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Definition: digital terminal adapter

A low-cost set-top box that provides basic digital service from the cable company to analog or digital TVs via the coax input. Also called a "digital transport adapter" (DTA), it does not support a digital program guide or video-on-demand; however, the adapter does display the channel's abbreviated name and number.

These devices were designed to reclaim analog channel space for more digital services. For example, Comcast claimed its 2009-2010 DTA deployment would enable it to replace 50 channels of analog spectrum with higher Internet speeds, more video-on-demand and up to 100 HD channels.

Digital Transport Adapter (DTA)
DTAs have two coax connectors: input from the cable; output to the TV or to a VCR, DVD player, etc., and then to the TV. The TV is set to channel 3 or 4, and channel changing is performed in the DTA box.