeepney TV Jeepney TV
Juan Sports
Knowledge Channel Knowledge Channel Knowledge Channel
Lifestyle Network Lifestyle Network
Lifetime Channel Lifetime Channel Lifetime
Lifetime Channel HD
Light Network Light Network
MJCI / Living Asia MJCI / Living Asia Living Asia
MTV Pinoy
National Geographic National Geographic Nat Geo
National Geographic HD National Geographic HD
NBA Premium HD
Net 25 Net 25 NET 25 NET 25
NHK World TV English NHK World
Nickelodeon Nickelodeon
O Shopping O Shopping O Shopping
Outdoor Channel
Outdoor Channel HD
Phoenix Info News
Pinoy Box Office (PBO) Pinoy Box Office (PBO) PBO Pinoy Box Office
Pinoy Extreme
Red by HBO Red By HBO
RTL-CBS Entertainment
RTL-CBS Entertainment HD
RTL-CBS Extreme
Russia Today
Second Avenue Second Avenue Second Avenue Second Avenue
Shop Japan
Shop TV Shop TV
SKYcable Pay-Per-View
Solar Sports Solar Sports
Star Movies Star Movies
Star World Star World
Star World HD Star World HD
Tagalized Movie Channel Tagalized Movie Channel Tagalized Movie Channel
Teleradyo DZMM
The Aquarium Channel HD The Aquarium Channel HD
Toonami Toonami Toonami
Travel Channel
TV5 TV 5 TV 5 TV 5
TV Maria TV Maria
TV Shop Philippines
Universal Channel
Warner TV Warner TV Warner TV
Warner TV HD
Xtreme Pinoy
ZOE/Light TV 33 Zoe Light
Installation Fee: P1,599 Activation Fee: P600
Installation Fee: P1,000

Okay, so if I were to get Destiny again (digital, this time) and add P20 for the Lifestyle Channel, plus P50 for the Food Network, another P50 for the Travel Channel, which I suddenly decided I had to have, that would be P670 /mo or P8,040 per year. Thinking about it on an annual basis suddenly made it seem like A LOT OF MONEY for something we hardly watched. I mean, it was nice to have it available to watch whenever we wanted, but our current lifestyle does not support cable TV watching anymore. Right now, we’re so used to watching what we want to at our own convenience from our computers (and connected TV) and on our tablets, at our own time, that we really don’t watch cable anymore aside from the news. We don’t follow TV show schedules anymore. Gone are the days when we order our lives around being available to watch a certain show at a certain time. Also, it’s very rare to channel surf and be able to watch a show you like from the beginning of the episode / movie. I also didn’t want to pay that much money for channels 90% of which I don’t watch.

If only Skycable had a plan where I could only get the channels I wanted! I would have been totally okay with paying P100 for the News Pack and P100 for the Lifestyle Pack and P20 for the Lifestyle Network, and have the local channels for free. For P220/month. Yes, even if I had to pay for the P3,600 digibox upfront! But the required P299 channel line up was not worth the money for me, and once the total reaches P500 with the 2 packs, I just think, why not go Destiny instead? But Destiny doesn’t have the the Lifestyle Channel, or the Food Network, or other channels in HD! I have to pay extra for those! Then I lean towards Sky again because I get the channels I want for only P500. Then I realize again that Destiny is more sulit because my dad watches a lot of the channels Sky doesn’t have for P500 for just P50 more. But Destiny at P550 doesn’t have some of the channels I want! While Sky does! And round and round it went. I was in a spiral and it was driving me nuts.

When the bombing of the Brussels airport happened last week, we had no cable, and it made me sad that I was missing coverage from CNN. But I went on YouTube, subscribed to CNN, and watched all the footage I wanted. It didn’t have the anchor commentary though, but at least I had some coverage of what happened.

As for local news, I ended up Live Streaming 24 Oras from YouTube to the TV using an MHL cable. The problem was, every time I wanted to change something, I had to walk over to the TV / tablet like in the old days before remotes. I needed some Miracast magic, but this TV was old and didn’t have Miracast.


A relative of ours suggested the ABS-CBN TV Plus, he had one he could lend us during the Holy Week to see how we liked it. I have seen ads for it before, but it never interested me enough to actually find out what it was, so, in effect, this was like my first time to find out about digiboxes!

We hooked it up to the TV in the sala and yep, it worked! We got clear, digital broadcasts of local channels. It also had a USB port! I plugged in a USB but it wouldn’t read the contents. After some research, I found out that the USB port of the TV Plus is blocked and can only be used to upgrade the TV Plus firmware. THAT WAS A DEALBREAKER!!!

So that’s a BIG NO on the ABS-CBN TV Plus. But it did make me consider getting a digibox instead of getting cable.

After the weeks of indecision about choosing a cable plan, I finally decided to get a Digibox!

Which started another rabbit hole of “which is the best digibox to get?”. There were so many available in the grey market. The question was eating up my brain and wasting my time.

Then yesterday, on an errand at SM Hypermarket, I chanced upon the Fukuda Digibox! I was actually checking out the cheapie TVs to see if a cheap Miracast-enabled TV was already available when I saw one of the TVs connected to a Fukuda Digibox.

The Fukuda Digibox was selling for P1,499.00. I thought it was a sign from the universe to finally end my torment!  It had a 1-year warranty, which was a better deal than the other digiboxes sold at OLX, etc… The Fukuda service center was nearby, just across Toyota Shaw (or so I was told). It looked very, very similar to the ABS-CBN TV Plus down to the magnetic antenna base! But the best part? It is also a media player! You can hook up a USB thumb drive, or even an external hard drive, and it will play videos, music, photos. The box also already includes batteries for the remote!

I figure I can watch the local news with it, and then just put everything else I wanted to watch on a USB.

As for CNN, there’s always YouTube! I also figure that eventually CNN Philippines’ signal will be stronger and that CNN Philippines will maybe broadcast some of the main CNN programming, too.

I bought one Fukuda Digibox to finally end this cable TV funk I was in. I had it tested, of course.


This is the box:

Fukuda Digibox Box

We tested this before buying, but here’s what’s in the box (2 AAA batteries are already in the remote):

Fukuda Digibox Box Contents

The indoor antenna:

Fukuda Digibox Antenna

The front of the digibox:

Fukuda Digibox Front

The back, already hooked up using HDMI:

Fukuda Digibox Back

It is very easy to set up.

  1. Screw the antenna to the antenna base, connect the antenna wire to the left-most connector behind the digibox. Put the antenna somewhere near a window.
  2. Connect the digibox to the TV using the included RCA cables (just follow the colors), or, alternatively, connect the digibox to the TV using an HDMI cable (not included in box) if your TV has an HDMI port.
  3. Connect the power cable to the digibox. Plug the power plug into the wall socket.
  4. Turn on your TV, turn on the digibox. Check your TV input and make sure your TV is set to the correct input, for example, Input 1, Input 2, etc… It is usually the TV/Video button on the TV remote.
  5. On the digibox remote, press Menu. The Menu screen should pop up. Look for the Scan option. Do an automatic scan. This will scan the signals to see which signals are available in your location.

With my antenna indoors, I couldn’t get Jack TV, 2nd Ave, ETC, HSN. Once I placed the antenna outside the window and angled it just right, I was able to get those channels. I probably have to wrap it in cling wrap or something so it won’t get wet when it rains. I still couldn’t get CNN Philippines here in Sta. Mesa 🙁

Fukuda Digibox Antenna Outside

How to get Jack TV, etc… if their signal is weak? Go to Manual Scan. Click the Right or Left arrows until you find the frequency 521.1. At the bottom, there will be blue bars. One bar is for Quality. The other bar is for Strength. Move your antenna until you find the sweet spot with the most blue for both Strength and Quality. Press OK. If you find a strong enough signal, you should have those channels now.

For CNN Philippines, the frequency is 503.1, but I couldn’t get it to work.

Channels Received:

Fukuda Digibox Channel List 1

The channels with the $ are exclusive channels that only the ABS-CBN TV Plus can play. I don’t watch them so it doesn’t matter to me that I can’t watch them on the Fukuda.Fukuda Digibox Channel List 2 Fukuda Digibox Channel List 3 Fukuda Digibox Channel List 4


So far, so good. I’m very happy with it. For only P1,499 and I get very clear local channels AND a media player, which I had been thinking of getting for a long time for the sala TV. AND I DON’T HAVE TO PAY A MONTHLY FEE ANYMORE!

You can also do Time Shift on this device (you must have a USB disk connected) – meaning, even if you are watching local TV, you can pause it and then play it again, just like if you were watching a video. You need a USB disk with enough disk space for this to work. What happens is the digibox records the show on the USB when you pause.

You can also schedule it to record TV shows (see manual for instructions).

It is supposed to play avi, mp4, mkv, h.264, etc… I have only tested it with mp4 and avi, and it works well. Very clear. Of course, this depends on your video file. A higher quality video file in 720p or 1080 will give better video. To access your files on the USB, press the USB button on the remote. To go Full Screen, press the Red button. Using the Fukuda remote, I can Pause, Play, Forward (up to 32x), Rewind, Skip to Next, Skip to Back. I recommend using an HDMI cable instead of the included RCA ones to get the best video quality. HDMI cables are only around P200.

And now for a few very minor issues:

  • It only works on one TV. You can hook up another TV, but the other TV will just show the exact same thing as the first TV. It’s not a big issue since I never really expected it to work on more than one TV at a time.
  • The clock thing is sometimes not accurate. Sometimes the clock is showing the correct time (Manila time), sometimes it is not. It’s weird and I don’t know how to fix it. There is no option in the settings except to choose Philippines and Manila, or GMT +8. There is no option to set the time manually.
  • The remote takes getting used to. Maybe we’re just used to having the remote labels written on top of the buttons. Fukuda’s remote has some labels written below the buttons and we pressed the wrong buttons many times since we’re so used to seeing the labels on top – this is for the buttons on the lower part of the remote. For example, I kept hitting Pause || (above the blue button) by mistake when I was trying to press USB (the button below Return).

Fukuda Digibox Remote

ALL IN ALL, I think this was a good buy. The pros outweigh the very minor cons and the price is very affordable. 

Do I miss cable? I miss CNN and Fox News playing in the background whenever something major happens in world events. I would still get cable if there was an affordable way to get the channels I want without having to pay for the other 90% of channels I don’t want.

UPDATE: July 2016

We are able to get CNN Philippines consistently now. I still can’t figure out how to fix the time setting. I also noticed that when I cycle through the channels really fast, the digibox “hangs”. I turn it off and turn it on again and that fixes it. But so far, so good, we get clear video of most of the free local channels.

I still miss CNN and the Asian Food Channel, but am on the fence about whether or not paying P550/month just to get them is worth it. I watched AFC last week while I was staying in a hotel and their show lineup has improved! I don’t like The Food Network anymore because I don’t like their “reality” shows. One can only take so much of “the-next-best-something” type of show.

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The Barat Queen

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22 thoughts on “We’ve Cut Our Cable + Fukuda Digibox Review

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Hi Az, we can’t get CNN Philippines on it. The signal is too weak and there is a tall building blocking our house 🙁 However, I am sure that CNN Philippines will improve their broadcast signal strength so I think we will be able to get CNN Philippines eventually.

      Even with the antenna indoors, GMA 7 and GMA News is very clear 🙂 All the ABS-CBN channels are clear, too.

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Hi Ron, the sales guy told that me that it will not play .srt subtitles, but if the subtitles are hard coded into the video, it will show up. I haven’t had enough time to try out that feature yet.

      1. Mari

        Oh, telling you hardcoded video subtitles will show up is not a real answer 🙁
        But the fact that you can use a splitter to stream cable onto more than one TV isn’t bad!

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      No, this one only receives free channels. Most of the time, I’m just watching YouTube or Netflix or iflix or get my shows somewhere else 😀

  1. Jojo

    I simply just hate the idea of having another remote to deal with plus the added electricity for it because it has to be plugged in. Besides this is a 1 box per tv setup. I wish there was a box where I could plug in multiple tv’s or use a spitter to distribute it to a 2nd tv and use the tv’s built in remote to access channels – no need of another bulky remote to add to a collection of existing remotres which makes everything so cumbersome and annoying.

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Using two remotes does take getting used to!

      But digital cable also uses two remotes, too, as far as I know. It’s just something we have to live with unless we’re willing to spend to buy one of those new TVs that already have built-in ISDB-T receivers. You won’t need the digibox anymore if you have that kind of TV 🙂 the new TV will be able to natively receive the digital signals from GMA, ABS-CBN, etc…

  2. John

    Hi there,
    Thanks for this article. Just want to ask, do you need to manually setup the channel to also get GMA7? I’ll try to check if I can get jacktv tomorrow.

    1. Mary

      how did you get the channels of ETC, 2nd Ave and Jack TV? Can you share with us the frequency and do those channels also run 24/7 like in their cable counterpart? And if you happen to know, do you think this could also work in Abs Cbn tv Plus?

      1. Barat Queen Post author

        Hi Mary,

        I’ve been told that ETC, Jack, 2nd Ave, HSN have stopped digital broadcasting. I myself have not received their signal for a long time, not even when I purposely look for them.

        They might still be broadcasting, but their signal could be extremely poor. And I thought CNN’s signal was the weakest of them all! But we are able to get CNN when the antenna is on the roof, and still no ETC!

        I just recently reviewed another brand called WinTV which I like much better. I’ll post the review as soon as I figure out how to edit a video without Windows Movie Maker, because it’s not included on Windows 10 anymore 🙁 Please stay tuned for that!

        ABS-CBN TV Plus is almost the same as the other digiboxes, except it has a de-scrambler so you can receive their exclusive channels. The process of manual search is basically the same.

        See frequency below.

        Frequency: 521.143MHz (Low Signal)

          1. Barat Queen Post author

            Hi Mary,

            I bought the Fukuda Digibox at SM Hypermarket in Shaw Blvd, near JRU. It was near the area selling TVs.

            The WinTV was sent to me for review. Without any bias because of that, I recommend the WinTV. They have an option for a longer 8m antenna cable, and the antenna cable is thicker. Also, the unit does not “hang” when I change channels quickly.

            Full review here: http://www.baratako.com/wintv-digibox-hd-digital-receiver-review-giveaway/

            You can buy WinTV directly, just call them. Price is P1,799. It’s free delivery within Metro Manila. You can also buy it from Lazada, the link to the correct one is on the blog post. It’s now only P1,499 on Lazada (There are many other digiboxes on sale so you might get the wrong one, please use the link.)

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      I don’t want to have to drill holes on the walls/roof and stuff… 🙁 It’s too much trouble, and might cause me more trouble down the road because I wouldn’t know what I was doing…

  3. Mikey

    Hi Barat Queen,
    Assuming you have this setup: 1 analog TV and you hook-up your Fukuda HD by AV Cable, then you have another TV which is ISDB-T ready and you will hook-up by coaxial or HDMI cable. Do you this it will work?

    1. Barat Queen Post author

      Hi Mikey, I don’t understand what you are trying to do. Your ISDB-T ready TV doesn’t need any digibox anymore. Your ISDB-T TV should be able to get digital broadcast signals on its own. I’m just not sure if your TV comes with an antenna or if you need to hook up an antenna for the TV.

      If you hook up 2 TVs to the digibox, they will both show the same thing. As in identical. Even if you change channels, the channels on both TVs will change at the same time. Because the digibox will feed the 2 TVs the same input.


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