Federal Communications Commission Media Bureau and Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554 www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov Table of Contents DTV Digital Television Background………………..5 DTV Why Now?.........................................................5 DTV Programming…………………………………….6 DTV and Your Analog TV…………………………….7 DTV Equipment……………………….……………….9 DTV Formats …………………………………………12 DTV Sizes and Costs………………………………..14 DTV Screen Choices………………………………...14 DTV At A Glance……………………………………..16 DTV Definitions………………………………………19 FCC Information……………………………………...27 Words in bold type appear in the definitions section beginning on page 19. 3 4 DTV: Digital Television Background Digital Television (DTV) is a new type of broadcasting technology that will transform television. Because DTV is delivered digitally, the television signal is virtually free of interference. And because DTV is more DTV is virtually free of interference. efficient than analog, broadcasters are able to offer television with improved quality pictures and surround sound. DTV will soon replace today’s analog television broadcasting system. This booklet has been prepared by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help you better understand and answer many of your questions about the transition to digital television. DTV: Why Now? In the 1990s, Congress determined that broadcast stations must transition from analog television broadcasting to digital television broadcasting. Converting to DTV will free up parts (“bands”) of the scarce and valuable broadcast spectrum, allowing these bands to be used for public safety and emergency services, such as police, fire and medical services, and new wireless services, such as wireless broadband. Because public safety and emergency services have become even more important 5 today, Congress established a “hard” DTV transition deadline that requires all full-power television stations to cease analog broadcasts after February 17, 2009. (The deadline for low power television and translator stations will be established at a future date.) Until then, most television stations will continue broadcasting on both their digital and analog channels. Already today, more than 1,600 television stations throughout the United States are broadcasting digital programs. DTV Programming Digital television offers many advantages over analog television for viewing broadcast signals. DTV is more versatile and efficient than analog television and allows stations to broadcast more programming using less spectrum. In the same bandwidth that a broadcaster currently provides one analog channel, a broadcaster may provide a super sharp “high definition” (HD) program or multiple “standard definition” DTV programs simultaneously. Providing several program streams in one broadcast signal is called “multicasting.” A broadcaster also can use its DTV signal to provide video and data services that are not possible with analog technology. Television stations serving every market in the United States are currently delivering digital television programming. For a list of TV stations currently broadcasting in digital, visit http:// www.nab.org/AM/ASPCode/DTVStations/DTVStations.asp. 6 DTV and Your Analog TV Today, most people still have analog televisions. Analog TVs have been used since the beginning of television to receive and display programming. Your analog television will work as it does today until the transition to digital is completed. Even then, you will be able to continue using your analog television. DTV is revolutionizing the TV industry. Analog televisions will work with a digital converter box. If you receive TV programming over the air using a roof-top or rabbit ears antenna, you will be able to purchase a digital converter box (sometimes referred to as a digital-to-analog converter box) to enable your analog TV to continue working after February 17, 2009. You will also need a digital converter box for each device you have that only has an analog tuner - such as an analog-only VCR or DVD recorder. A digital converter box also may receive multicast channels and high definition programming and display them in analog picture quality. Beginning in 2008, your household may be able to receive up to two coupons worth $40 each toward the purchase of digital converter boxes. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has responsibility for administering the coupon program. Additional information can be found at www.dtv2009.gov or call 1-888-DTV-2009. 7 Cable and Satellite TV Viewers If you are a cable 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. If you are a satellite customer you may need a different set-top box in order to receive high definition (HDTV) programming. Check with your cable or satellite provider to determine if and when you will need a set-top box. DTV uses the same antennas as analog TV. If you already have a good VHF and UHF antenna, either indoors or on your roof, you don’t have to buy an antenna that is “HD Ready.” DTV broadcasters have been assigned channels in the VHF and UHF bands, between 54 and 700 MHz, where analog channels 2 to 51 are now. Therefore, as long as a DTV signal is available, your existing antenna should still work after the transition is complete. DTV takes advantage of your home theater surround sound. Analog television broadcasts sound just like FM stereo radio. DTV broadcasts are digital and allow many more options, including Dolby® Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, just like a DVD. With a digital converter box, the digital surround sound will be converted to analog for your current television or home theater system. 8 DTV Equipment The DTV transition has two parts. Broadcasters must upgrade to digital transmission, and viewers of over-the-air TV must upgrade to digital reception. Even with a digital-to-analog converter box, your current analog television will not be capable of taking full advantage of DTV. To enjoy the full picture quality and benefits of DTV, you may want to purchase a new DTV set. But before you do, there are a few things to consider. Digital TV sets are widely available Digital TVs are widely available in stores. The Commission's digital tuner rule specifies that as of March 1, 2007, all new TVs must include digital tuners. This rule prohibits the manufacture, import, or interstate shipment of any TV or device containing an analog tuner, unless it also contains a digital tuner. Despite this prohibition on manufacture and shipment, retailers may continue to sell analogonly TVs and devices (such as video recorders) from existing inventory. As a result, at stores where these products are sold, many consumers may not be aware that this equipment will not be able to receive over-the-air-television signals after February 17, 2009. To address this issue, the FCC has adopted a rule requiring sellers to display a Consumer Alert if they are selling TV equipment with only an analog broadcast tuner. The following text must be displayed if they are selling television equipment with only an analog broadcast tuner: This television receiver has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an 9 antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission’s digital television website at: www.dtv.gov. While analog-only receivers may serve the needs of customers who subscribe to a wired or satellite service or who play games or view DVD or VCR content, some customers may be unaware that purchasing a device with an analog-only television receiver may require additional attention in the future. Public education about the DTV transition will be a major and beneficial national undertaking, and a challenge for government and industry. The Consumer Alert explains that a TV receiver with only an analog broadcast tuner will require a digital converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation’s transition to digital broadcasting. Analogonly TVs should continue to work with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. If you are uncertain whether a TV you want to buy contains a digital tuner, be sure to ask the seller. A digital display may be an integrated television or just a monitor. “Integrated” or “Built-In” HDTV or DTV sets are all-in-one sets that have built-in tuners to receive over-the-air DTV broadcasts and a screen to display the programming. Other than a standard antenna, you don’t need any other equipment to receive over-theair digital programming. 10 An “HDTV Monitor” or “HDTV Ready” set does not have a built-in tuner and requires you to obtain a separate receiver (such as an HD set-top box) to receive and view digital programming, including HD. Set-top boxes can be purchased at retail stores. Cable and satellite providers may sell or lease set-top boxes for their specific services. NOTE: The set-top box described here is not the same as the digital-to-analog converter box used to convert over-the-air digital broadcasts for viewing on an analog TV set. Set-top boxes connected to monitors receive digital over-the-air broadcasts or cable or satellite signals so they may be viewed on monitors. A digital television may be digital cable ready DCR). Cable subscribers may want to consider a digital cable ready (“plug-and-play”) DTV set. These sets have the circuitry of a digital cable box built in. Current first generation plug-and-play sets are able to receive one-way programming only, including analog basic, digital basic, and digital premium cable programming. If you want to receive certain advanced digital cable services - called twoway services - like pay-per-view, video-on-demand, cable operator enhanced program guide, or interactive data enhanced television service, using a first generation set, you will need a set-top box. You may also need a set-top box to receive other cable operatorprovided services, such as those that incorporate the features of a digital video recorder. 11 DTV Formats—Aspect Ratio Televisions come in two aspect ratios. These ratios are 4x3 and 16x9. The aspect ratio is the comparison of the screen’s width to its height. Traditional analog TV has a 4x3 aspect ratio. This means that a TV screen is 4 inches wide for every 3 inches of height. Many new digital televisions are 16x9, or “widescreen.” The 16x9 aspect ratio more closely approximates the look of movies, and broadcasters have begun offering programming that takes advantage of it. “Letterbox” is the term used when 16x9 content is viewed on a 4x3 screen. In order to display the widescreen content without distortion or missing parts of the picture, the television will place black bars at the top and bottom of the image. “Pillar box” is the term used when 4x3 content is viewed on a 16x9 screen. In order to display the squarer traditional picture on a widescreen monitor, black bars are placed down the sides of the screen. “Postage stamp” is the term used when a 4x3 transmission contains widescreen images and its own letterbox bars. When viewed on a television, the image will appear as a smaller box within your screen. DTV Formats—Resolution Although there are as many as 18 DTV formats, only 4 formats are commonly used. The most common formats fall into three broad 12 categories: High Definition TV (HDTV) HDTV in widescreen provides the highest resolution and picture quality of all DTV formats. A current analog TV picture is made up of 480 horizontal lines. An HDTV picture can have up to 1080 lines, allowing for sharp picture detail. The most common formats are 720p (“p” stands for progressive scan - see “DTV Definitions,” pg.11) and 1080i (“i” stands for interlaced - see “DTV Definitions,” pg.11) with either 720 progressively (noninterlaced) scanned lines or 1080 interlaced lines. Combined with digitally-enhanced sound technology, HDTV achieves a new benchmark for sound and picture quality in television. Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV) EDTV is a step up from analog TV and SDTV. Also called 480 progressive (480p), EDTV is widescreen 16x9 or traditional 4x3 format and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as good as HDTV. Traditional DVDs are encoded as 480p (although newer HD-DVD and Blu-ray players allow viewing of HDTV discs). Standard Definition TV (SDTV) SDTV is the baseline display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV is usually in the traditional 4x3 aspect ratio, but may be wide-screen 16x9 format. SDTV and analog TV can deliver up to 480 interlaced (480i) resolution, although analog TV may be lower. 13 DTV Sizes and Costs As with analog televisions, DTV set sizes range from very small to quite large. All TV sizes are measured diagonally across the screen. So, most DTV sets, which have an aspect ratio of 16x9, are wider, but shorter, than analog TV sets of the same diagonal screen size. DTV sets have wider, more rectangular screens As with any new consumer electronics technology, DTV sets have become less expensive since their introduction. Prices vary depending on screen size, display technology, whether a DTV tuner is built-in, and other features. While DTV sets are still more expensive than their analog counterparts, prices have dropped dramatically. DTV Screen Choices You’ll have a number of different screen choices when you look at DTVs. Some of the most common are: Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) screens - These are traditional color television screens updated for digital. Their resolution and color capabilities vary from model to model. These screens have a very bright picture, but are limited in size, and the larger units are typically quite heavy. 14 Rear Projection TVs - Rear projection TVs can be much larger than standard CRTs. They create the image on a small display, but then enlarge it onto the back of the screen. Older model rear projection TVs using small CRTs to create the image were dim and hard to see from extreme angles, but new digital projection technologies like Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), Digital Light Processing (DLP), and Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) create brilliant, wide-angle pictures on everlarger screens. Front Projectors - Projectors are TVs that create an image by projecting it onto a wall or stand-alone screen (much like a movie theater). Projectors use the same digital projection technologies as rear projection TVs but, because the screen is separate, the image can be the size of an entire wall. Projectors are not as bright and often require the room to be dark in order to clearly see the image. Flat Panel TVs - Flat Panel TVs are very thin and relatively light weight and are sometimes hung on the wall. Current flat panels use either LCD or plasma screen technology. Flat panel LCDs are very thin and produce extremely clear pictures. Plasma screen TVs produce images by lighting small pockets of colored gas. This technology allows the TV to create a bright, clear picture in large screen sizes while remaining only a few inches thick. www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov www.dtv.gov 15 DTV At A Glance Digital TV ► ► ► ► Digital broadcasts are available now in every market. After the digital transition is completed, over-the-air television will only be broadcast in digital format. With an integrated DTV set, only an antenna is needed to receive over-the-air DTV broadcast programming. For a monitor or analog TV, a DTV set-top box is required. Multicasting, electronic program guide, data streaming, and high definition available. Will work with cable, satellite, VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, video games, and other devices. Images will not be displayed in HDTV unless the equipment is made for it. SDTV Standard Definition DTV ► Provides good pictures without interference. ► 480 interlaced lines of resolution. ► 4x3 or 16x9 aspect ratio. ► ► Multi-channel digital surround sound, including Dolby® Digital 5.1. Can receive both digital and analog TV. No set-top box needed if tuner built-in. 16 DTV At A Glance Analog TV ► ► ► Analog broadcasts may continue through February 17, 2009. Analog receivers currently built into most older TVs. Single program stream, no advanced services. Will continue to work with cable, satellite, VCRs, DVD players, camcorders, video games, and other devices. ► Provides good pictures but with interference and noise. ► Up to 480 interlaced lines of resolution. ► 4x3 aspect ratio. ► FM stereo sound. ► Can receive only analog TV. A set-top box is needed to receive DTV. 17 EDTV Enhanced Definition DTV ► Provides better picture resolution, clarity, and color. ► At least 480 progressive lines of resolution. ► 4x3 or 16x9 aspect ratio. ► ► Multi-channel digital surround sound, including Dolby® Digital 5.1. Can receive both digital and analog TV. No set-top box needed if tuner built-in. HDTV High Definition DTV ► ► ► ► ► Provides best available picture resolution, clarity, and color. Up to 1080 lines of resolution - most common formats are 720p (progressive) and1080i (interlaced). 4x3 or 16x9 aspect ratio. Multi-channel digital surround sound, including Dolby® Digital 5.1. Can receive both digital and analog TV. No set-top box needed if tuner built-in. 18 DTV Definitions Analog: Traditional, less-efficient and lower quality system that uses radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit and display pictures and sound. Aspect ratio: Screen’s width as compared to its height. For example, for 4x3, the traditional TV aspect ratio, a 32-inch TV would be 25½ inches wide and 19 inches tall. A 16x9 widescreen 32-inch TV is closer to a movie screen than a traditional TV, and would be 28 inches wide and 16 inches tall. Broadcast Digital-to-Analog Converter Box: A stand-alone device that receives and converts digital signals into a format for display on an analog television receiver. CableCARD: Security card that digital cable ready TV owners must obtain from their cable company in order to view scrambled programming such as premium services. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Screens: Traditional color television screens are available for both analog and digital TV. Their resolution and scanning vary from model to model. These screens have a very bright picture, but are limited in size and can be quite heavy. Closed Captioning: Service that allows persons with hearing disabilities to read dialogue, or the audio portion of a video, film, or other presentation, on the TV screen. 19 Coaxial: Coaxial inputs (sometimes just called “cable”) provide a simple and common way to transmit video. Now coaxial inputs are mostly used for connecting a TV set to an antenna or cable system. Component Video: Also known as “Y Pb Pr,” this connector splits the video signal into three parts. With two audio connections, this 5 wire solution is the most common way to connect EDTVs to DVD players and most HDTV monitors to their receivers or other set-top boxes. Composite Video: Also called “RCA” connectors, it is the most common way to connect peripherals and other components. It consists of one yellow connector for video and two audio connectors for “right” and “left”. Composite connectors cannot transmit high definition pictures, so for HDTV, another connector option, such as HDMI or Component Video, must be used. Digital Broadcast Satellite (DBS): TV programming delivered via high-powered satellite. Signals are transmitted to a small dish (usually 18 - 24 inches across) mounted outside. Digital Cable Ready TV (DCR): Also referred to as “plugand-play,” this is a DTV or other device for digital cable customers that plugs directly into the cable jack, and does not require a separate set-top box to view analog and unscrambled digital cable. Used with a CableCARD, it can receive scrambled programming such as premium services. 20 Digital Converter Box: Also referred to as a “digital-toanalog converter box,” this is a stand-alone device that receives, decodes, and converts over-the-air digital programming into analog. When connected to an analog television, it permits digital programming to be displayed in analog. Digital Television (DTV): Digital technology television that uses radio frequency (RF) to transmit computer code and display it as pictures and sound. Dolby® Digital: Form of multi-channel digital sound, it provides efficient encoding and noise reduction for high quality surround sound. Downconvert: Process by which a high resolution signal is reduced to a lower resolution for display. Usually, extra lines are simply ignored when drawing the lower resolution image, but sometimes more sophisticated methods are used. DVI: Digital Video Interface (DVI) is a high quality digital connector. Similar to HDMI (see definition) and sometimes with HDCP (see definition), DVI can digitally transmit uncompressed high definition video, preserving perfect picture quality. Unlike HDMI or Firewire (see definition), DVI requires a separate audio connection. 21 Enhanced Definition TV (EDTV): Better digital television transmission than SDTV with at least 480p (progressive), in a 16x9 or 4x3 display and Dolby® digital surround sound. 480p is the quality of most progressive scan DVDs and players. EPG: Electronic Program Guide (EPG) is an interactive list of upcoming TV programming that can be transmitted along with a DTV program. Flat Panel TVs: Flat Panel TVs are thin, lightweight TVs that can be hung on a wall. Current flat panels use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or plasma screen technology. Firewire: See IEEE 1394. Front Projectors: TVs that create the image on a small display, then enlarge it by projecting it onto a wall or standalone screen (much like a movie theater). Front projectors tend to be dimmer than direct flat panels or CRTs, and often require the room to be dark to be able to see the image clearly. HDCP: High Definition Content Protection, a technology used to prevent piracy of high quality uncompressed video, primarily over DVI connections. HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface, a high quality digital connector. Similar to DVI and sometimes with HDCP, HDMI can digitally transmit uncompressed high definition video and audio on the same cable, preserving picture and sound quality. 22 High Definition TV (HDTV): The highest quality digital television, generally widescreen 16x9 with at least 720 progressive lines or 1080 interlaced lines and surround sound. HDTV Monitor (also HDTV Ready): TV set with the inputs and capability to become an HDTV with the addition of an HDTV tuner, HD cable set-top box, or HD satellite receiver. HDTV Tuner (also known as decoder or receiver): Device capable of receiving and decoding HDTV signals. HDTV tuners can either be built into a TV set (see Integrated or Built-In) or be a stand-alone device (see Set-Top Box). IEEE 1394: Also called Firewire or I-link, IEEE 1394 is a way to transmit compressed data and video between components on one cable. Interference: Unwanted electrical signals or noise causing impairments in the video signal. Integrated (or Built-In): HDTV or DTV set with the tuner built into the set. It does not need a separate set-top box to receive over-the-air signals. Interlace Scan: Way to scan vertical lines onto a TV picture by scanning all the odd lines first, then filling in the even lines. (This happens in the blink of an eye.) Letterbox: Blank bars above and below the image when viewing 16x9 aspect ratio content on a 4x3 screen. The opposite of pillar box. 23 Multicasting: DTV technology that allows each digital broadcast station to split its digital bandwidth into two or more individual channels of programming and/or data services. (For example, on channel 7, you could watch subchannel 71, 7-2, 7-3 or 7-4.) Multi-Channel Digital Sound: Feature of DTV that permits numerous streams of sound to be transmitted for a given program, providing stereo, surround sound, and even other languages. Native Resolution: Specific resolution that a television, whether or not integrated, or a monitor, is designed to display. All other resolutions must be either upconverted or downconverted for display. Pan-and-Scan: Alternative to letterboxing, the process by which a 16x9 image is converted for display on a 4x3 television by zooming in on the picture and panning to the part of the image that is most interesting. This allows the image to fill the entire screen, but causes some portions of the image not to be displayed. Pillar Box: Blank bars to the left and the right of an image when viewing 4x3 aspect ratio content on a 16x9 screen. The opposite of letterbox. Pixel: Smallest area of a television picture capable of being sampled and transmitted through a system, and displayed on a monitor. Plug-and-Play: See Digital Cable Ready (DCR). 24 Postage Stamp: Occurs when an image is both letter and pillar boxed. When viewed on a television, the image will appear as a smaller box within your screen. Progressive Scan: Way to scan vertical lines onto a TV picture by scanning all the lines consecutively (progressively). At the same number of lines, progressive scan produces a higher quality picture than interlace scan. All flat panel and many digital projection televisions are progressive scan, so they display progressive scan images more clearly compared to interlaced images. Pulldown, 3-2: Process by which a movie shot in 24 frames per second (fps) is shown as an interlaced television image at 30 frames per second. RCA Connectors: See Composite Video. Rear Projection TVs: Potentially much larger than standard CRT TVs, rear projection TVs create an image on a small display, then enlarge it onto the back of the screen. Old rear projection TVs used a small CRT, while new digital projection TVs use LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), DLP (Digital Light Processing), or LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon) to create brilliant, wide angle pictures. Resolution: Amount of detail that can be seen in a broadcast image. For television, resolution is measured in horizontal lines displayed (commonly 480, 720, or 1080). 25 Set-Top Box: A stand-alone device that receives and decodes programming so that it may be displayed on a television. Set-top boxes may be used to receive broadcast, cable, and satellite programming. Spectrum: Range of electromagnetic radio frequencies used in the transmission of radio, data, and video. Standard Definition TV (SDTV): Basic digital television format closest to traditional analog TV. Ultra High Frequency (UHF): Part of the radio spectrum from 300 to 3000 megahertz which includes TV channels 1469. After the DTV transition, UHF TV will be changed to 470 to 698 MHz, which includes channels 14-51. Upconvert: Process by which a digital, high definition television takes a lower definition picture and converts it into a higher definition picture. This may be done by doubling each line as it is drawn on the screen, or by using advanced algorithms to interpolate the data between each lower resolution line, filling in the missing image. Very High Frequency (VHF): Part of the radio spectrum from 30 to 300 megahertz, which includes TV Channels 2-13, and the FM broadcast band. Widescreen: Term used generally to describe an aspect ratio wider than 4x3. For television, refers to the 16x9 aspect ratio. 26 Yagi Antenna: Type of antenna, generally designed for UHF frequencies, that is ideal for receiving most DTV stations. Ranging in size from several inches to many feet, a yagi antenna is the most common design for roof-top antennas. For More Information on DTV Go to www.dtv.gov or Contact the FCC’s Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau E-mail: DTVinfo@fcc.gov Web site: www.fcc.gov/cgb Telephone: 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY Postal Mail: Federal Communications Commission Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau 445 12th Street, SW Washington, D.C. 20554 27 Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington, D.C. 20554 Federal Communications Commission, Washington, D.C.