Did you know that there were only 9 commercial TV broadcasting stations in 1945? However, the number of commercial TV station may seem right when you consider the fact that there were only 7000 television sets in the year 1945 in USA.
The number of televisions sets grew rapidly after 1945 and accordingly, the number of commercial TV stations also grew and it stood at 48 in the year 1949. Growth in the number of commercial TV stations was exponential in the 50s and by 1960, there were over 500 commercial TV stations in the country.
What Is Analog TV Broadcasting
All of the TV sets sold prior to the advent of digital TV broadcasting were analog TV sets. In analog TV broadcasting, the commercial TV stations transmit video and audio signals using radio waves similar to the audio broadcasts sent by radio stations.
Every TV station uses a unique frequency for broadcasting analog TV stations. These frequencies are also known as channels. You see that annoying snow on your TV set when there is interference in these radio signals.
What Is Digital TV Broadcasting
First digital TV broadcast was made in the year 1996 by a North Carolina TV station. It is different from analog broadcasting as in this type packets of compressed data are used for transmitting television programs. The packets of data may contain audio, video, text and other kinds of data.
It is similar to the way Internet works. The advantage of digital TV broadcasting is that it offers superior quality as there is no interference which is often the case in analog TV. It results in brighter, clearer and higher quality video and audio.
Difference between Analog and Digital TV Sets
As mentioned above, most of the TV sets sold in USA prior to the advent of digital TV broadcasting were analog TV sets. It means that these TV sets were designed to process only analog TV signals. These analog TVs cannot process digital TV broadcasting signals.
On the other hand, digital TV sets have digital tuners that can decompress the digital signal received and show it on the television set.
In simple words, analog TV cannot display digital TV broadcasts as they do not have the digital tuners that are used for decompressing the digital data.
What Is Digital to Analog TV Broadcast Converter
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided that all of the TV stations will have to switch to digital TV broadcasting by June 2009. There were few exceptions such as for local and community TV stations but these were also required to switch over to digital broadcasting in the future.
FCC made these changes to free the frequencies used by TV stations. This freed up spectrum was to be used by fire, police and for various other public safety communications. Some of the remaining portion was to be used for wireless services.
Many people in America have old TV sets that do not have digital tuners. Since TV stations are no longer broadcasting TV signals in analog format, people with TV sets that only have analog tuners cannot continue watching TV as their TV sets are not equipped to process digital signals.
For watching the digital content broadcasted by the TV stations, a digital to analog TV broadcast converter is needed to convert the digital signals to analog signals and show the broadcast on televisions.
All of the TV sets that have been made after the year 2007 have built-in digital tuners. However, if you have an old TV, you may need to get your hands on a converter to continue watching your favorite TV shows that are now being broadcasted digitally.
One of the biggest advantages of digital TV signals is that the signals can have much more data which means that the quality of the program is extremely high as compared to analog TV broadcasting. Digital TV broadcasting is also useful for local TV stations as it allows them to multicast or broadcast multiple shows on a single frequency. You can watch multiple channels if you use a terrestrial antenna and a digital to analog converter box.
New TVs are costly and if you do not want to invest in a new television for the sole purpose of watching your favorite TV shows, you can instead invest in a converter box and continue enjoying your favorite TV shows.