A Digital TV Converter Box (or set-top box) is an electronic device that converts the free over-the-air digital signal into an analog signal viewable on older "analog" television sets. You still need an antenna or rabbit ears with a set-top box.
The digital to analog box connects your antenna or rabbit ears to your TV set.
It will allow you to continue watching free over-the-air TV since the Analog to Digital Transition took place on June 12, 2009.
If you have a Digital TV set with a digital (ATSC) tuner,
you don’t need a converter box.
List of Popular Converter Boxes:
|Converter Box||Converter Box|
|AccessHD DTA1020AD||AccessHD DTA1030D|
|AccessHD DTA1050D||AccessHD DTA1080D|
|AccessHD DTA1080U||Airlink101 ATVC102|
|Apex DT502||Apex DT250|
|CRAIG CVD508||DigitalStream DTX9950|
|Magnavox TB100MW9||RCA DTA800B1|
|Sunkey ATB150S||Sunkey SK-801|
|Supersonic SC55||Tivax STB-T12|
After hooking up a converter box to your analog TV set, you will need to scan (also known as "auto-tune") for new channels to ensure you receive all of the digital stations broadcasting in your area. While some boxes do this automatically, you may need to select scan manually. You should rescan on a periodic basis to get all of the digital programming available.
How do I Perform a Channel Scan?
Run the "scan" function on your converter box, usually on the remote control, labeled "set-up" or "menu" or some similar term. Consult the owner’s manual for more detailed instructions on how to run a channel scan.
Once the scan is complete, you should be receiving digital channels through your antenna or rabbit ears.
If you run a channel scan and are still having difficulty, we recommend you use the DTV Coverage Map to see what stations you should be receiving in your area.
If rescanning doesn't help, you may need to double scan.
Everyone can use a converter box in an emergency
even if you have cable or satellite!
In a storm, when the cable or satellite goes out, (if you don't have a TV set with a digital tuner) you won't be able to hook up your rabbit ears to your analog TV set to get local weather and news without a converter box. If you lose power, a portable digital TV is a great choice. Old portable TVs without digital tuners won't work.
A digital to analog converter box will not give you a digital picture on an analog TV set. Analog TV sets using the set top boxes will show digital broadcasts, but not in the full picture quality of digital TV. However, your picture will be better than it was with the old analog signal.
Technically speaking about picture quality: The reason the picture quality won’t be as good on an analog TV set is because of the display resolution. Analog TV screens aren’t designed to display the same level of picture quality and resolution that is found in the digital TV signal.
A digital to analog converter box will not convert your analog TV set into a high definition TV, also known as a HDTV. You will need to buy a high definition TV set for that. Analog televisions are not capable of displaying in high-definition resolution, but the picture will generally be better with a converter.
The Federal Communications Commission has required Closed Captioning capability in all digital to analog set-top boxes.
You may choose to purchase a converter box with additional features. These features include:
The Kworld KW-SA295-Q DE Digital TV Tuner Box has a QAM tuner, HDMI, plus DVI and VGA ports. It also supports MP3/JPG playback from a USB input.
The HomeWorx HW180STB HDTV Digital Converter Box has HDMI, composite and coaxial outputs, a USB flash drive and more.
In an emergercy:
In a storm, when the cable or satellite goes out, (if you don't have a TV set with a digital tuner) you won't be able to hook up your rabbit ears to your analog TV set to get local weather and news without a converter box.
If you lose power, a portable digital TV is a great choice. Old portable TVs without digital tuners won't work.
Trouble with your converter box?
Check our Digital Reception Problems page for help!
RVers and Boaters: Don't forget your converter box!
Check our RVs and Digital TV page that includes instructions for connecting a 12V converter box in your RV or boat. A Converter Box with an analog pass-through is a great choice while traveling. It will allow you to receive TV signals from various TV stations whether they are transmitting in analog or digital.
Splitters: A digital to analog converter box CAN be connected to several TVs at the same time using a splitter, BUT all of the TVs will view the same channel; the one that the box is set to. The box can only be tuned to one channel at a time. For practical purposes, each TV set will need its own box.
Older TV sets without coax cable connections (screw-terminals or twin lead): If you have an older television with a "twin lead" antenna cable, you will need additional components not supplied with the converter box.
Box Adapter Information