Thursday, February 23, 2006
While the tried-and-true analog TV may be perfectly functional, DTVs represent a tremendous improvement in viewing. Analog sets employ magnetic waves for the transmission of images and sound, while digital sets utilize data, just as computers do, to create a superior audio and visual experience.
The big difference between these two types of television lies in resolution. A TV‚Äôs resolution determines the clarity of the image a viewer sees on the screen. Resolution is measured by pixels. Generally speaking, the more pixels on the screen, the better the picture. A typical analog set has a resolution of about 512 x 400 pixels. Believe it or not, a low-grade computer monitor offers far more pixels. In fact, most computer monitors have a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, while higher quality monitors have the ability to display 10 times as many pixels as an analog TV.
It‚Äôs hard to believe that a computer monitor can surpass a TV in terms of image quality, but it‚Äôs true. With a digital set, however, resolution is no longer an issue. Digital televisions deliver the same vividness, clarity and focus as the best computer monitor. Images are precise and crisp, thanks to the number of pixels involved ‚Äì 10 times more than the amount in the typical analog set.
Digital TV has made a number of broadcasting advances possible. It has made high definition programming a reality for viewers, delivering sharp, high-quality images and sound in a wide screen format. Multicasting, or the simultaneous broadcasting of a number of different TV programs, has become an option for broadcasters thanks to digital technology. Now, instead of broadcasting one program on one channel, as with analog TV, broadcasters can offer several, high definition programs at once to viewers over a single channel.
Viewers with analog sets can continue to use them after the DTV transition occurs, but a converter box is required with analog TVs to read digital signals. These boxes should become widely available for purchase as the conversion date approaches. Cable and satellite TV users should contact their providers for information about adapting their analog sets to digital format.