What is Digital TV?

Digital TV (DTV) is an advanced type of broadcast technology that has improved the sound quality and visual quality of all television programming. Whether you are watching the new episode of Downton Abbey or enjoying a weekend marathon of Law and Order, DTV allows you to enjoy a high-quality viewing experience.

Digital television is available to customers in both standard-definition television and the increasingly popular high-definition television (HDTV). High-definition televisions typically boast a better-quality image, along with a higher price tag than standard-definition televisions.

Although all television programming is currently displayed through digital broadcasting, it wasn’t always this way. Television stations used to use analog broadcasting, which provided lower-quality sound and picture display.

In June of 2009, television stations were required to switch all programming from analog to digital. This Digital Television Transition aimed to improve the quality of television programming, while also freeing up parts of the broadcast spectrum that were previously used by analog broadcasting. This created more space in the spectrum for public safety communication (think police and fire departments), along with freeing up more space for advanced wireless network services.

Is DTV the same as HDTV?

No, the two are not the same. HDTV is a format (aspect ratio, pixel density, etc.), not a method of transmission like DTV, which is a method of transmission for both standard and high definition.

What were the advantages of DTV over analog?

Some of the advantages of digital TV over analog included:

  • Superior picture quality given the bandwidth of a region
  • Smaller bandwidth requirements for better image quality
  • Cross-platform compatibility with computers and the Internet
  • Consistent reception
  • Better audio quality
  • Levels of interactivity that were unrealized prior

The move to digital had more noticeable ramifications in parts of the world where television was still rather limited in terms of channel offerings or programming.

Why is digital TV so important?

Because of the bandwidth freed up by the switch to digital, room was made for first responders. Mobile wireless broadband services were freed up for police, fire and rescue squads to stay connected and in touch with areas in need. A growing demand for wireless services and devices would have led to a catastrophic shortage of usable and finite resources comprising the electromagnetic spectrum. Digital television freed up these resources while still giving television viewers what they wanted. The move to digital marked a more efficient and consolidated use of bandwidth while improving on the overall viewing experience.

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