Before, a satellite TV decoder was just a plain set-top-box that received satellite TV signals. But as the technology advanced and progressed, more options and features can be seen in satellite receivers. That’s why it doesn’t help to just pick the first decoder you see. It’s best to do your homework and research on the features you want when you choose a satellite television decoder.

Looking at Your Options

One of the first steps in selecting a satellite TV decoder or descrambler is to decide on a satellite TV service provider. From there, you are presented with various options, each with unique features such as the plain set-top-box, dual-tuner satellite TV descramblers with high definition support, DVR or digital video recording features, and a built-in hard drive.

Features to Look For

When choosing a satellite TV decoder, you have to know what features come with it, and whether these features suits your needs and budget. Today, there’s more to just watching TV shows on your satellite television, and if you want to choose the best one for you, below you can find some features to look for.

High Definition TV Capabilities

With the increasing popularity of HD plasmas and LCDs, it’s no wonder why HDTV programming in satellite TV is becoming a top choice among consumers. If you’re one of those who want their TV in HD quality, then you definitely need to choose a satellite TV decoder that is compatible with an HD-capable MPEG-4. This allows you to view HD channel programming in wide-screen formats of your choice, whether 720p or 1080i.

Although you’ll still be able to watch MPEG-2 HD channels using an older version of HD decoder, you have to get a MPEG-4 compatible one if you want to watch and enjoy either local or national HD programming channels. Some service providers offer a discount when you upgrade to HD packages to make the choice even easier for you.

DVR or Digital Video Recording

If you’re the type who can’t bear missing a single episode of your favorite TV show, or an important ballgame or sports event, then you have to consider getting a satellite TV decoder with a DVR function. DVR or Digital Video Recording allows you to record your favorite shows and sports events on a storage device so you can view it later whenever you feel like it. This is very important especially if you have to be at the office when your favorite TV show is aired.

Some decoders with the DVR function can allow you to rewind, fast-forward or pause live TV, and more advanced ones can even predict your viewing pattern so it immediately records it for you.

Home Theater Capabilities

Although any satellite TV decoder can be used for home-theater, not all will have the necessary video and audio ports at the back of the decoder to support or allow a high quality home theater setup.

Additional Features

Other features also include parental control to safeguard your kids from shows not fit for them, or PIP viewing, which is helpful when surfing from one channel to another.

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