The Telecommunications Act of 1996, passed overwhelmingly by both houses of Congress, provided one of the biggest giveaways in U.S. history. The act provided every television licensee with an additional channel free of charge to develop digital television (DTV) transmission. This technology permits high-definition television (HDTV), which produces a picture six times sharper than the resolution oftoday's standard definition TV (SDTV). DTV also can handle six-channel, movie-theater quality, Dolby digital surround sound.