A television transmitter is a transmitter that is used for terrestrial (over-the-air) television broadcasting. It is an electronic device that radiates radio waves that carry a video signal representing moving images, along with a synchronized audio channel, which is received by television receivers ('televisions' or 'TVs') belonging to a public audience, which display the image on a screen. A television transmitter, together with the broadcast studio which originates the content, is called a television station. Television transmitters must be licensed by governments, and are restricted to a certain frequency channel and power level. They transmit on frequency channels in the VHF and UHF bands. Since radio waves of these frequencies travel by line of sight, they are limited by the horizon to reception distances of 40–60 miles depending on the height of transmitter station.
This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. (December 2021)
Television transmitters use one of two different technologies: analog, in which the picture and sound are transmitted by analog signals modulated onto the radio carrier wave, and digital in which the picture and sound are transmitted by digital signals. The original television technology, analog television, began to be replaced in a transition beginning in 2006 in many countries with digital television (DTV) systems. These transmit pictures in a new format called HDTV (high-definition television) which has higher resolution and a wider screen aspect ratio than analog. DTV makes more efficient use of scarce radio spectrum bandwidth, as several DTV channels can be transmitted in the same bandwidth as a single analog channel. In both analog and digital television, different countries use several incompatible modulation standards to add the video and audio signals to the radio carrier wave.
The principles of primarily analog systems are summarized as they are typically more complex than digital transmitters due to the multiplexing of VSB and FM modulation stages.