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About HDTV

HDTV (high definition television) is the new standard in television technology which provides wide-screen picture quality similar to 35mm film along with compact disc (CD) sound quality.

HDTV is part of several standards incorporated in digital television or DTV. Basically, DTV is composed of three separate standards:

HDTV 1080 (1080 lines of resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio)
HDTV 720 (720 lines of resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio)
SDTV (480 lines of resolution, 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio)
At a minimum, HDTV has twice the linear resolution of standard-definition television (SDTV), thus showing greater detail than either NTSC analog television or DVD.
What do all those numbers really mean?

DTV is not
necessarily HDTV.
find out more about DTV.
HD has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SDTV. Early HDTV broadcasting used analog techniques, but today HDTV is digitally broadcast (DTV) using video compression.

In a side-by-side comparison of the old NTSC standard and HDTV, the difference is dramatically apparent. NTSC was 4 units wide and 3 units tall, while HDTV is 16 units wide and 9 units tall with greater detail.
View more side-by-side comparisons

HDTV is the biggest breakthrough in broadcasting since color TV. HDTV offers wider pictures with greater detail and the clarity of motion pictures. Compared to standard definition television (SDTV) or the old analogue system (NTSC), the HDTV image has twice the luminance definition - vertically and horizontally - and is twenty-five percent wider. SDTV's (and NTSC's) aspect ratio is 4:3 (four units wide, three units high) - the HDTV aspect ratio is 16:9. The 16:9 ratio is much closer to the average wide-screen image shown in movie theaters. The biggest difference, and the greatest appeal of HDTV, is its clarity. HDTV pictures are composed of 1080 active lines whereas SDTV pictures are composed of only 480 active lines. The fine-grained HD picture contains five times more information than does the standard television picture and is accompanied by multi-channel, CD quality sound. The difference in video and sound quality is dramatic.