India is rapidly moving towards digitization. In the home entertainment sector, the switch-over to digital TV from the traditional analogue cable TV is one of the most remarkable measures undertaken. The digital set-top box has now become indispensable. Set-top boxes now come with features that have extended well beyond basic TV viewing. You can use your set-top box to play games, set up alarms, or even record live TV. A simple comparison of the digital set-top box price might not be the best strategy anymore.
We recommend the following six features that are a ‘must have’ for your set-top box.
Electronic Program Guide
The EPG (electronic program guide) provides the viewers with updated menus displaying schedules for ongoing and upcoming programs on various TV channels. The EPG feature of the digital set-top box makes lives easier by telling us when our favourite shows will be aired and when the repeats will be telecast. The EPG is certainly one of the greatest gifts of modern digital TV
The digital set-top box also allows users to set up their preferred channels as favourites – making them quicker and easier to access when desired. This feature comes quite handy especially when there are tons of channels and remembering their numbers can be a little tricky. This functionality works similar to the ‘bookmarks’ feature in internet browsers.
The timer – a basic yet useful feature – allows viewers to switch between channels at pre-set times. You can also use this for generic/ parental control to switch the set-top box off at a stipulated time. The timer also comes in handy to record live TV on more than one channel when the user is away.
Live TV Recording
Lately, set-top boxes have started allowing users to record live TV broadcast on an attached hard disk drive. The feature instantly gained popularity and has become a standard feature in most set-top boxes. Users can playback the recorded broadcast, delete and overwrite previous recordings with ease.
Universal Remote Controls
Many set-top box manufacturers provide remote controls that not only support controlling the provided box, but they are also compatible with many televisions from various brands and models. Such remote controls are commonly referred to as universal remotes. They can control most of the basic functions of your TV along with controlling your set-top box, thereby adding convenience and ease of use.
Some set-top boxes allow users above 18 years of age to set up parental locks. Simply put, parents can put up filters on certain type of channels that are not appropriate for children. They can choose to block some or all of the channels listed in a particular category or block multiple channels listed across different categories.