A digital converter box operates by taking the signal that is broadcast from your cable television provider or over-the-air and changing the nature of it from the complex "digital" into the more old fashioned "analog." This is called down converting. The box then passes the signal on to your television so that you can watch your favorite television programs. Without a digital converter box your television would simply not be able to process a digital signal and every channel would be either filled with static or completely black, depending on the model of your television.
The installation of a digital converter box is not unlike the installation of any other home theater component that plugs into your television---like a DVD player or video game system. The converter box comes with a set of component video cables. These have red, white and yellow tips and are what carries the audio and video information from your converter box to your television. Plug one end of these cords into the appropriate output on the converter box, and then the other end into the appropriate input on your television. After this all that is left to do is use the coaxial input on the back of the converter box to plug in either your cable television signal or a digital antenna. Once this is done, just turn the converter box on and the television on at the same time.
Though a digital converter box is necessary for older televisions, the digital signal in general has a few disadvantages. For one, there is no longer such a thing as a "weak signal." In the analog age, a weak signal simply meant your channel would be a little fuzzy. With the nature of the digital signal, you'll either have a completely clear picture or no picture at all. There is no longer any in-between status.