Digital television (DTV) is now the standard mode of broadcast in many countries, replacing outdating analog programming. Luxembourg was the first country to implement a nation-wide switch in 2006; since then, others have followed suit and DTV is poised to completely replace analog broadcasting in the near future. Digital technology offers a higher resolution; for the consumer, this means that DTV provides clearer images even on smaller television sets.
The DTV transition brought a wave of newer compact televisions with it. Portable televisions existed long before digital transitions; however, it was difficult to get a clear, crisp image on small analog TVs. The many varieties of new small digital TV products make it possible to take a TV virtually anywhere without sacrificing picture quality.
While even a standard-definition digital television set offers better aspect ratio than older cathode ray television (CRT) models, the difference in picture quality is not overt with a standard set. For this reason, most very small digital television sets are also high-definition televisions, or HDTVs. Some small standard-definition digital models exist in the marketplace, but their main distinction between older models is simply their digital method of signal transmission; the picture quality is not immensely better when compared to older models.
Small HDTVs have found their way into a number of niche markets, primarily with the family-consumer. One of the most highly publicized adaptations of small digital TV technology is in the automobile. Many high-end minivans and SUVs offer small DTV screens as a stock or custom option for motorists. These small digital TV devices flip down from the ceiling of the automobile, usually located just behind the driver and front passenger seat. The TVs allow passengers to watch TV during a commute, an ideal feature for parents looking to keep the backseat quiet during a long trip.
The flip-down innovation often seen in automobiles has also been adapted for kitchens or other types of household workspaces. Attached to the bottom of a cabinet or shelf, small HDTVs tuck away neatly to keep a clean appearance and minimize the amount of space they take up. These TVs still provide easy access to make that next home cooked meal or home-office deadline go much faster.
Small digital TV sets are also marketed in compact DVD units designed primarily for traveling. These units look like small laptops or netbooks, but when opened up they reveal a high-definition screen, DVD drive, and buttons for controlling playback. Such small digital TV devices are designed to be ultra-portable and durable, and they are sometimes even less expensive than buying a DVD player and small TV separately.