Should You Get a DTV Converter Box or an HDTV?

Will I Need a DTV Converter Box If I Buy a High Definition Television?

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A converter box is a tuner that converts a signal from digital to analog so that a digital television (DTV) transmission can be used with an analog TV set. However, instead of buying such a device, you might consider getting an HDTV to cut out the middleman.

If your TV has a built-in ATSC (digital) tuner, which it probably does, then you can get your local broadcast stations in HD by using an antenna.

Note: DTV converters are called such because it's a digital television converter. However, they also go by the name DTA for digital television adapter, as well as a just converter box.

Pros and Cons of a DTV Converter Box

If you have an older TV that only accepts analog signals, then yes, get yourself a DTV converter. That's really your only option since all analog TV transmissions ended in the US mid-2009.

However, you don't want this technology attached to your HDTV because it will decrease your picture quality. HDTVs are just that: high-def; making the signal analog is a waste of the TV's main purpose of serving high-def content.

On the other hand, if you do have an HDTV, you'll only need a DTA if you use a VCR. If you buy a converter box, be sure it has analog pass-through just in case you have a Class A, low power or translator station in your area.

Where to Buy a DTA

There are a number of places you can get a digital converter box, like Walmart and Amazon.

See our picks of the best digital converter boxes before you buy your own.