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How It Works

Digital television requires a digital broadcast and an HDTV television for proper viewing. If you watch a conventional television broadcast on an HDTV set, you won’t see too much improvement, because the original signal cannot be enhanced by the set. Even if it is displayed at twice the resolution on your new screen, there is still only so much information embedded into the picture in the first place. Conversely, if you watch a digital broadcast on a regular set, your set will discard the additional picture resolution provided within the signal. The one benefit you will receive is a reduction in snow and other distortions that are sometimes present in analog broadcasts. So by watching a digital broadcast on a regular set, you’ll increase the sharpness of the picture, but you won’t see an increase in the picture detail.

The answer for optimal viewing, of course, is to have a digital broadcast and a digital television. Buying the digital television is the easy part if you have the money to spend. Getting the digital broadcasts is harder; only a few stations currently broadcast in this manner because of the costs of migrating all their equipment. The good news is that the major networks are already broadcasting and are increasing the amount of programming delivered in this manner.


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