High-Definition Video

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What Does High-Definition Video Mean?

High-definition video (HDV) is considered a third-generation video technology and a successor to standard definition video. It has higher video resolution, screen size and file size than standard video and other past forms of video. High-definition video provides more flexibility with technical variables involved in video technology than most other forms of video.


Techopedia Explains High-Definition Video

Unlike standard video, which is the standard for analog video, high-definition video has a purely digital foundation. The difference between high-definition video and standard video can be summarized in four aspects:

  • Resolution
  • Aspect ratio
  • Scanning method
  • Frame rate

High-definition video has six times the resolution of analog video. The resolution is measured in pixels and not in lines as in analog video. While the aspect ratio for standard video is 4:3, it is 16:9 for high-definition video. High-definition videos use either interlaced scanning or progressive scanning, unlike standard video definition which supports only interlaced scanning. In the case of frame rate, standard video can be recorded and played back at only one possible frame rate, whereas high-definition video can record and play back at several rates.

High-definition videos can be classified as:

  • 720p — Progressive high-definition video comprised of 1280 horizontal pixels and 720 vertical pixels
  • 1080i — Interlaced high-definition video comprised of 1080 horizontal pixels and 1920 vertical pixels
  • 1080p — Progressive high-definition video comprised of 1080 horizontal pixels and 1920 vertical pixels

These three high-definition modes are used for different purposes and do not necessarily mean three different types of image quality.

The advantages of high-definition video are image features like accuracy and brilliance in color as well as lifelike detail in aspects which enhance the viewing experience.

High-definition video is used in technology such as broadcasting, televisions, cameras and video surveillance.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.