What is Digital Television?
Digital television (DTV) is a new form of TV developed in conjunction with the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on December 24, 1996. This new technology is capable of transmitting one High Definition Television (HDTV) program or multiple Standard Definition Television (SDTV) programs. The federal government has adopted this new digital television format in order to allow the broadcast industry to deliver programs that are comparable in quality to other digitally delivered services, such as direct broadcast satellite, digital cable and digital video disk.
What are the key features of High Definition Television?
The first noticeable difference of High Definition Television from the current television system is that the screen is much wider. In our current television system when the width of the picture is divided by the height of the picture it will always produce a 4/3 ratio. High Definition Television, on the other hand, has a width to height ratio of 16/9, which closely approximates that of the cinema. The second key feature is that High Definition has more than six times the sharpness and clarity of the current television system. The HDTV picture contains 1080 vertical picture elements (pixels) by 1920 horizontal pixels for a total of more than 2 million pixels. The current standard definition picture contains only 480 vertical pixels by 720 pixels for a total of 345,600 pixels. Third, the color resolution of HDTV is also more than twice the current system. High Definition television also has six channels of CD-quality surround sound (left, right, center, left rear, right rear, and low frequency effects). Finally, the signal is digitally transmitted, which eliminates all of the current imperfections we have lived with for the past thirty years, which include snow (weak signal), double images (ghosting or multi-path) and picture sparkles (impulse noise). As a result, the picture should be perfect whether you are one mile or fifty-five miles from the transmitter.
Will this make my existing television set obsolete?
No, KFVS12 will continue to transmit, an you will continue to receive, the current analog standard definition television transmission. However, you will not be able to receive the new digital high definition transmission. If you tune to a digital high definition station with your existing set, you will see a series of black and white dots or snow.
In order to receive High Definition Television, you must have an "integrated" DTV set that includes a digital receiver. If you already own an HDTV "ready" set (without a digital receiver), you can still enjoy high-def from KFVS12 using a variety of add-on components. For more information or to see high definition television for yourself, contact Stereo One in Cape Girardeau. The new televisions will be able to receive existing analog television transmissions as well as the new High Definition transmission. KFVS12 will be simulcasting the same program on two different channels; analog channel 12 and digital channel 57. Alternately, the new digital television channel can be selected by entering 12.1. This new channel numbering system was designed to simplify tuning to the new digital channel. The KFVS12 analog channel can still be selected by entering channel number 12.0. If KFVS12 were broadcasting multiple standard definition programs rather than HDTV, then they would be numbered 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 and 12.4.
The federal government has loaned each existing broadcaster an additional television channel to permit them to transition to the new system. The FCC will review the penetration of new digital television receiver sales every two years. If penetration of HDTV is progressing as anticipated and the vast majority of the public has converted to digital television, then the analog standard definition stations are targeted to go off the air in 2006. However, CBS believes that this date will continue to be pushed back for many years.
What about my existing VCR, will it be able to play back and record the new digital television?
Your existing VCR will be able to play back your library of VHS tapes on the new digital televisions. However, your VHS VCR will not be able to record the wide screen high definition signal. If you want to record and playback the digital HDTV signal, you will need to purchase a new D-VHS VCR.
Will I need a new antenna to receive digital High Definition Television?
If you have an existing outside aerial that is capable of receiving existing UHF stations then you will be able to receive digital High Definition Television using the same antenna. However, if you do not have an outside aerial or if you have a VHF only antenna it will be necessary to install a new outdoor antenna. Most of the new DTV channels will be on the UHF band (i.e. Channels 14-69).
Are all of KFVS12's programs going to be in high definition?
Eventually yes; however, initially only CBS Network programming. CBS has converted most of its primetime evening schedule to high definition. We will continue to expand the number of high definition hours that are broadcast per day. All the standard definition programs (4/3) that are not produced in High Definition Television will be upconverted. Upconversion refers to the process of doubling the number of television lines in our current system (525) to develop the 1080-line high definition signal.
Why is CBS planning to broadcast in High Definition Television?
For years CBS has been producing its programs on 35mm film in Hollywood. This is the same film used by the motion picture industry to photograph and project motion pictures. In other words, for the last thirty years CBS has been producing high definition programs and has been unable to deliver these high quality images to the viewers. CBS believes that High Definition Television with CD-quality surround sound will vastly enhance the television viewing experience and provide the viewer as well as advertiser with a revolutionary new media tool.
Will I be able to receive High Definition Television over cable?
It is technically possible for digital High Definition Television to be transmitted over a cable system's existing cable channel. However, there is no guarantee that your local cable operator will carry the signal. A recent Supreme Court decision states that cable companies are required to carry local channels; however, the ruling did not specifically address digital high definition channels. CBS and Time Warner Cable have signed an agreement to carry the CBS digital television signal on Time Warner Systems that have been upgraded for increased channel capacity (750 MHz or more). Contact your local cable company to determine if they are offering the KFVS12 HDTV channel.
How much will the new television receivers cost?
We suggest you contact Stereo One in Cape Girardeau for more information regarding HDTV and what equipment you'll need to enjoy it.
Detailed technical information regarding the ATSC standard is available on the web at www.atsc.org . Also available on the web are the Federal Communications Commission's Fifth Report and Order, which governs the service rules of digital television and the Sixth Report and Order, which relates to the technical aspects as well as the channel assignments. Both of these documents are available from the FCC web site at www.fcc.gov .