Saturday, August 5, 2017

Digital Television for Dummies

TV Digital television
About a million years ago -- 2009, if you're really interested -- the U. S. television broadcasting system went digital. Plenty of people found themselves confused by the switch, not least because the FCC kept talking about "digital," while people making money off the switch talked about "high-definition." Consequently, plenty of people had questions, and plenty had answers. Not all of those answers were good, though: some were like the post called "Can You Receive Digital Broadcasts on a Digital TV Without Box?" [sic] penned by George N. Root III and appearing at

Root III leveraged a dusty BA in English to expand the answer from nine words ("Of course you can, dummy: it's a digital TV!") to something like 430. In the process, he waxed eloquent about the enacting laws for the digital switch and even some reasons for doing so, and informed his readers that cable companies "advertise their full line-up of digital channels frequently." He also mentioned that
"To the average consumer, it may seem as if you need a special cable television box, or a special converter box for a standard antenna to be able to receive your broadcasts in full-digital quality."
Yeah, George, that's basically true. But that isn't what the OQ wanted him to say. What the OQ wanted was to know if a digital television needed a converter to receive digital channels (hard tellin' who's the real DotD here...). George was supposed to set that average consumer straight, but he kinda blew it. You see, it's not the friggin' antenna that needs to be digital, it's the tuner, and it would have helped if he had actually used that word.

But Root III didn't: what he did do was mumble (in written form) about the laws requiring that televisions manufactured after date X "come equipped to handle digital programming," never mentioning the difference between digital and analog ("too science-y"). He also prattled briefly about converter boxes, but George's chief qualification for Dumbass of the Day? He doesn't say, "Yes." Idiot.     

NOTE: don't know whether that TV has a digital tuner? Look at the nameplate: it will either say "digital" or reference an ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner. Easy-peezy.
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