HD Home Distribution Just Picture It!

By: Gary Slade

High Definition television is new to the UK and is certainly going down a storm. With the likes of Sky and NTL:Telewest providing more and more HD programming on a weekly basis, including a full gamut of sporting events, its no wonder that there is an increase in the amount of interest in home distribution of HD pictures.

Although not a mass market quite yet, HD will certainly become the “standard" by which we as consumers, and Sky and NTL: Telewest as broadcasters, will aspire too. Sales of “HD Ready" Flat Panel TV’s (both LCD and Plasma) have taken the electronics market by storm, having almost single handedly turning round the retail sales slump in the UK.

It’s a fact that more and more of us possess more than one HD TV in our homes.

The TV and connectivity

We’ve all seen the “HD Ready" badge on the TVs in the shops but what does this mean in real terms. Well the vertical resolution (number of horizontal lines on the screen) is essentially 720p (progressive), 1080i (interlaced), or higher. So what’s progressive and interlaced? In laymen’s terms, HD can be transmitted in either progressive, which is where line 1 is followed by line 2, line 3…, or it can be interlaced, where the odd lines 1, 3, 5… are followed by the even lines 2, 4, 6…, which is indistinguishable to the naked eye. The upshot of this is that a less bandwidth is required for interlaced (i.e. only 540 lines (half 1080)).

You will also need to sport an HD analogue connection (YpbPr (component input) through industry standard connections; (e.g. Phono) and HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) or DVI (Digital Visual Interface) digital input connector. Either digital connection must be capable of supporting HDCP (High bandwidth Digital Content Protection), which is the chosen method of rights management for HDTV. DVI (which does not carry audio) will also require connections for either RCA/Phono stereo or, as is becoming more prevalent, Dolby 5.1 surround.

The Distribution

Distribution of HD video around the home can be done in both analogue and digital formats, although analogue is the most prevalent at the moment. The use of CAT5 (5e or 6) is the best method of getting your signals around the home. This ensures that the core infrastructure of the home is set for the future should your equipment be upgraded.

Cat5 can be used in one of two ways, in simple terms as an “in wall" cable extender, from one location to another. It can also be used as a full multi source, multi room distribution system, allowing the quality of the HD picture to invade every room.

Most distribution systems will allow the use of a remote control in each room to control the centrally located HD equipment (e.g. HD Set-top-box, HD-DVD). When you laying in bed the last thing you want is to go down stairs to change the channel!

Not to worry if all of your equipment is not HD, because stand definition TV will travel along the same cat5 cable too.

The Conclusion

HD is stunning, HD throughout your home, even more so. Once you see it in the living room you will never want to watch that old portable in the bedroom again, so put it everywhere. To find out more about HD home distribution, and to arrange a quote, visit .

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