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Our primary directive at CDTV is to encourage you to learn as much as possible about HDTV. One of the best ways is to read and understand as much as you can from the CDTV consumer web site. Understanding what is happening to the consumer/TV viewer will go a long way to understanding what is driving broadcasters

Unless you’ve been filming in the Himalayas for the past 5 years, you must have seen that HDTV sets are pretty much dominating the electronics stores and have been doing so for the past few years. In Canada the trend has been to bigger, better TV sets, mostly widescreen (16:9) units. In fact, well over 50% of Sony’s TV sales in Canada are widescreen HD sets. This trend has been coming on strong for over 5 years, fueled by new, lower priced and advanced technologies such as DLP, and significant price drops in LCD and plasma displays  This trend is showing no signs of slowing down, and indicates that there is a lrge embedded base of consumers ready for HD production.

The Broadcast world is changing and so must you! …HD is the new world standard!

The broadcast world is changing rapidly andthere is no going back.  When the ATSC  committee in the US set the new standard for digital HD broadcasting in 1999, it was only a matter of time before a complete transition happened. While one might think of this as a slow migration, it’s quite an impressive transition when you consider the many changes that have had to happen in a short time to get us where we are today.

1) Broadcast and production formats approved
2) Stations are upgrading equipment
3) Distributors have changed to manage double carriage
4) Consumers are buying HD sets in great numbers
5) Producers now have to create HD programs

Add to this the fact that the major transition to HD has already happened to broadcasters in the United States and one can clearly see that a complete transition or migration is not far away. In fact, the American FCC has established a drop-dead date of April 2009 for analogue (NTSC) broadcasts.

While technical issues of transmitting every channel in HD still remain, one thing remains constant: HD is very quickly becoming the new and real professional broadcast standard. Canadian Producers must be aware of this, whether or not your broadcaster asks for it today.

What is HDTV?

High Definition Television, or HDTV, delivers brilliant, high-resolution images in a wide-screen 16X9 format. Ideally suited for a big television, the quality of HDTV is truly outstanding. The key difference between new HDTV and the old analogue NTSC TV we were used to, is that the programs are delivered digitally - by cable, satellite or over-the air transmission. This eliminates the effects of interference, ghosting and noise, and assures perfect images on the screen.

These illustrations contrast HDTV images with those of conventional television, using screens of the same diagonal size. Notice how the wide screen of HDTV gives a better visualization, allowing “You are there” views of the full scene. Check the off-screen close-ups and see how HDTV delivers more of the crisp fine details that are blurs in conventional TV. The wide-screen format of HDTV is ideally suited for viewing movies and sports, as more of the action is visible and is in superior detail. Watching conventional TV will never be the same once you have experienced HDTV on a big wide-screen set.

HDTV includes Dolby Digital® coding to provide the capability for full surround sound through 5.1 channels, each feeding a separate loudspeaker, using home theatre amplifier. This gives a dramatic improvement in the quality of the sound and its impact, further reinforcing the “Being There” feeling for viewers and adding another exciting dimension to the HDTV Experience.

Remember: a program can only be considered HD if it was created, transmitted and displayed in HD, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, Dolby Digital audio, and either 720p or 1080i lines of resolution


HDTV and SDTV Compared

To better understand why you see such a crisp beautiful picture with HDTV, here are some key technical specification comparisons between "Standard Definition Television" (SDTV) and High Definition Television (HDTV).


Analogue Digital
Standard Definition
High Definition
Visible Pixel Count 253,000 +/- 480,000* 920,000 @ 720p
2,000,000+ @1080i
Horiz. Scanning Lines 480i 480i or 480 p 720p or 1080i
Aspect Ratio 4 x 3 4 x 3 or 16 x 9 16 x 9
Progressive Scan No Yes Yes
Interlaced Scan Yes Yes Yes
Audio 2 channel 2 channel digital ** Dolby Digital
Broadcast Formats 1 Analogue (NTSC) 12Digital Formats 6 Digital Formats
* Approx. total
** Off-air, certain cable and satellite services may offer 5.1 channels.
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