TV Guide UK - Digital TV Explained

 
 
     
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Go Digital


What is Digital TV?
If i'm not using digital, what am i using?
Is Digital better than Analogue?
Do I have to "Go Digital"?
What is "freeview"?
What is "Digital Satellite"?
What is "Cable Digital"?





What is Digital TV?

Digital TV (DTV) is a new method of transmitting TV channels to your television set, resulting in a better quality of picture and sound, many more channels, and additional interactive services such as gaming and 'jukebox' channels. Digital TV is received either by a Sky Digital receiver, a cable TV receiver or a Freeview set-top box (STB) and compatible aerial.

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If i'm not using digital, what am i using?

If you aren't already using Digital TV then you will be using an analogue aerial to recieve the transmission. You will only be able to recieve BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, and Five.

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Is Digital better than Analogue?

Digital TV basically converts all the information that is required to produce the television picture into binary (ones and noughts for the less techy) and sends it via a digital stream to your television set. As the digital stream is smaller in size it can send more information at a much faster rate than the 70 year old analogue method.

The outcome is a more consistent TV signal (no more snowy screens) and lots more features which can be accessed via your remote control such as widescreen, red button interactivity, varying camera views for sporting events along with many more channels to choose from.

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Do I have to "Go Digital"?

At present your analogue set will still work as normal, but the government is keen to replace the antiquated analogue system with digital as soon as possible, and is planning to start switching off the analogue signals over the next few years. This will be undertaken on a regional basis and the process is expected to be completed in 2012.

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What is "Freeview"?

Succeeding OnDigital/ITVDigital, Freeview is also referred to as DTT (Digital Terrestrial TV). The digital stream is sent via a compatible TV aerial and as its' name suggests, all the channels are free to view with no additional subscription or connection costs.

There are approximately 50 channels including BBC 3, BBC 4, ITV2, ITV 3, ITV 4, E4, More 4, BBC News 24, FTN, Cbeebies, UK History and many more, with additional channels being added all the time.

To recieve these channels you will require either a television with a built in digital decoder, or simply purchase Freeview set-top box from your local electrical store.

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What is "Digital Satellite"?

Sky Digital provides the most comprehensive selection of channels including Sky One, Sky Movies, Sky Sports and a lot more besides.

To get Sky Digital you will need to get an engineer to fit a satellite dish and provide you with a Digibox which you simply plug in and connect to your TV. The number and variety of channels you will be able to access is dependant on the type of package you purchase from Sky. There are also pay-per-view channels which cover sporting events like football and boxing as well as films and adult entertainment.

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What is "Cable Digital"?

As with Sky Digital you will require a set-top-box, but unlike Sky this service will only be available to you if cable is installed in your area. Cable providers such as NTL and Telewest will be able to inform you whether it is available.

Cable providers also offer phone and broadband services allowing the costs to be combined and reduced in many cases.

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