Watching the free over the air TV has become more and more popular, especially considering high Cable TV bills. If you are among the lucky ones and have a TV with already built-in ATSC Tuner, the proper antenna is everything you need to enjoy the free TV fully.
On the other hand, if your TV is missing that part, you will be forced to also find yourself the best digital converter box, or at least one that fulfills most of your needs.
Luckily, this purchase won’t stress your wallet too much, but still, it can prove to be a tricky one, especially if you are not familiar with the subject. For that reason, this guide is made to clear the doubts and help you make a good decision.
Last update on 2022-01-21 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Digital Converter Box
First of all, digital converter boxes aren’t as complicated as they seem. Yes, they provide the conversion of the digital signal and offer many other functions, but in general, are simple devices, and as soon as you realize what their most important aspects are, you will easily find the one that suits you the best.
Things are pretty simple when it comes to the resolution. If your converter doesn’t support, for instance, Full HD, you won’t be able to watch these channels at all, or you are going to be able to watch them in a lower resolution (the largest resolution supported).
In other words, choose a converter that supports at least the 1080p resolution, which is today’s minimum, or if it is possible, a 4K one.
More outputs mainly mean higher versatility. HDMI and Composite connectors are a kind of a standard and most of today’s TVs are making a connection to a digital converter through them. Although the vast majority of converters have these two, still check that before the purchase.
On the other hand, the best digital converter boxes will have many other outputs such as Coaxial, Component, etc. and as mentioned before, more connectors means more options for you.
Although extra features by themselves aren’t the most important and you can live without them, fact is their presence makes the whole device much more valuable and attractive. For instance, Multimedia Player, Parental Control, or a Digital recorder isn’t essential, but can prove to be very handy and therefore, it is good to think through which of the features might be useful and to choose the converter box in accordance to that.
7 Best Digital Converter Boxes
iView 3300STB Converter Box
Jack of All Trades
Our next pick is the iView 3300STB, an incredibly affordable converter box, which also features recording, a media player, a built-in digital clock, a QAM tuner, analog to digital, plus channel ¾ and HDMI and USB connectivity. So, here’s how it works: if you have an old analog TV and you’re not ready to spend top dollar on expensive gear, the iView 3300STB is going to become your best friend.
This tiny device comes from a brand that is recognized for crafting good quality gear, and this magic box is going to help you convert digital air channels to your analog TV, i.e. you’ll be able to watch a ton of TV channels via the ClearQAM via unencrypted digital cable. There’s no additional subscription required, so you can watch free channels for the lifetime of your TV set.
The iView 3300STB can also be used as a universal media player, as you can connect it via USB to an external hard drive or thumb drive and play music, video and even photo slideshows. This compact box can decode virtually all media file formats and also works as a DVR, which means you can store your favorite TV shows on the connected storage device.
Functionality wise, as long as the signal is good, the picture quality is great, so yeah, for something like twenty bucks give or take, the iView 3300STB is the deal of the century.
- Pretty good image quality
- Amazing value for money
- Works as a DVR and media player
- The remote control is clunky
- Build quality needs improvement
A Basic, but Functional Digital Converter Box
If you are lacking a digital tuner on your TV and need something cheap that will prolong your aging TV’s lifespan, Mediasonic HW130STB digital converter box is the device for you.
Although it doesn’t bring anything spectacular and includes only the basic functions such as Closed Caption, Parental Control, Auto-Tuning and the rather limited DVR, this device is still more than good enough for the majority of users. It offers decent connectivity with one 1080p HDMI output, one Composite connection and a single USB2.0 port that allows you to connect an external drive and combine it with its DVR function for storing your recorded data.
Mediasonic HW130STB delivers good picture quality and overall presents a solid value for the money. Yes, it has its downsides, such as poor remote control sensor and questionable durability; nevertheless, for basic operations, it is a great choice and surely among the best digital converter boxes for the price.
- Good connectivity
- DVR functionality
- Not the best interface
- Longevity issues
An Affordable Digital Converter
ZJBOX B07Z5RGLK6 is by no means an amazing, premium product; nonetheless, it does the job for more than a reasonable price. To be exact, this converter offers a good-quality picture and supports 1080p output resolution. Also, there is the ability to look at photos or listen to your favorite tunes through USB, as well as record TV shows on the external USB storage.
The device itself is easy to use and it offers a compact design that makes it suitable for any surroundings. In addition, there is also a remote control, EPG, Parental Control Function, as well as other basic stuff, such as a schedule recording function. In other words, every essential is there.
However, there are also numerous downsides, such as a non-intuitive interface, or limited functionalities of a remote. That is to say, the device requires a bit more upgrading. Nonetheless, if you want the cheap, yet easy-to-use digital converter, you may be sure that the ZJBOX B07Z5RGLK6 will do more than a fine job.
- Reasonable price
- Good image quality
- Easy to use
- Not the most intuitive interface
- Remote with limited functionalities
NUNET TV (TVBOX1ASTC)
One More Solid Digital Converter
NUNET TV (TVBOX1ASTC) is an affordable, easy-to-use digital tuner that supports scheduled recording, as well as Dolby sound. This converter comes with a multi-language menu, Parental Controls, Channel list, and every other essential.
More importantly, it supports USB reproduction and is compatible with Divx, AVI, MKV, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC, VOB, MOV, FLV, and many other file types. In other words, it offers great versatility.
NUNET TV (TVBOX1ASTC) offers pretty solid performance and 1080p support, suitable for a large base of users. Therefore, if you are after a good, yet not too expensive digital converter, NUNET TV (TVBOX1ASTC) is the device for you.
- Easy to install
- It supports recording
- Good compatibility
- Not the best build quality
A Great Digital Converter for More Advanced Users
The majority of today’s digital converters offer pretty much the same package that includes EPG, Auto Tuning, Multimedia Player, DVR Recording, Closed Caption, etc. and IVIEW-3500STBII is no exception to that. What, on the other hand, separates it from the rest is a support to external storages with up to 3TB in size, as opposed to the common 2TB. In other words, with this converter, you will be able to record 50% more material than with the competition.
This device also comes with a handy signal level indicator that will help you with an easier setup and offers a variety of connectors that include component, coaxial, HDMI and composite output, allowing for great versatility.
IVIEW-3500STBII delivers image quality of the highest level and offers support for numerous resolutions (1080p, 1080i, 720p, and 576p), and on top of that, it is highly affordable.
Overall, if you leave aside its not that friendly interface, which demands more involvement and is more fit to advanced users, this product is great stuff. In other words, if you need the best TV digital converter box at a decent price, you won’t regret this one.
- Supports for storages at up to 3TB in size
- Signal strength indicator
- Not that friendly user interface
Mediasonic HomeWorx HW-150PVR
A Budget-Oriented Converter that Delivers Everything You May Need
In the “flood” of similar type converters, it is pretty hard to separate the ones that offer more than just an attractive price. Fortunately, they can still be spotted, and Mediasonic HomeWorx HW-150PVR is a great example of that type of devices. It has a low price, but also offers numerous handy features such as the real-time and programmed recording (it supports external hard drives with up to 2TB of space and USB flashes with up to 64GB), EPG, Closed Caption, Auto Tuning, Media Player, and much more.
This converter is easy to set up and supports a 1080p resolution. Also, it comes with various outputs (HDMI, Component, Coaxial, etc.) and it has numerous aspect ratios.
Mediasonic HomeWorx HW-150PVR isn’t packed with a ton of sophisticated equipment but still delivers everything that it needs to and it does that flawlessly. All in all, the best digital converter box in the budget class is in front of you.
- Easy setup
- No channel guide
KORAMZI HDTV Digital TV Converter Box CB-107
A Converter that Connects the Future with the Past
KORAMZI CB-107 is a cheap, but solid digital converter, with a nice set of features for its price. This device offers the widest possible compatibility, which is the best shown when the converter is combined with old hardware which can fully benefit from its different video resolutions coverage (from 480p to 1080p) and nice connectivity.
Auto Tuning, PVR Recording, EPG, Closed Caption and many other functions common for this type of devices are also present on the KORAMZI CB-107. Unfortunately, some more advanced features, such as the 4K TV resolution, support aren’t available, but that is not something you would expect from this type of the set-top box anyways.
What presents a much larger issue for this converter is the buggy nature that sometimes causes audio problems or makes the Closed Caption function activate by itself. If there weren’t for this problem, this device would be a perfect choice for the vast number of users. This way, although it is great in many aspects, a shred of doubt remains.
- Easy to install
- It is sometimes buggy
Finding the best product for yourself is never easy and this guide was made with that thought in mind, to help you make the best possible choice. If it succeeded in that and helped you make a purchase, or has at least made some things clearer, its mission is complete.