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 very early 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 drive.

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 CRT or projection TV sets because there was plenty of room.







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.
Falcon IP, the smallest and most lightweight set-top unit available on the market, is a complete set-top videoconferencing appliance designed for use over IP networks.
4m set-top units during the period as the company took advantage of increased competition between pay-TV providers and new entrants to the market.
During its first two months, the company sold more than 5,000 of the set-top units and related equipment including keyboards and wireless modem jacks, generating more than $4 million in gross revenues.
Cisco At Home: Analog set-tops units, digital set-top units, cable accessories, cable modems, headend digital, headend software and the PowerVu Network Center Management Platform
The broadcaster is utilising Pace's DS420 and DC420 digital cable and satellite set-top units.
Utilizing a hard disk pre-loaded with 100 movies, the set-top units will allow consumers to connect the system to his/her television and update content via ABC affiliates and the PBS broadcast system.
The new digital video recorder is designed to enable other set-top units throughout a home to access any of its stored programs.
raised its 2003 capital expenditure forecast due to increased demand for second digital set-top units.
TANDBERG 880 and TANDBERG 550 - These set-top units are now XGA-capable.
TANDBERG 880 and TANDBERG 550 - Compact set-top units for medium to small meeting rooms and professional offices with wireless LAN capability.
The MGC-100 and MGC-50 are cornerstone solutions that connect an array of real-time communication devices including POTS/PSTN telephones, Internet telephones, conference-ready PCs and TV set-top units, as well as high-end conferencing systems.