A cable converter box, often used on televisions that are not cable ready, changes analog signals to digital signals, or vice versa. Converter boxes are available in standard and high-definition models. High-definition converter boxes contain the necessary technology to convert high-definition signals without losing the high-def picture and audio quality. As of the time of publication, a few manufacturers sell high-definition cable converter boxes.
When compared to the amount of standard definition converter boxes on the market, there aren't many high-def models available. Some models, like the Zinwell ZAT-970A, Samsung DTBH260F and Digital STREAM DTX9950F convert high-definition and standard definition signals without compromising the quality. Other models, such as the iNet Access SSR 3909A, down convert digital high-definition television signals to analog quality; models like this are intended for use with standard definition television. High-definition cable converter boxes are available from online retailers and electronics stores.
What They Do
Simply put, cable converter boxes convert CATV television signals into different formats. CATV is an abbreviation often used for "cable television." Each box is different, but they all work in a similar fashion: the box receives a signal, reads the data and converts the data so it can play on a television as if it were coming from a different type of signal. A converter box detects a CATV signal and converts it into an analog RF format, the most basic of television signals, so a television that is not cable-ready can receive television broadcasts.
The technology behind high-definition is complex, but it can be explained rather simply. High-definition picture quality is much better than standard definition. The pixel ratio of a picture is important, the higher the pixel ratio, the better the picture. High-definition signals produce 1 million or more pixels creating the images you see on your television, which is much more than standard definition. You will know if your converter box or television is a high-definition model if you see 1080p, 1080i or 720p on the specifications. Those labels reference the quality of the pixel ratio, all of which are high-definition. If you see 480p or 480i, the model is not high definition.
Once you purchase a converter box, you need to install it. Installation does not require a professional, but it is good to know the basics before you get started. Most converter boxes come with a basic coaxial cable, which is the standard connector cable used in most homes and businesses. Attach the existing coaxial cable, the one already connected to your television, to the "Antenna In" port on the converter box. Attach one end of the supplied coaxial cable to the "To TV" port on the converter box and the other end to the "Antenna In" port on the television. Turn on the cable converter box and follow the on-screen instructions to setup the box.
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