High-Definition Video Guide

In the past decade, "widescreen" media has permeated electronic design; from television monitors and computer screens to streaming video interfaces and phones, the boxy shape once associated with television sets has all but disappeared. The force behind the widening of our screens is high-definition (HD) video, which is increasingly ubiquitous, but still a source of confusion for many.

Manufacturers are phasing out tube televisions in favor of flat-panel LCDs and plasmas. HD video cameras are becoming more and more affordable. As a result, HD video is becoming the "default" mode for the production of artists" video?and for museum acquisition of these works.

If we agree that mindfulness about the proper display of electronic art is necessary to maintain the integrity of the work, then a basic awareness of how this new medium works is crucial. In what ways is HD different from other forms of video? How do these factors visibly affect the picture? How can older analog works be properly displayed with today's technology? All in all, how will HD video impact collection, exhibition and preservation?

This addendum to EAI's Online Resource Guide explains HD technology and its implications for curators, conservators, registrars, art historians and educators. The goal is not to mandate best practices, but to offer the foundation of a consistent vocabulary. Even more, the aim is to initiate dialogue across the field about the challenges and possibilities in this new chapter in the history of the moving image.

What is High-Definition Video?

TV Standards in North America

Standard Definition Vs. High Definition


HD Modes: 720p, 1080i and 1080p

HD Formats

HD Monitors