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Getting onto the digital bandwagon

Not everyone can run out and buy a fancy new TV just because the broadcast signal is changing. So, this week is for readers who plan to keep the old TV when we transition to digital TV (DTV). First up, is how a standard TV (STV) create video. STVs create video with a series of images that flow to create the illusion of motion. STV creates each image with tiny lines across the TV face from left to right, top to bottom. There are 480 visible lines in all. Now consider that each image is drawn, or scanned in two passes. First, all the odd lines are scanned (1 to 477) followed by the even lines (2 to 480). The scanning of odd/even lines is called interlacing, often abbreviated i, and it takes two passes to create the one image, called a frame. STV provides about 30 images a second. STVs format, 480i, comes from the 480 lines that are interlaced. Your 480i STV is perfectly suited for watching DTV when come next February. As long as you have the set top converter box, your current TV will continue to work. The converter will receive the digital signal and convert it to analog for your current TV. Because Congress mandated this change, they also provided a way to get help in the form of two $40 coupons. The coupons are to be used toward the purchase of two converter boxes. Go to www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html for more info. A new antenna is not needed to receive the new digital signal as long as the current antenna receives UHF signals. Most DTV signals will be in the UHF channel range. Next week, well discuss people opting to buy a new TV. Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in company repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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