set-top box

(redirected from Set-top unit)
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set-top box

(communications, networking)
(STB) Any electronic device designed to produce output on a conventional televesion set (on top of which it nominally sits) and connected to some other communications channels such as telephone, ISDN, optical fibre or cable. The STB usually runs software to allow the user to interact with the programmes shown on the television in some way.

Online Media are one STB manufacturer.

set-top box

A device that converts video content to analog or digital TV signals. For years, the set-top box (STB) was the cable box that "sat on top" of the TV. Although no more flat surface to rest anything, the term lives on.

A satellite TV set-top box is officially a "satellite receiver," and the box that converts over-the-air digital broadcasts to analog for old TVs is a "converter" (see TV converter box).

Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV and Roku boxes connect to the home network for Internet access and convert video from Netflix, Hulu and other providers into TV signals. These "media hubs" go by many names and may accept local content from the home network as well (see digital media hub).

The Cable Set-Top Box
In the days of analog TV, cable boxes descrambled the premium channels and managed the high channel numbers old TVs did not support. For today's digital service, the cable box decodes MPEG video frames, decrypts the premium channels and stores and displays the program guides. Also providing upstream communications for video-on-demand, digital cable boxes often have a built-in DVR for recording content on a hard disk.

Many cable TV companies also offer Internet service, but their set-top boxes are only for TV. The cable coming into the house is split into two lines: one to the set-top box and the other to the cable modem for Internet access. See MPEG, DVR, CableCARD, cable modem and hybrid set-top box.


Set It On Top
For years, people placed cable boxes on top of their TV sets.







Big and Little
The Motorola unit (top) connects to the cable company's coaxial cable, whereas the Apple TV (only four inches wide) gets its content via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.


Big and Little
The Motorola unit (top) connects to the cable company's coaxial cable, whereas the Apple TV (only four inches wide) gets its content via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.







Not as Elegant as the Sales Brochure
In practice, today's streaming set-top boxes are often hidden in the A/V cabinet and nothing much to look at. These three plug into the A/V receiver via HDMI and connect to the home network via the Ethernet switch.




Not as Elegant as the Sales Brochure
In practice, today's streaming set-top boxes are often hidden in the A/V cabinet and nothing much to look at. These three plug into the A/V receiver via HDMI and connect to the home network via the Ethernet switch.







Legacy Support in a Set-top Box
Older set-top boxes such as this Roku unit had analog outputs to accommodate legacy TVs. However, HDMI has pretty much replaced this variety of connectivity (see HDMI).
References in periodicals archive ?
The Vega set-top unit is a cost-effective way to turn any location into a high-quality videoconferencing center by simply connecting the Vega to your TV monitor.
The set-top unit, about the size of a typical DVD player, combines a suite of popular TV-centric applications with an easy-to-use electronic program guide and the ability to record broadcast media on either the internal hard drive, built-in DVD recorder, or other hard drive connected via a home network.
This initial retail preview gives shoppers the first opportunity to purchase the MediaREADY 4000, a powerful TV set-top unit that combines a DVD/CD player with a media jukebox, email, Internet surfing, karaoke, gaming, and much more.
The complete product package consists of a compact set-top unit, a hand-held IR remote control, a CD with PRISMIQ's Windows-compliant Media Manager software, cables, and documentation for a list price of $249.
Like the MediaREADY 4000, the MediaREADY 400 consumer set-top unit connects to any television and offers feature-rich TV as well as convergent entertainment/communications functions like email, web surfing, MPEG-1/MPEG-2/MPEG-4/MP3 playback and more.
TANDBERG 1000, a compact self-contained unit for business-quality video in an individual office or small meeting room -- TANDBERG 550, a set-top unit for business-quality video using an existing monitor in an individual office or small meeting room
The technology enables a single set-top unit (the master) to assume full control over other units (the slaves) in one household.
This cost-effective solution offers outstanding functionality in a flexible and mobile set-top unit.
As a next-generation device, the MediaREADY 4000 is a powerful set-top unit that combines a DVD/CD player with streaming playback of audio/video media from both Internet-based and home network sources.
The TANDBERG 500 is TANDBERG's compact set-top unit for small meeting rooms and professional offices.
Petaling Jaya: Pineapple Computer Store has launched an Internet browser set-top unit that connects to television sets to access to the Internet.
The complete PRISMIQ MediaPlayer/Recorder product package consists of a compact set-top unit, a hand-held remote control, a CD with software that converts your PC to a media server, cables, and documentation.