- What is Digital TV and what will it do for you?
- HDTV and SDTV
- Future services
- What is a Set-Top Box (STB)?
- Inside the box
- Why does my STB put black bars on my TV?
- What about Electronic Program Guides (EPGs)?
- Personal Video Recorders (PVRs)
- Foxtel STB goes PVR
- Using your other existing equipment
Some STB PVRs have twin tuners, which allow you to record two broadcasts at once. Combined with a hard drive, you can actually be recording two shows live, whilst watching one that has been recorded to disk previously. The hard drive is a valuable addition that also gives you "wow-factor" features like timeshifting, which lets you pause and rewind a live show and then watch the start of a broadcast while continuing to record the rest of it.
Foxtel STB goes PVR
The FOXTEL iQ is a top-line STB and PVR combination that combines with the Foxtel EPG, but is available only to FOXTEL subscribers. Foxtel Digital subscribers can look up a program using the EPG and program them for recording to the hard drive. Its dual-tuner design allows two shows to be recorded at once, even while you are watching a different show that has been recorded previously. The player also supports timeshifting.
Using your other existing equipment
The variety of makes, models and features of STBs, including PVRs that incorporate STBs, is confusing enough, but what about your existing equipment?
Although you could put together a more elegant and integrated solution if you started from scratch, barring Lotto winners, most people will want to simply add to their existing entertainment system in the most economical fashion.
The good news is that you can move into Digital TV with a STB and keep your existing analogue TV and your VCR, your DVD player and your sound system. Thanks to the variety of standard input/output formats you can connect all of these types of devices together. However, it is a good idea to map out your connections before heading off to purchase your shiny new STB or PVR. Draw up each of your existing components and how they are currently connected, noting all plugs/ports, and make sure the device you are going to add has the appropriate connections.
Obviously, if you are adding a PVR, you may elect to remove your old (and now redundant) VCR and/or DVD player from your new entertainment system. At the very least this will cut down on the number of remote controls you have to handle -- or, you could elect to do that later with a Universal Remote Control that can combine the functions of several controllers into one