BBB Logo

Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Find us on Google+

Educational Consumer Tips

Digital Television (DTV)

Author: Better Business Bureau

Digital Television (DTV) is an entirely new technology that will ultimately replace todays analog television system. DTV comes in three levels of picture quality: Standard Definition TV (SDTV) enhanced Definition Television (EDTV) High Definition TV (HDTV) Today most people have analog televisions. All broadcast TV stations in the country have temporary use of a second, separate channel so that they can transition from analog broadcasting to digital. The target deadline for ending analog broadcasting is February 17, 2009. When analog broadcasting ends, consumers with analog sets will need to obtain separate converter boxes to watch over-the-air TV, or purchase DTV equipment. Converter boxes will be available in retail stores at that time. Even with a set-top converter box, your current analog TV will not display the full picture quality of DTV. To enjoy the full picture quality, you must have a DTV set or a separate DTV receiver and a digital display monitor. Beginning in 2008, your household may be able to obtain up to two coupons worth $40 each toward the purchase of converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has responsibility for administering the coupon program, and will issue rules regarding the coupons in the future. Additional information can be found at Cable subscribers might need new DTV equipment to view DTV programming in digital format. You should ask your cable provider what you will need and when. Cable subscribers can buy a Digital Cable Ready (DCR) or Plug-and-Play television that plugs directly into the cable jack and does not require a separate set-top box. In order to receive scrambled programming and premium one-way services, cable subscribers with a DCR TV will need to obtain a CableCARD from their cable company. Alternatively, cable subscribers may lease a separate set-top box from their cable provider or buy one at a retail outlet. Satellite subscribers may need new DTV equipment to receive and view high definition digital programming. You should ask your satellite company what you will need and when. See for more information about digital television. For further information contact the Better Business Bureau at our toll free number 1-800-273-1002 or our local number at 414-847-600.