Digital Television FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the transition to Digital Television

What is digital television (DTV)?
In the digital system, images and sounds are captured using the same digital code found in computers - ones and zeros. This method allows more information and programming to be broadcast using less broadcast spectrum. Digital technology offers stations opportunities for high definition television, surround-sound audio and multicasting. On Feb. 17, 2009, all TV stations in the U.S. will switch completely to digital broadcasting.

What is high-definition television (HDTV)?
High definition television (HDTV) is not the same as DTV. HDTV refers to the resolution quality of the picture being broadcast. This is determined by the number of picture elements (pixels) across the screen and the numbers of rows down the screen. HDTV can have up to six times more pixels than the resolution of an analog signal. The higher the resolution, the clearer the picture. Viewers receive high-quality, crystal-clear pictures. These visually stunning pictures are displayed in a wide screen, rectangular format with a 16 by 9 width to height ratio compared to analog's 4 by 3, or basically square format. The superior picture and sound of HD programs can only be experienced on a high-definition TV set.

What is multicasting?
In addition to transmitting in HDTV, WILL can transmit additional channels of standard definition television (SDTV) programming simultaneously. This is called multicasting. WILL's digital service includes two standard definition channels and one HDTV channel.

Why are stations switching to digital?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that all TV stations convert to digital transmission by February 17, 2009.

What does WILL-DT broadcast?

  • WILL HD 12.1: High-definition PBS programming 24 hours a day - Nature, Antiques Roadshow, Great Performances, NOVA and more. WILL-DT schedule.
  • WILL 12.2: The outstanding programming you've enjoyed for decades. A standard definition channel duplicating WILL's analog programming.
  • WILL Create/World: Create airs from 6 am to 6 pm and offers cooking, arts and crafts, gardening, home improvement and travel programs. World airs from 6 pm to 6 am, and features PBS documentary, public affairs and news programs.

How do I find these channels?
The remote control on a digital TV displays the "virtual" channel number and the channel designations increase by decimals. So you will find:

  • WILL-TV's analog service on channel 12;
  • WILL-DT's high definition channel on 12.1 (Comcast: Channel 916 in C-U; Channel 917 in Springfield/Decatur Media Com: Channel 712 in Charleston and Gibson City);
  • WILL-DT's standard definition channel on 12.2;
  • Create/World on 12.3 (Create/World is broadcast on WILL-DT 3 and Insight Cable: Channel 219 in C-U; Channel 220 in Springfield/Decatur).

How do I receive a digital signal on my analog set?
If you subscribe to satellite or cable, you can receive a digital signal on your analog set. (But before you sign up with a local cable or satellite company, be sure to check that WILL-DT and the other channels you want are available from them.)

If you prefer to continue receiving a free over the air signal via an antenna, you will need to purchase a TV converter box for each analog set.

How can I receive an HDTV signal?
To experience the highest resolution possible, viewers will need new TV sets with an HD tuner and monitor or display device, such as the plasma display panel. Manufacturers can label their TV sets "digital" even though the sets are not capable of true high definition. Look for sets that have the Consumer Electronics Manufacturer's Association (CEMA) HD sticker.

What kind of antenna do I need to receive an over-the-air signal?
Some areas near our transmitter in Monticello may only need an "active antenna" that sits on top of the TV set. Most people in our viewing area will need a small or medium VHF/UHF combination outdoor antenna. There are some small profile amplified outdoor antennas that may work in your viewing area. You can find a helpful guide to antenna selection at http://checkhd.com/aw/welcome.aspx. If you need an outdoor antenna, make sure that it has an element for high VHF channels and not just UHF channels.

For more information contact:
Rick Finnie, chief engineer
WILL-TV
300 N. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana IL 61801
(217) 333-7300