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Frequently Asked Questions

DTV Are you Ready? 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.

Program Guide:
An electronic program guide (EPG) from a company called Gemstar-TV Guide.