Home » HDTV


HDTV stands for High Definition Television and is a collective term that, in contrast to SDTV (Standard Definition Television), stands for high-definition television. Currently, vertical resolutions of 720 (full frames) and 1080 lines (fields or full frames) are common. With HDTV this changes: 720p: 1280×720 pixels 50/60 frames/second, 1080i: 1920×1080 pixels 50/60 fields/second and 1080p: 1920×1080 pixels 50/60 frames/second are the facts.




Vertical Resolution

576 Lines

720 Lines

1080 Lines

Horizontal Resolution

720 Lines

1280 Lines

1920 Lines

Max. Total Pixels



Over 2000000

Refresh Rate




As long as you don’t see the HDTV picture on an HDTV TV, you won’t feel any of the advantages. Because only on the right screen can HDTV exploit all its advantages, namely more splendid colors, better depth of field, more brilliance and incomparably better image sharpness. HDTV is less flickering box, but almost cinema.
This starts with the cinema-like 16:9 picture format, i.e. the elongated rectangle familiar from the cinema. In Germany, 16:9 hasn’t really caught on yet, because most programs are still broadcast in 4:3 format. However, 16:9 is more in line with natural viewing, and there will be no more 4:3 under HDTV.

The new HDTV cameras also make recordings much better.

But What Does That Mean For Us Viewers?

For viewers, HDTV means that they will have to buy a new television set. Once HDTV is introduced, he will certainly still be able to receive a conventional PAL signal for quite a while, but for brilliant HDTV enjoyment, he will need an HDTV TV – and, depending on the size of the TV, a large living room. Because with HDTV, picture diagonals of one and a half meters or more are no longer a problem.

When Is HDTV Coming?

Experts do not expect HDTV to be introduced before 2008.
In the U.S., HDTV and the conventional format (which is called NTSC in the U.S.) are already being broadcast in parallel. Europe, on the other hand, is not in such a hurry, because in the USA there is a confusing variety of HDTV formats, which makes it difficult for viewers to buy the right set. So in Europe, manufacturers must first agree on a uniform format, both in production and transmission and in reception, before any thought can be given to a rollout.

In addition, the HDTV televisions are today still partly somewhat expensive. However, you can already get an HD-Ready plasma TV for “only” 1,300 euros. Upwards, of course, the whole thing has hardly any limits.

In addition, there are still technical problems. The satellite operator Astra, for example, is already broadcasting an HDTV demonstration program. This is likely to scare off viewers, however, because it doesn’t show HDTV in all its glory. Rather, there seem to be problems with the much larger data volumes compared to PAL, because the alleged HDTV picture is full of distracting pixels and in some cases, the sound does not sound in sync with the picture.

The first major event to be produced entirely on HDTV (but broadcast essentially in PAL) is the 2006 World Cup.

Recording HDTV?

For HDTV broadcasts, the TV broadcaster sends out a control signal with the film that enables or disables the analog outputs on the HDTV receiver. In case of blocking – which can be assumed for most feature films – HDTV can only be output via the HDCP-protected digital outputs HDMI or DVI. However, DVD recorders or hard disk recorders with HDMI or DVI input will not be available until further notice. Also, HDTV receivers with a non-removable disk are not at present in view -, unless the non-removable disk could be used only for SDTV transmissions or with HD transmissions with release signal for the analog outputs. A recording of HDTV broadcasts, as we know this so far with SDTV, will therefore no longer be possible.

However, Hollywood bosses and industry have not banished the issue of recording completely and for all future. For HDTV broadcasts, the already known DRM (Digital Rights Management) will be increasingly used. By means of the control signals possible within the framework of DRM, the rights holder determines whether recordings – and if so, in what quantity – or, for example, only one-time archiving is possible. DRM can also be used to specify the time period (e.g., within a week of recording) or how often the recorded program can be played. It would also be possible for a program to lie dormant on a DVD or hard disk for an unlimited period of time and then only be unlocked for viewing by means of a code to be purchased by the customer. According to the plans of the software industry, this is what the digital future of HDTV will look like. However, resistance to this level of paternalism is already forming: According to a non-representative reader survey conducted by the trade magazine SAT+KABEL, a majority of respondents reject HDTV in its current form, which is tied to HDCP.

Transmission standards for HDTV are MPEG 4 (MPEG 2), H.264/AVC, and DVB-S2.


HDTV is coming within reach for the first time in 2005, even for us Germans. The 2004 Olympics in Athens were already recorded and broadcast on HDTV (720p) for large parts of the world. The Japanese – world champions in HDTV use – have already announced that they will only accept HDTV recordings of the 2006 World Cup. This means that without HDTV technology in Germany, even the marketing of the World Cup would be significantly impaired. It would be a joke if the World Cup 2006 is recorded by Germans in HDTV, except in Africa worldwide in HDTV on television to see and only we ourselves in Germany would be excluded from the HDTV enjoyment. Such a development would be toll-collect- and dosenpfand-typisch, but nevertheless will probably not occur in such away. On the contrary, almost all authoritative industry observers expect that we will be able to look forward to a whole series of interesting broadcasts in HDTV quality in the next 1-3 years. Appropriate announcements were to be heard even from the premiere already. According to the market observers, the most likely scenario will be that the public broadcasters and the large private broadcasters will broadcast individual programs in HDTV quality in addition to the standard format, whether in 720p or 1080i format. There will probably not be any other pure HDTV stations in the near future. But the announcements of HDTV broadcasts on “normal television” will certainly ensure that the topic of HDTV becomes more and more of a focus for viewers. With corresponding demand from end consumers, high interest from the equipment industry in this new market, and a certain pressure on broadcasters due to international developments, a causal chain will develop at the end of which everyone will be able to receive real HDTV – and in full quality – by 2006 at the latest.

The only thing you should already consider today: If you buy a plasma TV or LCD TV today, you should pay attention to two things: 1. as high a resolution of the panel as possible (significantly more than 480 lines vertically) and 2. HDTV capability of the control electronics (50 Hz refresh rate). Then you won’t have to worry about missing out on a technical trend for quite some time.

Music has accompanied Horst all his life. He has set up a home studio in his basement, where he regularly records tracks. On weekends, he is regularly booked as a DJ at parties. For the right equipment he is therefore always up to date with the latest technology. At hifi-online.net he is therefore the expert for speakers and all music systems and helps you with his tips to find the right product.