High-Definition Television

What is HDTV?

High-definition television is a digital television format, delivering theater-quality pictures and CD-quality sound. HDTV has been described as the most dramatic change for viewers since the introduction of color television.

What makes HDTV better than today’s television?

HDTV offers an increase in picture quality by providing up to 1,920 active horizontal pixels by 1,080 active scanning lines, representing an image resolution of over two million pixels. In addition to providing improved picture quality with more visible detail, HDTV offers a widescreen format; many HDTV programs also contain Dolby® Digital 5.1 surround sound.

What is digital cable?

With digital cable, cable operators are able to offer greater choice and quality than is possible under the current mode of analog television transmission. Cable operators use digital technology to compress video signals, allowing providers to deliver more than one digital programming service in the same space now occupied by a single analog programming service. Digital cable can provide a host of new services, such as video-on-demand, interactive television and commercial-free CD-quality music.

What is the difference between “digital cable” and “HDTV”?

For today's digital cable programming, digital set-top boxes translate the digital signals for display on conventional analog television sets. In contrast, HDTV has a much higher level of resolution and must be received on a digital television set capable of displaying HD.

What kind of equipment do I need to receive HDTV?

You will need to purchase a digital television capable of displaying a high-definition signal, which uses either the 1080i or 720p format. Most high-definition digital televisions will display these formats. In some digital television sets, the digital decoding and tuning functions are built into the TV. Other instances require a digital monitor, capable of displaying HDTV, plus a tuner in a separate set-top box. When receiving HDTV from cable, an HD set-top box may be purchased at a retail outlet or leased from the cable operator, depending on the local cable system.

Source: NCTA