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HDTV Channel Broadcast Information

HDTV is a name given to two of the digital television (DTV) formats. HDTV provides high resolution programming. A current analog TV picture is made up of horizontal lines on the picture screen; an HDTV picture can have more than twice as many lines, allowing for stunning picture detail.

HDTV uses a “widescreen format.” “Widescreen format” refers to an image's aspect ratio, which is a comparison of screen width to screen height. Analog television has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3, which means the screen is 4 units wide by 3 units high. The aspect ratio of HDTV is 16 by 9, similar to a movie theater screen. HDTV programs can include Dolby Digital surround sound, the same digital sound system used in many movie theaters and DVDs.

HDTV uses the same amount of bandwidth (the size of the communications channel) as the current analog system, but with HDTV, about six times more information is transmitted. This capability translates to much better quality in picture and sound.
Is HDTV the same thing as DTV (digital television)?
No. HDTV is the highest quality of DTV, but it is only one of many formats. In addition to HDTV, the most common formats are Standard Definition Television (SDTV) and Enhanced Definition Television (EDTV).

SDTV is the baseline display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV may be in either the traditional (4:3) or wide-screen (16:9) format. EDTV is a step up from Analog Television. EDTV comes in widescreen (16:9) or traditional (4:3) format and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as high as HDTV.
Receiving the DTV and HDTV signals over-the-air requires an antenna and a new DTV receiver that can decode the digital signals. In general, an antenna that provides quality reception of over-the-air analog TV signals will work for DTV reception.

If you are a cable or satellite customer, you may need a set-top box to receive DTV signals and convert them into the format of your current analog television, even after the DTV transition is complete. A DTV set-top box also may receive multicast channels and high definition programming and display them in analog picture quality. Check with your cable or satellite provider to determine if and when you will need a set-top box.
Why get HDTV broadcasts into your home?
Viewers cannot ignore the dramatic improvements offered by the DTV conversion. Visually, HDTV captures viewers with crystal clear resolution and razor sharp detail. Individual hairs, labels on footballs and the subtle effect of wind blowing through grass are all clearly visible through HDTV. Also, the detailed resolution and color provides an image akin to movie-theater screens. Combined with the capacity to deliver enhanced Dolby Digital surround sound, HDTV produces an advanced home theater effect. DTV provides viewers with sharper images, better sound, and more viewing options than have ever been available over the air.
Currently, television pictures are made up of lines that are scanned horizontally. HDTV pictures are created by scanning up to twice as many lines. This resolution and other technical factors improve the sharpness of the pictures, allowing you to read on your television screen small text commonly seen on your computer. HDTV sets have wider, movie-theater like screens that more closely resemble human peripheral vision, making it more natural to watch.
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