Digital Televisions

Written by Sarah Provost
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Digital television, while still in its relative infancy, offers several advantages over conventional analog TV. Far more channels can be transmitted within the same bandwidth, and the digital signal is not subject to ghost images, audio static and snowy images that can sometimes plague analog signals. Furthermore, digital television can show movies in an aspect ration of 16:9 (width to height) rather than the conventional 4:3, thus eliminating the necessity for letter boxing or pan-and-scan editing.

All digital televisions are capable of carrying high-definition signals. A high resolution image comprises 1920 pixels x 1080 lines, as opposed to the standard of 640 x 480. The image is therefore at least six times as sharp as that supplied by an analog TV. At this point, most televisions must be equipped with a set-top box to use the digital technology, but newer televisions are on the market with an integrated decoder.

All major networks and cable channels currently offer at least some high-definition TV programming. While HDTV is not yet the standard, the percentage of users is growing fast. As prices fall with increased demand, it is expected that soon the majority of television owners will have at least one high-definition set.

Recording HDTV

HDTV can currently be recorded to Digital VHS or to a digital video recorder such as TiVo. HDTV can be recorded to disk only by using the Sony Blu-ray DVD recorder, which is not available outside of Japan. The future development of high definition digital recordings will depend to a great extent upon whether copyrights can be protected.

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