Saturday, March 15, 2008

Digital TV: Apa yang Harus Dilakukan Konsumen

Berisi penjelasan tentang digital TV, dampaknya, keunggulannya, dan apa yang harus dilakukan konsumen. Kasusnya di AS tapi relevan juga untuk kita yang akan menyongsong era digital TV mulai 2015.

**Important Consumer Information Update **

(HDTVInfoPort Report: February 10, 2006)

On Wednesday, February 8th, 2006 - President George Bush signed the "Deficit Reduction Act," which also included the "Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act". This sets February 17th - 2009, as the "final-cut-off-date" for "OTA" (Over-The-Air) Analog TV Broadcasts."

And it means, finally some of the uncertainty that has contributed to public confusion concerning the Digital TV Transition has been removed.

"The Digital TV Transition" - moving the nation from traditional Analog TV to Digital TV - started with "one-small-step" taken ten-years ago, with the signing of the "Telecommunications Act of 1996". The first Digital TV Broadcast aired the same year, when WRAL, Raleigh-Durham, N.C. became the first Local TV Station to transmit Digital TV.

After a decade of debate and indecision, speculation and rumor, mis-information as well as dis-information - all of which generated mass confusion among consumers - it appears the end is in sight.

With the "end-date" of February 17th, 2009" fixed in law," U.S. TV Broadcasters are required to STOP transmission of OTA Analog Television Signals, and move to All-Digital-TV-Broadcasts.

So ends the TV Era - and "20th-Century (analog) TV". The new era of Digital TV - SDTV .. EDTV .. and HDTV begins.

What Does This Mean To You - The Consumer?

  1. If you have an Analog TV (and) receive OTA (Over-The-Air) Broadcasts of Analog TV Signals - as of Feb.17th, 2009 - You will NO Longer be able to view Local Analog TV Broadcasts.

    1. Local-OTA Analog TV will NO LONGER be broadcast. All Local-OTA Stations will now broadcast Digital TV Signals - ONLY.

    2. To view Digital TV Signals requires a Digital Television - Capable of Receiving and Displaying Digital TV - "SDTV" (Standard Definition (Digital) TV).

      ♦   Important: Does NOT require an HDTV (High Definition TV) set

  2. However - Consumers (affected as in #1 above) who choose to continue using Analog TV sets after Feb. 17th, 2009, will be able to do so - BUT ONLY if they have an external, "D/A- Converter" - (DIGITAL TO ANALOG TV Signal CONVERTER) installed.

    1. A D/A Converter will be similar in appearance to a Cable or Satellite "STB" (set-top-box). These are expected to be readily available within a "nominal" price range - early estimates are from about $40.00 to $65.00.

    ♦   NOTE: Depending on demand volume for converters,the price range may be more or less.

    1. The bill signed into law by President Bush, also includes up to $1.5 billion in funding, (by U.S. Taxpayers) to provide - up to two (2) $40 Vouchers (per household) for consumers who choose to buy Digital-to-Analog Converter boxes.

  3. Important Exclusion: Cable TV Subscribers are NOT directly impacted by this new law.

    1. Since Cable TV Signals are not transmitted OTA, this law does NOT apply to Cable Analog TV programs as currently written.

    2. At the present time, Cable Companies generally provide their Subscribers with Analog TV programming. While many Cable providers offer an "optional" Digital Program Package, (for an additional monthly charge) - this consists of a nominal number of 'pre-selected' (by the Cable Provider) Digital TV Channels.

    3. When OTA-Analog Broadcasts End, the Cable Companies will have to make a decision: to continue transmitting Analog TV (with 'some' 'optional' Digital TV) to their Subscribers, or to switch to All Digital Broadcasts

Important Notes:

  • Since all Local TV Stations - Independents, as well as Affiliates (carry the Major TV Network Broadcasts) will now be broadcasting only Digital TV Signals, the Cable Companies will confront a more complex choice.

  • In order to continue providing Cable TV Customers with Analog TV Programming, will require the Cable TV Companies to CONVERT the new, Digital TV "feeds" (which are received from either National Network Broadcasts or Local Affiliate Broadcasts) to Analog TV Signals ...
    • BUT! ... Current reports indicate that the Major Networks are NOT Likely to be willing to permit the "down-conversion" of their Digital TV Signals to Analog.

  • If unresolved, this would mean Cable (Analog TV) Subscribers would NOT have any access to Network or Local TV Broadcasts.

  • Alternatively, the Cable Companies will have to decide whether or not to switch completely to Digital TV...
    This will involve "upgrading" all their Subscribers who presently have "standard" Cable STB's (set-top-boxes) to Digital STB's - AND require their Customers - who still have "Analog TV Sets" - to buy an additional D/A Converter. Another alternative is for the Cable Company to provide all their customers with an "Analog-Digital-Combination" STB - a costly solution at best!
  1. Satellite TV Subscribers will likely be less affected, since most have a Satellite-STB, with the capability of automatically providing either an Analog TV Signal or Digital TV Signal - whichever is required by their TV.

  2. An important point for All Analog TV Viewers to consider - Although you CAN choose to continue using your Analog TV - even after All Analog TV Broadcasts cease - the picture quality displayed on your TV will be diminished to some degree. Each time the TV Signal is "converted" - from Digital to Analog, or the reverse - some picture quality is lost

    1. Individual TV Viewers will have to decide, whether it is worth holding on to their traditional Analog TV, with degraded picture quality, or to go "digital" and see what they have been missing.

  3. And a Last Important Note: None of the above refers to HDTV.
    Consumers are NOT required to buy an HDTV.

    1. Digital TV does NOT mean HDTV! The two terms are NOT interchangeable - in spite of continued, wide-spread public mis-use.

    2. While HDTV (High Definition TV) is "digital," it is a unique - completely separate and different TV Format. HDTV requires its own unique "High Definition Television" equipment, from start to finish - from production studio to broadcast station, from transmitter to in-home receiver. All Components must be HDTV capable and compatible.

    3. As used in the general sense, Digital TV refers to "SDTV" - Standard Definition (Digital) TV.

    4. The Digital TV Transition applies "only" to the change-over from Analog TV to Digital - SDTV; it does NOT include or involve "HDTV" - at all!
      • TV Broadcasters are mandated to broadcast Digital TV Signals (SDTV) - only. The decision, whether or not, to transmit HDTV programming remains the voluntary choice of each Broadcaster.

The Digital TV Transition:

  • Digital TV (SDTV) provides significant improvement in picture quality, compared to traditional Analog TV.

  • The Digital Transition opens up a significant area of 'highly-coveted' radio spectrum to new mobile broadband applications, as well as to public safety agencies.

  • The move from the (upper-700-MHz) band frees (60 MHz) of wave-space, making it available for auction to wireless-mobile carriers, while also providing (24 MHz) to be used for emergency response agencies.

  • The upper-700-MHz band enables wireless signals to travel (4 to 5) times as far, as existing mobile phone signals travel. It is this extended range that has high value to mobile-broadband providers, police and fire departments, who need improved communications capability.

Links to different perspectives on - The Digital TV Transition

"The Real Digital Transition Begins"

(Broadcast Engineering - by CRAIG BIRKMAIER)

(PDF FORMAT) " The Digital TV Transition..."
"... A Chance to Enhance Public Safety and Improve Spectrum Auctions..."
by Jon M. Peha - Carnegie Mellon University

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