Upgrading to HDTV: What are the Options?

With the myriad types of televisions out there at the moment, there’s bound to be confusion. Long gone are the simple days of the black and white set. So what should you choose: HD Ready, HD TVs or just the standard TV? Shed your technophobe past and become a bona fide technophile, with our guide to upgrading your TV.

What is HDTV?

HDTV refers to high definition televisions. This means that the TV has exceptional quality sound and picture, far superior to the standard television channels. HD television channels are all digital rather than analogue.

HD Ready TV

HD Ready TVs are phase-in digital TVs. In the US, this usually means that they were manufactured before 2007, as sets produced after then were required by the FCC to have a built-in digital tuner. Basically, this older type of TV requires the addition of a Digital TV Converter Box to transmit HD TV shows. These start from around $40 if you simply want to view the TV shows. They increase up to over $300, if you plan on using the HD Box like a VCR, and tape TV shows for play back later, or want more interactive features.

In the US, there are currently over 100 HD channels you can use with an HD Ready TV, available with various media packages. There are also several local HD broadcasts that you will be able to pick up if you have a Digital TV Converter Box, even if you’re still using an analogue set. The great thing is, with a converter box, you don’t need to worry about paying for a subscription: once you’ve bought it, you can get certain channels for free, unlike monthly subscriber services.


The vast majority of TVs on the market nowadays have the in-built HD tuner inside of them. This means you can watch the high definition TV shows as soon as you switch on. If you want to make sure when you’re buying, search for a TV that has an HD logo on it.

They do, however, have different levels of pixel quality. Standard tv pictures have around 720 x 576 pixels. HDTVs start at around 1280 x 720, all the way up to 1920 x 1080, for the most advanced models.

Though you can still watch HD channels and Blu-Ray discs on HD Ready TVs, there’s no re-scaling with Full HDTVs, meaning you can watch shows and movies exactly as the director envisioned. It’s also better for video games, perfect for when the grandkids come over!

Whether you purchase HD Ready or Full HD, it depends on how concerned you are with precise picture quality. The best thing to do is browse the stores and get a feel for what the different types look like in reality. Once you’ve seen a few demonstrations, your quest for the perfect TV should be nowhere near as daunting as you first thought!

Serena Malley reviews home products and technology for various websites. She’s been the proud owner of a HDTV for two years and never looked back.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top