High-Definition Solutions for the Digital TV Transition


The arrival of HD is the most significant change to televisions since color. The topic of digital television is no longer limited to the realm of the tech-savvy and gadget-obsessed. Instead, it’s been stoked by the federal government, fed by cable companies and electronics merchants, and widely discussed even among non-expert customers. You can try to ignore the growing digital unrest, but the reality of the digital transformation will slap you in the face come February 2009. Look into the Best info about Kundali Bhagya Written Update.

The transition from analog to digital broadcasting took several years. To make more of the broadcast spectrum available for public safety and emergency services, as well as popular wireless services, Congress mandated a switch from analog to digital TV broadcasting in the 1990s. Broadcasters typically offer their shows in digital and analog formats, with over 1,600 of the 1,745 full-power stations currently airing digital programming. The last day for full-power TV stations to air in analog form is February 17, 2009.

This move to digital television is “the most significant advancement in television technology since the introduction of color TV,” according to David Rehr, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Broadcasters. As a result, broadcasters can provide shows with qualities similar to DVDs, including higher-quality images devoid of regular TV interference or “snow.” In addition, the multi-channel digital surround sound, including Dolby Digital 5.1, will transform an everyday TV viewing experience into a cinematic one, so you won’t need to see DTV to know the difference.

Many people will have to pay a price to enjoy these advantages. Without a cable or satellite subscription, consumers who watch TV with an antenna on an analog set will need to upgrade. To make the transition, you can buy a new digital TV, a digital converter box (sometimes called a set-top box or converter box), or sign up for cable or satellite service.

Box that converts digital signals to analog

On February 18, 2009, 70 million analog TVs and antennae will no longer be left on the curbs. Adding a digital converter box will allow these TVs to continue functioning beyond February 17. Don’t toss out the rabbit ears just yet; DTV broadcasters have been assigned channels in the VHF and UHF bands, so antennas should continue functioning as long as a DTV signal is available.

Connecting a digital converter box to an analog TV will allow you to watch digital content. Electronics stores across the country sell converter boxes for $40 to $75. A chance to lessen the financial burden of becoming digital is now being made available to customers by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Up to two $40 discounts are available per household to be used toward the purchase of digital converter boxes. But the NTIA’s coupon distribution won’t reach even half the country’s homes. Satellite and Cable

Some cable subscribers may require a digital set-top box to receive and convert DTV signals, though this will vary by service provider. Likewise, you may need a new set-top box to access HD channels if you have satellite TV. But, again, contacting your cable or satellite company is your best bet for getting an accurate picture of how the switch will affect you, as no single source can guarantee this.

Networks broadcasting exclusively on cables, such as MSNBC, Lifetime, and CNN, are exempt from the mandate. As a result, popular channels like these are being removed from basic cable by some cable companies, such as Comcast, and made available exclusively on a separate digital broadcast tier.

Most cable subscribers will still be able to get their service without a converter box, but many channels may not be available. Thus, consumers are compelled to upgrade their service and purchase a digital converter box to obtain new media (including ones that were once staples of essential cable subscriptions).

Brand-New Television

To enjoy the superior picture quality of digital television, you will need a new digital television set, not a converter box. Going digital does not have to break the bank, contrary to common belief. As technology costs continue to drop, more and more people now have access to digital televisions, whether SD, HD, or UHD.

Standard Definition Television (SDTV) is the most common type of digital television and offers picture quality similar to traditional analog TV. SDTVs, like analog TVs, may provide a resolution of up to 480 interlaced (480i) lines and are broadcast in a 4:3 aspect ratio. SDTVs, in contrast to their analog predecessors, can support the wider 16:9 aspect ratio.

Enhanced Definition TV has the exact resolution as standard definition TV, but the picture is much smoother thanks to progressive scanning instead of interlaced scanning. EDTV can also have a resolution of 480640 or 480720 pixels in either a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio.

Combining an HDTV with an HD transmission produces the more excellent quality known as “pure” High Definition. Images on High Definition televisions are two to five times crisper than those on Standard Definition televisions due to higher line resolution and narrower gaps between scan lines. A modest LCD HDTV can be purchased for as little as $200, while a massive flat-panel plasma model can cost upwards of $15,000.

The difference between HD resolutions like 1080i (with more lines and pixels) and 720p (with progressive scanning for smoother images) is negligible unless you have a giant TV screen. HDTVs, whether 1080i or 720p, over-the-air or cable, DLP or plasma, display High Definition content, a remarkably significant upgrade from Standard Definition.

Shopping Tips

All brand-new television sets must incorporate digital tuners as of March 1, 2007. Stores can keep selling analog-only TVs and products from their existing stock, but they must put a warning label on them to inform customers.

Be wary of digital televisions with labels that use deceptive language. For example, a digital tuner is not guaranteed to be built into a TV despite the presence of phrases like “Digital Monitor,” “HDTV Monitor,” “Digital Ready,” or “HDTV Ready” on the box. On the other hand, a digital tuner is included if phrases like “HD Built-In” or “Integrated HDTV” are on the packaging. Again, contacting the store or manufacturer is the best and quickest way to get this information.

Patrick Bedall contributed to this report.

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