Guide to Digital TV - 8 News NOW

Guide to Digital TV

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CBS offers all of its prime time line up and the majority of sporting events in HDTV. The only shows that are not available in HDTV are: 60 minutes and 60 minutes II.

You can watch Channel 8, KLAS-TV, on digital channel 8-1 if you have off air DTV receiver or contact Cox Cable to receive KLAS digital TV through your cable connection.

Get the most current up to date HDTV listings and find out what the ten most frequently asked questions are regarding HDTV on CBS.com.

~Frequently Asked Questions about HDTV~

What is Digital Television?
Digital television (DTV) is a new form of TV developed in conjunction with the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and was approved by the Federal Communications Commission on December 24, 1996. This new technology is capable of transmitting one High Definition Television (HDTV) program or multiple Standard Definition Television (SDTV) programs. The federal government has adopted this new digital television format in order to allow the broadcast industry to deliver programs that are comparable in quality to other digitally delivered services, such as direct broadcast satellite, digital cable and digital video disk.

What are the key features of High Definition Television?
The first noticeable difference of High Definition Television from the current television system is that the screen is much wider. In our current television system when the width of the picture is divided by the height of the picture it will always produces a 4/3 ratio. High Definition Television, on the other hand, may have a width to height ratio of 16/9, which closely approximates that of the cinema. The second key feature is that High Definition has over six times the sharpness and clarity of the current television system. The HDTV picture can contain 1080 vertical picture elements (pixels) by 1920 horizontal pixels for a total of over 2.0 million pixels. The current standard definition picture contains only 480 vertical pixels by 720 pixels for a total of 345,600 pixels. Third, the color resolution of HDTV is also more than twice the current system. High Definition television also has six channels of CD-quality surround sound (left, right, center, left rear, right rear, and low frequency effects). Finally, the signal is digitally transmitted, which eliminates all of the current imperfections we have lived with for the past thirty years, which include snow (weak signal), double images (ghosting or multi-path) and picture sparkles (impulse noise). As a result, the picture is perfect whether you are one mile or fifty-five miles from the transmitter.

Will this make my existing television set obsolete?
No, your existing television set will still continue to receive the current analog standard definition television transmission. However, you will not be able to receive the new digital high definition transmission.

In order to receive High Definition Television, you must purchase a  DTV receiver, which are now available at most consumer electronics dealers. The new televisions will be able to receive existing analog television transmissions as well as the new High Definition transmission. CBS will be simulcasting the same program on two different channels.   In Las Vegas on Channel 8 analoge and 8-1 digital or in in association with Cox Cable the DTV channel is broadcast on cable channel 730. 

What about my existing VCR, will it be able to play back and record the new digital television?
Your existing VCR will be able to play back your library of VHS tapes on the new digital television receivers. However, your VHS VCR will not be able to record the widescreen high definition signal. If you want to record and playback the digital HDTV signal, you will need to purchase a new D-VHS VCR.

Will I need a new antenna to receive digital High Definition Television?
If you have an existing outside aerial that is capable of receiving existing VHF or UHF stations then you will be able to receive digital High Definition Television using your same antenna. However, if you do not have an outside aerial it will be necessary to install a new outdoor antenna. 

Are all of CBS's programs going to be in high definition?
Eventually yes; however, initially CBS has converted most of its primetime evening schedule to high definition. We will continue to expand the number of high definition hours that are broadcast per day. All the standard definition programs (4/3) that are not produced in High Definition Television will be upconverted. Upconversion refers to the process of doubling the number of television lines in our current system (525) to develop the 1080-line high definition signal.

Why is CBS planning to broadcast in High Definition Television?
For years CBS has been producing its programs on 35mm film in Hollywood. This is the same film used by the motion picture industry to photograph and project motion pictures. In other words, for the last thirty years CBS has been producing high definition programs and has been unable to deliver these high quality images to the public. CBS believes that High Definition Television with CD-quality surround sound will vastly enhance the television viewing experience and provide the viewer as well as advertiser with a revolutionary new media tool. In which cities is CBS broadcasting High Definition Television?
CBS owned and affiliated stations are in the process of constructing the additional transmission facilities necessary to broadcast HDTV. See our US Map for a list of stations currently on-the-air or contact your local CBS station for more information. Back to the HDTV - CBS affiliate list.

Will I be able to receive High Definition Television over cable?
It is technically possible for digital High Definition Television to be transmitted over a cable system's existing cable channel.  Cox Cable presently carries our DTV channel.  Contact Cox for further information.

How much will the new television receivers cost?
We suggest you use the hotlinks at the top of the page to contact our HDTV partners or contact your local consumer electronics dealer.

Detailed technical information regarding the ATSC standard is available on the web at http://www.atsc.org. Also available on the web are the Federal Communications Commission's Fifth Report and Order, which governs the service rules of digital television and the Sixth Report and Order, which relates to the technical aspects as well as the channel assignments. Both of these documents are available at http://www.fcc.gov.

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