Legal Law

Hype HDTV: 7 Marketing Terms and What They Really Mean

HDTV merchants have two important jobs: to bring you the best technology available, and to help you understand exactly what it is. One way to help you understand new technologies is to come up with a simple, descriptive name for them. But sometimes the names are too simple, sometimes they are not

Descriptive enough and sometimes downright misleading.

Here are seven common HDTV terms that can be misleading or unclear:

HD ready

Ready for what? “HD-ready” means the same as “HD monitor”. It is an HDTV without a built-in tuner, so an external ATSC tuner or cable box will be required to receive broadcasts. If you only intend to use your HDTV for gaming or watching DVDs, it would be better to save a few hundred dollars with an HD-ready television.

Native 720p / 1080i display

Most HDTV displays have 768 or 1080 rows of pixels, and some have 900. And all HDTVs have a

inherently progressive display, so the most common native resolutions are 768p, 900p, and 1080p. So when a manufacturer or dealer claims that an HDTV is “native 720p / 1080i,” it generally means those are the highest resolutions it can handle, and the input is scaled and deinterlaced to fit a 768p screen. However, some DLP HDTVs have a native 720p display.

HDTV antenna

There is no dedicated HDTV antenna. HDTV over-the-air broadcasts use the UHF spectrum, as does public access television. So any UHF antenna will work.

Full HD

This refers to a 1080p display with a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and the ability to display 24, 30, or 60 full frames per second. The term is not wrong, but it implies that 720p or 1080i content is somewhat incomplete. Since almost all HD content these days is still 720p or 1080i, it would be quite

depressing for HDTV owners.


Sets labeled “HD1080” have 1080 pixel rows and a progressive display, so they can be correctly called 1080p. But they only have 1024 or 1280 pixels in each row, so they do not display the maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080. A 1080i or 1080p signal would shrink in the horizontal direction, changing an image with many square pixels in one. with fewer rectangles. This does not alter the basic appearance of the video content, but causes problems when using the HDTV as a computer monitor.

Motionflow, Auto Motion Plus, ClearFrame, Clear Motion Drive

These are all trade names for the new 120 Hz high frame rate display technology. HDTVs with this feature will generally show smoother motion because they can display 120 different images per second instead of the typical 60.

1080p upconverting DVD player

Many DVD players claim to convert content to 1080p, rather than 1080i. This is unnecessary as all HDTVs have progressive displays and there is no visible difference between content converted to 1080i and content converted to 1080p. The transfer from “i” to “p” is called deinterlacing, and this task is done by the TV anyway. The only benefit would come if it is a low quality HDTV (with a poor deinterlacer) and a high quality DVD player with a good deinterlacer.

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