What is DTV?
DTV stands for digital television. The only real difference between digital TV and analog television is the manner in which programs are broadcast. Analog television is broadcast in the same way radio frequencies are sent out. This means that analog TV broadcasts are prone to interference. If you are "mature" enough to recall pre-cable television days, you have certainly experienced this type of interference. It often presented itself as staticky "snow" on the screen in place of the show you were trying to watch, or ghostly figures in the back or foreground of the TV broadcast. Also, with analog television, the audio and video are transmitted separately. This makes analog broadcasts more prone to lose its sound or its picture due to frequency interference.
Digital television is broadcast in the same way your computer receives data over the Internet. Bits of information are sent from a transmitter to a receiver, which would be your DTV or an analog television with a digital converter. This means that both audio and sound (as well as text, such as subtitles or closed captioning) are all sent to your television together. DTV is more of an all-or-nothing type of broadcasting. Either you have clear video and audio or you have nothing at all. However, because of the manner in which DTV is transmitted you will likely experience fewer outages in conjunction with better clarity and sound.
Once television stations switch to broadcasting only digital television, analog TVs will no longer be able to receive broadcasts without a special device that acts as a receiver. If you are uncertain whether you have a DTV, some factors that can help you make a determination. If you have an older TV, chances are it is analog. Almost every television manufactured prior to 1998 is analog. Most TVs produced in 2004 and later do have digital tuners, and by law all televisions sold after March 1, 2007 have to be DTVs. Another way to find out if you are ready for DTV is to look for labels on your television. If there are any markings that say the TV has a digital tuner or receiver, or "HDTV," you will glide right through the transition.
Speaking of HDTV, read on to learn what it is and what the difference between HDTV and DTV really is.