There are certain technological revolutions that only occur about once every generation. The advent of television itself certainly qualifies as such a revolution, and later the development and widespread use of colour television in everybody’s household.
However, despite certain innovations like cable and the explosion in programming options, television went for decades without something equally ground-breaking, but recently all of that changed.
The Birth of HD
The first television broadcasts in the resolution that would now be considered ‘high definition’ occurred in Europe in 1990, with the live transmission of that year’s World Cup to a handful of cinema screens across the continent. However, it was not until a few years ago that regular HDTV broadcasts began in Europe.
This technology may have been decades in the making, but anybody who has witnessed the splendour of high definition television can attest that the wait was worth it and then some. It is difficult to portray in mere words the experience of HD picture and sound, but here is one attempt: if a regular picture is worth a thousand words, then a high definition picture is worth a billion words.
HD Vs SD
To put it somewhat more simply: the clarity of high definition is a vast improvement over the standard definition television which was the norm for decades. In technical terms, the detail of HD is a fivefold improvement over SD, and that increase in detail accounts for an exponential improvement in vividness which will leave you wondering how you ever watched telly any other way.
So, the visual aspects of high definition television are magnificent; that has been established. But that is not all HD has to offer. Not everybody thinks about sound when it comes to TV. That is because – unless you had some super high-end sound system hooked up to your set – until recently the sound that comes from television broadcasts was nothing to write home about. However, with a decent high definition package, the sound is none other than Dolby Digital, which makes for an auditory experience like none other, with music, dialogue, and effects never sounding better.
The brilliant picture and sound that comes with a good high definition package are all well and good, but the best part is the programming shown in wonderful high definition on a wide choice of HD channels:
- If you are a fan of sport, for example, you can catch all your favorite teams as they play their rivals on HD on Sky Sports 1 and Eurosport. Football was some of the first programming ever broadcast in HD, and for good reason. Seeing the players, the field, the dirt, the ball, and even the stadium in unprecedented clarity is an entirely different experience than just taking in the game in plain old standard definition. This is a whole new way to watch sport.
- If you like to watch movies, you are in luck with HD. With HD quality movies in your own home, you may never bother going to the cinema again. With HD channels like Film4 HD and TCM HD you will always have plenty of cinematic options.
- When the time comes for music, you can turn your telly into an HD jukebox with HD channels like The Box, 4Music, VIVA, and Kiss.
Of course, any good package of HD channels, like Virgin Media’s will also come with all of the standards you would expect such as BBC One HD, BBC Two HD, Channel 4, Sky1, and many, many more.
Written by: Nathan Morgan has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years. As well as working in IT Security, he is an avid follower of the latest gadgets and now has an all-wireless, all-HD home.