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What is High-Definition Television?

When you look at the world around you you’ll notice that everything you see looks crisp, sharp and clear–no matter how close you get to it (if you have good vision.) But when you look at generated representations of the world, like photographs or movies on a screen, you’ll notice that the image is rarely that clear. If you get close to a standard-definition (SD) television or computer screen you will see the thousands of individual pixels that make up the image. If you’re observant enough you might even notice that those pixels are flickering in and out of existence very rapidly. Those issues are precisely the reason high-definition television is so popular on the consumer market today. Let’s take a closer look at what HDTV really is and why DISH Network is so committed to providing quality HD service to all of their customers.

The Basics

The human eye has 120 million cells called cones and rods, that interpret the light we see and create pictures in our minds. Essentially, this means our eyes are capable of seeing a much better picture than older, standard-definition screens present us with. High-definition screens capitalize on the potential of human vision by using a vertical resolution display from 720p–1080i, creating an image that is significantly more detailed than older SD displays.


Now, I’m sure many of you are wondering what the i and the p stand for. The p stands for “progressive scanning,” which means that each scan contains the complete lines needed to create a picture. The i stand for “interlaced scanning” which means that each scan contains alternate lines for half a picture. What these values translate into is known as frame rate.

So just how much better is the frame rate for high-definition programming? A lot better. To really understand why an HDTV is more preferable you need to understand the concept of “persistence of vision”. Persistence of vision is an optical illusion that occurs when the brain interprets a series of rapidly-shown still images as a continuous moving picture. A traditional TV displays programs at about 30 frames per second, this is why you can often detect a flicker on older televisions. A new HDTV is capable of displaying programming at up to 60 frames per second, twice that of a standard-definition TV. A higher frame rate creates a more powerful persistence of vision, which means that not only is your image less fuzzy, but you can also show an HDTV picture on a much larger screen with no deterioration of image quality.

One of the more immediate differences you’ll notice when switching to HDTV programming is the width of the screen. A decade ago, televisions were much more square than they are today, the switch to HD is why you see much more rectangular screens on the market. Most HDTV’s operate on a 16:9 aspect ratio, which allows you to watch all those widescreen movies without any part of the video image getting cut off.

DISH Network’s Commitment to HDTV Programming

There is one major caveat to remember when purchasing an high-definition television–you won’t receive high-definition picture unless you have access to a full-resolution, HD-quality television signal.

DISH Network is committed to providing everyone with the highest quality television service possible. At DISH, they believe that HD is a right, not a privilege. Which is why DISH Network provides HD Free for Life with all of their television packages. You’ll see the sweat glisten on your favorite athletes as they score the game winning goal, hear a bat hit a baseball with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and if you close your eyes you’ll actually feel like you’re at the game.

If sports aren’t your passion, DISH provides over 200 HD channels with a rotation of 3D movies every month. You’re sure to find something you like, and with the support of DISH and HDTV technology, you’ll have a theatrical experience right from the comfort of your own home.

So settle into your favorite chair, break out the popcorn, and revolutionize your television. High-Definition Television is the future of visual entertainment, and DISH Network is ready to welcome you into it.


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