The 7 Best Digital Converter Boxes to Buy in 2018

Converting shows and movies to your older TV just got easier

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. Digital converter boxes offer several benefits, including higher picture quality and sound. They also provide a higher number of channel choices, and often additional features such as on-screen programming, favorite channel listings, auto power settings, built-in media players, real-time and programmed time recording. To help you decide which digital converter box best meets your needs, read our list below of the top ones available in 2018.

Best Overall: iVIEW-3200STB Multimedia Converter Box

A quick search of digital converter boxes will yield pages of boxy devices, but the iView-3200STB stands out, thanks to its sleek and modern design. But it’s a lot more than good looks that earns this device the best-in-show prize.

Viewers can record live programming at the click of a button and schedule a recording days out with the electronic programming guide. It features a USB port, where you can plug in a flash drive or external hard drive to record and play back TV or to play your own music, video or movies. Enjoy parental controls, indicator signal quality, subtitles, a full-function remote control, video resolution in 1080p, 1080i, 720p and 576p, as well as QAM capability that pulls in certain digital and HD channels.

Reviewers on Amazon report being pleasantly surprised by the number of channels it picks up, though its remote is not the most intuitive. Overall, this device will is a terrific option for converting digital signals to your existing analog TV and will make you think twice about ponying up big bucks for that cable subscription.

Best for Home Theaters: Mediasonic Homeworx HW180STB

The Mediasonic Homeworx digital converter box includes a wealth of features such as a built-in media player that allows you to view photos and video files via a USB connection, as well as a built-in recording function so you can record and play back TV programs. It also allows you to receive digital broadcasts and display them on analog and digital TVs, projector and computer monitors.

Video recording and playback is enabled via connection of USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 and external hard drive or flash drive. The Mediasonic Homeworx is a great option for its clear 1080P output, and adjusting the picture for different sizes (e.g. 16:9 Pillar Box, 4:3 Pan G Scan) is made easy. This makes it a good choice for home theater setups and for those looking for the best possible picture.

Best for DVR Support: ViewTV AT-163 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box

The ViewTV AT-163 digital converter box allows you to watch TV on any television, including your old clunky analog TVs. The built-in USB port allows you to record your favorite programs directly to a flash drive or external hard drive. It is the most feature-packed DVR-capable digital converter box in our lineup; you can pause, fast-forward and rewind live TV with the timeshift function, perform PVR (Personal Video Recording) and easily view videos and pictures from a flash drive or external hard drive.

It is also noteworthy for its ability to play a wide range of different file formats, including MKV, VOB, FLV and MOV files. Output is a crisp 1080p via HDMI, and there are the usual legacy outputs for older TVs. Consider the ViewTV AT-163 a good option if you have external movies you want to play via your digital converter box, or if you plan to often use DVR functions.

Best Features: ViewTV AT-300

The AT-300 goes a step further than most digital-analog converters by including live on-air pause functionality and real time recording. In addition to these features, you get a host of other functions that make this box better than most. With cable loop through, you get auto tuning to find all nearby digital broadcasts, parental controls, an Electronic Programing guide and a favorite channel list.

In addition, you can choose or automatically have your channels come in on a screen resolution size of your choice, whether you have a fullscreen or widescreen TV. Another nice function is USB multimedia player to attach media devices. The AT-300 has 1080P output and it includes an HDMI cable and a composite cable, meaning you don’t have to worry about extra cords hanging around.

Best for Multimedia Support: ViewTV AT-263 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box

Similar to the AT-163, the ViewTV AT-263 ATSC Digital TV Converter Box is the latest in ViewTV’s line of free TV solutions. This box allows you record TV via a flash drive or external drive connected to the unit’s USB port, includes an emergency alert system to alert viewers to any emergency information broadcast by TV stations in their area, and even has a built-in multimedia player (and it's one of the strongest available today). The ViewTV can play just about any type of file you throw at it, from VOBs ripped from DVDs to modern high-bitrate MKVs.

Features include cable loop through, electronic programming guide and program information, the ability to pause live TV, a favorite channel list, parental control function, auto-tuning, closed captioning, real-time and scheduled recording, as well as auto startup and shut down. Menus are more intuitive than the AT-163, so it makes for a better option if you plan to use the device often to play media files from your external drives, and a smaller form factor make the $5 extra in price worth it for most consumers.

Best for Simplicity: DIGITAL STREAM DTX9980

Perhaps you just want a converter box that will take a digital signal and convert it to an analog signal for your analog TV set, plain and simple. The Digital Stream DTX9980 will do exactly that. It produces a sharp, clear picture and full sound, and will have no problem scanning all of the OTA channels in your area.

Its setup is simple – just plug and play – and it includes helpful features such as auto-tuning, closed captioning and parental controls. On the downside, it doesn’t include an HDMI port and some reviewers on Amazon wish it had a more comprehensive channel guide, but if it’s simplicity you seek, you’ll find it here.

Best Budget: Tendak Digital Converter

If you’re trying to connect audio or video between old and new electronic devices, but don’t have a lot to spend, the Tendak Digital Converter might be just what you need. The Tendak Digital Converter measures 3.4 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches and weighs 6.4 ounces. For inputs, it has one HDMI, one DC 5V port and three EDID audio ports (ADV, 2CH, 5.1CH). For outputs, it has one HDMI, one optical port and one RCA left/right audio port. Thankfully, these ports offer a wide array of audio and picture support.

Amazon reviewers have been mostly positive on this model. Customers have said this unit is far from fancy, but it does have a lot of great uses, including enabling audio on computers without an optical output, splitting audio between a soundbar and a TV, as well as connecting older speakers to a new TV or a new digital receiver.


At Lifewire, our Expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.