The Pros & Cons of Digital Television

Written by thomas mcnish
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The Pros & Cons of Digital Television
The switch to DTV, like most other things, has its pluses and minuses. (antenna image by Pali A from Fotolia.com)

As of June 13, 2009, all analogue TV signals sent from TV stations throughout the country began broadcasting exclusively in digital signals. The reason for the conversion is because digital signals take up less air space than analogue signals, freeing up broadcast room for police, firemen and other emergency workers. It also freed up space for communications companies to broadcast high-speed wireless Internet. Like anything else, there are positives and negatives to the switch.

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Pro: Picture and Sound

The switch to DTV (digital television) offers a much more high quality picture than the old analogue system. In fact, stations can even braodcast in high definition (HD). That means you can still receive some of your favourite channels, including ABC, NBC, Fox, CBS and PBS in HD for free. You'll also get improved sound from the DTV switch.

Con: Buying New Equipment

If you've been using the classic "rabbit ear" antenna to pick up your TV signals, you'll now have to purchase an analogue-to-digital converter box. These boxes range in price, but can usually be found for around £16 up to £61. Most retail stores carry the converter. Also, if the antenna you're using is quite old (20 years or older), you might have to buy a newer, more powerful antenna. These are also available at most retail stores and range in price from £4 to £32.

Pro: Less Bandwidth

The entire reasoning behind the digital TV conversion is perhaps its biggest pro. The new digital TV signals take up far less bandwidth than their analogue counterparts, freeing up wireless space for other things. The government is now auctioning off this freed up space to wireless communication companies for more advanced technology, such as Wi-Fi and other high-speed wireless connections. Digital TV is helping the entire country move forward technologically.

Con: Loss of Signals

In the analogue TV days, you could deal with a little static or some slight discolouration from a bad TV signal. But with the new DTV, a loss of signal means you lose your channel entirely. You can be watching a show, and instead of a little hissing static or picture movement, your screen will go entirely blank, notifying you that your signal is not strong enough. When you do receive the picture, it's of much higher quality, but if you're not getting the perfect signal, you'll lose the show entirely.

Pro: More Channels

If you've been using analogue TV for awhile, you've surely noticed the lack of choices in channels. But with DTV, because the bandwidth is less, broadcasters can actually send out a few channels simultaneously. This is definitely a pro, because not only are more entertainment choices being offered, but educational channels are being broadcast, too, helping to provide quality TV for low-income families with young children.

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