By June 12, 2009 every full-power television station in the United States will be mandated by law to broadcast exclusively in a digital format. For the millions of people in the United States still using analog TV's, there is no need to worry about your TV set becoming obsolete, but there are steps you will need to take in order to continue using your current analog set. This includes using a digital-to-analog converter box and connecting to a subscription service such as cable or satellite TV. Of course your analog set will continue to work with gaming consoles, VCRs and DVD players other similar products.
Digital Television, also known as DTV, is an innovative type of broadcasting technology that provides clearer pictures and sound when compared to analog signals and also allows for more programming choices on your television. For example, an analog signal is limited to providing only one program at a time while a digital signal is able to offer multiple Standard Definition (SD) digital programs simultaneously or a single 1080p High Definition (HD) program. DTV also allows stations to offer improved picture and enhanced audio such as surround sound straight to your TV.
In addition the switch to DTV will offer a number of public benefits. This includes freeing up parts of the broadcasting spectrum to allow for more public safety communications such as police, fire, and rescue teams. Some of the spectrum will also be auctioned off to companies that will be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services for phones and internet. On top of this broadcasting companies will be able to offer interactive video and data services that simply are not possible with current analog technology.
For those of you wondering if you have to wait until after June 12, 2009 to begin watching DTV, the answer is no. Digital television is available now and you are already using DTV if you subscribe to any high definition or multicast programming from any of your local broadcasting stations.