The Differences Between Digital and Analog Television Broadcasts

The television has been improving ever since its invention. From black-and-white, to color, to flatscreen, to curved screen, to high definition, to 3D–the TV has undergone some serious changes. One of the biggest changes over the last few years isn’t even with the physical hardware of your television, but with the signal that your television receives. For years the signal your TV received was analog, but now the signal is digital, and it’s making all the difference. Not convinced? Let’s breakdown the differences between analog and digital television and you’ll see why DISH Network offers its services via digital programming.

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Analog television was used by the United States for over 50 years. It was an analog signal that broadcast the first baseball game, and it was an analog signal that televised the first presidential address to the nation. While this has been effective for decades, analog signal does have several clear drawbacks–most notably signal interference and degradation.

Analog works by sending an electronic signal to your television set. The signal uses changing frequencies and voltage to represent different images and sounds. Your television set then receives the electric analog signal and translates it back into images and sounds on your TV! This analog signal is sent using a particular radio frequency. Every TV station is assigned a particular frequency that they can transmit on, which means whenever you’re changing a channel you are essentially telling your TV set which radio signal it should tune into.

Since it’s a continuous radio transmission the analog wave is susceptible to degradation as it travels to your home TV set. This interference can lead to fading, snow, and ghost-images on your TV screen. The further you are from the broadcast location, the more degradation you’ll notice. Anything that tunes into radio signals can mess with your television signal too. This means that a plane passing overhead, or even a simple household appliance can have an affect on the quality of your television. Essentially, an analog signal makes for poorer image quality and isn’t always perfectly representative of the source of the signal. Digital television changes all of that.

With digital television there is no radio wave, so the signal won’t degrade over distance. A digital television signal doesn’t use radio waves, rather it translates the sounds and images into the ones and zeroes (like computers speak) and sends the information that way. This makes the information resilient to outside interference and ensures that the image you see on your TV is the exact same image that is coming from the source of the signal. With digital television, snow, ghosts, and fading are problems of the past. What’s more, if you have an HD-ready TV, digital television services can offer HD channels! These HD digital signals carry 4-5 times more picture information than the analog images of the past.

Picture quality is not the only perk of switching from analog to digital with DISH Network though. Digital television services also bring a marked improvement to the sound quality of a program. With analog, it’s impossible to categorize the sounds coming through and make them compatible with a surround sound setup or any Dolby 5.1 capable speakers. With digital, all of your television programs are automatically formatted into Dolby 5.1 allowing you to separate left and right front channels, left and right rear channels, center, and subwoofer channels. With digital television you’ll experience your shows in an entirely new way.

Digital television also gives broadcasters the opportunity to offer multi-casting services. Multi-casting allows a broadcaster to transmit several television programs at the same time. This means a broadcaster could show a movie, a newscast, and a sitcom all at the same time–allowing the viewer to choose which program they would like to watch. This is only possible with digital television because a digital broadcast is capable of transmitting so much information at once.

Put simply, digital television is more effective technology than analog. It can transmit more information, offers better image and sound quality, and is quickly becoming the norm for broadcasters across the country. DISH Network even provides digital broadcast services standard with all of their television packages! Buy DISH Network and experience the joys of digital programming today!