Although the transition from analog to entirely digital television is over 621 days away, the FCC has put together a website to try to answer your questions. We've pulled a few questions from their FAQs page after the jump to bring the resource to you, but also encourage you to read all of the FAQs for the best overview-level information.
What is the February 17th, 2009 DTV deadline date?
Congress passed a law on February 1, 2006, setting a final deadline for the DTV transition of February 17, 2009. Most television stations will continue broadcasting both analog and digital programming until February 17, 2009, when all analog broadcasting will stop. Analog TVs receiving over-the-air programming will still work after that date, but owners of these TVs will need to buy converter boxes to change digital broadcasts into analog format. Converter boxes will be available from consumer electronic products retailers at that time. Cable and satellite subscribers with analog TVs should contact their service providers about obtaining converter boxes for the DTV transition.
Once broadcasters transition from analog to digital, will analog televisions will be obsolete?
No. Set-top boxes which convert digital signals to analog signals are available now and will continue to be available at lower prices to consumers as the transition progresses. However, to enjoy the full benefits of Digital TV, including superior sound and clarity, you must own a Digital TV set. An analog television, with the addition of a set-top box, will still allow viewers to enjoy all of the programming they have always enjoyed.
Is HDTV the same thing as DTV?
No. HDTV is the highest quality of DTV, but it is only one of many formats. In addition to HDTV, the most common formats are Standard Definition Television (SDTV) and Enhanced Definition Television (EDTV).
SDTV is the baseline display and resolution for both analog and digital. Transmission of SDTV may be in either the traditional (4:3) or wide-screen (16:9) format. EDTV is a step up from Analog Television. EDTV comes in widescreen (16:9) or traditional (4:3) format and provides better picture quality than SDTV, but not as high as HDTV.