When planning to update TV equipment, our subscribers often face the question, do they really need a new TV? Perhaps it is enough to buy or upgrade an existing set-top-box. Let's figure out what to focus on when choosing TV equipment.
Our time cannot be called successful for traditional television. More and more users prefer to watch movies, series and shows on the internet. People learn about events from news channels in instant messengers and from social networks. The weather forecast is displayed on the screen of the vast majority of smartphones. What remains? Ad breaks? It is not the thing to miss about.
That is why interactivity and the ability to connect to the Internet are becoming more significant advantages of television.
About types of televisions
For viewers who want to watch many channels and enjoy interactive features, there is a choice between a smart TV and a set-top box. If you already have a TV, do not rush to change it to Smart TV. The STB can be connected even to an "older" television with a kinescope.
To begin with, let's figure out what types of TVs exist and how they differ.
Depending on the principles of image formation, televisions are divided into:
- CRT or kinescope. These are our old acquaintances, overall, outdated and cheap. Due to the long service life, they remain in apartments and flea markets. Without additional equipment, CRT TVs support only an analog signal, but they have a wide viewing angle and low cost. These are large TVs with a flickering screen and a high level of power consumption.
- LCD TVs. Thin and light, they easily became market leaders and remain so despite the advent of more advanced technologies. They need 2-3 times less electricity than the previous type. Of the imperfections of the technology, one can single out a small viewing angle, which manufacturers compensate for with special screen coatings.
- TVs with LED backlight (LCD/LED). They have even less energy consumption, and are even slimmer and lighter. At the same time, the problem of a narrow viewing angle is solved in the technology. The screen does not flicker, is backlit evenly and is capable of playing high-definition video. This is the most advanced and expensive technology to date.
- Plasma panels PDP. If you are interested in accurate color reproduction, excellent image quality and large diagonals, this is the right option. Screen sizes reach up to 80 inches, weight rarely exceeds 6 kg, viewing angle is 180 degrees. Of the minuses — the heating of the case and a fairly high consumption of energy, which makes TVs not quite economical.
In addition to the design and playback principle, TVs differ in key characteristics. For example, plasmas and LCDs can support 3D.
Also, modern televisions can be "smart". Smart TVs are devices that allow you to combine the functions of home television and the use of interactive services. They work based on fully functional operating systems, have network interfaces, pre-installed software and allow you to download additional ones. Their main disadvantage is the cost.
This disadvantage is usually proposed to be compensated by a combination of a regular TV and a set-top box connected to it. This option will cost less and will be more profitable in terms of capabilities.
TV set-top boxes: features and capabilities
A set-top box (you can also find the names STB, media player or tuner) is a small-sized device that connects to a TV and expands its capabilities. The set-top box receives the signal from the TV provider, converts it and displays the image on the screen. The operating system provides a convenient user experience and the ability to install applications, games and use the browser. In fact, with a set-top box, your TV becomes a computer screen, and thanks to the USB inputs, you can control the device not only with a remote control, but also with a keyboard and mouse.
We recommend to pay attention to the following characteristics of the set-top box:
- Connectors. For an old TV, look for RCA or SCART, for a modern TV, look for HDMI to enjoy a high quality picture.
- Supported screen resolutions. It will be annoying if your TV supports Full HD, but the set-top box does not.
- Playable file formats. It depends on what you are going to listen to and watch on TV, but in general, the more, the better.
- Storage capacity. If you are going to play or download movies to your TV, make sure that the minimum disk space is 8 GB.
- IPTV function.
- Availability, number and type of USB ports. Useful to connect a flash drive and controllers.
- Operating system. Some manufacturers prefer their own operating systems, be prepared that you will not be able to install the necessary applications on them. Therefore, we recommend choosing Android.
- TimeShift function. You can pause TV broadcasts, the set-top box starts recording to the media so that you can continue watching at a convenient time.
Set-top box against Smart TV. What is better?
Both types of devices allow you to combine watching traditional TV with surfing the Internet and installing applications. This is where the similarities end and the differences begin.
Usually, the “stuffing” built into smart TVs is not as powerful as that of a set-top box. For the user, this is noticeable by the speed of work, the set of applications and the memory capacity. In addition, OS updates will come to the set-top box, but the television, most often, remains in the factory state if you do not work on this issue yourself. Also, media players support more applications, but on some TVs you may not even find the Play Market. In addition, the set-top box can be easily changed, but changing the television is much more expensive.
On the financial side, it all depends on the TV you choose (or decide to keep the one you have). Media players start at $50 and smart TVs start at $300. If we compare two solutions - Smart TV and a regular TV with a set-top box (with a similar matrix), the second solution will probably cost more. But if you already have a TV, and it suits you, or you are ready to buy a simpler TV (usually, smart TVs are included in the flagship line and have quite impressive characteristics), feel free to buy a set-top box, it will turn out more economical and efficient.
A TV and a set-top box pair is a more flexible solution where once you buy a good screen, you can upgrade your connected hardware as technology advances.
Perhaps smart TVs win only in terms of ergonomics. One device and one remote control. Doesn't confuse anything.
Summing up, it is worth saying that it does not matter what you choose, you will be able to:
- watch what you want, when you want;
- play video games and applications;
- control viewing from the remote control, phone, keyboard and mouse;
- create playlists, record programs and delay viewing;
- surf the internet and even communicate in social networks.
All this is available with interactive TV. "Maxnet" has two technologies - IPTV and Web TV, which provide access to all of the above functions. We also provide subscribers with set-top boxes in installments and rent, which allows to significantly save on equipment. Contact our specialist to get detailed advice on the choice of technology and equipment. Discover the world of modern TV today!