Analog to Digital

Many Americans are not ready for the digital transition

The Feb., 17 deadline to turn analog televisions to digital has come and gone leaving some Americans still confused about the digital television transition.

The Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act was signed in 2006 by President Bush to move the country from the traditional analog signal to digital signal. Up until recently, all TV stations broadcast analog signals only.

The reason for changing from analog to digital is due to, digital television’s new technology. Digital television’s new technology transforms televisions into a movie-like experience. Digital television signals send information as encoded “data bits,” like the way a computer does.

“I’ve had cable for a long time, but my grandmother does not and she is worried that she will have to buy all this equipment in order to watch her television,” Frank Young, 22, said.

Young is a Howard University student who is from Philadelphia.

Digital televisions have three types of quality levels. Standard Definition TV (SDTV) offers basic digital at “good” quality, similar to today’s analog reception.

Enhanced-Definition Television, offers “better” digital quality than SDTV. It is also used more frequently and has digital surround sound.

High Definition TV (HDTV) offers the “best” quality digital picture–on widescreen sets only–and uses Dolby digital sound. However not all televisions broadcast in HDTV.

” I have a 42 inch high definition television and the picture looks amazing,” Willam Bender, 23, said. “The people look so real in comparison to the normal digital signal. There is a world of difference between having HDTV and just a regular digital system.”

Analog televisions will continue to work with cable, satellite, VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, video game consoles, and other devices for many years.

U.S. TV Broadcasters are required to stop transmission of Analog Television Signals, and move to All-Digital-TV-Broadcasts on June 12, 2009.

The Obama Administration signed a bill to postpone the Feb. 17th date citing that, “Millions of Americans, including those in our most vulnerable communities, would have been left in the dark if the conversion had gone on as planned.”

More than 3.7 million people are still on a waiting list to receive coupons for digital converter boxes, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Marie Spriggs, 84, resides in Philadelphia and is thankful that her daughter brought a box for her.

“I understand why people my age don’t want to be bothered with this,” Spriggs said. “I’m on a fixed income so its not really in my budget for me to be dealing with this, thankfully my daughter bought the box for me.”