Conn. public TV gets $2M to go digital

Connecticut Gov. John Rowland approved $2 million to upgrade Connecticut

Public Television to digital television, offering better sound and picture

quality as well as interactivity and other advanced options.

The money will be used to buy production and technical equipment, transmission

systems, and playback and recording devices. The money is the first installment

of a five-year commitment totaling $10 million. The total cost of the upgrades

is estimated at $23 million, including private financing.

Digital television, which the Federal Communications Commission said

broadcasters must switch to by 2003, is more advanced than the typical analog

television most people view today.

CPTV's engineering manager, Joe Zareski, said the most recognizable

improvements will be picture and sound quality that are "as good as what

we'll see in the studio." In contrast, an analog signal "constantly degrades

through transmission," he said, so the longer the transmission, the worse

the picture and sound quality.

With digital television, watching a show will be more like using the

Internet, and a television will be more like a computer. While watching

a show on cheetahs, for example, a person could click a link on the screen

and access information about efforts to save the animal from extinction.

People could even download information, just as they would from the World

Wide Web.

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