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Upscalers are NOT high definition

Don't get confused, a HDMI port alone does not make TV high definition

Don't get confused, a HDMI port alone does not make TV high def
published on UK Free TV

We've come across a class of devices that seems able to confuse HDTV buyers. These are called "upscalers" and seem to miraculously produce high definition pictures.

HDTV usually requires a high definition input port, either a HDMI or a DVI connection. These ports allow the higher definition modes, 1280x720 and 1920x1080 to be displayed.

However, standard television is at a maximum of 720x576. This applies to analogue television, Freeview, cable and satellite (obviously except the HD services) and to DVDs. See A comparison of TV, HDTV and computer monitors for a comparison.

So, if you are buying a DVD player, Freeview box or similar it's worth buying one with a HDMI or DVI connector, as this will make the connecting the device to your HDTV very straightforward.

But there is no point buying "upscaler" devices that claim to increase the resolution they do not. All HDTVs will do the same resolution conversion for standard inputs.

If you want HDTV resolutions your options are:

  • Sky HD, only on selected channels
  • Virgin HD, only on selected channels
  • BBC/ITV Freesat, Spring 2008, selected channels only
  • BluRay/HD-DVD player with HD media only


Help with High Definition?
In this section
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Channel 4 abandons Freesat HD in TWO DAYS2
Five tips for when you are buying a new TV to watch Freeview or Freesat3
Why do less than one in five people with an HD set watch in HD?4
All five public service channels now free to air!5
Will we ever have Freeview Ultra HD or Freesat Ultra HD?6

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