What's This Digital Television Thing All About?

Digital tv is the next generation of video broadcast technology. The old system, called analog tv, was developed in the 1950s. DTV was developed for the 21st Century by a working group of developers, broadcasters and engineers, so that customers will get the best item. The exact same way computer systems scan pictures into information files (actually turning your holiday photos into a series of 1sts and 0s); DTV alters the movie and video into digital images (those exact same Ones and 0s) and transfers them.

Analog still works, so why switch?

They used to say, "If it ain't broke, do not repair it," but 8-track tapes were changed by cassette tapes, which were changed by CDs and so on. New technology does the very same thing, but does it much better. By altering the way TELEVISION signals are relayed, the signals use less bandwidth, implying more shows can be sent over the airwaves. According to the FCC website, "That means much better quality, more options, and more control over your tv."

Using less bandwidth also means parts of the broadcast spectrum will not be required by the TELEVISION market. This spectrum is restricted, like a series of pipelines; there are many, but only a lot of. DTV means tv needs less pipelines. The others can be reassigned to public security-- authorities, fire and paramedic services-- or wireless phone service suppliers or other usages.

When and how did the switch happen?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) started establishing the switch-over in 1996. Starting March 1, 2007, all tvs integrated in or imported to the US needs to have a digital tuner along with an analog tuner. Many stations released digital broadcasting in addition to analog broadcasts in late 2008 or '09. On June 12, 2009, all significant TELEVISION stations stopped sending analog signals. A couple of small, local TELEVISION stations will continue using analog.

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Analog to Digital Television

Congress passed a federal law, the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, mandating the last day of complete power analog tv broadcasting to be February 17, 2009. On February 17, 2009, all tv channels in the US will transform from analog to digital. What does this mean to you?

" This is completion of a 10 year shift," stated Bart Forbes, public affairs expert with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. "This will generally impact a couple of people who do not have digital or satellite tv."

More than 50% of American houses now have a digital tv. More then 85% register for a cable television or satellite company, and none of those customers will be impacted by the analog to digital shift, because they do not get transmissions over the air. The only homes to be impacted are the ones without digital TELEVISION, and who get transmissions over the air by antenna, which represents about 11% of the American families today. This 11% of the population is qualified to get 2 discount coupons from the Department of Commerce, each voucher great for $40 discount rate on the purchase of an unique converter box that will permit conventional analog sets to use the new digital transmissions. Converter boxes are anticipated to cost $40 to $60 each.

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