Why the switch to DTV?
There exist a limited number of frequencies within the broadcast spectrum. One of the primary reasons the government is mandating this switch is to free up valuable portions of the broadcast spectrum for use in public safety communications. Following the transition, police, fire and rescue agencies will have access to a greater range of frequencies.
The digital transition also has a tangible benefit for consumers. Digital broadcasting will allow TV stations to offer improved picture and sound quality. Digital broadcasting also allows stations to utilize what is known as "multicasting".
"Multicasting" is the process of providing several channels of digital programming at the same time without using any more of the broadcast spectrum. For example, a single station could broadcast in standard digital on channel 4-1, a high definition version of the program on 4-2, and a third digital program (such as weather ) on 4-3: all simultaneously. DTV can also accommodate interactive video and data technologies that are not possible with analog TV.
A portion of the broadcast spectrum will also be auctioned to wireless communications companies. These companies will then be able to provide consumers with more advanced wireless services (wireless broadband, for example).