Thursday, March 15, 2007


If you watch tv and live in the united states then this is need to know information. February 17, 2009 is the date to remember. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission), is the division of the government that regulates what gets broadcasted on the TV, Radio, Wire, Satellite and Cable. The power of FCC compliance is such that they can turn round to a huge network such as FOX and simply say "NO." FCC approval stipulates that all TV stations must be broadcasting a "DIGITAL" signal by February 17th 2009. I stress DIGITAL and not high definition, although some stations will be broadcasting in HD. After this date, current analog broadcasts will cease and these frequencies will be used for other government or public services. This mandate, affects everyone, so it makes the importance of the information on this site even more relevant.

So what do you do. Well, you have two options. You can buy one of the digital convertor boxes that will be available this year. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will be offering upto two $40 coupons per household that solely relies on an antenna and over-the-air signals for their TV sources. There is only a limited amount of funding for this program, so if you know of someone who could really benefit from this program, please forward this information to them.

The second option, is to upgrade your current set to a high definition tv. If you've already done this, then you should be fine. The reason for the upgrade is that the new hdtv's have an ATSC tuner built into them. This replace the ntsc tuner that older tv's have. Just like the older tv's, you can't physically see the tuner in the back of the tv, all you'll see is a co-axial input. The ntsc tuner will allow you to pick up digital and HD signals over the air, by plugging an antenna into the back of your tv, or by subscribing to other digital/HD sources such as cable or satellite who will provide any additional equipment you will need.

Here is some more useful information taken directly from the FCC website:

"Digital Television (DTV) is a new broadcasting technology that will transform your television viewing experience. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and sound. It can also offer multiple programming choices and interactive capabilities. "

Why Are TV Broadcasters Switching to DTV?
DTV broadcast technology is more flexible and efficient than today’s more widespread broadcast technology, which is called “analog.” For example, rather than being limited to providing one analog programming signal, a broadcaster will be able to provide a sharp "high definition" (HDTV) program or multiple "standard definition" digital programs simultaneously. Providing several program streams using the digital spectrum is called "multicasting." The number of programs a station can send using the digital spectrum depends on the level of picture detail, also known as "resolution," desired in each programming stream. DTV can provide picture resolution, interactive video, and data services that easily surpass the capabilities of “analog” technology. Converting to DTV also will free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum. Those portions of the spectrum can then be used for other important services, such as public and safety services (police and fire departments, emergency rescue), and advanced wireless services.

What is High Definition TV (HDTV)?
HDTV is a type of DTV service. HDTV provides high resolution programming in a widescreen format. A current analog TV picture can provide resolution of up to 480 horizontal lines. An HDTV picture can provide resolution of up to 1080 lines, providing improved picture detail.
Aspect ratio is a comparison of screen width to screen height. Analog TV has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3, which means the screen is 4 inches wide for every 3 inches high. Widescreen HDTV format has an aspect ratio of 16 by 9. HDTV programs include Dolby digital surround sound, similar to the sound used in movie theaters and on DVDs.

When Will the DTV Transition Be Complete?
TV stations serving all markets in the United States are airing digital television programming today, although most will continue to provide analog programming through February 17, 2009. At that point, full-power TV stations will cease broadcasting on their current analog channels, and the spectrum they use for analog broadcasting will be reclaimed and put to other uses.

How Do I Get DTV?
Receiving DTV signals over the air requires an antenna and a receiver that can decode the digital signals. In general, an antenna that provides quality reception of over-the-air analog TV signals (VHF and UHF) will work for DTV reception. Cable subscribers may need new DTV equipment to view DTV programming in digital format. You should ask your cable provider what you will need and when. Cable subscribers may buy a “Digital Cable Ready” (DCR) or “Plug-and-Play” television that plugs directly into the cable jack and does not require a separate set-top box. In order to receive scrambled programming and premium one-way services, cable subscribers with a DCR TV will need to obtain a CableCARD from their cable company.
Alternatively, cable subscribers may lease a separate set-top box from their cable provider or buy one at a retail outlet. Satellite subscribers may need new DTV equipment to receive and view high definition digital programming. You should ask your satellite company what you will need and when. A list of the operating DTV stations is available at Satellite TV providers and most cable television systems are currently offering DTV programming. Subscribers should check with their service provider to see what programming is available in their area.

Will I Need a New TV if I Have an Analog TV?
When full-power broadcast stations stop analog service, you still will be able to use your analog TV with a set-top converter box. Converter boxes for analog TVs receiving over-the-air broadcasts will be available in retail stores at that time. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on your analog TV. If you are a cable or satellite subscriber, contact your provider about whether you will need a converter box for your analog TV. Digital Receiver Availability and FCC Tuner Requirements. Remember, even with a set-top converter box, your current analog TV will not display the full picture quality of DTV. To enjoy the full picture quality, you must have a DTV set or a separate DTV receiver and a digital display monitor. The FCC requires that many new television receivers sold in the U.S. today include the capability to receive digital TV signals. By March 2007, all TVs (and other devices that are designed to receive broadcast television signals) are required to have digital tuners built in.

What Do DTV Sets Look Like and What Will They Cost?
Most DTV sets have wider screens than current analog TVs. The wider screens allow for wider images that are similar to those you see in a movie theater. DTV sets come in a range of sizes.
As with most new consumer electronics technologies, DTV sets have become less expensive since their introduction a few years ago. Prices are expected to continue to fall over time and will vary depending on screen size, display technology, and other features.

What Is the Difference Between Integrated DTVs and Digital Monitors?
An Integrated DTV set is a digital television with a built-in digital receiver and decoder. If you have an Integrated DTV and live in an area served by a DTV broadcast station, you only need an antenna (preferably an outdoor antenna) to receive over-the-air DTV broadcast programming. Integrated TVs also can receive and display current analog signals.
In contrast, a digital monitor is not capable of receiving and tuning DTV programming without additional equipment. A DTV set-top box must be connected between the antenna and the monitor to receive and display broadcast over-the-air DTV programming. Also, if you are a cable or satellite subscriber, you may need a new set-top box to receive digital broadcast content. Confirm with your retailer that the DTV receiver or set-top box is compatible and has the proper connectors to interface with the DTV monitor that you are purchasing. Many monitors have a built-in analog receiver and can display analog TV programming. They also can display video from DVD players and VCRs through their connectors.

Will Integrated DTVs and Digital Monitors Display HDTV?
Integrated DTV sets and digital monitors do not necessarily display programming in full HDTV format. Some integrated sets and monitors will display DTV in lower-resolution “enhanced definition” or "standard definition” format. So although sets may be marketed with labels or descriptions that imply HDTV resolution, check with your retailer before purchasing if you want HDTV quality.

Why Can’t We Have Both DTV and the TV System We Now Have?
Broadcast and wireless services depend on the use of the airwaves. DTV technology is much more efficient than the current analog technology and will allow the broadcast of more program content using less broadcast spectrum. Transitioning to digital broadcasting will free up resources for public safety and other new and innovative services for American consumers.


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John said...

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