Difference Between Full HD & HD Ready

Television manufacturers can be a tricky bunch. Things happen to change when you have sorted out their acronyms and slang. In the early days of HDTV, people were struggling to figure out the difference between 1080i and 1080p and manufacturers were playing so smart with the acronyms by sticking the EDTV (Enhanced Definition Television) acronym on sets but they did not explain how it differed from HD. The manufacturers settled down and organisations began to develop standards, as the demand for HDTVs in the market increased to a high range but the terms are sometimes still confusing. The short-hand definitions, Full HD and HD Ready which are often attached to sets, but the layman are confused with the difference between them. Continue reading if you too are confused about this.

Full HD

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Often the term Full HD is used in marketing materials across the globe. However, it is not a standard that has been adopted by any trade organisation or a government agency. Usually, Full HD is used as a synonym for 1080p and as a means of selling up to the consumers who are looking at HD Ready sets.

The resolution of a 1080p television is 1920×1080 and all lines of each frame of a video are drawn on a set which is simply called as progressive scan which describes the 1080p television as a different 1080i (1080 interlaced) that changes between knowing only the vertical and the horizontal lines of each frame.

The Full HD does not indicate any particular qualities besides 1080p since it is only a marketing term. A set labelled as Full HD won’t be capable of mapping 1-to-1 pixel or might not be able to display all 1080p video sources properly. To be sure, you need to refer to spec sheets of the manufacturers and independent reviews.

HD Ready

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The term HD Ready was used in the United States to describe the ability to display a picture that is highly defined (720p, 1080i or 1080p) where it did not have a built-in HD tuner.

In other terms, the display can be set to work like a monitor. The display when connected to a set-top box or any other high definition content device could drive a signal towards it. A full HDTV was different since it had a built-in HD tuner which receives HD over-the-air transmissions.

The HD Ready in the United States became disused because FCC mandates and forces the television manufacturers to add a digital tuner. All the televisions which were sold after 2007 were absolutely affected by this mandate.

The HD Ready is a bit different in Europe than in the United States. In 2005, an industry association popularly known as EICTA (and since re-named DIGITAL EUROPE) has set down a standard for the term HD Ready. To qualify as HD Ready for a television, it should be capable an of resolution of 720 horizontal lines. Also, it must accept certain inputs like HDMI or DVI with copy protection (HDCP).

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There’s also a standard called HD Ready 1080p which demands a television to have the native resolution of 1920×1080. Also, it also must be able to display 1080i and 1080p video sources without overscan i.e., the image as displayed should be exactly 1920×1080) and it must be able to retain the formats of the video without any distortion in the output images or the video.

As in the United States prior to the FFC mandate, an HD Ready television might not add to itself, a digital tuner and will require a separate tuner device for it to function.

An additional HDTV or HDTV 1080p standard was initiated by DIGITAL EUROPE which represents a television that has an ability built-in to decode HD television signals and display them in yielding with the HD Ready or HD Ready 1080p standard.

Still this is a relevant difference because only some European countries have fixed the digital tuners in all televisions to be mandatory.

Does It Matter?

Full HD and HD Ready

Does 1080p (aka Full HD) matter? Of course, it depends on but the only thing about a set with 1080p (aka HD Ready) resolution is that it has less number of pixels than that of a set which features 1080p (aka Full HD). They don’t determine the quality of the image, the black levels, colour accuracy and concerns which have an impact on the quality of an image.

A 720p display may appear less sharp when compared to that of a 1080p display. The difference can be more noticeable since the size of physical display increases and the distance between the set and the observer’s eyes reduces. So, the physical display and the distance between the set and the observer’s eyes is inversely proportional to each other. An observer with 20/20 vision is sitting six feet away from a 51” television likely will see a difference. If the same person is sitting ten feet away, then he might not notice it.

In case, if the display resolution of Full HD and HD Ready doesn’t indicate overall image quality directly, then it is worth to note that most manufacturers will only sell 720p sets as budget models only. As a result, a 720p set probably will not have an image quality that can beat the world.


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