What is DTV?

Digital television (DTV) is an innovative type of over-the-air broadcasting technology that enables TV stations to provide dramatically clearer pictures and better sound quality.

DTV is more efficient and more flexible than the traditional way of broadcasting known as analog. For example, DTV makes it possible for stations to broadcast multiple channels of free programming all at once (called multicasting), instead of broadcasting one channel at a time. DTV technology can also be used to deliver future interactive video and data services that analog technology can't provide.

> What is analog television?
Analog television service is the traditional method of transmitting signals. Since the inception of television, analog transmission has been the standard broadcast technology. But analog is not as efficient as digital television. It uses up much more valuable spectrum than digital, and only allows TV stations to transmit one channel at a time. Using the same amount of spectrum, a digital signal lets stations broadcast up to four or more programs at once. Analog is also susceptible to interference and “snow,” making a picture less clear.

> What is the DTV transition?
The DTV transition is the switchover from analog, the traditional method of transmitting television signals, to exclusively digital broadcasting of free television programming.

The transition from analog to digital television represents the most significant advancement in television technology since color TV was introduced. The DTV transition will be completed on June 12, 2009, as set by Congress.

Full-power television stations have been preparing for the transition to DTV since the late 1990s, when they began building digital facilities and airing digital channels alongside regular analog broadcasts. Today, 1,624 out of 1,762 full-power television stations nationwide offer digital programming.

> Why did America switch to DTV?
DTV is not only a more efficient way to broadcast, and it will also free up the airwaves for a variety of new services. DTV provides crystal-clear pictures and sound, more channels and even free, over-the-air high-definition television (HDTV) for consumers who have HD television sets. DTV will also allow more services than ever before with free, broadcast television.

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