DTV Transition: FAQs
Here's a list of some common questions and answers related to the analog-to-digital transition, coming on June 12, 2009.
June 08, 2009 by Kim Wilson


How can I tell if my TV has a digital tuner?
If you purchased a new TV set since 2004, your chances of having a built-in digital tuner are good. Starting in 2004, many of the TV sets sold at popular electronics stores featured digital tuners that will work after the DTV transition on June 12, 2009. That said, some of TV sets are purely display monitors that lack the internal circuitry needed to pick up digital broadcasts. To determine if you have a digital tuner, which is often referred to as an ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) receiver or HDTV tuner, check the labels and markings on your TV/monitor. They may be found on the set itself or in your owner’s manual. Any or a combination of the following words/phrases indicate you have a TV with a digital tuner. [Integrated Digital Tuner, Digital Tuner Built-In. Receiver, DTV, ATSC, or HDTV]

A digital tuner allows reception of digital television (DTV) signals that are broadcast over-the-air by TV stations. These digital tuners may be integrated into a TV, VCR, digital video recorder or set-top box.

If a digital tuner is not installed then the following should appear on the set itself or the owner’s manual. [Digital Monitor, HDTV Monitor, Digital Ready or HDTV Ready] These sets can display digital and high-definition signals, but they need help getting those signals in the first place. You’ll still need the converter box or a cable TV connection.

Are all flat panel TVs digital?
Some flat panel TVs are known as monitors because they do not have a tuner built-in. Also, many early flat panel TVs were not high resolution TV’s, If the horizontal resolution is not at least 720, then the TV could be EDTV (enhanced definition) or SDTV (standard definition).

What is the difference between integrated DTVs and DTV monitors?
An Integrated DTV set has a built-in digital tuner and can receive digital and high definition broadcasts. If you have an Integrated DTV and live in an area served by a DTV broadcast station, you won’t need any additional equipment, with the exception of an antenna to receive over-the-air DTV broadcast programming. Integrated TVs can also receive and display current analog signals.

By contrast, a DTV-Ready monitor isn’t capable of receiving over-the-air DTV broadcast programming without additional equipment. A DTV set-top decoder must be connected between the antenna and the monitor to receive and display over-the-air DTV programming. Most monitors have a built in analog receiver and can display regular analog TV programming.  They can also display standard resolution video from DVD players and VCRs.

I already have digital TVs. Will the quality of the broadcasts be any different (better, worse, the same)?
Digital television (DTV) enables television stations to provide dramatically clearer pictures and better sound quality. By transmitting the information used to make a TV picture and sound as “data bits” like a computer, television stations can also carry more information using digital broadcasting than is currently possible with analog broadcast technology.

Do I need to change any of the settings on my digital TV to optimize it for the new digital broadcasts?
If you are currently receiving digital, HD broadcasts either on cable, satellite or with an antenna nothing will change. You will continue to receive TV programs.

If I have a digital TV, is there anything I need to do? Does my cable box have to change?
If you are using a pay TV service such as cable or satellite your existing box is already receiving digital signals and there should be no need to make any changes to your TV system.

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