Digital television (DTV) is a new television service representing the most significant development in television technology since the advent of color television in the 1950s. DTV can provide sharper pictures, a wider screen, CD-quality sound, better color rendition, and other new services currently being developed. A successful deployment of DTV requires: the development by content providers of compelling digital programming; the delivery of digital signals to consumers by broadcast television stations, as well as cable and satellite television systems; and the widespread purchase and adoption by consumers of digital television equipment. A key issue in the Congressional debate over the digital transition has been addressing the millions of American over-the-air households whose existing analog televisions will require converter boxes in order to receive digital signals when the analog signal is turned off.
This report provides a framework for understanding the paper-based and electronic components of the current U.S. payments system. It begins with a basic overview of the payments system, explaining the relative size and growth of various methods of payment. The report discusses paper-based payments and then examines the operations of wholesale and retail electronic payments. Finally, the report discusses some of the major policy issues concerning the regulation and supervision of electronic payments.