Digital TV Broadcasting
While digital TV has only been highly touted in recent years, the first digital television broadcast actually took place in 1996, when a North Carolina TV station broadcast programming in digital. Digital TV broadcasting uses "packets" of compressed data to transmit television programs. The audio and video components of a program are packaged together into these packets of data and broadcast to your digital TV (or analog television with a converter, cable, or satellite box).
The code used to transmit sound, picture and even text (such as Closed Captioning) in digital TV broadcasting is very similar to the way pictures and sounds are transmitted to your computer via the Internet. Digital television broadcasting is not subject to the same type of interference often experienced by analog TV broadcasting. This means that you will enjoy a consistently clear, bright picture, high-quality audio and no static or snow.
Digital television is not perfect, though. If your reception for a certain channel is poor, you will not receive a poor-quality image or sound. You will not receive anything at all. Because of the manner in which digital TV broadcasting works, you will get great reception or no reception - there is no middle ground. Provided you have the right equipment and make proper adjustments, though, you can expect to enjoy great reception the majority of the time. Read How to Improve Digital TV Reception for tips on getting the best reception.
Another benefit of digital TV broadcasting is that television stations can transmit more data using the same "bandwidth" they were using to broadcast analog television. This means they can supply more features for you, the consumer, such as surround sound or high-definition programming using the same amount of space it took before to broadcast basic audio and video.