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Confused by the Digital TV Switch? Some Answers to Your Questions (Posted On: Tuesday, January 20, 2009)

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Are you a television junkie? Do you hold viewing parties for season premieres, award shows or season finales? You may already know that at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2009 analog TV will cease to exist in the United States. This will affect any U.S. broadcast signals you are currently receiving. But you may not know what this really means for you.

Is this the end to your viewing parties? Or to free TV? Will you need to replace your current TV with a newer, digital model? What are the benefits -- will you be able to watch higher-quality TV? These are some of the many questions being asked, and now is the time for you to raise your hand, ask a few questions around the "switch to digital TV" movement, and get prepared.

IEEE, the world's largest technical professional society has the answers to some key questions that can help ensure you'll have a signal to watch your favorite shows, from Oprah and the local news to CSI and championship sporting events.

Q: Will digital television be better than analog television?
A: Yes. With digital television, you'll have higher-quality, picture-perfect signal and CD-quality sound. Think of it as bringing movie-quality viewing to the comforts of your home.

Q: Is digital television more expensive than analog television?
A: No. Traditional, non-cable television programs will continue to be free.

Q: If I currently have cable service, is there anything else I need to do to prepare for the switch?
A: If you have cable service, there is nothing else you need to do. However, if other TV sets in the house are not connected to cable and they receive their signals with an antenna, each of these sets will need a digital TV converter box.

Q: What is a digital TV converter box?
A: A digital TV converter box hooks up to a conventional analog TV set, allowing it to receive digital broadcasts.

Q: Will my current television still work with off-air signals after Feb. 17, 2009?
A: Yes, as long as you have a digital TV converter box and an appropriate antenna. In general, if your antenna works well with analog signals, it will possibly work with digital signals that are in the same television band (low-VHF, high-VHF, or UHF).

Q: How can I determine if my current television antenna is acceptable for digital reception or whether a new antenna is required?
A: In general, if your current antenna (outdoor or indoor) provides good or excellent reception quality, that antenna should be acceptable for DTV reception. This presumes that the current antenna covers the same television bands (low-VHF, high-VHF, UHF) that are being used by the digital stations.

Q: Is there such a thing as a "digital" antenna or an "HDTV" antenna?
A: No. While the box in which the antenna is sold may be called "DTV Antenna" or "HDTV Antenna," the analog and digital television signals can be picked up (i.e., received) with the same antenna.

The complete IEEE FAQ can be found online at under the IEEE news section.

To learn more about the Canadian switch to digital Click Here.

You can download the PDF "Digital Television" from Industry Canada Here.

Courtesy of ARAcontent


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