Digital Television (DTV) is a new broadcasting technology that will transform your television viewing experience. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and sound. It can also offer multiple programming choices, called multi-casting, and interactive capabilities.
WNCT currently offers two DTV channels. The Young & the Restless, CSI, Two & A Half Men, and most CBS Sports presentations as well as most other prime-time shows are delivered to us in HDTV format and we broadcast them as such. Our channel 9-2 is also a high definition channel called "The CW." Programming for this channel includes America's Next Top Model, Smallville, One Tree Hill, Friday Night Smackdown. You can click here to see our entire program line-up for both channels and determine which shows are broadcast in HDTV.
Converting to DTV also will free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum. Those portions of the spectrum can then be used for other important services, such as public and safety services (police and fire departments, emergency rescue), and advanced wireless services.
The Transition to Digital TV
As of March 1, 2007, all new TVs must include digital tuners.
Analog TVs will need additional equipment to receive over-the-air television when the DTV transition ends. Consumers who rely on antennas (including outside antennas and "rabbit ears") to receive broadcast signals on TV sets having only analog tuners will need to obtain separate digital-to-analog set-top converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on analog TVs. Analog sets connected to such converter boxes will display digital broadcasts, but not necessarily in the full, original digital quality.
Converter Box Coupon Program
Beginning in 2008, your household may be able to obtain up to two coupons worth $40 each toward the purchase of converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has responsibility for administering the coupon program, and will issue rules regarding the coupons in the future. Additional information can be found at www.ntia.doc.gov.
Cable and Satellite TV
Cable subscribers may need new DTV equipment to view DTV programming in digital format. You should ask your cable provider what you will need and when.
Satellite subscribers may need new DTV equipment to receive and view high definition digital programming. You should ask your satellite company what you will need and when.
Digital television Quality Levels
There are many quality levels of digital television programming. The most common are:
• Standard Definition TV (SDTV) - SDTV is the basic level of quality display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV may be in either the traditional (4:3) or widescreen (16:9) format.
• Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV) - EDTV is a step up from Analog Television. EDTV comes in 480p widescreen (16:9) or traditional (4:3) format and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as high as HDTV.
• High Definition TV (HDTV) - HDTV in widescreen format (16:9) provides the highest resolution and picture quality of all digital broadcast formats. Combined with digitally enhanced sound technology, HDTV sets new standards for sound and picture quality in television. (Note: HDTV and digital TV are not the same thing -- HDTV is one format of digital TV.)
Q: What is digital television?
A: Digital television (DTV) is a broadcast TV signal transmitted as a series of binary numbers -- ones and zeros. Digital signals allow greatly increased quality and the ability to send additional information. This new technology is capable of transmitting a limited numbers of High Definition Television (HDTV) programs or multiple Standard Definition Television (SDTV) programs.
Q: Is digital television the same as HDTV?
A: No. HDTV (the HD stands for High Definition) utilizes the digital broadcast signal to send wide screen, super sharp, version of digital TV. HDTV is transmitted with a lot more picture information and six channels of digital audio. It's an incredible difference -- even more noticeable than the difference between DVD movies and VHS movies.
Q: When can I get digital broadcast TV?
A: Right now! WNCT has been broadcasting a digital channel for several years. In order to receive the digital signal, you will need an over-the-air antenna and a TV set capable of receiving digital broadcast signals. If you have not replaced your TV set in the last few years, chances are your set is not made to receive digital signals. You can also receive the digital signal of WNCT as part of the digital cable package from local cable companies, and with direct broadcast (satellite) providers.
Q: What differences will I notice between digital TV and what I have now?
A: The first noticeable difference of High Definition Television from the current television system is that the screen is much wider. In our current television system when the width of the picture is divided by the height of the picture it will always produces a 4/3 ratio. High Definition Television, on the other hand, has a width to height ratio of 16/9, which closely approximates that of the movie screen. The second key feature is that High Definition has over six times the sharpness and clarity of the current television system. The HDTV picture contains 1080 vertical picture elements (pixels) by 1920 horizontal pixels for a total of over 2.0 million pixels. The current standard definition picture contains only 480 vertical pixels by 720 pixels for a total of 345,600 pixels. Third, the color resolution of HDTV is also more than twice the current system. High Definition television also has six channels of CD-quality surround sound (left, right, center, left rear, right rear, and low frequency effects). Finally, the signal is digitally transmitted, which eliminates all of the current imperfections, which include snow (weak signal), double images (ghosting or multi-path) and picture sparkles (impulse noise). As a result, the picture is perfect whether you are one mile or fifty-five miles from the transmitter. If you watch a digital signal on a 4/3 set, you will not notice the change in aspect ratio.
Q: Great! How can I get my shows in HD?
There are three ways you can receive programs in HD: with an over the air antenna, with a direct broadcast home satellite service, and with digital cable service. Keep in mind that HD-specific channels are usually an additional cost with satellite and cable services beyond their regular monthly fees. If you have an over the air antenna and a TV set that receives digital signals, you can receive local channels that broadcast HD signals. Local news, syndicated programs, and network programs not sent in HDTV are upconverted to standard DTV. Any program CBS broadcasts in HD can be seen in HD on the WNCT digital signal.
Q: How do I receive CBS programming in HD from WNCT if I subscribe to a home satellite service such as DirecTV?
A: The antenna would be plugged into either your TV or into your satellite receiver box. If the antenna is plugged into your satellite receiver box, you will need to use the "Scan" mode to have the receiver recognize the new signal. You will then receive three channels of WNCT; one that broadcasts the non-HD digital signal; another channel that broadcasts the digital signal of WNCT and HD signal of CBS programming; and a third channel which is our sister network The CW. The satellite and cable companies may offer to add a separate antenna to receive WNCT in HD at the time of service installation, or you can hook up an antenna to your service at any time.
Q: Are all of CBS's programs going to be in high definition?
A: Eventually yes. CBS has already converted almost its entire primetime evening schedule to high definition and broadcasts many live sporting events in HD.
Q: Does getting an antenna mean I need to get "rabbit ears"?
A: Some viewers may be able to receive our digital broadcast with the use of "rabbit ears". For others, it may require the use of an outside "rooftop" mounted antenna. WNCT broadcasts our digital on VHF channel 10 so you will need an antenna that is capable of VHF reception. It does not have to be outside. Many people simply put them in their attic. You will need to properly position your antenna in order to receive digital signals. Consult a TV retailer, or click here www.checkhd.com to find out your specific needs based on where you live.
Q: I live outside Greenville. Will the digital signal reach me?
A: People who live as far as 70 miles away from the television station should be able to pick up a good digital TV signal if they use a properly installed, quality outside antenna located at least 25 feet in the air and in a clear area.
Q: I bought an HDTV monitor last year, but can't find your new channel.
A: In order to see the new HDTV broadcast channels, you will need a digital tuner (set-top box). Many new digital televisions come with the tuner built in. Some do not, and require a set-top box in order to receive a digital signal. Typically, if a TV set is sold as a "monitor", you will need to purchase a separate tuner. Your TV retailer should be able to help you find the right equipment.
Q: What's EDTV?
This stands for "Enhanced Definition Television." An EDTV picture is noticeably better than a "regular" digital, but it does not offer the clarity and outstanding color of a true HDTV picture. Consequently, an EDTV set is generally less expensive than a true HDTV set.
Q: What about my existing VCR? Will it be able to play back and record the new digital television?
A: Your existing VCR will be able to play back your library of VHS tapes on the new digital television receivers. However, your VHS VCR will not be able to record the widescreen high definition signal. If you want to record and playback the digital HDTV signal, you will need to purchase a new D-VHS VCR.
Q: What about DVDs? Would they be in HD on an HDTV set?
A: DVD is a digital format. However, the vast majority of DVDs are not in HD. Only recently have DVDs started being released in HD quality. There are currently two different formats: HD-DVD and BlueRay DVD. Just as the public had to choose between VHS and Betamax formats when videotape was first introduced in the 1970's, HD-DVD and BlueRay DVDs are incompatible with each other. Time will tell which format becomes more popular.
Q: What do the numbers 720 and 1080 mean when I look at buying an HDTV set?
A: These numbers refer to the number of lines your TV set shows. The higher the number, the most crisp and detailed your picture will be because it's showing more iinformation. Some people say that they cannot tell a real difference between HD shows they watch in 720 and others they watch in 1080. It's purely a personal preference.
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