Top 5 HDTV Myths


Bigger Screens and Higher Resolutions are Always Better for HDTV

When it comes to your HDTV purchase, bigger numbers don't always make a better TV viewing experience. Before you determine if you're getting a good deal based on the screen size and resolution, compare those numbers to some of the facts here.

As described in How HDTV Works, HDTV has two native resolutions: 1920 by 1080 pixels and 1280 by 720 pixels. The larger the TV, then, the larger the physical size of every single pixel in the native resolution. To better see the larger picture as a smooth, sharp image, you need to be farther away from the screen. If you sit the same distance from the HDTV screens with the same resolution, but in two different sizes, the larger picture may not seem as sharp as the smaller one.

Also, your HDTV will scale an incoming TV signal to match its native resolution. For digital sources like DVDs or HDTV broadcasts over digital cable, this digital signal is readily scalable, along with more available data to keep the picture sharp. However, if you're receiving an analog signal, or you're viewing a channel or show that was not originally in digital quality, you can't make up for the lower-quality picture with a higher resolution TV screen. In fact, when your HDTV scales the picture to a larger screen or higher resolution, you have an even worse viewing experience for that same broadcast than you would on a smaller, lower-resolution screen.

For more information on HDTV and related topics, discover the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • "Connect high-def to your HDTV." CNET. (Aug. 30, 2009)
  • "74% of Consumers Who Know About Digital TV Transition have Major Misconceptions, Consumer Reports Survey Finds." Jan. 30, 2008. (Aug. 30, 2009)
  • Gardner, W. David. "DTV Switch Is On: Millions To Lose Analog Signals." InformationWeek. June 12, 2009. (Aug. 30, 2009)
  • Haff, Gordon. "The economics of cables." CNET. July 31, 2008. (Aug. 30, 2009)
  • "About Us." HDMI Licensing, LLC. (Aug. 28, 2009)
  • "What is HDMI?" HDMI Licensing, LLC. (Aug. 28, 2009)


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