Part of the problem is that HDTV, analog and digital terms have a lot of people confused. As the United States broadcasters move closer to the date where their signals must be converted from analog to digital in 2009, consumers should be aware that purchasing an analog television should include DTV or digital television signal capability so that they can continue to receive television programming.
As United States broadcasters work through the conversion period from analog to digital television, the signal transmits the information for the video and sound in binary code instead of a wave; using the UHF portion of the radio spectrum with a 6 MHz bandwidth, the same as analog TV signals. Digital television or DTV provides the viewer with several advantages:
• Smaller sized televisions receive pictures and sound with better quality
• Larger television screens benefit from digital signals ability to deliver higher resolution
• Television stations can broadcast several signals using the same bandwidth
• Interactive content or additional information can be broadcast along with the DTV signal
• Digital TV supports high-definition television broadcasting
When the conversion from analog to digital broadcasting is completed, without a DTV decoder in your analog television set you will need cable or satellite service to be able to watch television programming. HDTV is just one part of the digital conversion from analog broadcasting.
But to fully experience HDTV you will need more than just your television; the broadcaster must use a high-definition signal and beside the HDTV set, you will need a receiver and an antenna to receive the signal. DTV uses MPEG-2 encoding, the industry standard for DVDs. As you begin to shop for a high-definition television set you will have several options:
An HDTV ready set which is also called an HDTV Monitor. This type of set will not have an HDTV tuner instead they use an NTSC tuner so that you can continue receiving analog television programming.
An integrated HDTV which includes a digital tuner (also known as an ATS tuner) built in to the set itself. You will be able to watch high-definition television broadcasting by attaching an antenna to the set.
HDTV sets have either one or two native resolutions in order to scale the signal to match its resolution capability. It is good idea to consider what type of programming you watch most to select the best native resolution; movie fans should look for television sets with the highest resolution display while sports action fans should choose the highest progression frame rate.
High Definition Television is simply the highest level of digital television available; as more broadcasters convert from analog to digital television, having the right equipment is what will make the difference in your television viewing experience.