Who's the biggest loser when it comes to DTV reception? Aliens!

Found this funny article at space.com. Here's a few clips of it. They also do a great job of explaining the differences in analog and digital signals.

But there may be losers, zillions of viewers who might not have a converter box or a digital-ready TV – namely, the aliens.

That's right: extraterrestrials who might be picking up our analog broadcasts could miss out. Ever since the Second World War, television signals (as well as FM radio and radar) have served as Homo sapiens' emissaries into deep space. High-frequency, high-power broadcasts have filled an Earth-centered bubble more than 60 light-years in radius with signals. If there are any aliens nearby, they would have been hard-pressed to find trilobites, dinosaurs, or even the Greeks and Romans. But, thanks to "I Love Lucy," they could find you – or at least your parents.
So how feasible would it be for ET to tune in our sitcoms? If you look at the spectrum of one of our (now antiquated) analog television signals, you'll note that it is very spiky. In particular, in that part of the band where the so-called luminance carrier is located, a lot of energy is concentrated in a small range of frequencies. Roughly 10 or 20 percent of the total transmitter power for a given broadcast might be huddled in a 100 kilohertz band centered on that carrier. If the aliens could only find this emission spike, they wouldn't have TV's picture and sound, but they'd know we were on the air.
Lamentably, alien audiences may be frustrated by the switch to digital television. That's because the transmitter power for DTV is fairly evenly spread across the spectrum. The spikiness is gone, and from afar, the attention-grabbing squeals of analog television's carriers have been replaced by DTV's smooth, low hiss.


Super Moderator
Can you imagine the co-channel in space? Picking up all the stations from one hemisphere at the same time? Hope the have better CECBs than they gave us.


Hope the have better CECBs than they gave us.
Heh. There's one thing we know - the digital-to-video technology they'd have would definitely NOT be coupon eligible. It'd be far better than the rubbish we've been palmed. I think they'd prefer to tap directly into the stream before it gets butchered by the lousy digital transmitter systems.