The DTV transition is comprised of two parts. Broadcasters must upgrade to digital transmission, and viewers of over-the-air TV must upgrade to digital reception.
Even with a converter box (or set-top box), your current analog television will not be capable of taking full advantage of DTV. To enjoy the full picture quality and benefits of DTV, you may want to purchase a new DTV set. But before you do, there are a few things to consider.
Integrated TV or monitor
A digital display may be an integrated television or just a monitor
“Integrated” or all-in-one DTV sets have built-in tuners to receive over-the-air DTV broadcasts and a screen to display the programming.
Other than a standard atenna, you will not need any other equipment to receive DTV.
The FCC has adopted rules that require all digital TVs sold in the United States to include a DTV tuner. Since March 1, 2007, all TVs sold in the United States, regardless of screen size, include a DTV tuner.
A “Monitor” does not have a built-in tuner and requires you to obtain a separate receiver (e.g., a set-top box) to receive and view digital programming. DTV converter boxes (or set-top boxes) can be purchased at retail stores. Cable and satellite providers also sell or lease set-top boxes for their specific services.
You will have a number of different screen choices when you look at DTVs. Some of the most common are:
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens
These are traditional color television screens updated for digital. Their resolution and color capabilities vary from model to model. These screens have a very bright picture, but are limited in size and the units are typically quite heavy.
Rear Projection TVs
Rear Projection TVS can be much larger than standard CRTs. They create the image on a small display, but then enlarge it onto the back of the screen. Older model rear projection TVs using small CRTs to create the image were dim and hard to see from extreme angles, but new digital projection technologies like Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Digital Light Processing (DLP), and Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) create brilliant, wide-angle pictures on ever-larger screens.
Projectors are TVs that create an image by projecting onto a wall or stand-alone screen (much like a movie theater). Projectors use the same digital projection technologies as rear projection TVs but, because the screen is separate, the image can be the size of an entire wall. Projectors are not as bright and often require the room to be dark in order to clearly see the image.
Flat Panel TVs
Flat Panel TVs are very thin and realtively light weight and are sometimes hung on the wall. Current flat panels use either LCD or plasma screen technology. Flat panel LCDs are very thin and produce extremely clear pictures. Plasma screen TVs produce images by lighting small pockets of colored glass. This technology allows the TV to create a bright, clear picture in large screen sizes while remaining only a few inches thick.
DTV uses the same antennas as analog TV
If you already have a good VHF and UHF antenna, either indoors or on your roof, you do not have to buy an antenna that is “HD Ready.” DTV broadcasters have been assigned channels in the VHF and UHF bands, between 54 and 700 MHz, where analog channels 2 to 51 are now. Therefore, as long as as DTV signal is available, your existing antenna should still work after the transition is complete.
To learn more about outdoor antennas, visit the Consumer Electronics Association Web site http://antennaweb.org for geographical maps and signal strengths.
Cable subscribers - DCR
A digital television may be digital cable ready (DCR).
Digital cable subscribers may want to consider a digital cable ready (“plug-and-play” DTV set. These sets have the circuitry of a digital cable box built in.
With a CableCARD, a security card that DCR TV owners obtain from their cable company, scrambled programming such as premium services may be viewed without a set-top box. Current DCR sets are for one-way programming only. While the consumer electronics and the cable television industries are working on a two-way agreement, cable subscribers will need a set-top box from their cable provider for two-way services like video-on-demand and pay-per-view programming. Most major TV set manufacturers produce DCR sets and HD sets with built-in digital tuners. Not all TV sets with built-in digital tuners are DCR.
Digital televisions will work with existing components.
DVD players, camcorders. VCRs, and video game consoles (“peripherals”) will work with your new DTV. Many DTVs and digital-ready TVs have video inputs which take advantage of their higher display capabilities such as DVI or Firewire. Virtually all DTVs also retain composite video inputs (for peripherals) and antenna inputs (for receiving over-the-air TV signals). When using non-high definition peripherals, DTVs either display the lower resolution or use signal processing to upconvert the image to HD. Digital video recorders (DVRs) also work with DTV, but you will need a DVR that is HD capable to record HD.
Making the Connections
The two diagrams illustrate the necessary connections from your digital equipment to your antenna to access:
With your current television set, an outdoor or indoor antenna (depending on your location) and a DTV set-top box, you will be able to receive Eight HD and Eight Create. Our equipment enables us to “multicast” or broadcast multiple channels at the same time.
To receive our multicast channels your TV set-up should be as follows:
The antenna must be connected to the antenna input on the back of the DTV set-top box. The connections between the DTV set-top box and your analog TV should be either:
1. The TV output on the set-top box to the antenna connector on the TV set Please remember, your TV must be set on Channel 3 or Channel 4.
2. The A/V on the set-top box to the A/V connector on the TV set.
See diagram below.
Complete digital reception
Complete digital reception requires an Integrated DTV set with built-in tuner and an indoor or outdoor antenna OR a DTV monitor, DTV set-to box and an indoor or outdoor antenna.
For complete digital reception, your connections should be as follows:
The antenna wire must be connected to the antenna outlet on the back of the Integrated DTV set or the DTV set-top box.
The Y Pb Pr connector on the DTV set-top box must be connected to the Y Pb Pr connector on the DTV monitor.
Please note: Y Pb Pr are digital components. These jacks are found on the back of digital sets.
Cox Communications and Qwest offer Eight HD as part of their HDTV cable service.
Reception requires a specific set-top box available only through Cox Communications or Qwest. A wire in your home replaces the antenna, and an HDTV–ready television monitor is needed.