Finding the Right Cable TV Box

Using a cable TV box opens up a huge range of video content for you to watch. In fact, you will need one to access any broadcasts at all from a lot of networks. Companies like Scientific Atlanta have made a lot of different cable boxes with different feature sets, so you can choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.

What Is A Cable Box?

  • A cable box decodes digital cable broadcasts so that you can watch them on your television. Depending on the model, calling them cable boxes can be a bit misleading. They are also used for digital satellite broadcasts.
  • Originally, these boxes were designed to make televisions compatible with digital signals. Modern TVs are now typically cable-ready and have their own built-in converters, but they are still used to access pay channels.
  • Modern devices also often access streaming services and other apps to open up an even wider range of content. Accessing all of your broadcast and streaming content from one device is very convenient and makes it easy to control.

How Do I Choose The Right Box?

  • A lot of cable boxes have a DVR function, so you can record shows to watch later. It's very useful if your schedule doesn't fit well around your favorite shows.
  • Different set-top boxes come with different amounts of hard drive storage space. The more storage space you have, the more shows you can keep after recording them with your DVR. This is especially important for HD video which naturally takes up more space. For more modern boxes, it also gives you more space for apps.
  • Different boxes support different video resolutions. Older models may not be able to handle high-definition broadcasts. Some modern boxes are set up for 4K broadcasts as well as regular HD, although many broadcasters don't actually broadcast at 4K resolution so you won't always notice much difference.
  • If you want to use surround sound, make sure that the model you choose supports it. Different models will support different numbers of speakers, from stereo only up to much larger surround setups.

Which Accessories Do I Need?

  • A remote control is very convenient for controlling your cable box. Companies like Scientific Atlanta often supply one with the box. Depending on the model, you can use your remote to access content stored on the hard drive or quickly jump to streaming services.
  • Different devices will plug into your TV using different cables. Depending on the model, it may connect via HDMI, coaxial, or component cable. A lot of cable boxes actually have several outputs so they are compatible with a wide range of television sets.

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