Digital TV Information - USA
For anyone that currently uses an antenna to receive TV signals, this may very well effect you when the broadcasting of analog TV signals ends on 02/17/2009. The good part is we have time to make the transition to digital and there are options. The bad part is that if we don't pay attention we may well find a big surprise on the morning of February 17, 2009 when our TVs don't work anymore. There are many good advantages to the USA switching over to digital TV, but poor people are who I feel for. In addition people that don't have a good understanding will trash their good TVs thinking the only choice is to buy new ones. With a digital tuner that outputs analog signal, you can still use your current older TV sets. Now if you really want to get the best you can, then you want a new high definition digital ready TV set. In major cities many TV stations are currently or soon will transmit both analog and digital signals. With a high definition progressive scan DVD player and High Definition DVDs and a good surround sound system, you will never want to go back. (It's really something what you can have at home for an entertainment center if you have the $$$ and a nice room to setup in.) The main problem I see is that while the rich can upgrade easy there are some people that simply can't afford to do so. For them thankfully they can sign up for coupons so they may purchase a digital-analog converter at reasonable cost and keep on receiving broadcast TV. For those with cable service, please check with your provider for info as many will keep providing both signal types for some time after the changeover.
Here is a web site with some good info. I suggest looking it over.
Please note this is for the USA as other countries including Canada and Mexico will have different changes and dates.
Re: Digital TV Information - USA
Thanks for that thorough explanation. I would have eventually gotten more information but I was beginning to think some of my tv's would not work anymore.
Re: Digital TV Information - USA
Another tidbit: If you are using an antenna, you do not need to buy a different one just for digital. However, you may want to invest in a power rotor and/or a signal amplifier if the stations are distant or in various directions.
Right now, most of the stations have the most power on their analog transmitters. This is gradually changing to digital, but some may opt to save bucks and never boost the digital signal power. That is why a signal amplifier may help.
With the digital, you will pretty much either get a good picture or nothing at all. In a very narrow area, the picture will pixilate or freeze, but normally it is good or not. No snow or wavy lines from a weak or distorted signal like with analog. The receivers are different in that the analog sends whatever it gets to the screen/sound. The digital receiver won't do this until it can make sense out of the signal. With a regular half-dipole antenna, you need to be pretty direct toward the source, hence the rotor.
If you live in a big city or near the antenna farms, you can probably get along fine with an omni directional antenna, as most have a power boost built in.
Summary: the digital signals and the analogues are of the same wavelengths and are both horizontally oriented, so no special antenna is needed. The digital receivers won't send anything to the screen unless it has a fairly good signal.