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6. The Wild World of High Definition  > A Brief History of High Definition

A Brief History of High Definition

Since the earliest days of video, engineers have always looked toward formats with higher quality and resolution. Indeed, the current NTSC format was called “high definition” at its time of development since it had more than double the scan lines of earlier experimental systems.

The genesis of the modern high-definition system began in 1968 when Japanese broadcaster NHK began work on a format called NHK Hi-vision. NHK Hi-vision was a 1125-line analog format that used a hybrid of both analog and digital compression to reduce the bandwidth requirements. The format was eventually named MUSE and went online in the early 1980s. MUSE used 1035 active interlaced scan lines and had an aspect ratio of 1.66:1. (For reference, NTSC is a 525-line analog format with 486 active scan lines while PAL is a 625-line analog format with 576 active scan lines.)


  

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