High Definition (HD) SimplifiedThere is a lot of hype and confusion surrounding HD, particularly from the various vendors promoting their latest and greatest HD gadgets. To simplify things somewhat, High Definition can be broken down into three basic Formats: 720P, 1080i, and 1080P. TV broadcasters use either 720P or 1080i.
720P video has a resolution of 1280x720, is progressive scanned, and comes in a number of choices based on the frame rate. Because it is progressively scanned, it is the best option for material that is fast moving (like sports), and there is no loss of perceived resolution when an image on the screen is moving rapidly.
1080i video has a resolution of 1920x1080, is interlaced scanned (similar to NTSC TV) and comes in a number of flavors based on the frame rate. Because 1080i is an interlaced signal (similar to standard definition TV), it loses perceived resolution when there is fast movement on-screen. When the images are static or slow moving, you will get the full 1920x1080 resolution. However, during fast-moving scenes, the image appears to be softer, with less resolution.
1080P has a resolution of 1920x1080 and is progressive scanned. This playback format is normally only found on consumer devices, such as Blu-Ray players, gaming consoles and output from a computer devices.
Marketers love to sell the concept of “True HD,” which to them is 1080P. Truth be told, all the formats above are HD, just different variations. The source material will generally dictate the resolution or format you need to use.
HD Sources (Playback and Record)
There is a variety of ways to play back or record High Definition: Tape, Disk, or Media Files.
There are numerous tape formats—consumer and professional—that support HD. However, few, if any, are compatible with one another. The most common consumer format is HDV. The two most common professional formats are Sony’s HD-Cam and Panasonics DVCPRO-HD. That said, tape as a transport media is dying and quickly and being replaced with media-based formats (see below).
Consumer/Disk based: (Playback only)
Blu-Ray is the dominant format for consumer HD playback. However, the live playback of consumer HD formats, like BluRay or HD-DVD, is very difficult for a variety of reasons. Consumer HD disks are very slow to load and play, and the encryption (HDCP) on the disks makes them incompatible with most professional video equipment. Please contact your Account Executive for further details.
Media File based: (Playback and Record)
Playback: There are numerous playback formats that support HD, such as WMV-HD, QuickTime, and MPEG-2, that can be played back on a high-performance computer. However, most of these require specific CODECs to be installed, in order to be used with the various media players. Care must be taken in the choice of the CODEC used, and time needs to be allocated for testing the playback of these video files. To address the playback requirements of media files, AVW-TELAV has in inventory MacBooks loaded with video software that allows the playback of most major video formats, including SD or HD.
Recording: The primary consumer HD flash recording format is AVCHD (MPEG4), which records on high-speed SD flash memory cards (SDHC). AVW-TELAV offers Prosumer Camcorders for recording this format. We also offer two professional media-based recoding formats: Panasonic’s “P2” (DVCPRO-HD) and Apple’s “Pro-Res HD.”
The ProRes format captured on AJA KiPro record decks is AVW-TELAV’s default recording solution. That’s because you can walk away at the end of the day with a portable hard drive with your session in Apple Pro Res, which is an industry standard editable format. For an additional fee, using our in-house digital services, we can convert and edit the footage to your specific requirements.
HD Display Device (i.e. Plasma Projectors) Offerings
AVW-TELAV carries a wide variety of 16:9 format HD video projectors, flat panels—including LCD and plasma—and playback devices to make your HD dreams a reality.
Projectors: We offer HD widescreen (16:9), ranging from a 2500 lumen classroom projector up to a 20,000 lumen large-venue projector, from Panasonic, Eiki, Sharp and Christie Digital.
Flat Panels: We carry a large assortment of HD widescreen (16:9) plasma and LCD flat panels, ranging in size from 22” to 60,” from Sharp and Panasonic.
Cameras: We stock a large inventory of professional HD cameras, as well as a prosumer HD camcorders, from Sony and Panasonic.
Please contact your Local Account executive for details on our latest offerings.