A set-top box that rocks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 September, 2005, 12:00am

Today's internet-savvy set-top box is more than just a receiver for the television set.

It's basically a specialised web-surfing computer that connects to either the telephone or cable line and enables the TV set to decode television broadcasts from satellite, cable or terrestrial services.

Inside are microprocessors, RAM, an MPEG decoder chip and chips for audio decoding and processing.

Video-on-demand, for example, delivers digitised movies as large MPEG files. Many set-top boxes also include a hard drive to store recorded television programmes or software provided by the pay-TV operator.