What is HDTV?


HDTV is probably one of the biggest commercial advancements in the video during 2005, though it has been available for a while has only recently become affordable in the mainstream electrical stores. But what is HDTV?

HDTV stands for High Definition Television and to put it very simply it makes video pictures viewable in much more detail (high definition). Traditional TV sets in the UK use a technology called PAL (Phase Alternative Line) which works by the TV picture being made up of 625 lines that refresh 50 times a second, in the States the transmission standard is NTSC (National Television System Committee) which has fewer lines (525) but they refresh at a higher frequency (60 frames per second).

With HDTV the number of lines is dramatically increased with the 2 main standards being 720 lines (progressive) or 1080 lines (interlaced). As the numbers illustrate the viewable detail will be a vast improvement, this is made all the more important with bigger screens, try watching a standard transmission on a 43″ Plasma display and it will make the picture quality of the plasma look poor when in fact it is the quality of the transmission that is not good enough for the screen.

In the UK a few broadcasters are trying to start broadcasting in HD in the near future. Telewest the cable company promises it’s first HD transmissions next month, whilst the BBC and Sky are looking at some time in 2006 and if the media is anything to go by all us British footie fanatics can look forward to watching England win the world cup on glorious HD transmissions (we can dream).

The main reason for this quick (and hopefully simple) description of HD is for a later post about a new HDV camcorder, but I’ll leave that for later now as I have footie to watch :).

One review or comment

Al Says: November 21, 2005 at 4:24 pm

Yeah I know what you mean, I saw it for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was utterly impressed. I just need to save/earn more money :)

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