ANSWERS: 2
  • Since June 2009, all high-power television stations in the U.S. have been broadcasting strictly digital signals. Switching to all-digital may require some people to purchase new equipment, but this comes with better quality and more features.

    Function

    The Federal Communications Commission wants to switch to all-digital because digital signals take up 25 percent less space in the electromagnetic wave spectrum than traditional analog signals. Congress can raise money by selling this extra space in the electromagnetic spectrum to businesses that will offer new services.

    Benefits

    Much of the freed space in the EM spectrum will go to adding more channels for public safety officials to communicate with each other more quickly. In addition, digital signals allow higher resolution capacity for television programs.

    Exceptions

    Congressional law only requires that networks broadcast in digital; cable and satellite television service providers do not need to send signals in high definition.

    Features

    One of digital TV's main features is "multicasting." Multicasting allows the television provider to send more than one program on the same signal--allowing even more channels and a greater variety of programming.

    Misconceptions

    Television signals going digital does not mean that analog televisions are useless. People can still watch TV on their old televisions provided they buy a digital-to-analog converter.

    Source:

    Federal Communications Comission: The Digital TV Transition

    CNN: Switching signals: TV about to go digital

    Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Digital Television (DTV)

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