Buying Guide: Digital TV Explained
Is your TV digital-ready? Do you know what you'll need to receive digital television broadcasts? Our guide highlights the benefits of standard definition and high definition TV, what they mean for you, and how to take advantage of them.
What Is Digital Television?
Digital TV is the broadcast and reception of digital television signals. Television has traditionally been broadcast as analogue signals, but Australia will be phasing these out over the next few years. The Australian government projects that all television broadcasts will be digital signals by the end of 2013.
Standard Definition Vs. High Definition
Digital television is broadcast in two formats — Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD). The formats are defined by the picture resolution they offer — the number of pixels per inch a screen can display.
- Australian standard for SD broadcasts is 576i (576 lines x 720 active pixels).
- Australian standard for HD is 576p (852 x 576) and above.
What Are The Benefits Of SD Digital TV?
- Superior picture quality.
- Clearer reception, eliminating ghosting and graininess often present in areas receiving poor reception.
- 16:9 widescreen images.
- CD-quality digital stereo sound.
- New, but not all, channels.
- Digital program guide.
- Digital Radio included.
What Are The Additional Benefits Of HD Broadcasts?
- Even sharper, clearer images — superior to DVD quality.
- Cinema experience with widescreen and Dolby 5.1 channel Surround Sound.
- Receive exclusive HD programming of special interest channels — like sports and youth programs – now and into the future.
How Do I Receive Digital TV?
Digital TV: Most new TVs – plasma, LCD or LED LCD – feature integrated HD digital tuners. All new televisions are clearly labelled in accordance with Government regulation outlining these tuner details. Look for HD, Full HD, HDTV etc.
Set top box: Cost effective solution for people with older analogue televisions. Note: with an SD set top box, you will only have access to SD channels.
Digital recorder with integrated digital tuner: Personal Video Recorders (PVRs) and Tivo are the digital equivalent of VHS recorders. They allow you to watch and record digital TV.
- Twin tuners allow you to watch one program while recording another.
- Store hundreds of hours of recorded programs with a hard disc drive.
- Time Shifting buffers up to half an hour, meaning that you can pause and rewind TV, and catch the start of the show, even when you're late.
Do I Need A New TV Antenna?
This will vary from case to case, but generally speaking, if you have a good antenna and live in a good signal area your existing antenna should be OK. In some areas, however, digital television signals may be incompatible with existing analogue antennas, so if you are having trouble viewing your digital television channels you will need to contact an antenna specialist for further advice. Some services, like Tech2Home, can test your digital reception.