For starters, the origination of HD is simply "better quality". Back in 1934, the first High-Definition TV was only called HD because it was a better quality TV than other that were out at that time. It meant higher resolution, but when you compare it to the new age TVs, it's not even close. Back then, a High-Definition TV had a 30 pixel resolution. These days, the typical TV has at least 800,000, usually more. So it all comes down to the times.
What makes HD so much more important these days than it has been in the past is the invention of things such Blu-Ray. A TV with better quality was certainly a great thing, but what is even better is another type of technology that assists in this higher technology. Blu-Ray puts out a substantially higher quality video, but the catch is you can only use it with an HDMi connection, meaning it needs to be HD.
This is what the point of HD really is, however. Being able to utilize higher quality is more than just having a higher quality TV, but also a higher quality broadcast, be it by DVD or cable TV. That is what makes HD so much more advance in the modern world, because of things like Blu-ray and HD channels. They have their own compressed pixel ratio that you can't even see with a regular TV, making HD seem so much more exclusive as well as effective.
It's all part of why HD means so much more in the present than it has in the past: technological advancement. To truly utilize full HD potential, using an HDMi (or high-definition multimedia interface) port is essential. Things that claim to have exceptional HD quality require it because you cant translate that much data any other way. There are several things that use HDMi connections, and each on stands for incredible quality.
The other important aspect of HD is how the information is scanned. Most TVs are 1080i or 1080p, where the 1080 means 1,080 lines of resolution. More lines of resolution means a better quality video because, much like pixels, if there are more lines, then the image is tighter. That way, the actual make up of the image cannot be seen as easily (which is a good thing).
The difference shows up between the "p" and the "i". The "p" means progressive scanning, meaning that all 1,080 lines are displayed in sequence, providing a higher quality image. The "i" means interlaced scanning, meaning that 540 of the lines are scanned alternatively (the 540 even lines followed by the remaining 540 odd lines), to help reduce bandwidth consumption. Progressive scanning, of course, is a much crisper image display, and doesn't have a "twittering" image that interlaced scan has, but in return, it uses more bandwidth.
HDTV technology is a hot piece of technology because it's revolutionized like never before. It's better (granted, depending on how you use it) than a typical television, and is based off of everything connected to it. In the end, HD is a better quality product, with only a marginal matter of costs.
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