The move to Digital TV has been compared in importance to the move from black-and-white TV to colour TV. In a nutshell, Digital TV offers a whole world of quality and entertainment options that were never available under the old analogue TV system. They include: clear, crisp, ghost-free pictures; CD quality surround sound; widescreen format (when transmitted); extended program information (when transmitted); DVD quality viewing; multiple viewing angles (especially for live sport), closed captions (when transmitted) and teletext service, additional information channels for special events (such as the Olympics, football, cricket, car racing etc), and even extra channels.
There's a whole lot of extra equipment you can add to maximise your viewing pleasure, such as a widescreen, surround sound system, DVD burner or hard-disk drive based recording system. But even if you just add a stand-alone STB to your current setup, you're going to love Digital TV.
Digital TV is available now -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. TV stations are currently transmitting the same programs using digital and analogue signals. The simplest way to experience the benefits of Digital TV is to attach an STB to your existing television. For most people, this will be a standard-definition (SD) STB rather than a high-definition (HD) STB, because without there's really no point getting a HD-STB unless you have a high-definition screen on which to view it.
It is important to note that all digital programs are broadcast in SDTV format, but only some are transmitted in HDTV format. So even if you have an HD-STB and an HD screen, you will only get the pleasure of HDTV on selected programs.
More about the various resolutions is available later in this guide.
A lot of the benefits of Digital TV can be summed up in "higher quality" and "more information".
Higher quality is due to digital signals being able to resolve the problems caused by interference (electrical and geographical) and fluctuations in signal strength that plague analogue TV.
More information is provided via Digital TV due to the greater compression that can be used with digital signals, so they can hold several times the amount information as analogue signals. This allows for larger pictures (widescreen), teletext, surround sound audio, and even extra channels to be sent with the broadcast.
Australia has adopted the European DVB-T standard to replace our existing analogue PAL system. Once again, our system will differ from the US, which is using the American-developed ATSC standard to replace its analogue NTSC system.