What is digital TV?

This is archived content from Digital TV Facts. For up-to-date information on the digital TV transition, see the federal government’s site, www.DTV2009.gov.

Digital TV (DTV) is a newer form of technology used for sending television broadcasts to your home.

For viewers, digital TV can offer improved picture and sound, and potentially more programming options. Digital TV can also offer interactive features, such as electronic program guides.

Broadcasters throughout the U.S. are making the transition to digital transmissions. Currently, local stations simultaneously transmit their broadcasts in both the digital and the older analog forms.

Televised information can be sent more efficiently in digital form. Sending TV content digitally will leave more of the broadcast spectrum free for new uses once the transition is complete.

In very basic technical terms, digital broadcasts are encoded streams of zeroes and ones—the same binary language used by computers. The digitized signal is sent over the airwaves to be received by your TV.

(Digital TV broadcasting is sometimes called “digital terrestrial television” (DTT or DTTV). The longer name is used to differentiate digital TV broadcasting from other digitized forms of television, including digital cable or direct broadcast satellite.)

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What is analog TV?

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Why is the TV broadcasting standard changing from analog to digital?

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Is DTV the same as HDTV?

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What is SDTV?

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What is EDTV?

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Will my current TV still work after the switch from analog to digital?

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What is a set-top converter box?

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How much will converter boxes cost?

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When will analog TV broadcasts end?

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Are any TV stations exempt from the 2009 cutoff date?

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What is a digital TV adapter?

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How do I get my $40 coupon from the converter box subsidy program?

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How does digital TV give me extra local channels for free?

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What is multicasting?

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Are HDTV and multicasting competing technologies?

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What kinds of programming are offered on multicast channels?

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Will my cable company carry the new local multicast channels?

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Will my satellite provider carry the new local multicast channels?

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What is an electronic program guide (EPG)?

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Why doesn’t my new digital TV receive digital broadcasts?

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Do I need a new antenna to get digital TV?

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