How To Choose A Set Top Box
How To Choose A Set Top Box
How To Choose A Set Top Box. A guide to some of the features worth considering when choosing a set top box to supply digital TV to your front room. A great addition to any home entertainment unit.
Step 1: Subscription or a one off payment
In the UK, you can either receive digital TV after a one off payment for your set top box which will give you freeview, or you can pay a monthly subscription and receive Sky or cable television. When you subscribe to Sky or Cable, your set-top box is rented from your provider.
If you are buying a set top box in the UK, it is likely that you are choosing to watch Freeview. Freeview is free to air digital television that is supplied through your aerial. Freeview is not available in every area at the moment, though it should be by 2012 when the analog signal will be switched off and all major TV channels will be broadcast in digital.
Step 2: Can I Receive Freeview?
If you live in the UK, you can check if you live in a Freeview area by visiting www.dtg.org.uk/consumer/coverage.
If it says you can receive freeview, but you don't seem to be able to pick up the signal - you will probably have to upgrade your aerial.
Step 3: Connectivity
A set-top box will need scart sockets to connect to your television. You may want to consider models with more than one scart socket as this allows you to connect them to devices such as a VCR.
If your TV does not have a scart socket on it, ask to see set-top boxes with inbuilt modulators. These allow you to use a normal aerial style cable to connect to your television.
Step 4: Electronic Programme Guides
The Electronic Programme Guide is the menu of TV listings that the user interacts with to select a channel, and to find out what's on. However, the interactivity of these menus can vary heavily, from the most basic to menus that include timers, reminder settings, favourite channel selectors, and in-depth programme details.
Check out the EPG menus before you buy. What can you do? What's the design like? Don't sacrifice ease of use for a lot of functions. A well designed EPG will be able to deliver functions in a clear and simple fashion.
Step 5: Multi-functionality
Outside of the functions within the onscreen menus, many models are physically multi-functional by design. Some have hard drives which allow you to record your favourite shows. In addition to this some also come with DVD players built-in. For more information on these varieties of set- top box, watch the VideoJug film http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-choose-a-personal-video-recorder
Step 6: Card Slots
Though Freeview is completely subscription free, at a later date you may choose to pay for some of the popular pay channels available on services such as Top-Up TV.
If this is an option that attracts you, make sure you buy a set top box which has space for a card slot.
Step 7: High Definition Boxes
If you own an High Definition Television, you will need a High Definition set-top box to provide the signal required. Presently only Sky and some of the cable companies supply HD television, and they rent their own set-top boxes. As Freeview turns to HD, set-top boxes will be available to buy, but this may take several years.