What is the Set-top Box?

The set-top box (STB), also known as the Set-top unit, is a commonly used modern electronic device that enables a TV set to receive and decode digital television (DTV) broadcasts and provides the ability to be a user interface to the internet. In short, STB is an information appliance device that allows a digital signal to be received, decoded, and displayed on a television. It is also called receivers for its functions. If any analog TV users wish their analog TV set receives digital broadcasts, they must use a set-top box.

There was a time when set-top boxes were widely used only for satellite and cable televisions. Because, the set-top box is used to provide more TV channels than the televisions’ channel number system. Basically, STB received several signals containing several data and information on different channels and then serve the users with their desired channel by filtering all received data.

Besides, the features such as pay as per channels viewed and premium channels were also provided by the STBs. Nowadays, modern STBs contain two-way communication systems that allow users to add premium channels from devices and internet access directly. Thus, STBs have made the life of TV users smarter and easier. 

Image Source: Thenextweb.com

The difference among Cable Box, Set-top Box, and Satellite Receiver:

We become confused to differentiate the functions and uses of the cable box, set-top box, and satellite receivers as the features are almost similar for these three. But there is some sharp difference between these three devices. They are:

All these devices are used to make TVs more suitable for modern days, but the difference between them lies in their features.

Types of STBs

There are several types of set-top boxes available in the market, but people mostly use the types of boxes mentioned as follows:

1. Cable Converter Box

These types of boxes are basically convert the signals from a particular available cable television service to an analog RF signal on a single channel or a different output for digital televisions. These boxes are widely used by the people who mainly watch TV on cable lines and wish to enjoy digital channels.

2. Closed Captioning Box

This box’s main feature is to show the details in sentences beside audio and video. These types of boxes are mainly used for the people who have issues with their hearing and in the educational sectors where the massage is more important to understand than just hearing. Modern close captioning boxes are equally capable of converting signals from digital to analog and the audios to written massage.

3. Professional Set-top Box

These types of boxes are also popular as an integrated decoder or receiver. As the name suggests, this box’s primary function is to receive the wireless radio frequency signals and then decode them into television showing format. This box is famous among the people of the professional broadcast audio and video industry.

4. Hybrid Box

This box provides the users the opportunity to access multiple delivery methods such as; cable, internet, and satellite broadcast. You can enjoy live shows, on-demand videos, sports, gaming, channel restrictions, surveillance, online shopping, etc. In short, a hybrid box is a superstar in itself. In this modern era, people are using these boxes widely as it is capable enough to fulfill all the consumers’ demands.

5. IPTV Receiver

This set-top box is a small computer that serves the users with decoding the video streaming and two-way communications on an IP network, which further shown by the TV screens. This is the most used set-top box in the world currently. There are approximately four typed of IPTV set-top boxes with their own operating systems. They are;

Android Set-top Boxes

An android operating system runs this IPTV. As a result, besides watching TV, users can use any kinds of android apps such as games, photo edit software, social media apps, etc. Various famous companies such as NVidia Shield, Amazon Fire Box, Xiaomi MI Box, Minex Neo, etc. sell this box worldwide.

iOS Set-top Boxes

This is almost similar to the Android set-top box. The user can enjoy gaming and other things besides watching TV with this IPTV. The difference is only the operating system iOS, which is only produced and served by Apple. There are found generations of Apple TV, and the latest one is the 4th generation, which is the most favored one nowadays.

MAG Set-top Boxes

The brand name is MAG, but Infomir produces this Set-Top Boxes. It is the best one for watching live streaming from various channels. This multi-functional STB can allow users to use IPTV services and organize their media content quickly.

Enigma2 Setup Boxes

Dream multimedia is the producer of this Enigma2 set-top boxes which function with their software of the same name. It is a successful open source-based firmware platform for set-top boxes, and some other companies are also users of this. But the problem is it is tough to install and use as well. However, users can overcome these obstacles by using a popular plugin called XtreamTV Plugin to make the process simple and easy.

In this article, we have tried to introduce a set-top box as a whole, and these are the overall set-top boxes widely used all over the world and making users’ lives more comfortable and enjoyable.

Set-top boxes come in different ways, different devices. Televisions are no longer limited to disk or antenna or copper cables. People who seek entertainment can grab their hearts desired content by any media. Watchable content is getting easier to enjoy day by day.