The 9 Best Digital TV Converters

Updated May 08, 2018 by Richard Lynch

9 Best Digital TV Converters
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you have an older television, but still want to receive local channels without paying a huge cable bill, then you'll want one of these TV converters. These handy boxes change today's over-the-air digital signals into an analog format, and are available with a host of useful additional features, such as DVR and USB connections. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best digital tv converter on Amazon.

9. iView 3500STBII

After setting up the iView 3500STBII, you can use its auto-tuning function to find every digital broadcast station in your area. There is also a signal indicator, which shows you how good the quality of a specific channel is, and its remote has a dedicated guide button.
  • supports scheduled recording
  • transparent guide screen
  • unintuitive user interface
Brand iView 3500STBII
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. 1byOne ATSC

The 1byOne ATSC packs all the features you would expect from one of these devices into a convenient, small package. It includes support for HD resolution and the ability to record and watch media using a standard flash drive with at least 2 gigabytes of storage.
  • plays pics and videos from usb drive
  • parental controls
  • recording instructions are confusing
Brand 1byone
Model 212NA-0001
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Voion ATSC

The Voion ATSC supports the three most popular connection types -- HDMI, YPbPr, and RCA -- so you shouldn't have trouble hooking it up to your TV, no matter its age. It has a convenient time shift feature that lets you pause and rewind live TV to suit your needs.
  • auto and manual channel scan
  • multilanguage subtitle support
  • setup directions are hard to follow
Brand Voion
Model 002
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

6. Koramzi CB-100

The Koramzi CB-100 supports a wide array of external video formats as well as a display resolution ranging from 480p to 1080p. It allows you to record shows on a USB drive, but only accepts up to 32 GB, which means you really can't store all that much.
  • saves settings during blackouts
  • built-in volume controls
  • time always defaults to pacific time
Brand Koramzi
Model CB-100
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. ViewTV AT-163

The ViewTV AT-163 has the ability to play many different types of movie formats from its front-located USB port, including MKV, DivX, FLV, and MOV. In addition to its crisp 1080p HDMI output, it also comes with composite jacks for older televisions.
  • can record shows to a flash drive
  • can pause and rewind live television
  • bright led display
Brand ViewTV
Model AT-163
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

4. Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB

The Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB gives you the option to chose your preferred ratio setting, whether it be 16:9 or 4:3. It is equipped with a USB port, and accepts flash drives and external hard drives, to be used for recording and playback.
  • compact so fits in tight spots
  • doesn't work with encrypted cable
  • rear usb port is hard to access
Brand Mediasonic
Model HW180STB
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. BoostWaves Converter

The BoostWaves Converter supports resolutions from 576p to 1080p and includes an integrated DVR, so you can record and watch all your favorite shows in high definition. For added convenience, it can display an electronic program guide for up to 7 days out.
  • closed captioning
  • lots of parental control options
  • rca and hdmi outputs
Brand BoostWaves
Model BW-1658
Weight 1.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

2. ViewTV AT-263

The ViewTV AT-263 is packed with features to make TV watching more convenient, including closed caption capabilities, auto-tuning, and a favorite channels list. If you have little ones running around the house, you will appreciate the handy parental control functions.
  • includes composite and hdmi cables
  • doubles as a usb media player
  • displays program information
Brand ViewTV
Model AT-263
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Zinwell ZAT-970A

The Zinwell ZAT-970A has a simple control panel with buttons for channel up, channel down, power, and nothing else, making it easy for anybody to understand and use. Plus, its modern looking white and grey housing will keep it looking like it belongs in the 21st century.
  • compatible with 18 broadcast formats
  • multi-aspect ratio support
  • trilingual onscreen menu
Brand Zinwell
Model ZAT-97A
Weight 3.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

The Bunny Aerial: In Memoriam

A long, long time ago (the 1990s), in a world very different from ours today, analog signals flooded the atmosphere and even our very homes. These were beamed from every individual network's transmitter to our houses on designated frequencies. They carried on their VHF and UHF-banded wavelengths the cutting edge of American entertainment, crisp color pictures accompanied by brilliant stereo sound. All of this wonderful analog data was captured by the classic rabbit-ear antennas we all remember so fondly. There were comedies and dramas, cartoons and music videos, and there was Bob Ross. It was truly a beautiful time in American history.

And on the morning of June 12th, 2009, it all came to a sudden stop.

Well, not television itself, of course. But the transmission of full-power analog signals did stop on that fateful summer day many years ago. In fact, it stopped thanks to a legal order via the FCC, put forth to help usher in the era of accessible, high-definition broadcast television. To that end, analog TV simply had to go.

But there's one problem. It's not that people miss low-quality, easily-corrupted telecasts. Obviously, readily available HD programming is the way of the future — it looks and sounds better, is more versatile, resists interference, and takes less power to transmit. The issue is simply that there are a lot of great TVs and projectors out there that can't decode public television anymore. All it would take is an updated tuner for those devices to take advantage of today's superior signals. And that's where digital TV converters enter the picture.

We've Come A Long Way

Ever since John Baird pioneered long-distance broadcast video in the late 1920s, engineers around the world have sought to advance the visual and audio quality, channel availability, and overall watchability of publicly available television. Human ingenuity has led to incredible developments such as color TV, widely accepted NTSC standards, and ever-stronger transmission towers. In the 1990s, it became apparent that a huge step forward in broadcasting technology was imminent. Using the newest, smallest, fastest chipsets, digital television arrived. This new practice became widespread by the 2000s, with far-reaching effect.

More people than ever began cutting cords, that is, stepping away from subscription-based services and relying mainly on free broadcasts for news and entertainment. By 2016, it was estimated that up to 20 million TV-owning households consumed new media using only their HDTV antenna. The new standards brought to high- and low-income families the same sharp images and modern shows. Travelers who lived in RVs could access local channels with increased ease, helping them keep up with the rest of society. But there was one major drawback for many households: their TVs didn't work anymore.

Before 2007, many TVs were produced without the inherent ability to decode a digital TV signal. By that year, all new sets would come standard with the modern style of tuner. But by two years later, when the switch occurred, many perfectly good home TV sets, projectors, and home theater units could no longer pick up network shows. This was such a big deal that the US government even issued a $40 voucher to families toward the cost of a digital TV converter. Encouraging people to avoid purchasing a brand new television, this also helped to fight another big problem with modern electronics: pollution.

The cost of disposing of some electronics is high, thanks to their use of toxic elements like lead, cadmium, and barium. Initially, this made it difficult in some areas to find recycling facilities willing to accept old sets. In fact, many thrift stores stopped accepting analog units around the time of the switch, because they were so hard to get rid of. So, by using a digital converter box, you're not only saving your pocketbook but also helping to save the planet. Doesn't that make you feel good?

Sounds Great! What Are My Options?

There are a number of features you'll encounter in various forms across the field of digital converter boxes. You'll find numerous output formats on various models including HDMI, coaxial, component, and RCA. These varying formats make some converters compatible with older TV sets that have very limited inputs. A lot of boxes have signal strength meters and parental controls available. Most of them offer an interactive guide that takes advantage of the data transmitted alongside HDTV video and audio, while offering the user complete control of the unit through customized settings.

Some advanced units include DVR capabilities, letting you pause the action and restart it at your leisure, as well as giving you the ability to record your favorite shows. Similarly, a lot of digital TV adapters can connect to external storage via USB cable, giving you access to your entire collection of archived media. At the end of the day, make sure that whichever model you choose is capable of true 1080p video, so you can take full advantage of the high-quality video feeds now standard across the airwaves.

You'll get many more years of life out of your current television while streamlining your media usage when you select the right digital TV converter to suit your needs. As with most electronics, there are many different options available, with a multitude of powerful features. Finally, don't forget to use a good antenna to pick up all your signals cleanly.

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Last updated on May 08, 2018 by Richard Lynch

Richard grew up in the part of New York state that doesn’t have any tall buildings. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time reading and playing video games. A massive fan all things sci-fi, he’ll happily talk with you for hours about everything from the deserts of Arrakis to the forests of Endor.

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