Need help or advice? Call our projector experts:Freephone: 0800 073 0833

High Definition Guide.

Just what is HDTV or High Definition Television and what does it mean to us? This guide will hopefully answer the question and help you through the maze of terminology that surrounds HDTV

What is HDTV?

The Analogue transmission standard has served us well since the early days of BBC colour transmissions but the current 540 line system is hardly high resolution. We are now all used to much greater levels of detail in screen images. high Definition Television or HDTV brings enhanced resolutions to the domestic TV set in two standards a vertical resolution of 720p and 1080p.

What can be confusing is that HDTV is used to refer to several things: a type of display device, a digital broadcast method, and a special way to produce TV shows and films. Viewing nirvana is achieved when all three parts of HDTV converge; a programme of film, that is produced using High Definition technology, is transmitted via a HD television signal (from a HDTV channel), and enjoyed on a HDTV display (preferably a projector) with a surround sound home theatre audio set up (this part is optional). Watching regular TV or a DVD on a HDTV is visually stunning. And that is why more and more people are getting on the HD bandwagon.

What is the benefit to me?

HD has 2.1 million or more pixels. That is a lot more picture information and that is what makes HDTV so crisp and detailed.

HD has an aspect ratio of 16:9 versus the 4:3 aspect ratio of analogue. You get one-third more image area and it's that much easier to watch movies in their original format. The 16:9 aspect ratio actually more closely matches the viewing angle of the human eye, making for a more immersive entertainment experience.

HD images are made up of from 720 to 1080 horizontal scan lines. Again, a lot more detail is possible with that much more visual information on the screen.

HDTV can provide at least 7.1 channel Dolby Digital sound, equal to what you hear in a cinema. Plug in a home theatre audio system and you can hear the distinctions between sound effects, dialogue and music. Analogue can't offer anything close to that!.

So is High Definition or 720p / 1080p resolution really that much better than my current standard resolution?

The simple answer...Yes! Below is a table showing common resolutions, remember the higher the total amount of pixels displayed the sharper and crisper the displayed image will be..

Standard TV
Standard DVD
Pixel (Width x Height)

525 x 400
854 x 480
720 x 576
1280 x 720
1920 x 1080
3840 x 2160
Total Pixels

Figures are all well and good but how much improvement in the actual picture quality is there? The picture on the right should hopefully make it clear...

How do I get HDTV?

Currently there are 3 main ways in the UK to watch HD programmes : Via SKY HD, Via Freeview HD and Via Freesat. In order to enjoy high definition programmes, you must have a HD source (SKY HD set top box, FreeviewHD set top box or FreeSat Set Top Box) and a HD Ready projector or TV. What is HD ready? A HD ready projector or TV must have HDMI or DVI connectivity in order to accept a digital signal from the HD receiving equipment. It must also have a resolution of either 720 or 1080 lines..

Still Confused?

If you are unsure whether the projector you are interested in can support HDTV then please contact us. Still confused about HDTV? Simply give us a call or drop us an email with your questions and we will be more than happy to help.