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The End of TV As We Know It: The Digital TV Transition (and what to do about it) Jon Bell, Presbyterian College Faculty Forum, 21 September 2007 with some.

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Presentation on theme: "The End of TV As We Know It: The Digital TV Transition (and what to do about it) Jon Bell, Presbyterian College Faculty Forum, 21 September 2007 with some."— Presentation transcript:

1 The End of TV As We Know It: The Digital TV Transition (and what to do about it) Jon Bell, Presbyterian College Faculty Forum, 21 September 2007 with some later updates

2 How People Get TV National Upstate SC Western NC Cable61%49% Satellite28%40% Antenna11% Source: Television Bureau of Advertising,

3 The Big Switch By the morning of February 18, 2009, all analog broadcast TV stations in the USA must shut down. Everyone who receives over-the-air TV with an antenna must switch to digital TV stations which are mostly already in operation.

4 Why the Switch? Improved picture quality (HDTV) More efficient use of bandwidth Vacate channels for other uses and raise money by auctioning them More bandwidth for emergency services Keep ahead of the Japanese

5 Some Alphabet Soup Analog broadcast & cable TV = NTSC –National Television Systems Committee –Or: Never Twice the Same Color Digital broadcast TV = ATSC –Advanced Television Standards Committee –Also used in Canada, S. Korea, Bahamas, Honduras & Mexico –Europe uses DVB-T –Japan & Brazil use ISDB-T Digital cable TV = QAM –Quadrature Amplitude Modulation

6 Key Dates 1996: Congress authorizes transition 1997: Each station gets a second channel for digital broadcasts 2002: Most stations have begun digital broadcasts 2006: Most stations are at full power 2006: Congress sets final deadline 2008: Subsidized converter boxes

7 ATSC Tuner Mandates TVs 36" or largerJuly 2005 TVs 25" to 35"March 2006 All other TVs and recording devices March 2007

8 Greenville Channels (1) Analog Digital (now) Digital (final) WYFFNBC45936 WSPACBS7537 WLOSABC WGGSIndep.1635 WHNSFOX WNTVSCETV2999

9 Greenville Channels (2) Analog Digital (now) Digital (final) WUNFUNCTV3325 WNEHSCETV3818 WMYAMyNet4014 WRETSCETV4943 WYCWCW6245 WSQYDaystar51-27

10 Columbia Channels Analog Digital (now) Digital (final) WISNBC WLTXCBS1917 WOLOABC2588 WRLKSCETV3532 WZRBMyNet47- WACHFOX5748 WKTCCW6339

11 The Digital TV Experience Improved picture quality –Analog with weaker and weaker signals –Digital with weaker and weaker signals Program guide information –Display depends on TV or receiver Virtual channel numbers Multicasting

12 Not great to begin with…

13 Getting worse…

14 Still worse…

15 Yuck!

16 The Digital TV Experience Improved picture quality –Analog with weaker and weaker signals –Digital with weaker and weaker signals Program guide information –Display depends on TV or receiver Virtual channel numbers Multicasting

17 Picture stays like this until…

18 its right on the borderline…

19 and then its gone!

20 The Digital TV Experience Improved picture quality –Analog with weaker and weaker signals –Digital with weaker and weaker signals Program guide information –Display depends on TV or receiver Virtual channel numbers Multicasting

21 Typical Program Guide

22 Another Program Guide

23 The Digital TV Experience Improved picture quality –Analog with weaker and weaker signals –Digital with weaker and weaker signals Program guide information –Display depends on TV or receiver Virtual channel numbers Multicasting

24 Virtual Channel Numbers Stations will continue to own their old analog channel numbers, in perpetuity. Digital TVs display them as virtual channel numbers and automatically convert them to the actual digital channels. You must do a channel scan so your TV can find the actual digital channels and set up a conversion table. You normally dont need to know the actual digital channel.

25 Typical Channel Scan Indicator

26 The Digital TV Experience Improved picture quality –Analog with weaker and weaker signals –Digital with weaker and weaker signals Program guide information –Display depends on TV or receiver Virtual channel numbers Multicasting

27 Total data capacity (bandwidth) of a digital channel is about 19 Mbits/sec Stations can divide it into sub- channels with different programming –SC ETV (channel 29) –WSPA (channel 7)

28 ETV subchannel 29.1: Same as analog channel

29 ETV subchannel 29.2: South Carolina Channel

30 ETV subchannel 29.3: High definition PBS programs

31 Multicasting Total data capacity (bandwidth) of a digital channel is about 19 Mbits/sec Stations can divide it into sub- channels with different programming –SC ETV (channel 29) –WSPA (channel 7)

32 WSPA subchannel 7.1: Same as analog channel but in HD

33 WSPA subchannel 7.2: 24/7 weather information

34 So Far, a Well-Kept Secret Stations have generally not promoted their digital channels yet Some retailers claim that you need to buy cable or satellite service in order to get HDTV (FALSE!) Expect increased publicity from stations and government agencies during the next year

35 If you use an antenna for analog TV: You must either –Buy a new TV with an ATSC tuner HDTV (widescreen plasma, LCD, DLP, etc.) SDTV (old-style tube TV with ATSC tuner) –Buy an external ATSC tuner (converter box) Federal subsidy program begins in January 2008 Likewise for VCRs and old DVD recorders, if you use them to record directly off the air

36 Subsidized Digital-to- Analog Converter Boxes Free $40 coupons Good only for specifically designated converter boxes, purchased at retail Round 1 – 22 million coupons, up to two per household Apply at beginning 1 January 2008 Boxes available in February or March

37 If you use an antenna for analog TV: You must either –Buy a new TV with an ATSC tuner HDTV (widescreen plasma, LCD, DLP, etc.) SDTV (old-style tube TV with ATSC tuner) –Buy an external ATSC tuner (converter box) Federal subsidy program begins in January 2008 Likewise for VCRs and old DVD recorders, if you use them to record directly off the air

38 Antennas and Digital TV Digital and analog TV use the same set of VHF and UHF channels. An antenna cares only about the frequency of the signal (VHF or UHF). Analog vs. digital matters only to the TVs tuner. An antenna that works well with analog channels will probably work well with most digital channels.

39 Local Antenna Conditions Greenville stations are miles away, several in the NC mountains. A good roof antenna is needed. –Must be able to receive both high-VHF (7-13) and UHF (14-51) channels. A rotator and pre-amplifier are helpful. A good setup can also receive some stations from Columbia and Charlotte.

40

41 Local Antenna Conditions Greenville stations are miles away, several in the NC mountains. A good roof antenna is needed. –Must be able to receive both high-VHF (7-13) and UHF (14-51) channels. A rotator and pre-amplifier are helpful. A good setup can also receive some stations from Columbia and Charlotte.

42 If you use cable TV: You are not directly affected by the analog broadcast shutdown in Cable companies must provide local channels in analog format until –Starting in 2009 they will convert broadcast digital signals for this purpose They will probably convert other analog channels to digital during the next few years.

43 If you use satellite TV: Its already digital, so you are not affected by all this, except maybe peripherally.

44 Resources Federal Communications Commission –http://www.dtv.gov/ Subsidized converter box program –http://www.dtv2009.gov/ Info about HDTV and especially antennas –http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ Info about TV signals by location –http://www.antennaweb.org/ –http://www.tvfool.com/ Discussion forums –http://www.avsforum.com/ (see the HDTV Area)


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