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What is DVB-T?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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The common perception of digital television these days is of broadcasts emanating from signal towers, bouncing off satellites, and being beamed to home receivers. This is the magic of satellite transmission, and it is reliable as long as the view of those satellites is not obscured. This is not the only way in which television signals are transmitted, however; another popular method of transmitting signals digital video broadcasting–terrestrial (DVB-T). When broadcasters employ this method, the digital signals do not leave the Earth. They are not transmitted via cable, either; rather, they go from aerial antenna to aerial antenna, from signal blaster to home receiver.

Digital signals are routinely transmitted using terrestrial methods. The transmission method has different names in different parts of the world, and DVB-T is the name used in Europe and Australia. North American customers receive these signals using a set of standards approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). In Japan, it is known as Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting–Terrestrial (IDSB-T).

DVB-T broadcasters transmit data using a compressed digital audio-video stream, with the entire process based on the MPEG-2 standard. These transmissions can include all kinds of digital broadcasting, including HDTV and other high-intensity methods. This is a vast improvement over the old analog signals, which required separate streams of transmission. Oddly enough, some terrestrial digital transmissions take place over analog networks, with the antennas and receivers getting some helpful technological upgrades along the way.

It’s not just television sets that can receive signals broadcast in this way. Computers can be the recipients of such signals as well, although users must purchase a special adapter. The signals can be received on single computers or on networks, depending on where the adapter is attached.

DVB-T is not the only DVB available. The Digital Video Broadcasting Project — a group of nearly 300 broadcasters, network operators, and software makers that since 1993 has designed global open standards for digital television transmissions — has created other formats as well. Also used in Europe are DVB-C and DVB-S, using the letters C for Cable and S for Satellite. Another well-known protocol is Digital Video Broadcasting–Multimedia Home Platform (DVB-MHP). One kind of DVB soon to be getting lots of media attention is Digital Video Broadcasting–Handheld (DVB-H), which is the data transmission method used for mobile TV.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By dragan — On Oct 16, 2012

I have a TV and DVD combo, 18.5inch digital TV that I purchased from Aldi, and guess what? It has a hidden camera built in in the top center of the TV frame. I came across it because it was recording me. Can someone tell me what is going on in homes? Are we being recorded by the criminals to spy on your home without you knowing? I have seen it in action. It is a circle that protrudes through the screen with a bluish light coming through the screen like a flash light. What is the government up to? You decide, people. We have no privacy.

By anon250466 — On Feb 26, 2012

My menu is locked, but I don't have a code. How do I reset the menu without a code?

By anon245982 — On Feb 07, 2012

So, can I watch TV programs in DVB-T using an ISBT-T receiver on my phone? I've also heard about DBC. What is that?

By anon163881 — On Mar 29, 2011

If I purchase a video board that has a DVB-T tuner on it will I be able to accept digital TV here in USA using this tuner through Coax cable like Time Warner of Cablevision here in the northeast?

By anon162887 — On Mar 25, 2011

This is without a doubt the best definition I've found about DVB-T. Thanks for explaining in such detail, with such great simplicity. Very much appreciated!

By JavaGhoul — On Feb 25, 2011

@SilentBlue

I think we have a long way to go before this happens. In the first place, the fact that people are all competing to milk the smallest amount of money out of every new technology slows the process of mutuality dramatically. Only as people learn to favor intercommunication over money will they ever be able to really make the big bucks and also make a significant investment in the future.

By SilentBlue — On Feb 23, 2011

Audiovisual imaging is becoming a process of lightspeed and relatively little interference. As the world opens up and unites via these strong and ubiquitous technologies, we will begin to see many cultural and linguistic barriers being bridged. I think we are seeing the beginning of world unification.

By anon121556 — On Oct 25, 2010

Congratulations. For once in techland an explanation an ordinary mortal can understand! Thank you.

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