set-top box

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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 ?
It's great to finally see an over-the-top settop box that's able to do more than just play photos, video and music to their television sets," said Michael Lantz, CEO of Accedo Broadband, the company behind the FunSpot brand.
The company also manufactures the industry award-winning Popcorn Hour A-110, a standalone settop box that supports more high bit-rate video file formats than any other competing settop maker.
Leading Internet Television Network to Be Demonstrated on Next-Generation Settop Box at CES Unveiled
Latens' security systems employ new IT security techniques and use the power of two-way digital networks to provide next generation Conditional Access (CA) for broadband and digital cable networks through Secure Software Modules (SSM) in the settop box.
WEGENER's new IP settop box, called the Streaming Media Decoder (SMD) 515, helps phone companies attain the highly desirable "Triple Play" of providing telephone, television and internet services to their subscribers.
In today's over-the-top settop box market, content partnerships are key," said Alex Limberis, chief operating officer of Syabas.
AMSTERDAM -- Syabas, makers of the award-winning Popcorn Hour network media tank, today announced that Sigma Designs (NASDAQ:SIGM), a leader in digital media processing system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for consumer electronics, will be demonstrating the SMP8643 media processor that powers Syabas' Popcorn Hour C-200 settop box at this year's IBC tradeshow.
Syabas, a leading provider of over-the-top settop software and hardware and makers of the award winning Popcorn Hour A-110, today announced the Popcorn C-200, a next-generation Internet settop box that streams digital content from the Internet or its internal hard drive to your television set and home stereo.
The company's Content Metatagging(TM) and Patented Brilliant Query(TM) technologies are designed for use in Web-based knowledge management applications (text archives and content rich websites) and in settop box based electronic entertainment guides.
Navic's services enable cable and satellite operators to generate new revenue, lower operating costs, and better serve customers through intelligent data collection and distribution services, including audience measurement, addressable advertising, settop box management, and downloadable content distribution.
This five-year agreement currently includes the licensing of VOD-related client settop box software, SeaChange Axiom-component software and DVD On Demand software.
CSG ACP is a customer-centric billing and customer care platform that can help cable operators achieve a consistent view of each customer across all touch points, from the Web, to the call center to the field technician and the settop box.