Digital TV

In 1996, Congress passed legislation to improve public safety communication by freeing space on the telecommunications spectrum through what is known as the Digital Transition. The legislation required all full-power television stations to stop broadcasting their over-the-air signals in analog format and, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on February 18, 2009, transmitting all broadcasts in dtv transition only.

Digital television is an advanced broadcasting technology that will enable broadcasters to offer television with better picture and sound quality, while freeing up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum. Consumers will also receive more programming options and better-quality audio and video.    Portions of the analog spectrum can then be used for other important services, such as public and safety services (police and fire departments, emergency rescue), and advanced wireless services. DIRECTV by DirectSatTV

Many of the nation’s TV households subscribe to direct satellite tv offers. But in any given cable home, you might find some TVs equipped with set-top boxes and others connected directly to the incoming cable line for basic service. All these TVs should work just fine after Feb. 17, thanks to a 2007 agreement between the cable industry and the FCC.

Cable operators that choose to go to an all-digital distribution system must make sure that all customers are equipped with compatible set-top cable boxes. But keep in mind that cable operators are only required to carry local broadcasters’ primary channel signals–they are not required to pass along any of the subchannels. If you want those, you’ll probably have to get an over-the-air antenna and a DTV converter box, or a new TV with a digital tuner.

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