Dawn of the digital TV era

* Every station in the country gets a digital channel.

* As a condition of receiving the channels, broadcasters must bring at least three digital stations online in each of the top 10 markets within 24 months. Some markets, including L.A., must go digital within 18 months.

* By 2006, all the current analog channels go dark and revert to the government. Current TV sets will require a converter that will cost about $50 to receive the new digital signals.

* Digital technology will allow stations to broadcast five signals in the single channel, creating potential for a variety of new services.

* Digital sets will offer superior picture and sound quality, and the shape of the screen will be rectangular, more like a movie format.

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