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What's the Difference between HDMI and HD?

written by: Daniel Barros•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 5/27/2010

We finally answer the time-tested neophyte question of which is better: HDMI or HD. Read on for more information on the difference between High-Definition Multimedia Interface and High-Definition.

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    HD Smackdown

    Not surprisingly, the average person has a difficult time understanding image resolution, what it means to upscale, and even what the difference is between HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) and HD (High-Definition). The small irony lies in the fact that HD encompasses the technology behind the HDMI cable, but, when you’re talking HDMI and HD, it often takes people a while to connect the two together.

    HDMI is the actual cable technology that delivers what has been commonly termed High-Definition or HD. The cable itself delivers a digital signal that is then interpreted by your TV to the correct resolution that the TV is capable of displaying. This talk of resolutions and cables may be confusing to some, so here’s a primer on what HDMI is capable of actually doing.

    The best resolution currently available on the market is known as 1080p, meaning 1080 lines across the screen progressively (or all at once). This resolution is what you’ll see inside Blockbusters with their Blu-Ray displays. At this definition, the image is so crisp, you could practically eat it. A little bit lower than that you’ll find the much more common 720p, which is the same as 1080p’s progressive scan, but at 720 lines across the screen. If all this technical jargon is a bit too much, just consider this: at 720p, you’re watching HD programming from DISH or DirecTV. At 1080p, you’re watching the highest resolution currently available to the public.

    HD is HDMI, and HDMI is HD. High-definition displays are coming standard with HDMI ports these days, so if you’re looking to complete your HD setup, you’ll need to grab yourself an HDMI cable with a decent length.

    The debate over whether or not to go HDMI and HD is just something that shifty salesmen will use on you to get you to buy an inferior TV all while claiming that you can up-res and that sort of thing. Just keep in mind when buying an HDTV that HDMI is just the connection cable that’s necessary for the TV to work properly when receiving an HD programming signal or an HD signal from a receiver. Armed with the tools that you now have by perusing the Bright Hub Home Theater Section, you should be fully ready to understand why you need HDMI and why HD is HD, no matter whether it's an HD component or HDMI that’s allowing forth high-definition.