The Rise of HDTV, & What it Means for PR

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Cable-and-TVThis guest post is by Lyndsey Ellis, Support Specialist, Broadcast Services at Cision.

It’s no secret that broadcast has come a long way. From the dim, spotty images of extinct analog systems that blurred your grandparents’ first color TV set, to the mainstream standard digital systems you grew up eyeing, it’s clear that television broadcasting has come a long way and developments in this industry are rapid.

High-definition content currently reigns in television and video. Premium efficiency and quality are the main components of this fairly new system. Simply put, it’s the Holy Grail of resolutions in the broadcast industry.

The World Before HD

Life was much simpler before HD made its lasting mark across the eyes of television viewers and movie goers. Although there were less technicalities, broadcast offered limited results when it came to fine-tuning images on the tube.

High-definition’s emergence dates back to the late 1960s when it was first produced through a Japanese broadcaster. However, it wasn’t introduced to the United States until more than a decade later. The invention caused a lot of controversy and was rejected several times because of bandwidth restrictions before it was finally approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 1996. Two years later, its public exposure revolutionized viewing pleasure as we knew it.

What It Is

High-definition is a television broadcasting system that’s considered better than standard definition television because of its higher digital signals. It features horizontal to vertical scan lines of resolution that amplify the quality of images on the screen. To date, minimum resolution is 1080×720; maximum is 1920×1080.

Why Its the New ‘It’

1. Sharper Picture

HDTV has up to 2 million pixels and easily puts analog TV’s ½ million pixels to shame. The result is narrower gaps between scan lines which are more compatible with the naked eye. Images are more crisp and vivid with incomparable color accuracy. Every viewing experience is an Avatar moment, minus the blue cat-people.

2. Better Sound

Couldn’t make it to the theatre in time to catch the flick everyone’s been hounding you to go see? It’s all good. With HDTV, you’ll still feel like you had front row seats at the local cinema since it features surround sound instead SDTV’s 2-channel stereo audio.

3. Broader Pixel Aspect Ratio

Before HDTV expanded into a household commodity, it was common for the film industry to shoot motion pictures with HD technology. Then, the footage was transformed into SD quality before it hit the shelves of movie rental spots and retail companies. Now, anyone can enjoy its wider screens that are 16:9, as opposed to SDTV’s 4:3 boxy screens.

4. Quiet reception

Unlike the annoying static that characterized analog TV or the less noisy but frequent choppiness of SDTV, HD content delivers squeaky clean reception that’s easy on the ears of its audience.

Why It’s Important to the PR/Marketing Industry

HD isn’t just some toy for tech geeks. Specialists in various industries can benefit from this innovation in broadcast. PR and marketing professionals particularly find HD rewarding since they can use its highly sophisticated features to better promote their brand and effectively keep audiences engaged with the latest technological developments.

Need an example? Check out the Harlem Shake craze that’s ripping through the nation via YouTube. To date, numerous Harlem Shake Videos have been created in Hi-Definition versus Standard Definition.

Fun Facts 

-According to, investment in HD content is expected to continue growing through 2014 with a major focus on video streaming.

-Several popularized gadgets, such as the Kindle tablet, have launched upgrades that have HD features (Yahoo News).

– Sales revenue for Blu Ray content in the first week of March 2013 was roughly $49 million, a $14 million increase from March 2012 when sales were at $35 million (Digital Video Forums).

What’s In Store for the Future

As HD’s fame continues to grow, more industries—gaming, surveillance, film, Internet, and healthcare included—are taking advantage of the benefits. There’s also the likelihood of it becoming more affordable for a wider range of consumers, and ultra high-definition will take the lead as broadcast’s new darling. Before you know it, SDTV may end up joining its older sibling, analog TV, in the land of dodo birds, live disco, and floppy disk drives.

About Cision Contributor

This post was written by a guest Cision contributor.

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