Friday, August 17, 2007
Now, many of the HDTV Sets being sold have digital and analog tuners built in, but some TV sets being sold only have analog tuners built in, and like their older counterparts, they won't be able to receive digital TV signals on their own. The converter boxes are necessary to convert the digital signals that will come over the airwaves to the analog signals that these more primitive TV sets can understand.
One thing that's worth pointing out is that only people watching over the air TV broadcasts with analog only TV sets will be adversely effected by this conversion to digital programming if their sets aren't outfitted with the conversion boxes. People who subscribe to satellite TV or digital cable TV already have receivers that function as conversion boxes, and its assumed that cable TV companies that are delivering their programming in analog format will provide conversion boxes to their subscribers for the change over to digital programming. (Although in all of the chaos and misconceptions leading up to this conversion, it's unclear if or why cable TV companies who are still transmitting in analog TV format would have to upgrade to digital TV.)
While many people may be tempted to label the conversion of over the air broadcast television from analog signals to digital signals unduly annoying and a waste of time and money, it does serve a greater purpose. The most obvious difference for most TV viewer will be a crisper and clearer picture and sound quality from their TV's even for standard definition programming. The other benefit comes from the fact that it's taking up a lot of over the air bandwidth to transmit TV in both analog and digital signals. When the analog transmissions are shut down, that will free up a lot of bandwidth that can be used for things like emergency services communication and widespread wireless Internet access.
Of course, there is a lot of confusion about what the conversion will mean and fear that a lot of people will have no idea that it's happening until they try to turn on their analog only TV sets about two years from now. However, these things often resolve themselves and what will be will be.