The word digital comes from the simple word ``digit'' but the concept is transforming everything: How we live, how we communicate, how we work and now how we watch television.
The term ``digital'' is often associated with the enhancement of speed, boosting of functions and improvements in accuracy. Digital technology, in other words, is making virtually everything that needs to be better, better.
For television, the word ``better'' does not begin to describe what digital technology is doing and promises to do and offers people at home a whole new mode of entertainment and Internet applications.
While some advanced analog television sets also come with these functions, they are nowhere close to what is packaged in their digital nephews, the first of which are already in foreign markets.
``In actuality, the development of hardware like television sets is way ahead of other technologies that are required to make digital broadcasting work,'' said one official of LG Electronics.
What this basically means is that digital television sets themselves are useless without broadcasting companies sending their programming, information and other contents digitally.
This is not to say that it is going to be years before broadcasting companies dispatch digital programming and they have in fact done some trial runs rather successfully.
``With the launching of the trial runs by the nation's three leading broadcasting companies, people are finally getting a feel of what digital television viewing is,'' said the LG official.
In fact, all three broadcasting -- Korea Broadcasting System, Seoul Broadcasting System and Munhwa Broadcasting Company -- said they found few problems in their trial operation.
Under the government's plan, full-scale digital broadcasting is to begin next year, followed by digital cable television in the year 2002 and digital radio broadcasting in 2003.
Even the smaller cities are expected to have digital broadcasting in the year 2005 and all analog broadcasting will be phased out by the year 2010, opening a whole new chapter in television viewing.
What is unique about digital television is that they not only provide the highest clarity ever but speedy access to the Internet and this is certain to change the way people use household appliances.
``Household electronics makers, components producers, broadcasters and contents providers are all wrecking their brains to capitalize on the introduction of digital television,'' said one MIC official.
Most importantly, digital television is interactive, which means that viewers will soon be able to watch what they want, when they want to and not when broadcasters tell them so.
``The digital technology is making interactive television viewing and this will have a drastic change on lifestyles. People will not longer have to rush home to watch their favorite soap opera,'' the official said.
Naturally, this would have been possible, say, with the use of a video cassette recorder but the beauty of the digital television is the ease with which all these services can be accessed.
The MIC official said, ``It is the true transformation of a ``dump'' box into an ``intelligent'' one with all of their clarity and realistic sound effects. …