What is a Digital TV Set?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

A digital TV set is a television set that is capable of receiving digital signals from various types of television broadcasters. Television sets of this type are relatively new and have more or less replaced the TV sets that were programmed to receive the older analog signals. In most countries around the world, the manufacturing of analog sets has been discontinued, owing to the gradual switch from the use of analog signals by most television stations to widespread broadcasting only in a digital format.

Paid satellite services broadcast digital TV.
Paid satellite services broadcast digital TV.

The typical digital TV set is manufactured to receive digital signals in a number of different formats. Digital satellite TV services allow subscribers to receive signals from broadcasters all over the world. Cable systems offer another option to receive digital TV channels, usually in the form of specific packages containing a limited number of channels. With a modern digital TV set, it is even possible to make use of an indoor or outdoor television antenna to receive signals from broadcasters based in a limited geographical range.

A digital TV signal can usually reach set antennas up to 70 miles away from broadcast towers.
A digital TV signal can usually reach set antennas up to 70 miles away from broadcast towers.

The signals received by a digital TV set are varied, but are usually grouped as either high-definition or standard definition. High-definition digital TV reception makes it possible to receive signals that are broadcast in progressive scan mode as well as interlace mode. Standard digital TV receivers broadcast in different formats that are compatible with the technology in use within a given country. Often, a digital TV set can receive both these types of digital signaling, although there are sets that are manufactured strictly as high-definition receiver equipment.

In general, digital TV sets are somewhat expensive, depending on the size of the screen and the features included with the unit. This has led some consumers to put off the purchase of any new television equipment in the hope that the newer sets will begin to decrease in price over time. In order to continue receiving television signals, the consumer may choose to subscribe to a cable or satellite service that has the ability to convert the digital signal to an analog one before reaching the actual television set. Others have opted to purchase digital TV boxes that are attached to the analog set and convert the digital signal to an analog signal at the point of termination. Converter boxes of this type are relatively inexpensive and can make it possible to continue using an indoor or outdoor antenna rather than pay for more costly digital television services.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@Perdido – Yes, they are expensive! I was only able to buy one after I got a huge bonus check for making a big sale at work.

I paid over $700 for a medium sized flat-screen digital TV. I didn't get a huge one, but the one I bought was larger than my old analog TV.

The onscreen clarity is amazing. Watching DVDs on the digital TV is a whole new experience for me. The movies never looked like this on my old set.

Watching high definition television and movies is like being in the room while they are being filmed. It seems like you could reach right out and touch the actors.


I was a child of the eighties and early nineties, so I grew up with an analog TV. I kept the TV even after I bought a digital set, and now, I am glad that I didn't get rid of it.

I play old video games on a system that came out decades ago. I found out after I got my digital TV that this type of video game system cannot be hooked up to a digital TV. It was made to work with analog signal.

So, I plugged in my old TV and hooked it up. I keep it in a corner of my bedroom just so I can play my old video games.


@Perdido – I remember that my parents were outraged when the stations started converting to digital signals. They were quite poor, and they couldn't afford a converter box, much less a new TV.

The government actually had a program set up to help people who could not afford the box. Families were able to get two coupons per household to help them buy two converter boxes. They were each worth $40, which is the average cost of the box.

My parents got the coupons, so they were able to continue watching local stations uninterrupted. I think it's great the government did this, because people need their local news and weather. My parents live in tornado alley, and they rely heavily on the warnings on television.


A few years ago, my local television station announced that it would be converting to a digital signal. I had to decide whether to get a digital TV converter box or purchase a new digital TV.

Since I knew that I would eventually need a new TV anyway, I thought this would be the perfect time to switch. I had a small analog set in my bedroom, and I longed for a big flat-screen television.

I waited until my income tax refund check came in the mail, and I used this money to buy the new TV. It is one of the most expensive things I have ever purchased, besides my car, but it has been worth it.

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