Part 1 in a
2-part TV tech series
"I don't know what I'm going to do about the switch to DTV. I don't even know that much about it!"
After February 17, 2009, you'll have no choice. By law, full-power television stations nationwide must stop using the old method of transmitting analog TV signals and begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format (DTV=digital TV).
If this is something you've heard, or think about, then here are a lot of answers for you and your friends.
How is DTV Different?
DTV, digital television, is not the type of TV, but the digital signal that the TV receives.
Certain types of TVs are equipped to receive the digital signal, and certain types can only receive the analog signal.
Some TVs can receive both. You may not necessarily need to buy a brand new TV if yours is pretty new. In fact, all TVs made after March 1, 2007 have DTV tuners built right into them.
What it means to you
Use this site to help you understand the lingo as you compare technologies.
If your TV is analog, when the switch occurs your TV will not able to pick up signals from any stations. If you have a digital TV, you won't be affected a whole lot.
How do you know if your TV is digital or analog? A good indicator is how new or old your TV is:
- If it's relatively new, it can pick up both kinds of signals;
- If you have an older TV, it is most likely analog.
- If you bought your TV recently, and it isn't capable of picking up digital, it should have a sticker on it informing you that it doesn't pick up digital.
What can you do about the switch? You can buy an entirely new TV, which would be a little expensive, but would last longer than your old one.
Or you can buy a relatively cheap converter box. This means you will have to replace your old TV sooner than if you bought a brand new TV.
Make the switchHow will DTV be better than analog?
Switching to Digital TV is a very good idea. DTV provides better quality pictures and takes up a smaller amount of data to be transmitted to your TV, which means more channel options for you.
DTV is also good because it frees the analog spectrum for the government to use for important communication. All around, DTV is a good thing.
So what's right for you...?