Digital TV - The Great Switch
February 17, 2009 was the day federal law required all TV broadcast stations to start broadcasting in digital as well as the traditional analog format. By June 12, all stations must terminate all analog broadcasting. The switch, which has come to be known as The Digital Transition, will affect all viewers. Whether you get your television over the air or through cable and satellite dish systems, the future has just caught up with all of us. What does the Digital Transition mean for your Cable and Satellite Dish television viewing?
With the impending digital TV age upon us, it's important to have an understanding of what this new era brings. While there are several benefits to having Digital Cable TV, millions of TV viewers risk losing reception unless they take a few easy steps to get a digital signal. This article should give you the few details you will need to be ready for February 17th and a smooth transition into the digital age. It is relevant for both satellite dish and cable TV customers.
Why the Switch to Digital TV
Congress gave the go-ahead for the conversion to all-digital TV broadcasting, in order to free up frequencies for public safety communications such as police, fire, and emergency rescue. Another good reason for the switch to digital TV is how much data it can transmit, how consistent the data stays over distance, and what type of data the signal can carry.
A digital cable TV signal doesn't produce the same problems with our TV’s picture as an analog transmission does. Television in the digital age won't be limited to video and audio; our televisions will become truly interactive. Digital also has more efficient transmission technology and this enables broadcast stations to present a more enhanced image and better sound quality, as well as offer additional programming options for consumers through multiple broadcast streams.
How to Get Ready for the Digital Cable TV Transition?
What you need to be ready for the switch to digital cable TV will depend on the type of your television programming, whether you obtain programming over-the-air, from a satellite dish or cable television provider. If you need help choosing between Satellite and Cable television then I suggest you read Satellite vs Cable TV to help you make the best choice that will fit your lifestyle.
If you receive only free over-the-air television programming, the type of TV you own, either a digital TV or an analog TV, is very important. Viewers who receive only free over-the-air television may view digital programming through a digital TV set. The only additional equipment you’ll need if you have a digital TV set to view over-the-air digital programming is a regular antenna, either on your roof or a smaller antenna on your TV.
Benefits of Digital TV
With a digital satellite TV system, less bandwidth is required and therefore can be compressed and compression makes it possible to deliver a larger amount of data. Digital satellite TV systems are very similar to the traditional TV broadcast; it sends data signals to your home through the air instead of via radio waves. However, the information is sent and received by satellite dishes, rather than smaller TV aerials, which are able to receive and transmit information from satellites orbiting and resulting in a clearer, more direct signal.
Digital picture and sound means a perfect picture on all your TV's. Say goodbye to grainy television pictures. The Digital switchover is here and this means that your old Televisions just won't pick up signals anymore. A good way to avoid this uncomfortable situation is to get a dish for a satellite TV system installed. Read How to Install A Satellite Dish for a full explanation of the procedure. You will then be able to watch TV through a satellite feed, rather than purchase an expensive new TV that can pick up the digital cable TV signal.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article was written when the satellite TV provider DISH was branded as DISH Network. As of 2/1/2012 DISH Network has changed their branding name to DISH. Article post date: 08/07/2009.