Answers to the basic questions about what the DTV conversion is. List prepared by Gary Sgrignoli, a professional consulting engineer.
Q: What is the DTV transition?
A: The transition from analog to digital television (DTV) is the most significant advancement in television since color television was introduced to the market in 1954. The actual full-power transition from analog television to exclusive use of digital television formally began in May 1999 and will be completed on February 17, 2009 at 11:59 pm when all full-power analog signals will be required by Congressional law (Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005) to be turned off.
Q: Will digital television be better than analog television?
A: Built into the digital television transmission signal is extra information that is used for error correction, thus preventing the noisiness, “ghosting” and “speckles” sometimes seen when using an analog signal. Digital signals will produce a clean detailed picture with CD-quality sound even as the signal gets weaker or more distorted until it reaches the threshold where it becomes unusable.
Q: Is digital television more expensive than analog television?
A: No. Traditional, non-cable television programs will continue to be free to the public.
Q: If I currently have cable service, is there anything else I need to do to prepare for the switch?
A: If you have cable service, there is nothing else you would need to do when the full power analog signals are turned off. However, if other TV sets in the house are not connected to cable and they receive their signals with an antenna, each of these sets will need a converter box to independently receive off-air digital signals.
Q: What is a digital converter box?
A: A digital TV converter box hooks up to a conventional analog TV set, allowing it to receive digital broadcasts.
Q: Will my current television still work with off-air signals after February 17, 2009?
A: Yes, as long as you have a digital converter box and an appropriate antenna. In general, if your antenna works well with analog signals, it will possibly work well with digital signals that are in the same television band (low-VHF, high-VHF, or UHF).