world of television entertainment, everyone's talking
(high-definition television). HDTV offers consumers much higher
resolution and better picture color and clarity when compared to standard analog televisions. Analog televisions which
use CRT technology have been
around for many years now. A
standard television is able to broadcast 480 lines of pixels. Each
line takes 1/60 of a second to draw. The line drawing is done
by having the odd lines drawn first followed by the even lines,
which is commonly called
Until recently, consumers wanting
large-screen televisions had to rely on CRT technology. Now large
screen televisions are available that use digital display
technology. Instead of relying on interlacing, digital displays create their images using a fixed
grid of tiny, individually controlled pixels and offers 720 lines of
pixels up to 1080 and uses progressive
scanning where the entire picture moves at one time every 1/60 of a
Digital Television (DTV)
Short for Digital Television,
DTV is a digital
television standard that will replace analog (or
Digital television will allow broadcasters to offer better picture
quality over current transmissions, and movie-quality transmissions
with HDTV. DTV also allows broadcasters to offer multiple TV
programs at the same time with better picture quality and sound.
Key Terms To
Understanding Digital Television
Preceding digital television (DTV) all televisions
encoded pictures as an analog signal by varying signal
voltage and radio frequencies.
Short for Digital Television, it is a digital television standard
that is fast replacing analog (or NTSC analog) television.
Short for High-Definition Television, HDTV is a standard for digital
TV where the broadcast transmits widescreen pictures with more
detail and quality than found in a standard analog television.
While many use the terms Digital Television (DTV) and High-definition
Television (HDTV) interchangeably, they are, in fact, two very different things. DTV refers to the actual TV signal being transmitted digitally (instead of
as an analog signal). DTV offers several broadcast options, which two are
considered to be HDTV formats.
480i: The digital
version of current television signals.
480p: Enhanced Definition
Television (EDTV) provides a sharper image and looks closer to
HDTV than regular television.
Today all DVDs can be played on EDTV.
720p: a HDTV format that
provides an image close in quality to 1080i, but allows 480p signals to
be broadcast as well.
1080i: the most detailed
HDTV image available from broadcast TV
* The numbers above represent the vertical resolution,
while the letters represent interlaces (i)or progressive (p) scan. For
example, 1080i represents 1080 vertical resolution, interlaced scanning.
In addition to offering a higher
resolution, DTV also offers a higher
television aspect ratio when compared to analog.
Television aspect ratio compares the the screens width to its height.
Traditional televisions offer a 4x3 aspect ratio. A standard 32-inch screen
would be 25 1/2 inches wide and 19 inches tall. DTV allows for widescreen
aspect ratio, which is measured as 16x9. A 32-inch widescreen would be 28
inches wide and 19 inches tall, allowing viewers to see a much bigger image
A U.S. Senate panel has set an April 7, 2009, as the deadline for television
stations to switch entirely from analog to digital broadcasts. Analog
televisions will work until all analog broadcasting ceases. Once the transition
to complete DTV has taken place, older types of televisions will need a converter to receive DTV
signals. Current televisions will continue to work with
cable, satellite, VCRs and DVD players for many years.
Standard Definition Television (SDTV)
is a type of digital television that is able to transmit and produce
images that are of a higher quality than standard analog broadcast. SDTV is
typically a 480i signal (where 480 represents the vertical resolution and
i represents interlaced scanning). Digital cable and digital satellite
programming is widely available in SDTV format. While SDTV doesn't approach the quality of HDTV, it's superior when compared to conventional
EDTV, or Enhanced
Definition Television can also be transmitted by DTV, and
visually, it simulates HDTV viewing quality. EDTV operates as 480p (where
480 represents the vertical resolution and p represents progressive scanning).
To take advantage of the 480p standard, you must use a video source that
outputs that signal (e.g., a DVD player) and the display must be able to read
the 480p input signal. EDTV also offers the benefits of Dolby digital
and EDTV can be viewed in widescreen format.
EDTV is a
major advancement in television. While HDTV is still seen, right now, as an
emerging technology, EDTV is available now and can provide you
with an on-screen picture that is close in quality to HDTV.
Short for High-Definition Television,
HDTV is a standard for
digital TV where the broadcast transmits
widescreen pictures with more detail and quality than found in a standard analog television, or digital television. HDTV is a type of Digital Television (DTV)
broadcast, and is considered to be the best quality DTV format available. Types of HDTV displays include direct-view, plasma,
rear screen and
front screen projection. HDTV
requires an HDTV tuner to view and the most
detailed HDTV format is 1080i.
Types of HDTV Displays
A direct-view television is the type we are all familiar
with. Direct-view televisions
use a CRT an a scanning electronic gun to "paint" an image on a phosphor
coated screen. Direct-view televisions are now available in analog,
digital and HDTV versions.
Plasma TV's create a picture from a gas (plasma) filled with xenon and
neon atoms and millions of electrically charged atoms and electrons,
that collide when you turn the power on. The energy the
collision releases, increase the energy level in the plasma and the neon
and xenon release photons of light (similar to the way neon lights
work). Plasma TVs offer large viewing areas (up to 50 inches) but are
very thin. While they offer excellent picture quality, they're quite
Rear Screen TV
A rear screen TV uses a projection screen in place of a CRT to display
images. Rear screen TVs offer high resolution and bright colors, and newer
models use high-quality screens that allow for many viewing angles.
Front Screen Projection
screen projection works like a Rear Projection TV, only Cathode
Ray Tubes are built into a separate unit that projects the image onto
the front of the TV screen. The screen and projector are separate so the
viewing size is mainly limited to the size of your room. More expensive
front screen projectors can produce a nice bright image, however they
will only work in a darkened room.
HDTV or HDTV Ready?
One thing you may find confusing is that buying an HDTV will not
guarantee you immediate access to HDTV programming. When purchasing a HD
television, you'll have a choice between
integrated HDTVs and those that are often called "HDTV-ready" or "HDTV
compatible." To receive HDTV broadcast, you need an
HDTV tuner a
device capable of receiving and decoding HDTV signals. HDTV tuners
can be a stand-alone device or it can integrated in the HDTV display.
A high-definition television or display that has the
HDTV tuner built into the set is called "integrated HDTV" while "HDTV-ready" refers to a television set that does not come with an integrated HDTV tuner.
An HDTV-ready set means you must purchase the tuner separately.
Did You Know...
A "HDTV set-top box" is another name for a high-definition
tuner. It is also called a HDTV receiver or HDTV converter. A
high-definition tuner is required to receive and decode HDTV
Vangie 'Aurora' Beal
Last updated: November 11, 2005
ATSC General FAQ
Analog television sets will continue to receive analog broadcasts at least
through 2006 and possibly longer. After that, consumers will be able to hook up
a set-top box to their existing TV to receive digital TV broadcast signals, but
not in high-definition. Of course, current TV sets will continue to work with
cable, satellite, VCRs, DVD players, and other devices for many years.
Everything you need to know about HDTV from C|Net.com
HDTV in Plain English
This article takes a look at where we have been with the current television system
so you can see where we are going with the new technologies.
Interlaced video exploits various technical possibilities of video broadcasting,
to reduce the frame rate (and therefore the transmission bandwidth) while
avoiding a frame rate that would be too slow for the eyes to to cope with (bad
How progressive scan works
Progressive scan technology is synonymous with super sharp picture quality but
how does it differ from interlacing scanning and just how does it work?
Senate Approves 2009 For End of Analog TV
The Senate moved the digital TV transition one step closer to reality, setting a
firm date for television broadcasters to switch to all-digital transmissions.
Lawmakers gave broadcasters until April 7, 2009, to end their traditional analog
transmissions. The so-called "hard date" was included in a sweeping budget bill.
Guide To DTV Standards
The ATSC Standard for Digital Television (DTV) encompasses a number of elements,
documented in various Standards, Recommended Practices, and Implementation
Guidelines. This resource serves as a guide to the these documents.
Home Theater Magazine
Featuring news, spotlights, product descriptions and reviews of today's Home
DTV Shopper's Guide
Digital Television (DTV) is a new type of broadcasting that will transform your
television viewing experience. That means better quality, more choices, and more
control over your television. This articles discusses what you should know
before you buy!
What to Look For in a direct-view TV
Direct-view TV is the industry label for what most people think of as a standard