In countries such as the U.K. and the U.S., there is a move away from the broadcasting of television signals in analogue format in favour of digital transmission. The advantages of digital transmissions include sharper pictures, better sound and the ability to deliver added-value services such as interactive features. Analogue televisions cannot receive digital broadcasts, but digital-to-analogue converters are available for viewers who do not wish to purchase a new digital television set.
The DTA800B1 from RCA comes with a remote control and features an Electronic Program Guide (EPG). It can operate lying flat as a set-top box, but has a foot allowing it to stand on end if required. Operating buttons located on the box itself are large, and therefore easy to manage, but even some analogue television controls, such as volume, can be set using the remote control included with the box. The EPG displays up to nine channels at a time, and displays what is showing now and what is coming on next for each channel. A drawback of the RCA DTA800B1 is the lack of support for widescreen televisions.
Dish Network TR-40 CRA
The TR-40 CRA is controlled using the remote control supplied and has no control buttons on the front of the box itself. The dimensions are small at 5.9 inches wide by 1.3 inches high and 4.2 inches deep, meaning that it takes up very little space. The EPG is sophisticated, providing information on several days' worth of programming per channel (depending on the amount of data broadcast by any particular channel) and the ability to search for a particular program. The remote control cannot be used to manage television functions, such as volume, contrast and brightness, but can be used to set the aspect ratio for widescreen broadcasts being viewed on standard 4:3 aspect ratio televisions.
With the additional purchase of an optional battery pack, the Winegard RCDT09A becomes a truly portable device that you can take on RV trips to convert digital broadcasts to a signal that can be displayed on analogue portable TV sets. The remote control has no provision for managing TV functions, and although it features an EPG, the data it provides is basic, showing only the program currently being broadcast and the program coming next. Buttons on the front of the box allow you to change channels, particularly useful if you take the device on a road trip and lose the remote control.