Disadvantages of digital television

Updated April 17, 2017

Most countries are switching from old-style analogue TV systems in favour of digital terrestrial TV. The advantages of digital TV include a wider choice of TV channels and high-definition TV through a standard TV antenna. Digital TV has a downside, too. Many viewers encounter technical problems when their local analogue TV transmitter is switched off and some have to upgrade antennas and TV sets before they can tune to the new digital TV channels.

Antenna Upgrade

Antennas need a strong digital signal, so you might need to upgrade, amplify or realign your TV antenna to receive a satisfactory digital signal.

Antenna Alignment

Digital signals provide less feedback than analogue, so aligning a TV antenna without a signal meter is more difficult.

Long-Range Problems

Tuning to distant TV stations is more difficult. Digital TV signals drop out completely below a certain level, whereas analogue TV signals degrade gradually, allowing a watchable (if sometimes grainy) picture at greater distances from the transmitter.

New Equipment

Old-style analogue TV sets cannot receive digital TV transmissions, so you will need to buy a set-top box or new TV set to watch digital stations.

Energy bills

Your power bill will be a little higher if you need a set-top digital box as well as a TV set.

Slow Channel Change

Changing TV channels is slower than with analogue TV because it takes a little time for your receiver to decode the digital signal.

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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.