What Is a DCT Box?

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A digital cable or consumer terminal or television receiver is a unit that receives a digital signal from your television services provider and translates it into information your TV can understand and display as images and sound. The acronym DCT refers to various models of DCT boxes by a specific manufacturer. It is also commonly used to describe set-top boxes in general.

Motorola DCT Boxes

  • Many people, when referring to a "DCT box," are referring to a specific model of Motorola digital television receiver. For many years, Motorola placed "DCT" at the beginning of the model number on certain receivers. For example, Motorola DCT700 or DCT1000.

DCT Box Specifications

  • DCT boxes are manufactured in a wide variety of shapes and sizes based on manufacturer release dates and box features. All DCT boxes feature a tuner, digital video and audio processors and an Infrared IR remote control. Enhanced feature offerings on some boxes include Video on Demand, digital video recording, high-definition television signal processing and Internet capabilities.

DTV Converter Box

  • A digital television converter box, also known as a digital television adapter or DTA, is a type of DCT box designed specifically for digital-to-analog signal conversion. DTV boxes are used by digital television service subscribers that have analog tuner TV sets. In 2007, the United States Federal Communication Commission required that manufacturers no longer produce televisions with analog tuners. In addition, the U.S. Congress required that certain full-power broadcasters switch entirely to digital broadcasting by July 2009 to free up some of the broadcast spectrum for public and corporate use and provide analog television viewers with certain standard digital television benefits. Although manufacturers complied, many people in the U.S. still have analog TVs. As a result, digital television providers offered free boxes and the government issued $40 vouchers for those who wanted to own a DTV box.

DCT Box Downsides

  • Although DCT boxes offer many features and benefits, the technology can frustrate consumers. DCT boxes can heat up quickly during use and can burn out if exposed to even a small power surge. As a result, television service providers recommend that customers place the boxes in areas where there is at least three inches of air flow above, below and at the sides of a box and that they use surge protectors. In addition, some DCT models have issues specific to the model. For example, some DCT boxes have limited electromagnetic interference protection and signal break ups occur often when these models are placed near other electronics including separate VCR, DVR and multimedia equipment.

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