|So You Got a New HDTV….Now What|
If your like a lot of new HDTV owners, you may not know how to actually get HD content displayed on your television. Tell the truth…did you turn your tv on and not notice any difference and wondered what the big deal is with all this HD mumbo jumbo? Dont feel bad, a lot of people have done the same thing.
When you are setting up your HDTV, you need to realize that you have to most likely do something different than you had in the past to take advantage of your brand new HDTV. You have get some sort of HD content input. But even before we get to that point, lets understand what all is included with the new features of your brand new television.
One thing that is different about your new HDTV is that it supports different screen resolutions. And these resolutions are usually described by a number that represents how many horizontal lines are displayed on the screen and a letter that represents if the lines are displayed progressively or interlaced.
these resolutions are
- 480i - Standard definition
- 480p- Progressive scan
- 1080P- Sometimes referred to as full HD
Now lets look a little deeper in those resolutions.
- First theres 480i, which is basically regular old standard definition television. Regular tv, before HD, is displayed on your tv at about 480 lines of horizontal resolution….actually a little lower, but when you see 480i you can pretty much assume that is plain ole regular television.
- Now you see 480P, heres where I need to explain the difference in progressive and interlace. that letter after the numbers usually a "P" or an "i" means that the signal is either progressive or interlaced.
- Standard television is always interlaced, which means that the lines that are drawn to the television are split between the odd number and even number and are alternated between odd and even when the image is drawn on the screen. To the human eye, it shows a regular image, but the tv is actually going back and forth between the two sets of horizontal lines. That is where the "i" comes from behind 480i
- The "p" behind the numbers mean that the signal is shown progressive. Basically, it means that the all of the lines of resolution are shown all at the same time. theres no alternating between the odd and even lines. the benefit of something being progressive is that motion and movement will be a bit smoother and sharper when displayed on the television.
- 480P isn’t considered High Definition, but in most cases the only way to display a 480P image is if you have a HDTV, most standard def televisions don’t have the capability to display anything other than standard.
- Next we see what are officially the 2 HD resolutions…720P and 1080i. those 2 resolutions are the only out of that list that are officially recognized as HD resolutions by the organisation that sets the standards (although that may have changed since I last looked into it). Both of those formats have their benefits and at the same time, very similar. Usually, 720P works better for video that has a lot of fast motion (due to the signal being progressive) and 1080i looks really good on video that doesn’t necessarily have a lot of fast motion (due to having more lines of resolution). Every television does not support both, so when you buy your TV you have to pay attention to that.
- 1080P is the newest of the bunch and it is basically a progressive signal with 1080 lines of resolution. Most of the televisions that support 1080P will up convert your signal to that resolution, but so far there are very few devices that will send a 1080P signal to your television.