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Does a HD Set Top Box work with Non-HDTV?

In the past we’ve had a series of posts on DTH services, including Tata Sky, Airtel Digital TV, Dish TV (Dish+) and even Hathway STB. Recently, we’ve been seeing HD PVR’s (Personal Video Recorders) flooding the market and it seems there’s a lot of confusion among customers regarding the compatibility of these Set Top Boxes with their TV’s. We constantly get emails asking if HD STB’s  (Set Top Box) will work with a non-HDTV. So instead of answering those individually, we’ve decided to write up a post to make our job easier.Airtel HD STB with Non HDTV

To answer your question in short, YES, your Non-HDTV’s are compatible with HD STB. But, there are obviously some limitations. Read on.

How will the HD STB connected to my Non HDTV?

It will be connected using a normal AV cable instead of a HD cable. HD cable comes free with the purchase of a HD STB, so if you don’t have a HDTV, some DTH companies may need you to pay for buying an AV cable.

Will I be able to watch HD channels on my Non HDTV?

Most DTH companies require you to subscribe to HD channels separately. So in case you have subscribed to HD channels, you can watch HD channels, but in Standard Definition (SD), not in HD. In short, this means, there will not be any difference in watching a HD and a SD channel on your Non-HDTV.

Can I record HD TV shows on my Non-HDTV?

Recording has nothing to do with the type of TV you have. You can record and playback as usual. But as said before, even HD content will be shown in SD format.

Do you recommend going for a HD STB if I don’t have a HDTV?

As I said, as far as viewing experience goes, there won’t be any difference at all. Although most of the content is same in SD and HD channel (for example Star Plus and Star Plus HD) at present, I’ve observed that HD channels show latest movies much earlier than in SD channels. If you have a SD STB, you cannot view (or subscribe to) HD channels (even though you have a HDTV). So although there won’t be any visual difference, you can atleast have access to HD channels if you have a HD STB.

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