What is HDTV?

By George Garza
Info Guru,

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HDTV harnesses the power of digital signals to give your home theater system extremely high resolution pictures that will make you feel like you are sitting in a movie theater
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High-definition television gives you theater-quality viewing.

Would you like to watch television with the same resolution detail as a movie theatre screen? You can with HDTV.


What is HDTV? High-definition television is the highest form of digital television. It works with digital signals instead of analog signals which is what normal TV works with. HDTV has a 16 - 9 aspect ratio, the same as a movie theater screen.


Many would say that this is HD's biggest selling point. The other is the resolution. High-definition provides the best available picture on a television. 


Three Resolution Types: 720p, 1080i And 1080p

High-definition programs are encoded with three types of resolution: 720p, 1080i or 1080p. The numbers designate the amount of lines embedded within the signal. The letter describes the type of scan, 'i' for interlaced and 'p' for progressive. These are used to display the picture.


The Impact of the Lines

If you want high resolution then the more lines you have and the finer the resolution you will get. Digital photos and laser printers work on similar property, which is dots per inch. Regular televisions have 480 visible lines on the screen. By doubling the amount of lines in combination with the type of scan HD essentially doubles the quality of picture.


Interlaced or Progressive

Is progressive better than interlaced? The type of scan deals with the amount of lines for each HD format. Progressive scan is a better type of scan because it doubles the amount of times the TV displays the image per one second in comparison to interlaced. 1080p is better than 720p and 1080i. But the difference between 720p and 1080i is so small that this isn't much of an issue. 



Regular Television and HD Content

Some enhanced definition televisions can display HD content in a 480p resolution which is DVD quality. But only high-definition televisions can display HD content in the HD resolution. All other analog-based televisions will not be able to display HD content in a HDTV because they don't have the appropriate technology. 


How to Get HDTV Signals

There are three signaling options available to anyone that owns a high-definition television: over-the-air signals, cable or satellite. Over-the-air signals involve a rooftop antenna. They receive digital signals encoded in HD. Moreover, these signals are free to receive.


The out-of-pocket costs are for the equipment needed to receive them. To receive HD programming from your cable or satellite provider you would need to subscribe to their HD package. This subscription is not free. You can get it from the provider and may require a minimum length of service contract.


Besides HDTV, What Else Do You Need?

Besides the HDTV you need a HD tuner. The tuner can be built into the television or it can be an external set-top box. These set-top boxes can be bought in appliance stores, but fortunately, most will come from the cable or satellite provider.


You also need to buy an antenna for over-the-air reception or subscribe to a HD package. Put all of these items together then you can to turn to the HD channel. But this will work only when the high definition signal is delivered to the HD channel.


So what is HDTV? It is a way of using digital signals to give you a high-quality picture on your home theater.

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