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What is HDTV

HD Programming

More and more programs are being created in HDTV as producers move into this new exciting medium. Some programs are produced in the standard definition (SD) format and are then up-converted to HD prior to transmission. Other programs and movies originated on film are converted to the HD format for transmission. Currently, the channels available in HDTV typically make up their programming schedule with a mix of program content from these three production sources.  Consequently, viewers may notice differences in picture format (aspect ratio), resolution and sound. HDTV uses a wide screen format or aspect ratio of 16x9, (16 units wide by 9 units high) which appears more natural to the eye than the 4x3 aspect ratio of most existing  TV’s. The widescreen of HDTV is ideally suited for movies and sports. Many new programs are being created in this format, while others continue in the 4x3 format.  On a 16x9 screen of HDTV, a program created in 4x3 screen format will  result in black bars on the two sides. Up-converted programming  may also appear “soft” compared to programs originated in HDTV, as HD contains 5 times more information than conventional TV.

Only programes originated in HDTV will fill the screen fully and bring that true sense of “being there” and increasingly, Canada’s networks and studios are moving towards the goal of digital HDTV production, which will mean a better viewing experience for everyone.

For information on the HDTV programming available in your area look in the HDTV Programs section of this site.


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