Monday, March 06, 2006

What is High Definition?

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HD blogs (, HDBlog,net, ) and a thread at HighDefForum are in yet another discussion on what is considered high definition. Everyone referring to the document from CEA that says:

High-Definition Television (HDTV): The best quality digital picture, widescreen (16 x 9) display with at least 720 progressively scanned lines (720p) or 1080 interlaced lines (1080i) and Dolby digital surround sound.

The CEA write up is indeed confusing because it says 720 scan lines and 720p in parenthesis. Wha it mentions 1280x720 video standard. 720p is merely a name for 1280x720 resolution. There is no other resolution that has 720 vertical lines. The description should have been written more accurately so guys like Henning from HDBlog and Richard from do not get confused. As far as 1080i goes, “progressively” speaking it is 540p or 1920x540 which is in controversy with the first statement of having at least 720 progressive lines.

One thing that was also missed by the crowd is that the CE document speaks about HD Television and not the HD format. Television can have native resolution less than that of the signal type but still be able to display said resolution by scaling the image down and be called an HDTV and not be punished by class actions. When a format is defined by an authority, there is no mention of it being a high definition or not. In fact high definition is not a technical term – it is for marketing only. Same is with so called Full HD, a marketing name for 1080p video format (1920x1080) that is getting wider popularity as 1080p sets hit the market.

Posted by Mike at 1:29 PM

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