Digital TV Vs. HDTV

By Darrin Meyer

Television has evolved rapidly over the past decade. Two recent terms are digital TV and high definition television (HDTV). Though the two are related, they are not quite the same thing.

Digital TV

Digital TV is the process of broadcasting, receiving and processing television signals digitally, as opposed to the older analog broadcasting.

Digital Benefits

Digital TV improved on analog by delivering higher-quality audio and video, sometimes in high definition. It also has the ability to transmit a greater amount of data in a smaller bandwidth and the ability to broadcast separate sub-channels.


HDTV is a term used to describe video that is sharper and more detailed than standard definition, due to a much higher number of lines of resolution, identified as 720 or 1080p.


To receive digital TV, the user needs a TV with a digital (ATSC) tuner or an accompanying component with a digital tuner, such as a cable or satellite receiver or digital converter box. For HDTV, the television and other components must also have HD capability.


While all HDTV signals are digital, not every digital signal is in HD. Though digital TV offers better audio and video than analog, it still must have the higher specifications to be considered HD.