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The digital revolution in the television industry seems to have taken ages to reach the consumer. It has been difficult because it needs the co-operation of the companies that produce the equipment to display, receive and transmit digital pictures, the TV companies that broadcast the programs and the film and television industry that produce the films and television that we watch. This has been aggravated by the fact that the industry standard for digital technology has been disputed and people have been hesitant to commit to one technology or the other. This article will trace the evolution from standard analog TV to the digital TV. Most people are still receiving analog television today. Analog television technology is around 60 years old but still produces good quality pictures. In North America, Japan and part of South America the standard analog signal is the National television standards committee (NTSC) and in Europe and most other parts of the world it is either Phase Alternating Line (PAL) or Sequential color with memory (SECAM). SECAM is mainly used in France and French speaking parts of Africa. Many countries that had SECAM are gradually moving to the PAL system, notably countries in Eurasia and countries that were formerly in the Soviet Republic. Although there are numerous differences between the three technologies, the most obvious to the viewer is the line resolution. The NTSC system displays 525 lines on the screen and PAL displays 625. These analog systems have worked fine for 60 odd years and the only cause for concern, and a major reason for changing, is that the signal was often subject to interference that could degrade the picture quality. The process whereby the average household receives digital television is evolving. As the average house still has an analog television they cannot view digital quality pictures but they may be receiving digital signals. This means the signal might be clearer but before they can view the picture it has to be converted back into the standard analog picture (525 or 480 viewable in NTSC). So the means of transmitting the picture is digital but the viewing is still analog. Generally the conversion back to analog is done by a set top box or satellite system. The end point of this evolutionary phase is to have digital transmission going into a digital display system or television. When this occurs you can safely say that you are watching digital television. A new standard for this type of television has been set up and is called the Advanced Television Standards Committee (ATSC). When the means of producing media, the transmission or broadcasting of this media and the devices for viewing the media all conform to the ATSC standard then the advantages of digital TV will be truly apparent to the average television viewer. Again, the average person does not have to concern themselves with the technology behind digital


television. All they need is an high definition TV or HDTV. HDTV will have a far better line resolution to the analog system. So this means the resolution could be up to 720 or 1080 lines. This is a fine picture quality. This quality will be coupled with the precision transmission of digital broadcasting that will make digital TV the best television viewing going.

Find reviews on the latest home theater components, including Home theater speakers and sound systems at http://www.hometheaterreviewed.com . Adrian Whittle writes reviews and features on home theater systems, equipment and accessories.

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switching from analog television