With advancements in technology taking place so rapidly, it is easy to get confused by the available technology for televisions. With the upcoming switchover to all digital broadcasting, understanding the different types of technology available has become even more important than before. At the same time, it has become more confusing for many consumers. Namely, many are trying to understand the difference between an HDTV converter and an HDTV tuner. Both devices receive over-the-air digital TV broadcasts. The difference, however, is in the output signal they provide.
Several years ago, there was a great deal of confusion regarding the difference between HDTVs and televisions that were “HD-Ready.” This is because true HDTVs were able to receive high definition broadcasts without needing additional components. HD-Ready televisions, on the other hand, were only able to receive high definition broadcasts if a separate HD tuner were purchased. The HD tuner is simply a device that makes it possible to receive high definition broadcasts. Of course, you need to have a television that is able to display high definition pictures in order to reap the benefits of an HDTV tuner.
HDTV tuners can be purchased as separate box top devices or they can be integrated into other devices that you connect to your television. For example, it is possible to purchase a VCR or digital video recorder that also serves as an HDTV tuner.
An HDTV converter is different from a tuner because it actually converts a digital signal into an analog signal. Therefore, an HDTV converter allows you to receive programming that is being broadcast digitally, but the signal is downgraded to an analog signal before being displayed on your television. Therefore, the picture you see on your television may not be as clear as the one you would see if you had a television capable of receiving and displaying a digital broadcast. An HDTV tuner, on the other hand, allows you to receive digital broadcasts as well as those broadcast in high-definition, which means you can have a clearer and crisper picture if your television is capable of displaying high-definition images.
There are HDTV tuners that provide an analog output in addition to the digital output. These HDTV tuners can work as converters, but they are much more expensive than a simple converter box, and are never eligible for a purchase with a government coupon like the HD converters are.
When trying to determine whether you need an HDTV converter or an HDTV tuner, you need to consider your needs and your television viewing goals. If you are trying to improve the image and receive high-definition broadcasts and if you have a television that is HD-Ready, you need to purchase an HDTV tuner. If you are looking for a device that will allow you to continue watching television with your analog TV set, on the other hand, an HDTV converter is what you want.