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WHYY Digital Television Basics

Digital technology is changing the way we watch television. This guide will help you understand the basics and learn more about how WHYY fits into the picture:


What exactly is digital television?
Digital television (DTV) is a broadcasting technology that transforms your television viewing experience. DTV enables WHYY and other broadcasters to offer television with movie-quality picture and sound. It can also offer multiple programming choices and interactive capabilities.

Why are TV broadcasters switching to DTV?
DTV broadcast technology is more flexible and efficient than today's more widespread broadcast technology, which is called "analog."

When will the transition from analog to DTV be complete?
The deadline for the final transition to DTV is June 12, 2009. All analog broadcasts (in use for more than 50 years) will end on that date.

If I currently have an analog TV, will I need to buy a new TV after the DTV transition?
When full-power broadcast stations stop analog service on June 12, 2009, you still will be able to use your analog TV with a set-top converter box. Converter boxes for analog TVs receiving over-the-air broadcasts will be available in retail stores at that time. These boxes receive digital signals and convert them into analog format for display on your analog TV. Cable and satellite subscribers may need new equipment to receive and view DTV and high-definition programming. You should ask your provider what you will need and when.

What is High Definition TV (HDTV)?
HDTV is a type of DTV service. HDTV provides high-resolution programming in a widescreen format. A current analog TV picture can provide resolution of up to 480 horizontal lines. An HDTV picture can provide resolution of up to 1080 lines, providing improved picture detail. Aspect ratio is a comparison of screen width to screen height. Analog TV has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3, which means the screen is 4 inches wide for every 3 inches high. Widescreen HDTV format has an aspect ratio of 16 by 9. HDTV programs include Dolby digital surround sound, similar to the sound used in movie theaters and on DVDs.

WHYY's DTV Service

What are WHYY's digital channels?
WHYY currently broadcasts three digital channels:

  • WHYY HD 12.1 (Comcast 812, FiOS 512) is a simulcast of analog WHYY TV12 until it broadcasts in high definition from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays and from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends.
  • Y Arts channel 12.2 (Comcast 257, FiOS 474) is devoted to cultural arts programming.
  • Y Info channel 12.3 (Comcast 258, FiOS 473) is a news and information channel that covers current affairs, health and science, finance and history with a thought-provoking lineup of regional, national and global programs.

How can I receive WHYY's digital channels?
To receive WHYY's digital channels, you must own a digital television equipped with a tuner and an external antenna, or you must subscribe to Comcast Digital Cable.

I subscribe to another cable or satellite service. How can I access these channels?
Please check with your cable or satellite provider.

Where can I find program schedules for WHYY's digital channels?
The program schedules are available at In addition, most on-screen program guides will include the schedules.

What kinds of programs are on the Y Arts channel?
The new Y Arts (Comcast 257, FiOS 474) delivers the highest-quality cultural programming, from original WHYY productions, to favorite PBS programs like American Masters, Great Performances, Masterpiece Theatre, Legends of Jazz and Mystery!. WHYY Arts is on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week. WHYY Arts carries video compilations of WHYY's nationally acclaimed radio magazine, Fresh Air with Terry Gross; cultural arts episodes of WHYY's weekday public affairs radio program Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane; and WHYY's Experience series, a collection of short video segments that explores the Delaware Valley's diverse arts and culture community. Student films from the University of the Arts, Temple University and other local colleges and universities are also on the WHYY Arts program schedule.

When is the Y Arts channel on the air?
Y Arts is available 24/7.

What kinds of programs are on the Y Info?
WHYY's second new digital channel, Y Info (Comcast 258, FiOS 473), is a news and information channel that covers current affairs, health and science, finance and history with a thought-provoking lineup of regional, national and global programs, including BBC World News, Wall $treet Week, Charlie Rose, Washington Week, Keystone Chronicles and Foreign Exchange. Y Info is also the source for in-depth coverage of regional news and information initiatives, including WHYY's It's Our City project.

When is the Y Info channel on the air?
Y Info is available 24/7.

Does WHYY broadcast in high definition?
Yes. WHYY broadcasts local and national programs in high definition, including Nature, NOVA, History Detectives and American Experience, each weeknight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and weekends from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on WHYY Digital (Comcast 812, FiOS 512).

Why aren't you showing more programs in high definition?
As more programs become available in high definition, we will make them available to our audiences.

More details about digital television are available at