Frequently Asked Questions
What is digital television?
The picture that viewers currently receive is based on an analog transmission
system that is more than 50 years old. In December 1996, the Federal
Communications Commission (FCC) approved the U.S. standards for
a new era of television called digital television.
In a digital system, images and sounds are captured using the same digital
code found in computers. The digital revolution will not only improve
the quality of the television picture, but also make possible the
over-the-air delivery of several simultaneous services to viewers.
This is due primarily to the main benefits of the digital system:
high definition television, multicasting in standard definition
and data transmission.
What is high definition television (HDTV)?
Digital television will allow stations to broadcast programs in much higher
resolution or clarity than standard analog television. This is
called high definition television, or HDTV.
Viewers at home will be able to receive high-quality, crystal-clear pictures.
These visually stunning pictures, with more than twice the resolution
and clarity of standard television, will be displayed in a wide
screen format. And because HDTV is digital, audiences will have
the benefit of six-channel CD-quality "surround sound."
What is multicasting?
When not transmitting in HDTV, broadcasters will be able to transmit
as many as four more channels of standard definition television
simultaneously. This is called multicasting. Although multicasting
will not match HDTV quality, it will offer a higher quality picture
than is available today.
What is enhanced digital television?
Digital broadcasting will offer an entirely new form of programming: enhanced
digital television, which is the combination of video, audio, images
and text on your television.
For the first time, producers will be able to combine the story-telling
power of video and film with the enormous data capacity of a digital
television signal. Viewers will be able to simultaneously watch
an enhanced television production, and, in the background, receive
hundreds of megabytes of additional video, audio, text and images
related to the program.
Will viewers be able to watch digital television on their existing sets?
Only if they purchase a digital converter box. DTV information is encoded
in a different way from the analog television signal and therefore
will require a different kind of receiver. Manufacturers are developing
converter boxes that will allow viewers to receive programs broadcast
on DTV channels on their analog television sets. However, to experience
the full benefits of digital television, including HDTV, viewers
will need new digital television sets.
How do I receive your digital signal?
Tune your digital receiver to channel 38 to receive WQED-DT high definition programming.
What ancillary data services are available through WQED/13?
WQED/13 transmits ancillary data services from PBS National Datacast, a
subsidiary of PBS which reaches approximately 97% of American homes.
Data is carried in the black interval between television frames.
An electronic program guide (EPG) from a company called Gemstar-TV