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The Ups And Downs Of Digital TV Technology


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Although it's not really a new technology, Digital TV will seem like a new technology to many people when it becomes the only transmission format for over the air TV programming starting in February of 2009. Digital TV basically takes advantage of computer technology to transmit television programming by converting the images and sounds into computer data before transmission. Upon arrival at its destination, that computer data is then reassembled into the picture and sound that become the TV programming that you can watch. While this may sound like a rather round about way of getting TV programming to its viewers it actually has a lot of advantages over the older analog transmission format. One of the first things that any new viewer of digital TV will most likely notice is that it provides a very clear picture. That's due to the ability of the digital tuner that receives the transmission to clean interference out of the signal before converting the raw data into images and sounds. This ability to clean up the interference will improve the picture even of TV that's transmitted over cable. That's because some interference creeps into TV thats transmitted through buried cables.

Another major benefit of digital TV is that it comes with an on screen program guide that allows viewers to see what's on each of the channels that they have access to. These interactive TV listings include descriptions of each program so that viewers can always know what's on without flipping to a random channel and trying to guess what they're watching.

Another, less visible, benefit of digital TV is that it can be compressed in order to take up less bandwidth. This means that more channels can be transmitted over the same cable or range of over the air frequencies. While this isn't that helpful for normal over the air TV and satellite transmissions, it's extremely useful for cable TV providers to expand the number of channels that they offer without replacing cables. It's also good for anyone who wants to deliver HDTV programming- regardless of the transmission medium- because of its bandwidth hogging nature.

There are a couple of inconveniences that anyone who takes advantage of over the air TV will be subjected to when the switch is made in 2009. One of them is the fact that when it comes to reception, digital TV is very much an all or nothing type of deal. That is, with digital TV you either experience a crystal clear picture or you don't get any picture at all. That's a big difference between it and analog TV which will degrade, but still be watchable well after it starts getting fuzzy. This reality alone will probably cause a resurgence in the popularity of big roof top TV antennas. Another inconvenience is caused by the fact that there are a lot of TV sets out there that don't have the digital tuners necessary to decode the digital TV signal. This can obviously be remedied by buying a new TV, but there will also be digital receiver boxes available that will convert the digital signals to analog format before sending them to the TV set.

In all, the higher quality picture and the increased available bandwidth that will result from the digital TV transition will be good things, but only time will tell how well people react to this switch.

J. Hall writes articles about the latest developments in technology, electronics, and television. She'd like to inform you that Dish Network is ready for the new digital TV technology and if you need more information about how this change will affect your Dish Network service read J. Hall articles.


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