Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best Analog to Digital (DTV) Converters 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated December 1, 2019
Best Analog-to-Digital (DTV) Converters of 2018
There’s a product for every kind of user on the list of affordable options below. Check them out and decide which one suits you the best to splurge upon. Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing analog-to-digital (dtv) converters should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition. Welcome to my website! If you plan to buy analog-to-digital (dtv) converters and looking for some recommendations, you have come to the right place.
Test Results and Ratings
№1 – ViewTV AT-300 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box and HDMI Cable w/ Recording PVR Function / HDMI Out / Coaxial Out / Composite Out / USB Input / LED Time Display
Why did this analog-to-digital (dtv) converters win the first place?
I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I was completely satisfied with the price. Its counterparts in this price range are way worse.
Why did this analog-to-digital (dtv) converters come in second place?
I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money.
Why did this analog-to-digital (dtv) converters take third place?
It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. We are very pleased with the purchase — the product is great! It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. This price is appropriate since the product is very well built.
Analog-to-Digital (DTV) Converters Buyer’s Guide
What to Do If You Have an Old Tube TV
If you have an old tube TV like the one shown below, or a flat screen that does not have a built-in digital tuner (made before 2006, when digital tuners were mandated), you will need a digital TV converter box (also called a tuner box) in order to get free TV using an antenna. These cost less than a month of cable TV for most people.
The RCA DTA800Bworks well and has a smart antenna input, but the exclusion of analog cables seems stingy, especially considering that it costs more than some competitors’ offerings.
There’s nothing fancy about the DTT900. It allows your old TV to receive digital broadcasts, provided you also buy an inexpensive antenna.
Contributing Editor, Audio
Why you should trust me
I’ve worked in the home technology field for over 1years. Since 200I have been a contributor at Home Theater magazine, now Sound & Vision, reviewing home theater equipment and working in its A/V test lab. I was the writer of the “Tech Talk” monthly column in Channel Guide, covering all aspects of home entertainment products and technology. Currently, in addition to my work for The Wirecutter, I am a freelance editor working in post-production of film and television.
Who should get this
If you have a video game system from the ’80s or ’90s, an older camcorder, a VCR, or a Laserdisc player that you want to use with your new TV via HDMI, a video converter might be what you need. These converters take the native video resolution output of your playback device and upconvert it to a high-definition resolution (either 720p or 1080p), before outputting it via HDMI.
Most modern TVs have a single composite input, usually shared with an S-Video and Component input. If you’re already using that connection, a video converter would allow you to use one of your HDMI inputs instead of swapping out cables. The TV’s built-in upconverter will likely equal—or surpass—one of these inexpensive units, making them superfluous if you can use the TV’s composite input.
These converters are inexpensive, and their performance isn’t great. But that has less to do with the converters themselves than the fact that composite video is just low resolution to begin with—just 480i compared with the 1080p HD standard common on most TVs today. If you really want the best picture quality, we mention more-expensive options for enthusiasts below. The prices are up to more than 1times what we tested here, though, and probably not worth it if you’re just trying to play N6or watch some VHS tapes.
Digital Video Essentials HD Basics
Disney World of Wonder, sent via composite from our PlayStation 3, through the converter, to both an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 projector and a Samsung LN-T3253H LCD TV. The Epson projector has a 1080p native resolution output, and the Samsung television has a resolution of 720p (768p to be exact, though this difference is marginal).
The Digital Video Essentials test patterns were 1080p and 720p versions of the SMPTE RP 13resolution pattern to look at the quality of the upconversion and see if any artifacts were present. From the World of Wonder disc, we used the A/V Sync Test to check for any lag that might be added during the conversion process.
We also checked real video not least so we could watch something more entertaining than test patterns. Using a Funai ZV427FXVCR we played a VHS of Meredith Willson’s classic The Music Man. I tested all variations of equipment: all converters with each display, plus the VCR direct to each display (for comparison with the display’s internal converter).
Three of the converters—the Cingk, Musou, and Teorder—looked and performed as near as makes-no-difference identical. They all require power via a USB connector, and have a Mini-USB–to–USB cable included. Next to the power input is a toggle to switch between 720p and 1080p, depending on the native resolution of your display. The Monoprice 10999is larger than the other three and requires an outlet for power. It too can switch between 720p and 1080p by way of a button, and has S-Video as an input option.
Of the four converters brought in, the Cingk earned our pick by offering slightly better performance for slightly less money. Also, it has an 18-month warranty instead of the 12-month warranty on the others. It performed marginally better than its inexpensive counterparts under test conditions, but you wouldn’t notice unless you compared them head to head. Otherwise, like the other models we tested, it’s small and unobtrusive and features USB charging. This is handy considering most TVs have a USB port on the back, negating the need for an additional outlet and wall wart.
The primary resolution tests consist of six boxes containing alternating white and black lines at a thickness of one, two, and three pixels. Each thickness is displayed both vertically (to show horizontal resolution) and horizontally (to show vertical resolution). On the 720p-resolution test through the converter, the one-pixel-thickness vertical pattern was significantly blurred. There was also flickering on the bottom four boxes, which indicates that the converter has some trouble deinterlacing the 480i source to progressive (the “p” in 720p and 1080p). For comparison, when connecting the player directly into the TV the separation of lines in the remainder of the boxes could be discerned, although not crisply, and there was no flickering.
As expected—and hoped for—when moving from the 720p test pattern to the 1080p test pattern we saw a visible increase in the apparent resolution. Though both the vertical and horizontal one-pixel resolution boxes were still blurred gray, the remaining four had increased definition over the 720p test. In addition, the flickering decreased noticeably. So when compared with the display itself (or to a lesser degree the Monoprice) there is still an issue with the upconversion, but the Cingk handles 1080p signals more adeptly than 720p signals. In other words, skip 720p and just use the 1080p mode (regardless of your TV’s resolution).
The A/V Sync test showed that there was no noticeable delay (input lag) added by the Cingk, so response with video games should be the same as what your TV itself manages.
Taking a look at the VHS of The Music Man, there was a definite flicker in the image as revealed by the test pattern. However, unless you’re right up at the TV it isn’t too distracting. The image itself is softer than when I watched the VHS without the converter, directly into the TV. The projector image was a tad clearer and the flicker wasn’t visible (being 1080p, which the Cingk processes better).
Wrapping it up
As technology marches on, fewer companies will spend the money to include legacy analog connections on their displays. S-Video in particular is endangered. Composite and component are likely soon to follow. These converters will allow the ability to continue to connect to the components of our youth, but this is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for.” If you have a display that is without a composite input, or the input is already being used, the Cingk Mini Video Converter is a great purchase. It’s inexpensive and gets the job done. If you want something a tiny bit better, or want to use S-Video, check out the Monoprice 109994.
Another less obvious cost of switchover is increased power usage. Digiboxes are less energy efficient than IDTVs as they introduce a second power supply and also consume a significant amount of electricity in standby mode.
Higher electricity consumption also means higher COemissions, so digital switchover is making an unwelcome contribution to global warming (especially as the process is being repeated globally). So much for the costs, what about the logistics of the switchover?
Apart from 1per cent of secondary TVs remaining unconverted the main issue with the initial region-by-region switchovers were that many viewers lost their digital channels because they failed to retune their equipment.
As for the number of channels, many people do not realise that per cent of homes receive their signals from relay transmitters that can only carry around 20 of the 40 Freeview channels. Not all homes will get minor commercial channels.
A similar problem emerged in Exeter where the St Thomas relay transmitter serves around 19,000 homes and many people complained that they were misled.
The Terk HDTVAZ is a highly directional, amplified antenna. It’s harder to hide in a room than many indoor antennas, but its design is effective in eliminating interference from reflected signals — which can be a major headache for city dwellers. It includes receiving elements for all current HDTV channels, including low VHF channels, which can elude some less obtrusive designs. However, it’s a bit top-heavy, and the directional design does mean that a bit of repositioning might be necessary to capture different stations, which annoys some users.
Indoor HDTV Antennas
If you live in an area where signals are relatively strong, there are a bevy of effective antennas that earn praise from experts. However, performance in any given location can vary widely depending on how far you are from the broadcast towers, what channels your local broadcasters use, topography, intervening obstacles such as trees and buildings, and phases of the moon (we are kidding about the last one, though judging by the reviews we see, maybe not so much). Still, if you live within 30 miles of the TV towers (and even within 50 miles in some situations) it’s possible to find an effective, and even economical, indoor TV antenna that will help you watch local broadcasts in full HD without shelling out a dime to a cable TV provider.
Broadcast signals are superior to cable and satellite.
There are no paid subscription fees to receive over-the-air (OTA) television, and the picture and sound quality is far superior. In addition, OTA broadcasts are free from the signal compressions used by cable and satellite giving you unadulterated high definition television.
There is no magic antenna.
Antennas come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for a specific situation. Some are narrow focused (directional) antennas; while others are multidirectional both with various range capacities. Well-designed antennas, such as our patented Tapered Loop, are tuned for specific frequency ranges and geographical challenges, which will increase your chances for success.
There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution in an antenna. To help you choose the right antenna, view our Antenna Selection Page or Live Chat with an expert now.
How This Affects RVers
In short: watching DVD movies will be no problem, but watching free television channels are another story.
For example, when camping in areas where today you crank up your Winegard TV antenna to watch the evening news… if your television doesn’t have a digital tuner, then you will be left without any reception come February.
Of course, if the TV entertainment aboard your RV mainly consists of watching DVDs, then you’ll be fine. The changes from analog to digital signals will have no affect on how add-ons like gaming consoles, VCRs, and DVD players will work with old TVs. (So if you’re a subscriber to Netflix for rental movies on the road, then you’re still in business.) Likewise, analog-only TVs should also continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services.
Our Dutchman 18B travel trailer came with a DVD player built right into the standard AM/FM stereo receiver. If you would like to add a DVD player to yours, you can get one pretty quickly (and inexpensively) these days. You might find watching DVDs a better alternative, as it doesn’t matter how far away from the station you are — you always get good reception ’round the clock.
And, if a campground has cable TV provided at your campsite, then that will still work as it does now.
Basically, the whole analog to digital switcheroo only affects “free TV channels” that people are watching on standard (analog) television sets — usually with an antenna.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Analog to Digital (DTV) Converters wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Analog-to-Digital (DTV) Converters
- №1 — ViewTV AT-300 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box and HDMI Cable w/ Recording PVR Function / HDMI Out / Coaxial Out / Composite Out / USB Input / LED Time Display
- №2 — 1byone ATSC Digital Converter Box for Analog TV
- №3 — Digital Stream Analog Pass-through DTV Converter Box