• A Blog from Motorola Mobility Home

    On broadband: video, voice, data, wireless and more!

    Click here

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • 2011 SCTE Show

    See what Motorola announced at the 2011 SCTE Show!

    Click here
  • Feed

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • YouTube

When is HD Really HD?

hd-apple.jpg

Karen Brown is one of my favorite press/analyst people and she started a conversation at Motorola that deserves a post. Karen asked the Motorola “encoder geeks” how to tell if the video on your TV screen is a high-definition feed or an upconverted standard-definition feed.

First, one executive pointed out that even HD streams can vary significantly in quality depending on the original source material and what bitrate was used to encode the video. Weather can even affect HDTV as evidenced by the wet camera lenses during this year’s Super Bowl.

As far as upconverted SD streams are concerned, there’s no easy way to tell what you’re looking at other than, well, looking at it. HD should be recognizable to the eye simply because of crisper resolution. Upconverting adds in “extra lines” with data that wasn’t there before, so a good eye should be able to spot the difference. However, you can’t run a test on the content because if the video was upcoverted before encoding, the TV will think it’s displaying HD even when the original source was SD.

aspect-ratios.jpgIf SD content wasn’t originally created in widescreen format, you can usually tell when it’s been upconverted because the picture has to be adjusted to fit HD displays with a 16×9 aspect ratio. This is done by cutting off part of the picture, creating black curtains on either side, or stretching the image horizontally. Today, however, a lot of SD content is streamed in widescreen format (DVDs and letterboxed movies), so looking for picture distortion is not a reliable indicator of upcoverted SD video.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: