Is HD just hype?

These days, most new TVs sold are 'HD ready'. This means they can display high definition, and have suitable sockets to take an HD feed. And high definition ought to be good, because it promises up to five times the picture quality. Having an HD ready set doesn't mean that the picture you see will be high definition - you need an HD source as well. This could be a Blu-Ray player (that's just an HD version of a DVD player), a Sky HD box (around 30 HD channels), a Virgin HD box (BBC iPlayer in HD) or Freesat (2 HD channels).

But is it all worth it? Does having all that extra detail make a huge difference to the picture? I'm yet to be convinced. There are two reasons for my doubts. One is that, a few years ago, I went to Sky's launch for HD. It was impressive, but something they never did was have HD and an ordinary Sky box side by side on the same type of screen to compare them. That made me suspicious. If it was so good, a side by side comparison should really demonstrate its worth. Without that, it was tempting to think 'maybe we can't see much of the benefit.'

Similarly, when I go around a TV store, I don't find myself thinking 'Oh, those are obviously HD pictures.' This amazing extra clarity doesn't jump out at you.

Now, I could be wrong. I am happy to be convinced. But I am waiting for the evidence. Someone persuade me! As the poster on X-Files said, I want to believe.


  1. Sadly, I can't persuade you. We have a HD TV, a blu ray player and virgin HD TV. I believe there is a difference but it's not enough for me see anything significant between the two picture. Both me and my husband have come down on the side of 'not that impressed' I'm afraid.


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