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Short for Digital Television, it is a digital television standard that is fast replacing analog (or NTSC analog) television. DTV enables broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and sound. It also offers greater multicasting and interactive capabilities.  While many use the terms Digital Television (DTV) and High-definition Television (HDTV) interchangeably, they are, in fact, two different things. DTV refers to the actual TV signal being transmitted digitally (instead of as an analog signal). DTV offers several broadcast options, two of which are considered to be HDTV formats. Some of the more common DTV standards include:

  • 480i:   -the digital version of current analog signals.
  • 480p: - provides a sharper image and looks closer to HDTV than regular television. Today all DVDs can be played on EDTV.
  • 720p: - provides an image close in quality to 1080i, but allows 480p signals to be broadcast as well.
  • 1080i: - the most detailed HDTV image available from broadcast TV

The numbers above represent the vertical resolution, while the letters represent interlaces or progressive scan (i) (p). For example, 1080i represents 1080 vertical resolution, interlaced. For more information on the complete list of current DTV standards, you can visit the ATSC Web site listed in the links section below.

A U.S. Senate panel has set an April 7, 2009, as the deadline for television stations to switch entirely from analog to digital broadcasts. Analog televisions will work until all analog broadcasting ceases. Once the transition to complete DTV has taken place, a converter will be required to receive DTV signals and change them to the analog format of these older types of televisions. However, these DTV-to-analog converters will not produce true DTV quality.

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