Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between HD and HDV

hdv_bookHD vs HDV

HD is short for ‘High Definition’. It usually refers to the resolution of a video system. Any resolution considerably higher than the standard definition (SD) can be considered as HD. HD is a general term, and encompasses all formats with high video quality and resolutions.

However, most people refer to HD as the video material they make, or get, on HDcam, HD Vision, Viper, DVCProHD or HDcam SR. Nowadays, these are some of the known HD video formats in the industry. The most common display resolutions for HD are in 1280 x 720 pixels or 1920×1080 pixels (1080i/1080p). The color undersampling is at least 4:2:2, with the exception of 3:1:1 for the HDcam. HD compression is flexible, as you can choose which codec to use.

HDV can be considered as a subset of HD, that is using a heavier compression when compared to other HD formats. It is a new format of recording (and playback) wherein HD video data is allowed to be recorded and played on standard MiniDV cassettes. DV compression is not used, instead, it employs ‘long-GOP Mpeg2’.

The HDV format was first developed by JVC, and later on, supported by three giant companies in the industry ‘“ Canon, Sharp, and Sony. It has become a very popular video format, as professional and amateur users are just blown away with its video quality, portability, practicality, and most of all, its affordability. Basically, it provides the best bang for your buck. Since then, the support for the HDV format has been growing, as other manufacturing companies are adapting their products to the more well-received format.

HDV was actually meant to replace the old DV format. This might be the first time ever that an old recording format is replaced by a new kind, but still uses the same tape.

There is an ambivalent consideration whether HDV can also be regarded as HD. In a general sense, it can be considered as HD, but many still see it in a different category. Thus, for the sake of differentiating, they should be seen as two different format categories.

One distinguishable difference is how they describe an image. HDV uses rectangular pixels at 1440 × 1080, that displays at a HD of 1920×1080. Basically, HDV pixels are wider than that of HD’s. Although bit rates vary, HDV will normally have a lower bit rate when compared to HD.


1. In a general sense, HD and HDV are both High Definition formats, based on the fact that they have a higher resolution than the standard definition.

2. Some consider HDV as a subset of HD.

3. HD compression can be in any codec option, while HDV uses ‘long-GOP (Group of Pictures) Mpeg2’.

4. HDV is normally more affordable than most HD formats.

5. HDV has wider rectangular pixels, at 1440 x 1080, while HD commonly uses 1280 x 720 pixels, or 1920×1080 pixels.

6. Bit rates are lower for HDV when compared to HD.

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  1. Very good article. You discussed briefly but wisely the difference between HD and HDV. I like the point that HDV is a different category. I think it’s something between full HD and SD.

  2. Difference Between HD and HDTV???

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