Most TVs today have a digital tuner built-in that will allow you to watch those crisp and clear HD channels. However, what if you still own an older TV that is still working fine? Analog TV signals are no longer broadcast, so you can’t get a picture anymore.
Instead of discarding that piece of history, or possibly even heirloom, you can purchase a digital converter box. It’s cheaper than purchasing a new TV, and now you can add that extra set to a spare room.
In this review, we are going to take a look at the best digital converter box options available right now. So, let get straight to it and find the perfect digital convertor box for you…
- 1 Top 7 Best Digital Converter Box In 2021 Review
- 1.1 1 Mediasonic HW130STB – Best Looking Digital Converter Box
- 1.2 2 Koramzi CB-107 – Most Compact Digital Converter Box
- 1.3 3 Ematic AT103B – Best Digital Converter Box and Media Player
- 1.4 4 iView 3500STBII – Best Media Player Digital Converter Box with Component Output
- 1.5 5 RCA DTA-800B1 – Best Vertical Digital Converter Box
- 1.6 6 Vmade F01S – Best Affordable Timeshift PVR Digital Converter Box
- 1.7 7 Mediasonic HW-150PR – Best Dolby Audio Digital Converter Box
- 2 Best Digital Converter Box Buying Guide
- 3 Do You Want To Bring New Life For More Retro Devices?
- 4 So, What Is The Best Digital Converter Box?
Top 7 Best Digital Converter Box In 2021 Review
1 Mediasonic HW130STB – Best Looking Digital Converter Box
Starting our review is this modern-looking box from Mediasonic. This box can receive Over-The-Air Digital Broadcasts and send them to your TV, projector, or computer monitor so you can enjoy free to air TV.
You can only receive an ATSC signal, which is used in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Surinam. If you live in any other country, you should first check what type of signal your TV networks broadcast before purchasing.
Making the connection…
Options for connecting the box to your display include RCA and HDMI. To receive FHD 1080p resolution, HDMI must be used. If your only option is RCA, then the maximum resolution is SD 480p.
Setting up the device is easy. First, connect your aerial or antenna using a coaxial cable. There is a passthrough available for your RF. Then plug the box into your TV using either RCA or HDMI. Finally, plug in the power adapter, and you’re ready to go.
Bursting with features…
If you have a USB external hard drive up to 2TB, you can connect to the USB port and record programs. You have the option to either record the live program or set a scheduled recording via the EPG (Electronic Program Guide).
The EPG will also display program information for you to review before selecting a channel. Other useful features include parental controls, closed captioning, favorite channel listing, and built-in EAS (Emergency Alert System).
- Up to 1080p FHD resolution.
- Recording option if an external hard drive is used.
- Built-in EPG and EAS.
- Remote can have delays in the signal.
- Occasional sound synchronization issues.
2 Koramzi CB-107 – Most Compact Digital Converter Box
Next up is this compact box from Koramzi that will easily fit near most displays. It won’t take up so much room on your entertainment unit or desktop. But don’t let its size fool you; it still has all the features you would expect.
Connecting this box will provide a digital signal to any display, including TVs, PC monitors, or even projectors. Included in the box is a power supply, a set of RCA cables, a remote control, and two AAA batteries for the remote.
Multiple options offered…
Connection options include RCA and HDMI. There is a choice of two aspect ratios, 4:3 for older square screens and 16:9 for widescreen models. The maximum resolution is FHD 1080p but requires connection via HDMI.
The remote control included with the Koramzi is a universal remote control. That means it can perform basic functions on other devices such as TVs and DVD players. Functions include play/pause, volume, channel, skip, and more.
While searching for a channel to watch, you can use the EPG complete with program information. Then save your favorite channels to a list for easy recall. Additionally, closed captions and parental control functions are available too.
Using the USB port located at the front of the box, you can record your favorite program. Just plug in an external hard drive, then either press record or select a program to record from the EPG.
- Compact design.
- Universal remote included.
- Record via USB.
- Interface can be clunky.
- Remote feels flimsy.
3 Ematic AT103B – Best Digital Converter Box and Media Player
For our next option, we took a look at the Ematic box. It is also rather compact and has an all-black glossy plastic front. On the front panel’s left side are three buttons, one for power toggle and two for channel selection. There is also an LCD display and a USB port.
At the back of the box, you’ll find the power cable and ports. The connection ports include a coaxial input and output for your aerial or antenna. For visual and audio connection, there are either the yellow, red, and white RCA ports or a single HDMI port.
Various picture options…
Using HDMI will allow for the maximum 1080p resolution. You also have a choice of aspect ratios with either HDMI or RCA. Choose between 4:3 or 16:9 aspects; however, RCA can only output a maximum 480p SD resolution.
Included is a remote control to easily navigate the menu screens and a set of RCA cables. An HDMI cable is not included. Once connected, you can use the parental controls to block channels that you don’t want your children watching.
Advanced USB options…
Just like the other products, you can record programs onto an external USB hard drive. However, this box also offers a Timeshift function. By using your hard drive storage, you can pause and rewind live TV.
Besides the Timeshift function, you can additionally use the box as a media player. Play files direct from your USB device to your TV. Supported files include MP3, AAC, AVI, MPG, DAT, VOB, MKV, MJPEG, JPEG, BMP, and PNG.
- Attractive design.
- Timeshift function.
- Can be used as a media player.
- Remote signal is not strong.
- No program info on EPG.
4 iView 3500STBII – Best Media Player Digital Converter Box with Component Output
Maybe not only do you have an older TV with an analog tuner, but perhaps you also lost the remote, or it isn’t working well anymore. Luckily the iView digital converter box comes with a universal remote control.
It’s a learning remote, so it can actually copy another remote’s data. Now instead of being forced to have an extra remote control, you can make adjustments to your TV and digital converter box with the one remote.
Great picture quality…
iView uses the same QAM format that most cable companies use to transmit and encode signals. This ensures that you receive a superior picture quality with less chance of ghosting or signal break down.
Maximum resolution is FHD 1080p, but you will have to purchase your own HDMI cable separately. A set of RCA cables are included if you are happy with SD 480p. Component output is available, too, if you have some cables with a maximum 1080i resolution.
Play your saved media…
By taking advantage of the USB port at the front of the box, you can play media files directly from a USB storage device. Play back video, picture, or music files straight to your display without needing a PC or additional box.
Connecting a USB storage device will also allow you to use the iView as a PVR. Record programs from the EPG or even pause and rewind live TV. The schedule function gives you the option to record daily, weekly, or even monthly.
- QAM format provides a high-quality picture.
- Component outputs.
- Media player and PVR functions.
- Red LCD display is bright and distracting.
- Must turn off the box before removing the USB drive.
5 RCA DTA-800B1 – Best Vertical Digital Converter Box
Perhaps you have space issues and need a box that’s flexible in how it can be placed? Well, that’s where the RCA box comes in. It can be easily positioned either horizontally or vertically thanks to its nifty little twist-out stand.
There is no bright and potentially annoying LCD screen at the front. Instead, there is one small LED to indicate that the device is operational. The design is actually pleasantly simple, apart from the large obnoxious RCA logo splashed across the front left side.
Once you connect your aerial or antenna using a coaxial cable, the reception is fantastic with minimum interference. However, while you are at the rear of the box, you might notice something missing. There is no HDMI port.
The only connection option is through RCA cables. That means that the maximum picture resolution is SD 480p. This is fine for smaller TVs and older ray tube models; however, if you have a large screen, you might want to sit further back.
The included remote control is one of the best we’ve used with these boxes. It is not too complicated and has large, easily identifiable buttons. This makes it suitable for older people and those that have vision impairments.
You can also easily program this remote to control your TV as well as the box. There is a simple version of an EPG that RCA calls the channel list. It is easy to navigate, as are the menu systems for changing the limited settings.
- Horizontal or vertical box orientation.
- Responsive and simple remote control.
- Simple menu system.
- Only RCA output with maximum SD 480p resolution.
- No USB function for recording.
6 Vmade F01S – Best Affordable Timeshift PVR Digital Converter Box
This box allows you to not only watch the free broadcast channels but also playback media from a USB storage device. Manufactured by Vmade, this well-ventilated box offers all the features you’d expect at a great value price.
Connection options include both RCA and HDMI, offering resolutions of between SD 480p and FHD 1080p. Free to air broadcasts will additionally require connection to an antenna or aerial via coaxial cable.
Navigate menus easily.
Included is a remote control to navigate through the menu system. Both older TVs with 4:3 aspect ratios are supported, along with newer widescreen 16:9 ratio models. The box can even auto-detect the best ratio fit for the media you’re watching.
Other useful features include a sleep timer, Teletext, closed captions, and multi-language menus. See what shows are coming up with the 7-day EPG, including a brief description of each program.
Pause and rewind…
By connecting an external storage device by USB, the box can be used as a PVR. Now you can record your favorite programs either live or scheduled. You can also pause and rewind live TV using the built-in Timeshift function.
Not only can you record from free to air broadcasts, but you can also playback stored media files. Video, picture, and music files are all supported, turning the Vmade into a complete multimedia hub device.
- 7-day EPG.
- PVR function, including Timeshift.
- Multimedia playback from USB.
- Underwhelming design.
- Clunky buttons on the box.
7 Mediasonic HW-150PR – Best Dolby Audio Digital Converter Box
For our final product in the lineup is the Mediasonic HW-150PR. This little box can perform all the functions of the previous packages, plus a couple more. It is a fraction more expensive, but it is still worth weighing up.
This is the only box that supports Dolby Audio. So if you own a surround sound speaker system that you plan on using in combination with a box, this might be for you. Experience movies with the sound you were supposed to.
Just like the other boxes on offer, you have the option of either RCA or HDMI output. With the Mediasonic, you receive an additional option being component output. This might be handy for slightly older displays missing HDMI, but it can still offer 1080i resolution.
By connecting an external storage device via USB, you can record programs. A Timeshift function is also available for pausing and rewinding live TV. Audio, picture, and video media files can be played back using the Multimedia function too.
But wait, there’s more…
Along with these already great features, you still get all the functions you would expect from a digital converter box, like a built-in EAS (Emergency Alert System) that will keep you updated during emergency situations via local broadcast.
There is, of course, an EPG, as well as things like closed captioning and a favorite channel list. Protect children in the household, too, using the parental control feature that allows for blocking of channels you would rather they didn’t watch.
- Dolby Audio supported.
- Component output option.
- PVR, Timeshift, and Multimedia support.
- More expensive than competitors.
- EPG can be slow to respond.
Best Digital Converter Box Buying Guide
By now, you should be aware of what is currently available on the market. But which one of these products will best suit your personal needs the best? While that’s a decision only you can decide on, we will try to assist you with this buying guide.
Therefore, we will now take a look at the main differences between these products and identify which may be better suited for particular purposes. Hopefully, then you will be more confident in making your decision.
What Type Of Display?
One of the most common purposes for purchasing one of these boxes is to bring life back to an older TV. The first thing you’ll want to do is check what type of connections are available on the TV’s side or rear.
There is an excellent chance your TV will have RCA inputs. That is the little yellow, red, and white jacks. This will only offer 480p resolution, but that is most likely all your TV is capable of displaying anyway.
If your TV, projector, or monitor has an extra three jacks being green, blue, and red, then your TV will support what’s called component input. This can provide 1080i resolution, which is just below FHD 1080p. Only the Mediasonic and the iView offer component connections.
If your display has HDMI, then you can take advantage of the highest resolution possible here. That is FHD 1080p, which provides a sharp, crisp, detailed picture. The only box that does not offer HDMI is the RCA.
If you are still struggling to decide on which product you like the most, keep reading. In our next section, we will reveal our choice for the top digital converter box and why. But before that…
Do You Want To Bring New Life For More Retro Devices?
If you’re like us and would rather use a nifty adapter to enhance outdated technology rather than just throw it away, we have a bunch of reviews just for you!
Check out our Best External USB Floppy Drive Reviews, the Best USB HDTV Tune Reviews, the Best N64 and Gamecube to HDMI Converter Reviews, the Best DAC Digital Toslink to Analog RCA Converter Review, the Best TV Antenna Amplifier, the Best Wireless HDMI Transmitters Receivers Review, and our Best Bluetooth Car Adapters Review for 2021!
Ok, back to the best TV digital converter boxes…
So, What Is The Best Digital Converter Box?
To reach our decision on which digital converter box we think is the best, we have taken a few things into consideration. The box must perform well, have useful features, and represent excellent value.
The product we believe performs in all these areas best is the…iView 3500STBII
Not only does the box perform well, but it also offers useful features like component output and a learning remote control. The box can be used as a PVR, and playback media files, plus it manages to do all this for around the same cost as most of the other boxes.