The Knowledge of HDTVHide

What is HD?

High-Definition is the top of the line, all digital format for broadcasting and viewing TV programming. With HD, you see images at a higher resolution than you have ever viewed on a home screen before. This clarity is delivered in a crystal clear, widescreen format, with CD quality sound: as if a movie theater was dropped in your living room. HD is the future available today.


What are the key benefits of HD?

          Picture Resolution
          HD has the best quality digital picture available. Resolution is a measure of picture sharpness.

Traditional standard definition analog televisions have about 330 lines of resolution.

VCRs have about 240 lines of resolution, which is why VHS recordings don't look as sharp as the original broadcast.

DVDs offer higher resolution than VCRs or standard definition TV, typically on the order of 480 lines of resolution.

HD offers at least 720 lines of resolution, which is at least twice that of analog television. You can expect razor sharp images from HD.

Aspect Ratio
This is the most obvious difference between HD and other television signals. HD introduces the home viewer to a wider rectangle perspective compared to the smaller square field of older TVs. Most older televisions were manufactured to receive a 4 by 3 aspect ratio. HD signals are sent in a 16 by 9 aspect ratio, mimicking the wide scope of movie theatre screens. The aspect ratio makes for a more immersive and intense viewing experience. With HD, you actually see more of what you are watching: you see further out to the side as you watch a sunset over a lake, the entire stage of the Academy Awards, and you see added feet up to the full defensive line formation as you watch a football game. After watching HDTV, many viewers consider the limited view of a standard television signal to be "cut off" and incomplete.

Digital Sound
Just as your CDs sound better than your old audiocassette tapes, HD's digital audio sounds significantly better than standard television's analog sound. Some HD programs include Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Properly decoded, each audio track can be sent to a different speaker, creating a three-dimensional sound field in your living room. Many of ABC's prime time programs contain Dolby Digital surround sound for your listening pleasure.   

Television: You must have an HDTV-capable monitor which includes a built-in high definition tuner or an HDTV-ready television which requires an external tuner to watch HDTV. Both types of sets require either an off-air antenna and/or an HD set top box available from your cable or satellite provider.

HDTV television technology is available in a variety of different set types, from super slim Plasmas and LCDs, to dependable "box" CRTs. Screen sizes are increasing and prices are dropping, so visit your local electronics store to pick an HDTV that fits your taste, space and budget.

HD Programming: HD is available from over-the-air broadcast networks, as well as your cable or satellite provider.

Over-the-air broadcast requires the use of an antenna pointed in the direction of the broadcaster's tower, a free option with the proper tuner to decode the digital signal.

If you receive programming via cable or satellite contact your provider for the high definition tuner (set top box) you will need to receive HD.


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