Analog broadcasting is now a thing of the past in the United States. Congress ordered analog broadcasting stopped, and on June 12, 2009, it was suspended. The new kind of broadcasting, digital broadcasting, provides better picture and sound quality on televisions, as well as a wider range of shows and better control over what is shown on the screen. However, for users with analog televisions to receive digital broadcasting, they require a digital tuner to receive broadcast signals. An antenna booster, also called an antenna preamplifier, helps television viewers by increasing television signals in areas with weak signals while improving picture quality. An antenna booster is made of two parts, the amplifier that is mounted outside the home, and a power supply located inside the home. There some digital tuners that work with antenna boosters, but television owners should verify that the units are compatible with one another.
As with most digital tuners, the Apex DT250 displays good picture quality from the digital signal received. It is compatible with TV antenna boosters; the Apex DT250 needs a mounted TV antenna to receive the broadcast signal which it uses to converts digital TV signals to the television analog converter box for users with older model televisions. The mounted antenna could either be a regular antenna with a limited range, which might not pick up signals in weak areas or an antenna booster with a large range and the ability to pick up signals in weak areas. With the DT250’s Smart Antenna Interface, the user can easily set up the tuner and the antenna to be used with the TV. It comes with a large standard remote control. The user can configure the tuner through a user-friendly interface and adjust the settings including parental lock, aspect ratio, closed captioning, channel blocking, and sleep timer, among others. The display offers information on the current channel as well as the present program.
The Insignia NS-DXA1-APT is compatible with most TV sets that use an antenna to receive broadcast signals. It gives a clear picture, but it also depends on the signal strength and the televsion because it cannot display pictures in high definition, only in standard definition. It comes with a remote control and features an analog pass-through. Parents can take advantage of the parental lock feature to keep children from viewing inappropriate programs. Although it has limited connectivity, it is easy to set up and use with an old TV.
The RCA DTA800B1 comes with an EPG feature, which shows the user what programs are currently on and which are coming up. It can show listings for up to nine channels at a time. The tuner is easy to set up; it ready for use once all of the cables are connected. The DTA800B1 supports Smart Antenna and analog pass-through. One minor difference between this and other digital tuners is that it can be placed vertically, which may come in handy in terms of spacing or arrangement. One drawback, however, is that it lacks cables for composite video and analog audio.
The Zenith DTT900 is a simple digital tuner that is easy to set up and program. It can be used with an analog TV and an antenna booster with no hassle. The tuner offers some basic features of a digital tuner such as clear picture, program and channel display information, parental control, closed captioning and a user-friendly interface for adjusting the tuner settings. It comes with a universal remote control that runs on a single AAA battery and is easy to use to navigate the customization menu. Also the Zenith DTT900 allows users to view a variety of programs offered from digital TV stations that normally cannot be picked up by a television antenna booster.
1. DTV.gov: DTV Shopping Guide
2. Apex Digital: DT250
3. Insignia: Insignia™ Digital-to-Analog Converter for Analog TVs with Analog Pass-Through
4. CNET Reviews: RCA DTA800B1
5. Zenith: Digital TV Tuner Converter Box – DTT900
6. TV Antenna: UHF TV Reception Guide-Stallions Satellite and Antenna
7. Federal Communications Commission: DTV Is Coming (And Sooner than You Think)
8. Wired Magazine: FCC Puts a Fee in Digital TV