set-top box

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pedro30

Senior Member
italian
Hello, do you know where set-top box originates from? I already know what it is, but I would like to know where it derives from. From what I've seen it's the new version of the old "cable-box" which used to sit on the top of TV. Is that true? I'de like to know just the actual composition of the word,so as to have myself an idea of the real meaning. :) Thanks.
 
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's meaning 7 of "set" in the WR dictionary.

    set n. [countable]
    1. a collection of articles for use together:a set of carving knives.
    2. a number or combination of things of similar nature or function:a set of ideas.
    3. a number or group of persons having common interests or status:the smart set.
    4. [usually: singular] the way one is thinking or acting:The set of his mind was obvious.
    5. [usually: singular] the way one carries oneself, as when walking:The set of his shoulders showed how discouraged he was.
    6. the styling of the hair with rollers, pins, etc., or the hairstyle so formed.
    7. an apparatus for receiving radio or television programs; receiver:My TV set is broken.
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/set
     

    pedro30

    Senior Member
    italian
    It's meaning 7 of "set" in the WR dictionary.

    set n. [countable]
    1. a collection of articles for use together:a set of carving knives.
    2. a number or combination of things of similar nature or function:a set of ideas.
    3. a number or group of persons having common interests or status:the smart set.
    4. [usually: singular] the way one is thinking or acting:The set of his mind was obvious.
    5. [usually: singular] the way one carries oneself, as when walking:The set of his shoulders showed how discouraged he was.
    6. the styling of the hair with rollers, pins, etc., or the hairstyle so formed.
    7. an apparatus for receiving radio or television programs; receiver:My TV set is broken.
    http://www.wordreference.com/definition/set


    So SET-TOP BOX stands for: the box with the set on the top ?
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So SET-TOP BOX stands for: the box with the set on the top ?
    No. It means the box that is on top of the set (the TV set). With modern flat-screen TVs this is unfeasible but originally the idea was to place the box on top of the TV set.
     
    Last edited:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    There are many words and phrases for which there are no sources describing their origins. When digital television started in the UK, I needed to get a converter. I went to a shop and bought a box. It was called a set-top box. I put it on top of my television, just like the picture in the instruction book. That's why it's called a set-top box.

    Nobody is going to write a book or web page that answers the question "why is a set-top box called a set-top box?" because, to an English speaker, the answer is so obvious - it's a box that goes on top of a set. A mountain-top shelter is on top of a mountain, a roof-top garden is on top of a roof, a set-top box is on top of a set.
     

    gramman

    Senior Member
    Nobody is going to write a book or web page that answers the question "why is a set-top box called a set-top box?"
    This seems to be a reasonable observation. The best evidence I can think of includes two points:

    1. If set-top did not refer to the television set, it might well be called a sit-top box.
    2. There are also set-back boxes, which can be "mounted to the rear of the display panel." (Wikipedia) I suppose one could argue that these "sit in back" of the television, but it seems more sensible to think of them as being located in back of the set.
     

    pedro30

    Senior Member
    italian
    There are many words and phrases for which there are no sources describing their origins. When digital television started in the UK, I needed to get a converter. I went to a shop and bought a box. It was called a set-top box. I put it on top of my television, just like the picture in the instruction book. That's why it's called a set-top box.

    Nobody is going to write a book or web page that answers the question "why is a set-top box called a set-top box?" because, to an English speaker, the answer is so obvious - it's a box that goes on top of a set. A mountain-top shelter is on top of a mountain, a roof-top garden is on top of a roof, a set-top box is on top of a set.


    You've been clear :) .
     
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