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16VSB is an abbreviation for 16-level vestigial sideband modulation, capable of transmitting four bits (24=16) at a time.

Other slower but more rugged forms of VSB include 2VSB, 4VSB, and 8VSB.

16VSB is capable of twice the data capacity of 8VSB; while 8VSB delivers 19.34 Mb/S (Megabits per second) in a 6 MHz TV Channel, 16VSB could deliver 38.68 Mb/S, while making the sacrifice of being more prone to transimission error.

While 8VSB is the FCC ATSC (USA/Canada) digital broadcast modulation format, 16VSB was planned for cable distribution. 16VSB is about twice as susceptible to noise, therefore less suitable than 8VSB for broadcast, but well suited to the SNR of fiber/cable distribution, allowing twice as much programming in a 6MHz band channel.

However, as of today (Jan 2004) it looks like cable will not carry VSB but will instead carry any DTV programming via 256QAM, the standard modulation method for digital cable in the US.