Does your TV travel?

Broadcasting standards vary by country, so check your TV before shipping it

terrestrial television broadcasting

Illustration: EnEdC / Wikimedia
Map of digital terrestrial television broadcasting standards. The lightest gray areas designate no terrestrial digital television or no data.

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

A resident of the United States moving to Norway (or the other direction) can take a radio along and use it upon arrival just by tuning to the different frequencies of radio broadcast stations. Not so with TVs, due to differences in the ways broadcast signals are encoded.

As shown in the map below, four different schemes of terrestrial television broadcasting are used around the world. (The word “terrestrial” designates broadcasting and reception within the Earth’s atmosphere, to distinguish it from satellite broadcasting.)

The four different schemes are:

• DVB-T, an abbreviation for “Digital Video Broadcasting—Terrestrial,” is named for the DVB European-based consortium standard. It is used throughout Europe and Africa, in 11 countries and territories in the Americas, in Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, and in 43 countries and territories in Asia.

• ATSC, an abbreviation for “Advanced Television Systems Committee,” is a set of standards developed in the USA. It is used mostly in North America, in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, and also in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In the Asia/Pacific, it is used in South Korea and five territories.

• ISDB-T, an abbreviation for “Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting—Terrestrial,” is a standard developed in Japan. It is used in Japan, the Philippines, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka in Asia, 15 countries and territories in Asia, and in Botswana in Africa.

• DTMB, an abbreviation for “Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcast,” a standard developed in the People’s Republic of China. It is used in China, Cuba, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Your TV set may be equipped to handle more than one of these—but it may not!

If your move is between countries with different domestic electricity voltages, as between the U.S. (110 Volts AC) and Norway (220 Volts AC), also ensure that the radio or TV that you take along has an automatic supply voltage sensor or is fitted for dual voltage operation; if not, you also will need to take along a transformer or buy one upon arrival.

This article originally appeared in the October 5, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.