What is Digital Television all about?
Digital TV versus Analog TV
Analog television service is the traditional method of transmitting television signals to consumers. Analog transmission has been the standard broadcast technology since the inception of television. Most current television transmissions are received through analog television sets. Analog signals vary continuously, creating fluctuations in color and brightness. TV stations can only transmit one program on a channel with analog signals.
Digital Television, or DTV, is a new type of broadcasting technology that enables stations to provide clearer pictures and better sound quality. DTV can also offer multiple programming choices, interactive capabilities and data services, such as enhanced closed captioning.
DTV is more efficient and less restrictive than analog for broadcasters. For example, DTV makes it possible for AETN to broadcast multiple streams of programming instead of broadcasting only one program at a time.
The DTV transition has been the switch from analog to 100% digital broadcasting of free television programming. The transition from analog to digital television represents the most significant advancement of television technology since color TV.
Why the switch?
All-digital broadcasting frees up parts of the broadcast spectrum for public safety communications (police, fire, rescue, first responders) and advanced wireless services. Digital also allows stations to offer improved picture and sound (High Definition) or multiple standard definition channels of programming at the same time (multicasting).
Who has been affected?
Consumers who receive free television signals through antennas on TV sets that are equipped with analog tuners and who do not subscribe to cable, satellite or other service providers.
Is Digital Television (DTV) the same as High Definition Television (HDTV)? No. HDTV is the highest quality of DTV, but it is only one of several forms: SDTV (Standard Definition): the most basic form that delivers a picture without interference at a resolution slightly higher than that of analog. HDTV (High Definition): provides the highest resolution and picture quality and is the only TV option that includes digitally enhanced sound. Consumers who have high definition TV sets may receive free high definition programming over the air using an antenna. All HD programs are digital, however, not all digital programs are HD.
Will all programming be broadcast in HD?
No. HDTV uses more of the allotted digital signal to provide superior picture. Broadcasters who multicast convert all picture resolution to SDTV quality, allowing two to four separate programs to be broadcast on the same digital channel at the same time. It is also possible to broadcast an HDTV signal along with one or two SDTV signals on the same digital channel.
How can I learn more about DTV?