Recently, changes were made to cable and television broadcasting that informed the public that their analog signals would no longer be used for television program broadcasting, so it's important that you learn how to tell the difference between analog and digital televisions.
Analog basically means that the signal is broadcasted through the air, like radio signals. Old TVs that had an antenna attachment were able to pick up some channels even without a cable box or cable service. Those that did not go buy new TV sets were able to purchase analog-to-digital converters to attach to their televisions, if their TV set was older than March 2007, and they did not have a cable service provider.
Digital, in comparison, involves the signals being sent through cables. This allows for more signals to travel at once providing clearer pictures and sound, including the newer High-Definition (HD) picture quality. No longer will TVs pick up channels with an antenna, but they must be plugged into the service in order to receive programming. The official change from analog to solely digital programming in the US took place in 2009. Those who had cable television service did not need to purchase a converter box. Additionally, all TVs made after March 2007 are digital ready TVs and will not need a converter box either.
- Basically, if your TV was made and purchased after March 1, 2007 you are good to go. The FCC established a standard that all TVs would be made digital from that point onward. However, if your TV is relatively older than that, you will note that the television (if analog) has only an analog broadcast tuner. If you are looking at the television, the FCC says there will be words such as "Integrated Digital Tuner" or "Digital Tuner Built-in" and the word "receiver" may replace "tuner." Additionally, acronyms such as DTV (Digital Television), ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee), or HDTV (High-Definition Television) may replace the word "Digital." If you see any of these, you can rest assured you have a digital television.