Sorry, HD TV Isn't Really High Definition.

Tanner | Jun 27, 2011

Do you own an HD TV? How do you know if you’re getting the absolute best picture quality when you’re watching your favorite TV show or broadcast movie? Right now I can tell you that you’re not getting the best picture quality you could be. In-fact: nobody is getting the best quality of picture on their TV right now. It’s nearly impossible for TV networks to broadcast anything in true HD format. The bandwidth required to send a truly HD picture across any network is so costly that it’s not practical for anyone to do it these days. But the situation is worse than you might think. Back in 2006 DIRECTV was sued for broadcasting really low-quality video and touting it as “HD.” While the video was undoubtedly higher quality than standard definition broadcasts, there wasn’t really that much of a difference. It turns out that TV channels have been lowering their standards for high definition TV for years now. Some just lie about it. Lowering the quality of the broadcast video equals lower costs to send the video out into the world. Saving both the network and the customers money. But how far do these networks have to go in lowering their standards before they’re flat out lying? There’s a great discussion on the matter at Engadget as well as a direct comparison of network broadcasts on the AVS Forum. There’s even a rumor going around these days about a certain network that slowly lowers the quality of their broadcasts as they go on. So at the beginning of your favorite show you’re getting the most high-def signal than at the end of the show. All in the name of saving money. So we have to ask now: what constitutes a signal as “HD” if the signal isn’t that much different than standard TV? Are networks simply lying to customers? Let us know in the comments what you think. Have you noticed a decrease in the quality of your HD TV? Does the fact that these networks can broadcast signals in lower quality than they tout bother you? What do you think is going to happen as we move into an even greater quality standard?


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