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The Potential Benefits of Digital Television

DTV's most famous promise is the sharper, motion picture quality image it offers. But there is another, perhaps more important benefit of DTV. Because DTV will communicate in the digital language of computers, television stations will be able to transmit far more information than traditional TV. This means broadcasters can use the same amount of public spectrum to transmit five or more channels. They can also send additional information along with the picture (such as stock quotes, or closed captioning, or the price of products shown on the screen).

In addition, when combined with a two-way telephone service, DTV will be interactive like computers. This marriage of the TV set and personal computer into a single home appliance will result in potentially powerful educational opportunities, inspiring entertainments, and improvements to community life and democracy.

DTV will make it possible for a child in West Virginia to talk to an astronaut aboard a space station. It could allow doctors to make house calls even from a medical center many miles away. If you are watching a nature program, you can request additional information about the subject, while the program continues on your screen. If a local news story about a political campaign was too brief for your satisfaction, you could order up a more in-depth report and perhaps talk with the candidate. If you hear about a local group doing good work in your community, you could click a button to find out how to contribute to the cause or volunteer.

Your DTV could create the potential for not only a brighter window on the world, it could allow you to interact with it.

For more information, please visit the Benton Foundation's PIAC Legacy Project site.

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