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Top 5 Digital Converter Boxes


Digital converter boxes are tremendously important products for analog TV and VCR owners.

It's true that digital TV is here to stay, but that doesn't mean analog TVs need to be replaced. I own one, and I plan on keeping it until the picture goes out -- even if it means keeping analog in the garage.

The VCR also needs the converter box to receive over-the-air (OTA) signals. Choosing the proper converter box is important.

1. Winegard RCDT09A - Portable DTV Converter Box

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The Winegard RCDT09A is the perfect DTV converter box compliment to a portable analog TV that has a RF or RCA input. On the surface, the RCDT09A is just another converter box that converts a digital signal to analog. What sets it apart from the competition is its portability. The RCDT09A has the capability to operate on battery or DC power (optional accessories), which make it the perfect match for the portable analog TV with RF or RCA inputs. ConsumerSearch.com rates the RCDT09A as the best portable DTV converter box. It has RCA and RF outputs. It is coupon-eligible and Energy Star certified.

2. DTVPal DVR - DTV Converter Box with Built-In Recorder

Image property of DISH Network

There really is no comparison to DISH Network’s DTVPal DVR digital-to-analog converter box with a built-in DVR. If you’re looking for recording capabilities in a DTV converter box or digital tuner then this product is for you. It has two tuners, event timer, records 150 hours of standard definition, analog pass-through, and HD capabilities, which means it won’t necessarily convert HD to analog. No, it’s not a Tivo. As far as a DTV converter box, it’s one of the most versatile products out there and at the top of my list. One problem though. It costs 4-5 times more than a basic converter box. It has HDMI, component, RCA, and RF outputs. It is coupon-eligible.

3. Insignia NS-DXA1

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Best Buy’s Insignia NS-DXA1 is a pretty good converter box. I bought it with one of my $40 coupons and was mildly surprised with the quality of the image passing through it. I use it for two purposes - for an analog TV with an antenna and as a digital tuner for a tuner-less HD-monitor. It converts all digital signals to analog when connected to an analog TV or it will display digital signals in 480i when connected to a digital TV. This is as basic as converter boxes get but it’s effective. It has RCA and RF outputs. It has analog pass-through. It's coupon-eligible and Energy Star certified.
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4. Channel Master CM-7000

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Channel Master's CM-7000 got a thumbs up from the HDTV Expert. It's a basic digital (DTV) converter box in that it converts digital to analog and outputs digital signals at 480i. The reason this product makes the list is because it has a good tuner inside it, which is critical for someone that has problems getting good signals. It also has a S-Video output, which could be the biggest selling point for it since not many converter boxes come with S-Video. It also has RCA and RF outputs. It is coupon-eligible.
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5. GE S2333 with Smart Antenna Technology

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I wanted to feature a converter box on this list that has Smart Antenna technology because this technology is pretty cool. When used with a Smart Antenna, this converter box will optimize reception by zeroing in on the best signal possible. The GE 23332 has this Smart Antenna technology, so it needed to be on the list. This converter box would be a good option for someone living downtown in a big city or where reception is inconsistent. If you don't plan on investing in a Smart Antenna then this converter box is just a more expensive version of other products. It has RCA and RF outputs. It has analog pass-through. It's coupon-eligible and Energy Star certified.
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