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best digital converter boxes

The Best Digital Converter Boxes in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

A digital converter box gives you access to the digital world of television. With the help of digital converter boxes, TV and radio signals can be received. A digital converter box can also give you a lot of comfort while watching TV by recording your favorite programs at the touch of a button or pausing a current program and resuming it at a later point in time.

Not everyone knows what types of receivers are available on the market, how they are equipped and what services they can provide. For this reason, we would like to give you a comprehensive overview of the popular TV receivers and analyze their advantages and disadvantages in our large digital cable receiver test. We would also like to show you which criteria are important when buying a digital cable receiver and how you can find the right receiver for your individual needs.

  • The digital converter box is installed between the cable connection and the television and, depending on the device type, enables the reception of HD or Ultra HD programs.
  • Some digital converter boxes have their standard function and additional helpful features that promise unlimited entertainment for your home.
  • In addition to the digital converter box, there are many other options, including reception technology via modern broadband connections, such as the IPTV receiver, to receive TV and radio signals.

Best Digital Converter Boxes

Mediasonic ATSC Digital Converter Box

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Mediasonic ATSC HDTV Digital Converter Box with TV Tuner

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iView 3300STB Converter Box with Recording

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Digital Converter, Ematic Digital TV Converter Box

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Digital TV Converter Box, ATSC Cabal Box

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Exuby Digital Converter Box

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Digital Converter Box: Purchase Criteria

In the following we would like to explain to you which criteria you should pay particular attention to when buying a digital converter box. These criteria should help you with the decision-making process.

  • Hard Disk
  • Time-and-shift function
  • WiFi connection
  • CI slot
  • I/O

We would like to explain to you in more detail what is important for the individual criteria.

Hard Disk

Investing in a receiver with a hard drive makes sense if you want to record your favorite programs and watch them at any time.

You are no longer tied to fixed broadcast times and can freely decide which programs you want to record and when you want to watch them. You even have the option of fast-forwarding the recorded TV content to avoid commercial breaks. When buying a converter box with a hard drive, make sure that it delivers at least one HD picture.

A 4K-capable converter box with hard drive would be ideal, which gives you an excellent picture experience. The hard drive volume also plays an important role when buying a digital converter box with hard drive. The capacity should be at least 500 MB in order to be able to store several films or programs on the hard disk.

Some providers offer digital converter boxes with an integrated hard drive. However, there are also many inexpensive alternatives that allow you to connect an external hard drive via USB.

Time-and-shift function

The time-and-shift function is a very smart feature and is becoming increasingly popular with many users. The function allows you to play films or programs with a time delay.

You can pause the TV picture at any time and then continue it whenever you want and as it suits your daily routine. So you don’t just have to be tied to one program, you can switch flexibly between different programs and enjoy maximum comfort while watching TV. So if you have several favorite programs that are broadcast at the same time and you cannot decide, we recommend buying a digital converter box with the time-and-shift function.

WiFi connection

A digital converter box with an integrated WiFi module allows you to connect your receiver to the Internet.

Using WiFi, you can bring streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sky to your TV and stream numerous films, series and broadcasts. With access to the Internet, you benefit from a large selection of programs and you will always find entertainment options in a wide variety of streaming services and media libraries.

CI Slot

With the help of a CI slot, numerous pay TV channels can be received. To do this, you simply insert a subscription card into the slot provided on the receiver. So you can enjoy an even greater variety of programs and benefit from exclusive programs and broadcasts.

The CI interface is used by pay TV providers to decrypt encrypted signals for subscription customers. If you use Pay TV very intensively and regularly, we recommend a receiver with at least 2 CI slots. So you can comfortably use 2 subscriptions at the same time.

Alternatively, you can also use the CI slot on your TV set, if your device has this slot. Otherwise, when buying a receiver, it is important to make sure that enough CI slots are available to be able to use your subscriptions.


Digital converter boxes have a variety of connections. Before buying, you should be aware of which connections you absolutely need for your needs.

In order to be able to enjoy the highest picture quality while watching TV, an HDMI connection is a must, because it provides you with the HD picture quality that ensures a razor-sharp picture experience. You also have the option of connecting a projector to your receiver via the HDMI connection to create a home cinema atmosphere.

Make sure that older TV models do not have such a connection. These are provided with a so-called SCART connection. When buying a digital converter box, you should make sure that the required connection is available, otherwise the receiver is not compatible with your TV set.

A USB port is available for some receiver models. This is particularly of great advantage if you want to connect an external hard drive to your receiver in order to be able to record programs. You can also use the receiver as a media player in many ways using the USB connection. In addition, a USB interface allows you to carry out firmware updates to keep your receiver up to date.

When buying a digital converter box, allow yourself enough time to find a device that is as optimally tailored to your needs as possible, because high-quality models are usually a very expensive investment.

FAQ’s: Digital Converter Box

What is a Digital Converter Box?

Whether you need a digital converter box depends on the type of television set you want to use.

Most of the latest generation TV sets have an integrated receiver.

An external converter box is therefore no longer necessary. If your TV set does not have an integrated receiver, you will need a digital converter box to decrypt incoming TV signals.

Depending on where you live, you can access TV reception via cable, satellite or antenna. Accordingly, you also have to choose the right receiver.

In addition to decoding incoming signals, a digital converter box is responsible for improving the signals using an amplifier. Like millions of other television viewers, you are sure to value razor-sharp images in an excellent resolution that gives you the feeling of being live and up close in the action.

An amplifier can ensure that your TV enjoyment is improved by worlds with brilliant, razor-sharp picture and sound quality. Furthermore, digital converter boxes offer a wide range of channels, are not susceptible to weathering in comparison to SAT receivers and can also be used as media players. Note that in addition to the GEZ fees, you also have to pay the cable connection fees of the respective provider.

Digital Converter Box Alternatives

Reception via satellite, cable connection or aerial television is one of the classic variants, whereas TV streaming over the Internet is a new and modern form of TV reception.

In the following we would like to show you some alternatives to the digital converter box:

AT receiver
Satellite television can receive a large number of national and international TV and radio stations with little effort. The major benefit here is that you don’t pay any fees compared to cable TV. In addition to a satellite key, a digital satellite receiver is also required. SAT receivers are available in various designs and price ranges. Transmission by satellite is particularly characterized by its good transmission quality. In addition, many satellite receivers have various features that can significantly influence your television experience.

IPTV receiver
With an IPTV receiver you can receive television over the Internet. In addition to the usual television programs, you benefit from a wide variety of streaming services and can fall back on TV on Demand by being able to put together your own individual TV program and never being dependent on fixed broadcast times again. This requires an IPTV receiver and a subscription with an IPTV provider. You also need a DSL connection with sufficient bandwidth to avoid transmission problems. This is usually more expensive than the usual types of reception. The decisive advantage is that you forego the complex installation and setup of a satellite system. You can also receive foreign television programs via an IPTV receiver.

Universal receiver
A universal receiver can receive both DVB-S2 and DVB-C. The abbreviations stand for a wide variety of transmission routes. DVB-S2 enables reception as a SAT receiver. DVB-C stands for cable television. With the help of the DVB-T2, reception via antenna with a universal receiver is also possible.
As you can see, there are numerous other alternatives to cable television that you might consider. IPTV streaming offers you a lot of new options and is a very popular choice right now.

It is best to get advice from an expert on site about the various options.

How to connect a Digital Converter Box?

With the purchase of a digital converter box you will of course receive an instruction manual that will support you during the installation process.

We would like to show you beforehand with the help of short instructions that the installation is not rocket science and can be done in no time:

  • Connect your digital converter box to the socket using the power cable.
  • Use the SCART or HDMI socket on your television to establish the connection between the receiver and the television using the appropriate cable. On many televisions you will find a corresponding note with “HDMI” or “SCART”. You can also easily assign the cable based on the connection shape.
  • Finally you have to connect the antenna cable of your cable connection to your receiver.

And you can switch on the receiver and set it up in a few minutes thanks to the intuitive menu navigation.


Which digital converter box you ultimately choose depends primarily on your personal requirements and your asking price. On the market, you are offered a variety of different receivers from a wide variety of brands, which primarily differ in their additional features.

Before you buy, think about the functions that are particularly important to you when you watch TV and determine criteria that your receiver should definitely meet in order to give you the best possible TV experience. When buying a digital converter box, you will be advised and supported in the shops during the purchase process so that you will find the optimal receiver for you and your home very quickly.

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Last product update on 2022-06-28 | Source: Amazon Affiliate