For years, watching television has involved analog signals and cathode ray tube or CTR sets.
As far as free television goes, the format will be eliminated by the United States Federal Communications Commission in February 2007.
The analog television technology being used now is more than 50 years old and, with the federal government selling nation's bandwidth, a change has to be made.
To replace the service, Carbon government is currently broadcasting, free off-air digital television channels on a test basis from the county's Star Point, Ford Ridge and Helper communication sites.
The Salt Lake area channels two, four, five, seven, nine, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 30.
When the county's project is finished, almost every home in Carbon will have the capability of receiving free, off-air digital television from the stations. Each of the stations may have one or more sub-channels, giving local residents a total of as many as 22 television viewing choices.
Digital television has several advantages compared to analog television.
The advantages include:
Better picture quality, even on smaller television sets.
The digital signal can support higher resolution so the picture will still look good when shown on a larger TV.
Television stations can broadcast several signals using the same bandwidth. The process is called multicasting.
Broadcasters can choose to include interactive content or additional information on digital television.
It can support high definition television (HDTV) broadcasts.
Frank Brady of Carbon County recommended several upgrades for viewing the new digital signal during an interview on Tuesday.
Brady indicated that local consumers will need a reasonably good UHF television antenna and feed line or COAX cable.
If there is a splitter in-line to feed more than one television in the home, a good low noise UHF pre-amp or distribution amp may be needed.
Residents should position the antenna's orientation so it faces the transmitting sites.
For more information on the sites, residents with Internet access may visit the county's Web site. The Web address is www.carboncountyutah.com.
Additionally, local consumers will need a television with a built in receiver labeled as ATSC or a stand alone digital ATSC box that will sit on top of residents' regular analog TV.
"If you have a reasonably good picture on the UHF analog channels now, using your existing UHF antenna, you will have a perfect picture with the digital television signal," stated Brady.
According to the county's Web site, most large-screen televisions currently on the market have the digital receiver built into the sets.
If the consumer is planning to buy a new television in the near future Brady suggests that consumers make sure the unit has a digital receiver listed as a component on the box or display. He also cautions that buying an HDTV usually means that the set does not have a digital tuner and that a stand alone set-top box will need to be purchased.
The county's digital broadcast is part of a five county effort consisting of Carbon, Emery, San Juan, Uintah and Duchesne counties. According to Brady it is one of the most impressive broadcast efforts in the western United States.
The website assures that Carbon County will maintain the existing analog television as best as possible without investing large amounts of money in a system that has been mandated to terminate shortly.
In closing Brady stated that Scofield and Clear Creek could see complete service by 2007 and that this project is slated for total completion before February 2009.