DTV Questions and Answers

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Now that we're officially 100 days away from the digital transition, I thought I'd work on a list of 100 general dtv questions and answers. If anyone would like to add to this list, please feel free to post them here. Questions highlighted in red are questions that are asked often.

1. When is the transition to digital television (also known as DTV) for the United States?
The transition is scheduled to occur on February 17th, 2009.

2. What is DTV?
Digital Television is an improvement in broadcasting technology which will allow for improved picture and sound quality on your television set. Other benefits such as multicasting, and reduced broadcast bandwidth are explained further at the U.S. Government's What is DTV? Information Page. Once the transition to digital television occurs, all full-power broadcast television stations will not continue to broadcast analog television signals.

3. What is a converter box?
A digital-to-analog converter box is an electronic device that connects to your analog television set which will allow you to receive digitally broadcasted signals. How? A dtv box will convert digitally broadcasted signals to analog signals. This process will allow you to keep your television and continue to watch broadcast television signals over-the-air after the digital transition.


4. What is the converter box coupon program?
The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is offering subsistance to offset the cost of purchasing a converter box by allowing all U.S. households to request up to two coupons, worth $40 each, to be used toward the purchase of up to two, digital-to-analog converter boxes. You can learn more about the coupon program by visiting the NTIA's Coupon Info Page. You can apply online for the dtv coupon by visiting the Government's Official Apply for a DTV Coupon Webpage.

5. How long do I have until to apply for the DTV Coupons?
You can apply for the $40 DTV Coupon until March 31st, 2008.

6. Does my TV need a converter box?
As of March 1, 2007, by law, all televisions (with the exception of television sets labled as a Monitor) sold as new should include a built-in digital tuner (also called HDTV, digital, or ATSC tuners)
Your TV will not need a converter box if you see any of the following labels on the TV set or instruction manual:
“Integrated Digital Tuner”
“Digital Tuner Built-In”
“Digital Receiver”
“Digital Tuner”
“DTV”
“ATSC”
“HDTV” (High Definition television)
If your television was manufactured before 1998, odds are that you have a traditional analog set, which will require a converter box.
Your TV will need a converter box if you see any of the following labels on the TV set or instruction manual:
“analog”
“NTSC”
If you have lost your instruction manual, and or do not know if your TV set is equipped to receive digital television signals, you can register to the forum and post details about your television set in the following section: Everything Else - DTV USA Forum and selecting the New Thread button


7. Can I upgrade to digital television now or do I have to wait?
Yes you can upgrade now by connecting a converter box to your old analog TV or purchasing a new TV with a built-in digital tuner. Most television stations have been broadcasting digtal signals for over 3 years now.

8. What is the difference between DTV and HDTV?
Click on this thread for an in-depth explanation: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/hdtv-dtv...en-dtv-hdtv-technology-they-replace-sdtv.html

9. What is a digital tuner and does it mean when a TV is equipped with a built-in digital tuner?
Converter Boxes can sometimes be referenced as digital tuners even though they are an external (not contained inside a TV) electronic device.
A built-in digital tuner is a device built into a televsion set which allows the TV to view digital or even High Definition programming. TVs with a built-in digital tuner do not need an converter box.

10. What does it mean when a TV is "HD Ready"? Do I need a converter box?
An "HD Ready" television does not have a built-in HD-capable or digital tuner. The term "HD Ready" when referenced to a television set, means that the TV in question is capable of displaying a high-definition signal at 720p, or 1080i or 1080p (or all three formats) when using a device to receive the signals like a converter box or set-top digital cable box. More information on this topic is available at: HD ready - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

11. My dtv coupons have expired, were lost, or stolen, can I get new ones?
EDIT: You can now reapply for DTV Coupons if you've let your previously ordered ones expire. Go to www.dtv2009.gov for more information.

12. I have Cable or Satellite TV, do I need a converter box?
No. As long as each one of your televisions in your house, apartment, or dwelling are connected to your cable or satellite service, you will not need a converter box. A popular misconception about digital television is that consumers with basic cable service will need a converter box. This is not true, your cable company by law must provide their cable service without the need of a converter box for atleast 3 years after the February 17th, 2009 digital transition. (Verified at: The Digital TV Transition: FAQs - Consumer Corner)
It's also important to note that digital-to-analog converter boxes sold for over-the-air reception of dtv signals can not be used with basic cable service. Why? The signal sent by cable companies for digital television services is a proprietary signal that can only be received by a set-top box provided by your cable company. Cable companies usually charge for rental of a set-top box because digital television services that are offered with a set-top box include more channels, electronic program guide, and other special features not found on basic cable service.
You can also reference the following posts for information about different cable and satellite companies and their television services: http://www.dtvusaforum.com/cox-comm...-how-cox-plans-handle-digital-transition.html

13. Do I need a special "DTV Antenna" for digital television or can I use my old antenna?
You can use your old antenna to receive digital tv signals by plugging it into your digital-to-analog converter box or television equipped with a digital tuner. This includes te old fashioned type rabbit ears antenna, roof top antenna, and yagi antennas. The truth is, antennas that are marketed as a "DTV antenna" are no different than any other type of antenna. It's just a marketing gimmick.
One item to consider is that most broadcast stations will be transmitting signals on the VHF spectrum for digital broadcasts. If you're in the market for a new antenna for DTV or HDTV, there are antennas that are manufactured for receiving both UHF and VHF signals.

14. Will I receive more channels with a converter box or digital TV?
Probably. If you have optimal reception of dtv signals, you should receive a number of local stations that multicast subchannels (also known as multicasting or multiplexing). This allows a broadcaster to transmits multiple feeds of different programming on one channel (ie: channel 12.1, channel 12.2, channel 12.3). In my hometown of Arizona, one of the broadcasters has a full time weather update feed on their multicast subchannel. Read more about the advantages of DTV at Wikipedia.

15. What are the government websites that I can use to learn more about the transition to DTV?
The FCC's DTV page located at www.dtv.gov and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's DTV page located at: www.dtv2009.gov
 

DTVblues

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
What about recording off-air???

WHY is nobody concerned about recording their shows!!!!! I have seen NO DVD recorders, or VCRs or DVR recorders capable of recording digital channels!!!!! Must we either spend every waking moment watching TV or pay exorbitant cable or satellite fees in order to do this???
It seems like satellite and cable companies have the vested interest in this!!!!! Without these providers we cannot record our favourite TV shows!!!!!!
:mad:
 
#4
WHY is nobody concerned about recording their shows!!!!! I have seen NO DVD recorders, or VCRs or DVR recorders capable of recording digital channels!!!!! Must we either spend every waking moment watching TV or pay exorbitant cable or satellite fees in order to do this???
It seems like satellite and cable companies have the vested interest in this!!!!! Without these providers we cannot record our favourite TV shows!!!!!!
:mad:
HI DTVBlues,
I responded to your DVR question here, http://www.dtvusaforum.com/dish-network-dtvpal-converter-box/893-dtvpal-dvr-now-market.html
 
#6
I have young children and find that a lot of the shows I watch are not suitable or are on when we're out-so we tape a lot of things to watch when its appropriate for us to do so. Due to the current recession, TV used to be a nice diversion - however it sounds like I have to keep buying and buying and buying something to just to keep life the way its been - sounds like I'd have less stress getting a 2nd job and subscribing to cable! Or is that what this is all about.....more cable subscribers????
 
#7
I have young children and find that a lot of the shows I watch are not suitable or are on when we're out-so we tape a lot of things to watch when its appropriate for us to do so. Due to the current recession, TV used to be a nice diversion - however it sounds like I have to keep buying and buying and buying something to just to keep life the way its been - sounds like I'd have less stress getting a 2nd job and subscribing to cable! Or is that what this is all about.....more cable subscribers????
depends on the view point, on the pros the picture you will get will be tack sharp as good or better than your cable picture, if in the future you ugrade to a new tv with a digital tuner and HD. you will get the sharpest HD available bar none. now you can invest a few hundred bucks in a good antenna system and your box but it still costs less than 6 months of Sat or Cable in my area.:)
Cons you have to upgrade your equipment box, antenna etc which cost a few hundred dollars, Glass half empty or Half full it's all how you look at it. the cable and sat companies hope you see the half empty side and just give up and pay the monthly fees.
PS. I have found if it's not suitable for kids to watch I really shouldn't be watching it either. and if we quit supporting the junk they will have to give us better programing and movies or go out of business. We are the consumer, even Detroit has had to wake up and smell the coffee. but that too is gonna cost us not them.
 
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#9
WHY is nobody concerned about recording their shows!!!!! I have seen NO DVD recorders, or VCRs or DVR recorders capable of recording digital channels!!!!! Must we either spend every waking moment watching TV or pay exorbitant cable or satellite fees in order to do this???
It seems like satellite and cable companies have the vested interest in this!!!!! Without these providers we cannot record our favourite TV shows!!!!!!
:mad:
I am pretty sure your have no problem recording digital signals if those particular signals are not encoded with DRM digital right s management ie: scambled sigs to keep anyone from recording them, yes using a digital recorder which there are several onboard hard drive models out there such as Phillips and Sony and so on. the point is that if they don't want it recorded it won't work. And I suspect that is the only reason they pushed for the digital incoming signals to start with was tom protect themselves not to provide us with any great HD programing. Thus bottom line much of the stuff you would want to record won't be available to record via your new digital )DVR) anyway!
 

Jeff

DTVUSA Rookie
#11
Concerning DTV DVRs

Regarding questions about an OTA DVR, Dish has a new receiver/DVR that is called the DTV DVR PAL and is capable of receiving and recording Digital format signals via the UHF band and can be purchased for about $249.99 after a $50 discount. This DTV DVR is capable of recording about 30 hours of High Definition programming or 200+ hours of standard definition programming.

In order to receive these signals, a number of UHF antennas are available. Since the transition to DTV will also include some upper VHF channels, it is good to select an antenna (and coax cable, IE RG-6) that receives both the upper VHF and core-band UHF channels up to and including channel 51 UHF.

A highly recommended antenna for this application is the ClearStream C4 Outdoor Long-Range Digital offered by Antennas Direct that has a range of 65 miles and a gain of 14.8 dBi (each 3-db increment accounts for doubling of signal strength power compared to a simple isotropic antenna).

Transmission of all channels are scheduled for June 2009 based upon Congressional approval. I suggest that you go to Antenna Search to determine the line of site distance from your place of installation to the TV transmitter site. For example, for my application, South Mountain serves me well since it is only 33 miles from my home in Apache Junction, AZ that offers a clear view of the transmitter site during the day and night. Many other places in the country may not offer a clear line of site of the transmitter site requiring one to elevate their antenna to receive adequate signal to receive DTV stations.
 
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