FAQ from Switch On
What is high definition TV?
It is a TV format that contains upto five times more detail than the standard definition TV. This improvement is staggering, the impact dramatic – just like the move from black and white to colour TV. This is because of the increased picture resolution that HD broadcasts deliver and HD ready displays are able to receive. Pictures are broadcast in widescreen. Standard definition TV that you view through your aerial is broadcast in a format known as PAL, with a picture made up of around 576 horizontal lines. High Definition pictures are made up of 720 or 1,080 lines. You will also see a letter following this, either a ‘P’ or ‘i’.
What do these numbers and letters stand for?
The number 720 or 1080 refers to the number of vertical lines that make up each picture frame, while the letter describes how those lines are displayed. The ‘p’ stands for progressive, meaning that all the lines are shown in one go. 1080i means half the lines are shown, followed by the other half every 50th of a second. As to which type is best ~ that depends on the type of programme you are watching. Both give fantastic levels of detail but progressive pictures are better for fast moving action, 720p is therefore better for sport. 1080i isn’t as smooth, but it is better for material that requires a little more attention to detail, as in wildlife programmes. At the end of the day the broadcaster has to decide which format is appropriate.
How do You receive High Definition ?
Sky digital launched HDTV during June 2006. Their lineup includes a combination of sports, movies, entertainment and documentary programming. To get the best of these new HD programmes a Sky Digital subscription is required and a new Sky + HD receiver, which also allows you to record a different channel on digital to the one you are viewing. This is all recorded onto the internal hard drive, which means you don’t have to worry about tapes or discs. There are two new rival HD disc formats appearing on the scene - Blu- ray and HD DVD – see ‘What’s New‘ for more information. You will need either one of these two new players to watch HD content. Films will be released in HD to support the above players, however seven out of eight Hollywood studio’s will be releasing HD content on Blu-ray while only three studio’s are planning to release HD-DVD products.
FreeviewHD is now available through your aerial and most new equipment with have new HD tuners in them for you to see as well as record.
What kind of TV set will you need to watch HD?
To really enjoy HDTV you will require a 26” or 32” LCD TV. If you are going for a larger screen, 37” + then a Panasonic Plasma television would be our first choice. Never rush out and buy the first HD Ready TV you see ~ You will regret it. Call into our showroom and we can highlight the differences between a LCD and a Plasma, or see our separate link on this issue. We will only recommend the TV’s that we would watch in our own homes.
Will a HD ready TV display everything in High Definition?
NO! this is a major misconception, and your new HD ready TV won’t magically turn standard-definition into HD. You need to feed your new HD ready TV with a High Definition source, i.e Sky Digital HD. As we are aware not many people want to subscribe to a subscription service but HD is a premium service and will more than likely remain so as the cost of making HD programmes is expensive.
Can I get HD through my Aerial ?
Yes you can as long as you purchase a FreeviewHD TV or Recorder.
I need to change my TV but I don’t want HD, Do I still need a HD ready TV?
A question asked virtually every day in our shop. In our view the best all round screen that copes well in all situations, whether you are watching documentaries or fast moving sports action, HD or standard definition is a Panasonic HD ready Plasma TV. The cost of these screens have fallen dramatically, which means you can purchase a 37” Panasonic plasma for under £1300.00. We know it will be many, many years before everyone is capable of watching HD in our homes, the reason is because it will be classed as a premium product for those of you who appreciate the best meaning that HD TV will be in the minority. If you are changing your TV and you currently subscribe to a Sky World package(meaning you obviously like the choice Sky offers) Switch to a Sky HD box. They represent excellent value at a price of £299.00 and you will see for yourself the leap forward in picture quality, especially if you purchase a large screen Plasma Screen. Purchasing a HD ready TV will mean you are future proof, but you will also benefit from the integrated freeview channels too.