Digital Conversion Resources
Do you have questions about how to make the switch to digital TV?
Do you need advice on your specific situation? OPB is here to help.
Send us e-mail through our online form, or call the Digital Help Center at 800.241.8123.
The TV broadcast technology all of us have grown up with. Analog signals vary continuously, creating fluctuations in color and brightness.
The ratio of screen width to screen height. For HDTV (high-definition TV), the aspect ratio is 16:9 (16 units wide by 9 units high), much like a movie screen. Older television screens are 4:3, or nearly square.
The range of frequencies over which a TV station is allocated to function. In transmission, the U.S. analog and digital television channel bandwidth is 6 MHz. OPB can use its bandwidth for one analog signal or up to four digital signals and/or data transmission.
The television broadcast frequency. The Federal Communications Commission assigns over-the-air television channels in the VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultra high frequency) band.
Compression refers to the reduction of the size of digital data files by removing redundant and/or non-critical information. Digital TV in the U.S. would not be possible without compression.
Digital TV (DTV)
Digital TV is the umbrella term encompassing high-definition television and several other applications, including standard-definition television, datacasting, multicasting and interactivity.
A digital tuner serves as the decoder required to receive and display digital broadcasts. It can be included inside TV sets or via a set-top box.
This is a digital surround sound technology used in movie theaters and upscale home theater systems that enhances audio. Home theater components with this technology work in conjunction with a "5.1-speaker" system (five speakers plus a low-frequency subwoofer) to produce true-to-life audio that draws the listener into the onscreen action.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
U.S. Government agency charged with regulating radio, television, wire, cable and satellite communications.
HDTV: "High-Definition Television"
This is the most superior video picture available in DTV. In the U.S., the 1080i and 720p formats in a 16:9 aspect ratio are the two acceptable HDTV formats. HDTV is a component of DTV.
Option made possible by digital technology to allow each digital broadcast station to split its bitstream into 2, 3, 4 or more individual channels of programming.
A pixel is the smallest picture element in a TV image. The more pixels in an image, the greater the resolution.
The amount of lines and dots (pixels) that make up a TV image. Typically, the higher the number of lines or pixels, the sharper and more detailed the picture will be.
SDTV: "Standard Definition Television"
Digital formats which do not achieve the video quality of HDTV. SDTV is at least equal, or superior to, current television pictures. It offers the ability to transmit at least four standard-quality programs simultaneously using the digital channel.
Set-Top Converter Box
This unit sits on top of the viewer's analog TV, receives the digital TV signal, converts it to an analog signal, and then sends that signal on to the analog TV.
The broadcast of the same program simultaneously over two or more different systems or channels.
Widescreen generally refers to an aspect ratio of 16:9, which is the optimum viewing ratio for DTV and HDTV broadcasts. Traditional TV sets have an aspect ratio of 4:3.
- DTV Answers — The National Association of Broadcasters' Consumer Guide to the Digital Transition (in English or Spanish)
- Digital Television — The Federal Government's Web site
- FCC Digital Television Consumer Facts
- Consumer Electronics Association — Connections Guide
- Consumers Union — The Transition to Digital TV
- Antenna Web: Advice About Antenna Placement
- TV Fool: TV Signal Locators, Coverage Maps & More
- HDTV Antenna Labs
- OPB's Digital TV Fact Sheet
- Connecting Converter Box Cables
- Simple Directions for Converter Boxes
- How to Scan for Channels
- Digital TV Troubleshooting Tips
Elders in Action is offering assistance with coupons and box installation, including in-home set-up assistance to the homebound who are over 60 and live in Multnomah County. Their resources are limited, however.
Call 503.235.5474 or go to www.eldersinaction.org.
Walk-In Help Centers
For the latest list of DTV events and help centers in your area, visit www.dtv.gov/map.htm.
IRCO (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization)
10301 NE Glisan, Portland
Urban League of Portland
10 N Russell Street, Portland
Recycle your TV
Oregon and Washington offer recycling programs for analog TVs and other electronic products. To locate a program in your area, visit one of the Web sites below. And remember, you can continue to use your analog TV set after the switch to digital TV.
National Support Numbers
Manufacturer Support Numbers
- Access HD 1.800.393.1246
- Digital Stream: 1.866.706.4367
- Insignia: 1.888.229.3889
- Magnavox: 1.800.605.8610
- Philco: 1.800.317.6062
- RCA: 1.866.444.5746 or 1.800.252.6123
- Sansonic: 1.626.433.1333
- Venturer: 1.800.252.6123
- Zenith: 1.877.993.6484
FCC Help Line
- 1.888.CALL.FCC or 1.888.225-5322
- TTY for the hearing impaired: 1.888.835.5322