Why Digital TV Is Better
Of course, all these differences between analog and digital television would be irrelevant if there weren’t something in it for you, the viewer. Fortunately for all of us, DTV is superior television—which should make the transition easier to live with.
Digital TV Means Better Picture and Sound
The biggest improvement offered by DTV is better picture and sound. Quite simply, a digital picture is a superior picture.
The difference between an analog and digital television picture is every bit as noticeable as the difference between VHS videotapes and DVDs, or between vinyl records and compact discs. In all instances, the newer digital technologies (DVDs and CDs) look and sound superior to their analog counterparts (videotapes and vinyl records). It’s the same when you move from analog to digital TV; the difference in picture and sound quality is quite obvious.
So say goodbye to fuzzy and grainy pictures, snow in the background, and ghost images. A digital signal doesn’t fade or get noisy; it’s crystal clear from start to finish. And there are no ghosts; a digital tuner is incapable of receiving the multiple signals that produce ghost images on analog TVs.
Digital sound is also superior to analog sound. The bandwidth is wider, the frequency response is better, and the noise is lower. In fact, there’s enough bandwidth for stations to offer much of their programming in Dolby Digital surround sound—something that’s just not possible with analog broadcasts.
Digital TV Means More Channels
Because digital broadcasting is more efficient than analog broadcasting, there’s room for local stations to offer more programming channels over the same bandwidth. The result is something called multicasting—offering multiple subchannels in the space of a single channel.
Each available subchannel can carry a complete high-definition program, a standard-definition program (in digital format), or specific data streams. Therefore, broadcasters can offer a variety of special data services over their digital channels, in addition to their normal programming.
For example, a station might offer HDTV programming on one subchannel, a standard-definition version of that programming on a second subchannel, completely different programming on a third subchannel, and a local news or weather feed on a fourth subchannel. That’s a lot more programming than the current single channel you’re used to!