A brief history of set-top converters is presented, along with notation of the techniques commonly employed in modern terminals. The digital architecture of a modern terminal is shown. Key RF characteristics are presented, followed by cursory exploration of one class of scrambling techniques. Finally, some information concerning the compatibility between scrambling and stereo is presented. Most of the material is intended to be generic, but where particular techniques are referred to the system described is that used by the Scientific-Atlanta Series 8500 set-top terminal.