Digital television has allowed consumers to view broadcasts in ways not possible with analogue signals. Images broadcast by digital means arrive to the television with less distortion and with less delay. Even with all of its technological advantages, some drawbacks do exist for the technology as older Americans struggle to convert to a new way of watching TV.
High Definition Television
High definition television is a technological breakthrough made by possible by digital image broadcasting. The major advantage provided by the digital signal in HDTV is the clarity and sharpness of the image that appears on the television screen.
Fully Operational or Broken
Digital television is an all or nothing scenario. Either the signal comes through in crystal-clear quality or the image is not present. Gone are the grainy days of analogue television where viewers could twist an antennae around until a partial snowy image appeared on the screen. According to the Public Broadcasting Station's website, the "all or nothing" aspect of digital TV is known as the Cliff Effect because one minute you're on dry land with a clear picture and the next you're off the cliff with a blank screen. All consumers can do to solve the problem is check the digital connections and call the cable company.
Digital television allows stations to broadcast in more than one programming stream. The result is an increased variety of shows and other broadcasts for the consumer to choose from. You may notice a lot of television stations premiering second and third versions of parent stations such as ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN News. This is all possible with digital broadcasting since essentially one channel can broadcast as several from the same location or combine several locations into one broadcast.