How to Make the Best out of Your Digital TV
By: John Kaduwanema
Explore the different methods to get the most out of digital TV
As the digital switchover continues, different ways exist to make sure that you will be able to continue to watch TV. Many people are still confused as to what the switchover is, and in particular, why it's happening in the first place.
The digital switchover that began earlier this year in the Cumbrian town of Whitehaven has been reported to be going at a good rate and is on schedule to complete on time. However, many people are still unsure as to what the switching over to digital TV means. This article will help to explain the ways in which you can safely switch over to digital when the time comes for your region.
The switchover won't necessarily require you to buy a new TV, but if you are buying a new one, rest assured that just about all new TVs will come with a built in digital tuner. To be on the safe side, make sure that the digital tick symbol is present. This is a natural step in evolution for TVs, as we no longer see large, bulky CRT TVs anymore, but are now presented with rows of flat panelled LCD TVs and plasma TVs. Having an integrated digital receiver also means that there will be more input sockets available to you too against some of the other alternatives.
The easiest and cheapest way of ensuring that you are ready for the digital channels is by investing in a digital set top box. These retail from about £25 and are a simple one off payment. Digital set top boxes connect to TV sets via a SCART cable and will just need the aerial line plugged into it. A good TV signal will provide you with all the digital channels, although you are also able to use an indoor aerial with these too. A digital set top box will take up one of the input slots in the back of your TV, so you may well have to sacrifice one of your other AV components to accommodate it.
Cable and Sky customers will already be able to view digital channels. There is, however, a new satellite service that will provide not only digital channels, but high definition content too. Freesat requires both a satellite dish and a receiver box, and there is no need for a subscription fee either. Depending on whether or not you want high definition viewing, a Freesat receiver box will cost you between £50 and £150. However, Panasonic have recently launched a new line of plasma TVs with built in Freesat receivers, meaning that you would only need to purchase the installation of the satellite dish.
You may also be wondering what all of this is in aid of. After all, surely analogue signals work fine as they are? They do, but the signals also prevent us from doing much more. If you think of the signals in terms of something physical, the digital equivalents are much smaller than the analogue ones. By switching over, we will be able to fit more in. There will be more channels available to watch, providing us with more choice as well as displaying in greater clarity. Potentially, it means that there would be more bandwidth space available for greater communications and new media.
All in all, switching off the analogue TV signals is a good idea. It may be a bit of a challenge, but every change is presented with difficulties. The gains that are possible after the digital switchover far outweigh the losses. In the mean time, do be sure to check that your TV is digital compliant, and if not, look at the alternative methods of future proofing your TV.
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