Don’t buy a “HD Ready telly” thinking it’s high-definition – it’s not

Don’t buy a “HD Ready telly” thinking it’s high-definition – it’s not

Don’t buy a “HD Ready telly” thinking it’s high-definition – it’s not

Pop into any TV shop or look on any site online right now, and you’ll see a mix of HD Ready and Full HD TVs. They don’t sound very different, yet the way retailers use "HD Ready" makes it a terribly misleading name that needs changing – I’d call it "Half HD".

Far too many people buy these tellies and feel ripped off as they can hardly notice a difference with their picture. That isn’t particularly surprising when you realise what the phrase actually means.

Here’s a rough summary (and techies, I know I’m oversimplifying, but it’s to keep it simple):

  • Standard TV – in the UK it usually has 576 horizontal lines.
  • HD Ready – has a minimum 720 horizontal lines.
  • Full HD – has a minimum 1080 horizontal lines.

The higher the number of lines, the greater the density of the screen, so the higher the definition.    

The difference between the minimum definition of Full HD and HD Ready is far bigger than the gap between HD Ready and the old, standard definition – so it’s little surprise people don’t notice too much of an improvement when upgrading.

The term is technically correct, but its being misused

The problem is people think "HD Ready" means that the television is ready to receive a HD signal – and technically that is correct – and exactly what it was intended to mean in the early days ie, it has the ability to show a picture based on a high-definition input.

It’s worth noting that even if you have a HD telly, unless the signal and programme are in HD eg, via Blu-ray or a Sky HD box (watching a HD channel, with a programmne in HD) your picture won’t be). So there’s no point in getting full HD if you don’t have something or intend getting something that plays out in HD.

However, things have moved on a long way, almost all TVs are HD now. And in the retail world, as HD Ready has a lower minimum definition standard than Full HD, “HD Ready” is often used by stores (eg, Argos TVs) as a label to mean the lower definition HD tellies (see our Cheap TVs guide for the best prices). Note some, often non-chain, retailers do correctly use it which is why you may find some 1080 full HD – HD ready TVs

And that’s why we should find a new term to describe lower 720 resolution TVs. My suggestion is quite simple, TVs with this level of definition should be renamed to "Half HD" (even that’s over generous) to clear up any confusion. Or maybe you have a better rename suggestion?