5 Cheap Digital Converter Boxes to Keep your Analog TV Alive
Digital TV may have been around forever, but many still have analog TV sets they don’t want to part with. If you’re one of those people, you will need a digital converter box to make the magic happen. Here are five cheap digital converter boxes to keep your analog TV alive.
An analog TV cannot accept a digital signal. There are also more digital TV channels than an analog TV has the capacity to handle, which is where digital converter boxes come in. They connect to the digital signal, convert it into analog and play it on the TV.
If you have such a TV and really don’t want to change it, you have a couple of options. You could buy a cable subscription and use the box to convert the signal, you could use a composite converter to use a streaming dongle or you could use a digital converter box to receive over the air transmissions.
I am assuming that as you see no value in HD or digital that you don’t watch much TV so will be most interested in that last option, a digital converter box.
Five cheap digital converter boxes
We obviously want to keep cost to a minimum so you can still benefit from a bit of TV when you’re in the mood without breaking the bank. The five cheap digital converter boxes featured range from $28 – $40 so fit the bill nicely.
Zinwell ZAT-970A – $39.99
The Zinwell ZAT-970A may not have a catchy name but getting to grips with the box will take mere seconds. Simple controls, compatibility with multiple formats, multi-aspect ratio support and multiple language options make this a pretty good digital converter box. The price isn’t bad either.
iVIEW-3500STB Multimedia Converter Box – $28
The iVIEW-3500STB Multimedia Converter Box is not only a digital to analog converter it is also a DVR and offers the ability to pause TV just like a digital service. It also has a slick EPG, HD capability and looks much better than most boxes in this list. If aesthetics are as important as features, this is the box you need.
Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB – $28
If you have an analog home cinema you want to use, the Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB is the box to do it. It has a media player that uses USB storage, DVR function, HD output, multi-aspect ratio support and compatibility with multiple formats. The ability to connect USB storage and streaming devices make this a very good choice if you still get a lot of use out of your analog setup.
ViewTV AT-300 – $38
The ViewTV AT-300 is another tidy digital converter box that offers live pause and recording. This DVR function offers extra utility at no extra cost and I think everyone is in favor of that. It also supports HDMI and composite, cable auto tuning, EPG, HD output, multi-aspect ratio support and compatibility with multiple formats. The box doesn’t look bad either.
Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver – $27.99
The Edal Digital ATSC HD TV Receiver is about as simple as it gets. It is a basic digital converter box that converts digital to analog and outputs it up to HD quality. It also has USB, multi-language support and a channel memory function. If all you want is a simple, no-nonsense converter box, this is the one to get.
How do digital converter boxes work?
Many regions switched off analog transmissions years ago. For those with beloved analog equipment, that mean paying for a cable TV subscription or buying a digital converter box. Analog equipment isn’t capable of understanding digital signals and there are simply too many channels for its limited capability to cope with. That’s where the converter earns its keep.
A digital converter box takes the digital signal and filters out some of the channels the TV couldn’t handle. You decide what channels you want to receive when you set up the box and the converter will ignore the rest. The processor inside the box then converts the digital signal of those channels you do want into an analog signal so your TV understands it.
If the box has extra features such as live pause or DVR function, the tuner within the digital converter box connects to flash memory or external hard drive which it writes to just like a normal DVR. Basic EPG (Electronic Program Guide) functions are also sometimes provided from the information contained within the digital signal. They are also translated into simple analog graphics much like teletext used to be.