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Digital Signal Conversion

Today, conventional TV broadcast signals is undergoing a conversion in North America. The government regulatory bodies in the US (Federal Communications Commission) & in Canada (Canadian Radio and Television Commission) is in the process of requiring local TV stations to phase out their conventional TV signals by 2008. During the conversion, many TV stations will be broadcasting in both conventional and digital signals until the old signals will no longer be available.

The governments in the US & Canada had decided that conventional broadcast signals used for over 50 years are taking up too much of bandwidth. Some of the signals used for TV can be freed up for emergency services when local stations convert to broadcasting in digital. The ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee), is the agency setup to devised a new digital standard for TV signals.

At one time TV signals for local broadasts range from VHF (Very High Frequency) 2-13 and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) 14-83. Sometime in the 1980s the UHF band was reduced to 14-63. Digital broadcast is now assigned to the free spaces between 14-63 that is not used by conventional signals. The space used by stations 2-13 & FM radio signals between stations 6-7 would eventually be freed up.

This means you can pick up high-definition signals if you have an HDTV and a digital converter box from your cable (CATV) or satellite subscriber or an ATSC converter to pick up free signals. If you don't have an HDTV, you can plug your old TV into a digital converter box except that the picture quality would be in a lower quality. During the digital conversion all the stations will continue to broadcast in the old analog format. Many also broadcast the digital version of the same station under a different station # between 14-69.

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