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.
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.
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.
In June of 2009, the federal government began requiring that all television stations in the United States broadcast through a digital signal instead of the analog signal used for so long. Most television stations now also broadcast in high definition television (HDTV). In order to receive the HDTV signal, consumers must upgrade their equipment to an HDTV format. Purchasing an HDTV antenna is often a part of this upgrade.
Here are guidelines for purchasing an HDTV antenna:
1. There are really no antennas specifically designed to receive only HDTV signals. Antennas do not recognize whether a television signal is high definition or not. What is does recognize is if the television signal is digital or analog. Also, an HDTV antenna will help optimize the digital signal, making it appear better on an HDTV television.
2. An outdoor HDTV antenna is a better choice for most consumers than an indoor one. It is much easier for an HDTV antenna to receive television signals when it is placed outdoors and free from interference of walls, roof, and other objects. Additionally, the higher the HDTV antenna is placed, the more television signals it is likely to receive.
3. There are two types of outdoor HDTV antennas: omni-directional and directional. The differences in these two types of HDTV antennas is how well and from where they pick up the television signal.
a. Omni-directional or multi-directional HDTV antennas can pick up television signals from many different locations or towers without having to be repositioned. This means the omni-directional or multi-directional HDTV antenna can receive television stations from different towers at the same time.
b. Directional HDTV antennas can only pick up television signals when aimed in the direction of a television tower. If this tower only transmits a limited number of stations, those will be the only stations the directional HDTV antenna will receive.
4. Directional indoor HDTV antennas are good if the consumer is located near the television transmitting tower, however the antenna will most likely need to be repositioned in order to receive different channels. This means that every time the channel on the HDTV is changed, the directional indoor HDTV antenna will need to be moved or repositioned in order to clearly receive the television signal for the new station.
It is possible to purchase an amplified directional indoor HDTV antenna which can receive more television signals from different directions, however even this antenna will need to be moved or repositioned to receive certain television stations.
5. If an outdoor HDTV is not working correctly, all cables and connections should be checked to ensure they are working properly. If that does not improve the television reception, try repositioning the outdoor HDTV antenna in order to ensure it is aimed in the right direction.
If neither of these solutions fix the problem, a new HDTV antenna may be required that possesses a higher gain/directivity. Purchasing a pre-amplifier may also help, especially if the consumer’s residence is located in a pink/violet zone.
The HDTV antenna is the least expensive of the HDTV equipment, but its potential impact on the reception and quality of the television signal is significant. After spending a good deal of money on quality HDTV equipment, it makes sense to ensure the HDTV antenna is a quality one, as well.