What is Jio's set-top box

Modern television: a set-top box is required for this What is a set top box? Functions, special features & advantages

How do the individual types of set-top box differ?

Set-top boxes are available in three different types. An active set-top box is characterized by the fact that it transmits functions or data to the basic device - usually a television set - without the active version receiving feedback from the television set. DVD games or other video games are typical examples of an active set-top box which, while passing on data stored on DVDs and other data carriers, does not receive any "backlash". Passive variants are used when a set-top box needs the data or the functionality of the television or another basic device, although the box does not pass on any new information to the device. However, these devices play a rather subordinate role in everyday life today. Bidirectional set-top box designs are able to combine the passive and active modes of operation. This ability unites all recorders that not only pass on information to the television, but can also record information from this device.

Practical retrofit solutions are also, for example:
Streaming sticks and Smart TV boxes

Special features of some set-top boxes

In addition to these three basic set-top box types of devices also known as STBs, some variants of these devices have the ability to communicate with one another. A special feature of these set-top boxes is that they do not make use of some of the functions of the basic device. This is the case, for example, with devices that record separate satellite receivers. Another subtype of set-top boxes are the devices that receive data sent by weather stations and then present it in graphics. Other less common devices provide basic Internet access. Further sub-categories of set-top boxes fulfill the function of a home automation control or an external advertising filter.

A set-top box offers these advantages

The different versions of set-top boxes fulfill the function of playing media (DVD), playing back data interactively (game consoles) or recording received data (record, weather station). Furthermore, these devices are able to receive programs using alternative transmission paths such as the Internet or alternative transmission methods such as digitally. These modes of operation offer users a wide range of options for data reproduction and data application. Despite these extensive functions, the set-top boxes are characterized by their small size and are also affordable with an average purchase price of between 90 and 100 euros.

In the meantime, the set-top box has advanced to become a multimedia device that can be activated for multiple reception channels. Compared to a TV tuner - an alternative to the set-top box - the STBs are much more advanced from a technical point of view. This development of the set-top box enables uncomplicated operation and easy activation of channel lists with modern devices. Regardless of whether station lists are to be created or users are looking for a specific station - the technology of the set-top box is so advanced that errors in the application are becoming increasingly rare. The fact that mid-range set-top boxes have a double tuner is another plus point of the devices. This extra offers the possibility that TV recipients can watch a program while another program is being recorded at the same time.

The importance of the set-top box for cable television

It is now possible to use the advantages of a set-top box for cable television without any problems. With regard to cable television, the device is assigned the task of decoding digital television signals - as a result, the device takes on the function of a receiver. This decryption takes place in excellent quality using a set-top box with an integrated high definition function. An STB in this format offers the possibility of reproducing programs in HD resolution in full quality. An HDTV set-top box with an integrated hard drive is particularly recommended. Additional extras such as connections for additional devices via USB enable the connection of an external hard drive. Such connections offer users additional options to benefit from the advantages of an STB.

The set-top box as a simple route to digital TV

The combination of set-top boxes and digital television has long since conquered the living room at home. Set-top boxes help to receive more programs and are characterized by crystal-clear sound and razor-sharp images. Since the set-top box takes on the functions of a receiver, the device is used to receive digital television with a satellite dish. The Set Top Box translates the signals sent by the satellite into a format that the television can understand and reproduces the media content accordingly. In order to receive digital television, each television requires its own set-top box, which is connected to the television using a Scart cable. The result is a reception of around 1,500 channels (including Pay TV) in German-speaking countries, which is constantly being expanded. In addition to the actual TV enjoyment, a set-top box offers the advantage that the user has access to the Electronic Program Guide - an electronic program guide. Set-top boxes with a CI-Plus interface are particularly suitable for the future, because these devices receive not only the entire digital TV range but also the full HDTV program.

The importance of the devices for IPTV

Some set-top boxes are able to provide user interfaces for controlling various functions. Such set top boxes are required, for example, if you want to receive IPTV - television via the Internet. An IP-enabled set-top box can display electronic program guides or switch IPTV channels. These IPTV STBs can also be used when planning recordings for devices with an integrated hard disk. Other interactive functions of the devices relate to the reception of HDTV and video library services (so-called video on demand). In addition, the IPTV set-top box enables time-shifted television (timeshift). Set-top boxes with these functions are referred to as so-called IPTV set-top boxes, which are now available from various manufacturers. These receivers are used, so to speak, as an interface between the television set and the Internet. Once the set top box has been installed correctly, the digital TV signals are decoded and thus visible to the user.

Different versions of the IPTV set-top boxes

Whether consumers opt for an IPTV set-top box with or without a hard drive depends on their personal requirements and personal budget. Devices without a hard drive are significantly cheaper and especially suitable for the study, bedroom or children's room. Receivers with an integrated hard drive record the television content and at the same time enable time-shifted television. All devices are characterized by the fact that the television program is presented in the best sound and picture quality through a set-top box. In contrast, individual set-top boxes vary depending on the connections available, the power consumption and the video and audio codes.

How does the set-top box receive the television signals?

The question of whether television programs can be received with a set-top box can be answered clearly with 'Yes'. After all, the main function of a set-top box is to be connected to another device in order to provide additional functions. Set-top boxes are particularly often connected to televisions. As a functional unit upstream of the television set, the set-top box fulfills the task of receiving television signals via satellite, cable or terrestrial that television sets themselves cannot display directly. In order to do justice to this function, the set-top box receives the television signals and then demodulates and decrypts them and converts the received data into analog television signals. Similar requirements for a set-top box apply to Internet television. However, the device converts the IP data stream in order to then generate a television signal.

Which providers have set-top boxes in their range?

Various suppliers have specialized in the production of set-top boxes. Reel-Multimedia sells its first device in this form under the name ReelBox, which is also known as the PVR 1100. The d-box is a well-known digital receiver from the pay-TV provider DF1, which has meanwhile developed the d-box 2 and d-box 3. With the Dreambox, Dream Multimedia has designed a DVB receiver that is available in different versions such as DM 7025 (+) and DM 8000 DH PVR. Apple TV is a set-top box from Apple that is primarily designed for playing iTunes content.

Other manufacturers such as Philips offer the Philips DCR 9000, a modern HDTV cable receiver. The TechnoTrend TT-micro C834 HDTV HDMI cable receiver scores above all with a good price-performance ratio.

What does a set-top box cost?

If you want to buy a solid set-top box of good quality, you should calculate a purchase price of around 90 to 100 euros for the device. In addition, it is also easily possible to purchase a set-top box for a lower price. However, with devices at this price, users have to accept corresponding technical restrictions and accept a no-name product.

To purchase a high quality set-top box with amenities like a hard drive, consumers have to pay significantly more money. Prices for TOP STB devices vary between 350 euros and 650 euros.

Buyers can get a good quality IPTV receiver at a price of around 40 euros. Models with similar functions and a comparable quality as the Smart CX 10 HD + are available for around 140 euros.

Are there any cheap alternatives too

Anyone who wants to achieve particularly fast networking via the Internet is well advised to use a streaming stick. As an inexpensive retrofit solution, it is offered, for example, by Amazon, Google, Intel or Microsoft from around 40 euros. The special feature: Many streaming sticks can now also be controlled with voice commands. For example, the following tried and tested models:

More retrofit solutions are available here: The best TV streaming sticks in a test overview

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Brings razor-sharp content to the TV set, voice remote control enables access to the voice assistant Alexa
Streaming Media Player: Easily stream films, series and programs in up to 4K HD & HDR on the TV

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