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Learn about HDTV

HDTV stands for high-definition television.

This help article includes detailed information about HDTV, which is useful if you're new to HDTV technology. If you already know about HDTV and just want a quick summary, here you go:

Google Fiber TV always provides 1080p resolution if your TV supports it. However, whether you have a 720p or 1080p TV, the quality of your Google Fiber TV should be excellent.

If you're interested in the details, read on!

The picture quality of HDTVs is rated by numbers, such as 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. These numbers all refer to the TV's resolution.

Like on a computer monitor, resolution is the primary determiner of an HDTV's picture quality, and all those numbers roughly equate to vertical resolution. A TV rated as:

  • 720p supports video up to 1280 pixels wide by 720 pixels tall.
  • 1080p supports video up to 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall.

If you have a TV rated as 480p, beware: this is not a high-definition TV and will not give you the best resolution possible with Google Fiber TV.

Many TVs on the market today are rated at either 720p or 1080p. However, regardless of how highly rated a TV might be, any TV is capable of displaying only the best video it is being fed up to a maximum of its rating. For example:

  • DVD maximum resolution is 480i.
  • TV programs broadcast in HD are 720p or 1080i.
  • Blu-ray discs are 720p, 1080i, or 1080p.

The cable you use to connect a device to your TV is also a factor in the quality your TV can receive. For example:

  • Composite cables give you up to 480i.
  • Component cables give you up to 1080p.
  • HDMI cables give you up to 1080p.

What about the p and i? They refer to the TV's scan modes—progressive scan and interlaced—which refers to the way the screen is drawn. But virtually all modern HDTVs are progressive scan.

If you want to take full advantage of the high-definition programming that Google Fiber TV makes available to you, use a TV native to 1080p. A resolution of 1080p is the best way to enjoy the full spectrum of high-definition media. (Many TV networks are starting to transmit their programming in 1080i.)

That said, 720p is a perfectly acceptable HDTV resolution that will still impress eyes that are used to the blurry appearance of standard-definition (SD) TV. You can watch all 1080i and 1080p content on your 720p display with only a small decrease in quality. So if you have a 720p HDTV, you should be pretty happy with the quality of your Google Fiber TV service.

If you are not sure about your TV's rating, you can usually find it in the information that came with the TV, or you can check the TV manufacturer's website.

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