Are you DTV ready: Why we're making the switch - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Are you DTV ready: Why we're making the switch

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- On Feb. 17, watching television as we have always known it will make its most dramatic change yet.

On the plus side, the picture and sound quality will improve drastically, but there are changes viewers must make at home.

A lot has changed since the early days of television, but what hasn't changed is the way we watch. Even when television went from black and white to color, all we had to do was get a color set, but this time around, there will need to be a few physical changes.

The reason for the switch is a mandate from the U.S. government. The goal was to not only change the picture you see, but to change how that picture is delivered.

"You have to go back really to 9-11 and all the stuff that happened with emergency services, the struggle people had to communicate," KWWL Chief Engineer Jarrett Liddicoat said. "The HD and digital pipeline was already in motion at that time but that really gave it a really big push. The whole premise was to free up a large amount of band width up in the upper UHF band for emegency services and also for the government to auction off as a deficit reduction."

The federal deadline will bring the technology into homes across America more quickly than it would have otherwise.

"Television stations, I think would have eventually gone to digital. It's so much better picture and sound quality. But the expense of that for some of the smaller markets would have been overwhelming. I think the goverrnment had to put a hard date on it so that all the televsion stations would make the change to digital tv at one time," KWWL Station Manager Kim Leer said.

The change is going to benefit both the television industry and the viewers at home.

"You get more channels, better quality picture and high definition programming when available," Liddicoat said. "It's a huge difference. Not only is it a better picture and better sound quality, and they produce a program they'll look great. They'll look exactly like they do when they come out of the studios."

Watch KWWL News all this week for more information on the switch to DTV. You can also find more information on our DTV Answers page.

Online Reporter: Chris Carter

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