Put simply, HDTV is high definition TV. Self-explaining acronyms aside, HDTV displays signals that are much higher in resolution than what has been broadcast since the dawn of television itself. The improvement is immediately clear: greater detail and more realistic images.

HDTV Untangled

NEC Solutions America | NEC Solutions America


Put simply, HDTV is high definition TV. Self-explaining acronyms aside, HDTV displays signals that are much higher in resolution than what has been broadcast since the dawn of television itself. The improvement is immediately clear: greater detail and more realistic images.

by NEC Solutions America

You'll also notice that the proportion of an HDTV signal is different. The 16:9 ratio provides a more cinematic experience than the standard 4:3 because the wider ratio fills our horizontal field of vision more completely.

HDTV Resolution

HDTV is supported by two resolutions: 720p and 1080i. The "p" or the "i" refers to the type of scanning used (progressive or interlaced) and the numbers identify how many viewable on-screen lines the plasma offers. Interlaced scanning divides the lines of the screen into even and odd fields. So, each field contains half of the image to be displayed. In rapid succession, all of the odd numbered lines of the picture are shown, followed by the display of the even numbered lines. Progressive scanning, on the other hand, treats all the lines as one field and displays them in one sixtieth of a second. This speedy delivery of the entire image on the screen gives a more consistent-looking, clearer picture.

All HD signals are digital but not all digital signals are HD.

How to get HDTV…

Over-the-air (OTA) HD broadcasts are received by antenna. www.hdtvpub.com will let you know if your area has HD broadcasts. The best place to see what type of antenna works best for your residence is to go to www.antennaweb.org .


  • local HD broadcasts
  • antenna
  • HDTV with built in HD tuner or HDTV-ready TV with external HDTV set-top box

Cable HD broadcasts may be the most appealing to people because most households already have cable service. Your cable provider must be able to supply HD signals. Today, most cable providers in large metropolitan areas can provide HD to your house. Visit www.hdtvpub.com  to check local cable HD availability.


  • HD cable service
  • HD compatible cable box
  • HDTV-ready TV or Integrated HDTV with built in CableCard™

Satellite HD broadcasts are received through the same satellite you receive other video signals from. Since satellite providers may not provide local HD programming, an antenna may be needed in addition to the satellite.


  • satellite and HD compatible receiver
  • antenna may be needed
  • HDTV-ready TV

HDTV ready or not?

HDTV Ready (also known as HDTV monitor) supports HDTV resolutions and formats but does not include an over-the-air HDTV tuner or CableCard slot.

An Integrated HDTV supports HDTV resolutions and formats and has a built in over-the-air HDTV tuner and or CableCard slot that allows direct connection to the HDTV without the need of an external source.

If you already have digital TV service from either cable or satellite you already have a set-top box and you probably won't need a built in tuner.

All NEC plasma displays are HDTV ready and only require an external HD Tuner from cable, satellite or off air to view HD.

HDTV technology

There are several main technologies capable of displaying HD signals. NEC provides many displays optimized for viewing larger-than-life HD video.

Plasma: Plasma displays use a plasma gas discharge to light the pixels of the display. The benefits of using plasma are high contrast, superb color reproduction and uniformity, excellent motion handling and slim designs.

LCD: LCD flat panels use liquid crystals and a backlight to display images. LCD flat panels are lightweight and thin. LCD's tend to have limited viewing angles and also lower contrast than plasma, DLP and CRT.

DLP: Using hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors to display images, DLP systems are used in both front and rear projection. DLP has high contrast, good viewing angles and excellent picture quality.

CRT: CRT is the most familiar TV type found in homes today. CRTs produce excellent video quality and provide the highest contrast ratio from the technologies mentioned here.

Rear Projection: Rear projection consists of LCD, DLP or CRT technology and uses mirrors to project the image onto a screen. Larger screen sizes and initial lower costs than plasma and LCD are the biggest advantage for rear projection. However, bulbs need to be replaced after a certain number of hours driving up the total cost.

Front Projection: Front projection uses projectors with LCD or DLP technology to display an image on a flat screen surface. Front projection is mainly used in areas where a large screen is preferred and control of lighting is available.

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