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What’s the Difference Between Analog TV and Digital TV?

Difference between analog tv and digital tv

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:31 am

Digital TV broadcasting came into effect on June 12, 2009, in the USA. This doesn’t mean that analog TV became obsolete when this happened.

Those who did not make the switch to HDTVs and HD antennas can still receive TV programs through their analog antennas and analog TV sets. However, they would have to use converter boxes.

There are many who still have analog TV sets to watch analog video, especially from a VHS or DVD player.

The main difference between analog TV and digital TV is analog TV processes only analog signals while digital TV processes both analog and digital signals.

Analog TV’s drawback is the presence of noise, signal interference and degradation. The farther you’re from the broadcast location, the poorer your TV reception would be.

Digital TV doesn’t have to contend with this problem.

Digital TV signals are transmitted in 0s and 1s. The image quality doesn’t degrade. You get the same quality as that available at the source.

Analog TV vs Digital TV


Analog TV uses Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT). This makes the TV bulkier and take up more space.

Digital TV uses flat panel displays ranging from LCD, Plasma and LED.

Screen size for analog TV is usually below 30 inches. Digital TV can go beyond 50 inches.

Power Consumption

Analog TV consumes more power than digital TV. It doesn’t incorporate power-saving technology.


Analog TV Resolution

In the USA analog TV standard is based on NTSC which was started in 1941.

The horizontal resolution is 525 lines with 60 fields and 30 frames per second at 60 Hz.

This is interlaced video which is a combination of two fields of 262 lines to display video with 525 scan lines.

Read the difference between frames and fields.

Digital TV Resolution

In standard definition mode, digital TV supports a resolution of 480p.

In high definition (HD) mode a resolution of 720p or 1080i is supported.

At the moment Full HD 1080p resolution is not used for TV broadcast.

The advantage of digital TV is TV size doesn’t affect the picture quality. You get the same resolution on a 32-inch TV or a 55-inch TV.


Analog TV began with mono sound which was later improved to 2 channel stereo.

Digital TV can support up to 5 audio channels in addition to a subwoofer bass channel.

Analog TV Advantages

Thus far we’ve seen that digital TV has the edge over analog TV in many aspects. This doesn’t mean digital TV is superior overall.

Analog TV has a faster response time which makes it good for fast-moving video.

Analog TV has also better contrast compared to a standard digital TV.

Digital TV is, however, catching up on these two fronts. The latest 4K TVs with HDR will soon give digital TVs an overall edge over analog TV.

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