What is an HD converter box?

I get quite a few questions about the best HD converter box out there. The reality is, there is no such thing as an HD converter box. What I believe most folks are asking about are digital converter boxes, which allow the reception of HD signals. Digital converter boxes capture standard and high definition signals and convert them to analog for non-digital TVs — although if your TV is not HD you won’t be able to view the HD signals.

Products like the Access HD 1030U Digital To Analog (pictured right) may look like they were built specifically for high-definition because of the “HD” in the product name, but really all digital-to-analog converters work the same. HD quality, in an over-the-air situation, will depend on the quality of your reception and not the converter box.

Could there be such a thing as an HD converter box? Sure, there are all kinds of converter boxes to convert various video and audio signals. And, it depends on whether you are talking about converting up to HD or converting down from HD. For example, there are converters that will take your HD signal and convert down to SDI or composite, although I’m not sure why anyone would have a use for that except maybe in commercial applications.

Then there are upconverting DVD and Blu-ray players which could be called “HD converters.” They take a lower grade resolution and upscale to a hi-definition resolution. Toshiba hails its XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player as getting near high-definition quality from standard definition DVDs.

I hope this article helps with any confusion. Remember, digital comes first. Digital television signals are how HD signals are transmitted. If you don’t have an HDTV, no worries, television stations will continue to broadcast standard definition alongside HD for years to come.

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About the Author:
Jeff Chabot writes about technology, broadcasting, and digital entertainment. You can also find him on Gameverse, Gadget Review, and Google+.

4 Comments on “What is an HD converter box?

  1.  by  Paul Johnson

    I bought an HD capable TV about 7 years ago, before HD TVs were out. There was supposed to an HD converter box that could be purchased sepperatly to watch true HD. At the time they were about $1,000. Do these boxes still exist?

  2.  by  Frank

    Yes, there are too HD converter boxes…the coupon program doesn’t apply to them, though. Sometimes they are just called HDTV receivers or HDTV tuners.

  3.  by  Layla

    Hi there…. Thank you so much for your post! But, I’m still confused a bit… I no longer have cable. What do I need for a 19 inch HD Led TV by CRAIG to get reception? I also did buy an RCA multi-directional amplified digital flat antenna. Hope to hear from you, and many thanks for your help.
    Layla

  4.  by  hdreport

    You need to connect a coaxial cable from the antenna to the back of the TV.

    Does your HDTV have a digital tuner? If not, you’ll have to buy a converter box (about $20-40) which will take all the digital signals and convert them to analog for your TV to display.

    Then, on your TV or the converter box you’ll scan for channels. Make sure your TV input is set to antenna or whatever input channel will find the antenna cable.

    Let us know how things work out!

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