A set-top box is a computerized device that processes digital information. It enables the television set to receive and decode digital television broadcasts. Most people thus use a set-top box to receive digital broadcasts from their analog television sets. They can also be used to receive and display television signals, play games via a game console, send e-mail, surfing the internet, connecting to networks and much more.
There are many forms of set top boxes hence making your selection through the different options available a difficult task. Before choosing a set top box, you need to consider various important factors. One such factor is what else you want your HD box to do besides video streaming. Some people would like to use their device for photo viewing, and gaming.
Initially, price was a consideration but nowadays the prices have come down to the point that most set-top boxes are extremely affordable. Your choice now is based on what you want to watch and what you want to do with your box.
Of course, if you order a satellite television, most of the time you also get a set top box with a satellite dish. In Europe for example, a satellite provider Digi Slovakia would give a quality HD box for a small rental fee.
Choosing a set-top box involves balancing between features and content. It is in such regards that the right choice depends on one’s personal needs.
That said however, there are certain general features that you need to consider when purchasing a set-top box so that you end up with the best quality one. These features include:
Compatibility and connectivity
It is important for you to weigh up how well your HD box is going to work with your other devices. Choose one that is compatible with your phone, your TV and your tablet. There are certain devices which you can use your phone to control or work with your TV.
There are various options to choose from if you want to be able to play games on your TV. The playstation 3, Xbox 360 and the Wii are industry leading game consoles that are often included in top quality television boxes.
With advance in technology, you definitely need to stream the best quality content possible. Various but not all STB’s are able to stream 1080p content depending on the source. It is important to go for one such as Roku 2 box if you want to stream Netflix at 1080p. Some devices are also offering 4K streaming which is a much more interesting feature, although you will have to spend a little extra to get them.
Controlling your set-top box is very important. Keep in mind that some remotes are more powerful than others. You might also consider a remote that has companion Smartphone apps so that you can control your television with your Android device. For ease of use, find a remote control that is well laid-out and comfortable in your hand.
There are certain applications such as Netflix, HBO, Google Play Movies and TV, Hulu, iTunes among others which to a great extent improve your viewing experience but are not offered by all set-top boxes. You should therefore check to see if it supports such crucial applications. If there is a particular application that you are tied to, check to see if such application is supported to avoid disappointments.
There are different types and all of them come with a user manual. However, there are certain things that are similar among all set-top boxes when it comes to installation. First, there is the HDMI cable which should be used to connect between the box and the television, there is also the power cord which plugs in to the back of the ST box and hence establishes a connection in to the wall generating electricity. There are also instructions on the manual on the aforementioned as well as on how to connect your antenna to your device. The manual also has instructions on how to tune in your television.
Once you have connected your box to the TV, bring up the menu and select auto-tune and you are good to go. Most devices have the auto-tuning option hence making it easy for you to set it up.
Advantages of a good quality set-top box
Getting a good quality set-top box has various advantages. First it improves picture and sound quality hence making your watching experience such an entertaining one. A good set-top box also has interactive features and advanced commercial wireless services that ensures that your home is quite an entertainment zone for you and your family. It helps you to join and enjoy the digital life with the rest of the world. Good quality set-top boxes have warranties hence you don’t need to spend an extra cash on repair and maintenance until the warranty period expires.
Poor quality set-top boxes will make you regret buying them due to the poor sound and picture quality as well as less features hence requiring you to spend more to enjoy other functions such as gaming. A good quality set-top box will definitely save you money in the long run.