HD Vs. SD Infatuation : What Are The Main Differences?

Many people wonder if there’s really such a big difference between HD and SD and if it’s actually worth it to pay more for high definition movies or TV sets. To help you make an informed decision, let’s analyze both types of resolutions in more detail to see what they entail and what separates them exactly.


High Definition

High Definition

HD is a term most commonly used to describe videos and TV sets that have very high resolutions. There isn’t an actual set standard to what is considered HD, but it usually refers to resolutions higher than 480p in North America or 576p in Europe.

In general, most videos and systems considerably exceed those numbers, and most of them have 720 or 1080 lines of pixels from top to bottom (hence the notations 720p and 1080p or 1080i). Videos of lower resolutions that are captured at faster rates than normal (50 frames per second in Europe or 60 fps in North America) can also be considered to be HD in some cases.


Standard Definition

Standard Definition

Standard Definition videos or screens are commonly 480p (meaning they have only 480 lines of pixels) and are what you would encounter in most cases. To get a better understanding on how SD fares compared to HD, let’s think of a simple analogy.

Imagine someone’s asked you to draw a cat on a  3 x 5″ piece of paper – and that you actually have great drawing skills. Now, let’s say you have to choose between big, chunky crayons, such as those used by toddlers, and a set of finely sharped pencils.

If you use the chunky crayons, no matter how skilled you are, your drawing couldn’t possibly be as detailed as the one you would create with the sharp pencils, because crayons draw considerably thicker lines and you are limited to the small size of the paper.

This is very similar to the difference between HD and SD. The high definition image or video will be much more detailed and look finer overall, due to the fact that it “draws” the picture using more, smaller pixels than standard definition videos can.


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The Differences between HD and SD

Now that you have a better understanding of both resolutions, let’s put them side by side to see the exact differences between SD and HD.



  • Well over 480p, usually 1080p or 720p.
  • Usually 480p.
  • Much finer, more detailed image.
  • Less detailed, blockier image.
  • Looks great on big screens, but doesn’t make much of a difference on small ones.
  • May look fuzzy on big screens.
  • A HD video is useless unless the screen is HD as well, as a normal device isn’t capable of showing all the extra fine details.
  • SD videos work just as well on HD and SD devices, as long as the screen is not too big.


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