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Difference Between Analog Tuner and Digital Tuner

Analog Tuner vs Digital Tuner

Tuners are parts of devices, like TVs, that receive and decode the signal from a source like RF signals or from the cable company to create the desired output. Analog tuners were meant to decode analog signals that are mostly sent over the air via RF waves. This is a very old and reliable technology that has seen widespread use. On the other hand, digital tuners were meant to decode digital signals. This is a necessary technology for TVs to catch up to the digital age.

The most significant advantage to using digital tuners is the maximum picture quality that it is able to put out. Although there were successful attempts at allowing HD videos using analog equipment, most analog tuners nowadays are only able to receive SD quality picture that we are very familiar with. Digital tuners, when used in an all-digital environment, would result in much better picture quality and resolution. HDTVs have digital tuners in them and, when receiving digital signals, can produce sharper images with better color.

Another key disadvantage to SD tuners is its vulnerability to interference that can lead to distortion of the image. An excellent manifestation of this interference is the appearance of lines or mosquito like artifacts on the image. Digital tuners are able to recover more from the interference as it is able to reconstruct the actual data as long as the interference is not too much. In case the interference becomes overwhelming, the image simply disappears instead of having artifacts.

Analog TVs only have analog tuners since there is no point in putting something in there that it would not be able to use. Analog TVs are therefore only able to decode analog signals. Digital TVs also have digital tuners. But in order to make it easier for the consumer to transition from analog to digital, HDTVs are also able to decode analog signals, making them usable regardless of whether your source is analog or digital.


1. Analog tuners decode analog signals while digital tuners decode digital signals

2. All available analog tuners can only receive SD quality images while digital tuners are able to receive HD quality images

3. Analog tuners are very prone to signal distortion while digital tuners are virtually immune to the same

4. Analog TVs are not able to decode digital signals while digital TVs are able to decode analog signals

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