HD Ready Logos and Labeling
Like many things the term 'HD Ready' means different things to different people, however more helpfully in the context of high-definition, it means different things in different places.
In the US the technical requirements are quite different to those of the European logo. For American consumers 'HD Ready' can used to refer to any display able to accept and display a high-definition signal in one of the three main HD formats; 720p, 1080i or 1080p using a component video or digital input. It also implies that the display does not contain a high-definition capable tuner or decoder.
Within Europe, EICTA (European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Technology Industry Associations) produced the HD Ready logo to simplify the differentiation and purchase of high-definition capable equipment.
The European requirements are so follows:
- The display must have at least 720 lines of vertical picture resolution in a widescreen aspect ratio and must be able to display both 720 and 1080 line content
- It must also have the necessary interfaces accepting high-defintion content including:
- A digital HDMI or DVI input at least one of which supports HDCP
- An analogue component video input, also know as or compatible with YpbPr
Although an HD Ready device must be able to display both 720 and 1080 line content, with pixel resolutions of 1280x720 and 1920x1080 respectively, in order to qualify for the logo the display must only have a minimum of 720 lines of vertical resolution.
This means, for example, that a 720 line display qualifying as 'HD Ready' does not physically have enough pixel resolution to natively display 1080 line content. It must down-scale or resize the 1080 line input signal to its native 720 line resolution.
How much of an issue this issue will prove to be will depend on individual preference and the availability of higher resolution (1080 line) content. HDTV will likely be broadcast in mix of both HD resolutions depending on individual broadcaster's choices and the type of content they are broadcasting, but next generation DVD formats and games consoles will support the improved resolution the 1080 line format offers.
LCD and plasma displays natively supporting the 1080 line format's resolution of 1920x1080 pixels are starting to become readily available at the top end of their respective markets, but this means they are physically large and expensive. You may need to choose between the improved pixel resolution (compared to standard definition) of a down-scaled 1080 line image, and the higher quality image (but also higher price) afforded by a native 1080 line display.