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E4 in HD

Want get the lowdown on this High Definition thingy? Ever wondered what on earth 1080i actually means? Well this may be just the info-based page you're looking for.

E4 HD allows you to view the complete E4 schedule and enjoy a high definition experience. The channel is a simulcast of the core E4 channel with a proportion of programmes produced and transmitted in the HD format. E4 HD is currently available to subscribers of Sky HD and Virgin HD. Want to know more about E4 HD?

Your Questions on High Definition Answered

  1. What is High Definition?
  2. I want to know more about the High Definition technology.
  3. Does owning a HDTV mean that I am watching in high definition?
  4. What will I need to view the E4 HD service?
  5. What format will the programmes on E4 HD transmit in?
  6. Will all your programmes be in HD?
  7. Will E4 HD have subtitles or audio description?
  8. Will all HD programmes be available with Surround Sound 5.1?
  9. Why are black bars sometimes still visible on a 16x9 HDTV?

What is High Definition?

High definition (HD or HDTV) is a different standard of digital television broadcasting which offers sharper, more detailed pictures and surround sound. Only viewers with an "HD Ready" television set, a special HD set top box receiver and reception of a high definition service will experience true HD programming. High definition programmes must also be specially shot.

I want to know more about the High Definition technology.

It requires an entirely separate broadcast stream from current standard definition (SD) broadcasting It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is the same as a movie theatre screen, and transmits in either 720 or 1080 formats.

The two HD formats currently in use, 720p and 1080i, the number referring to the vertical line resolution of the picture.

1080 has a larger number of displayed lines, and is interlaced as with standard definition TV, whilst 720 is progressively scanned, similar to a PC display.

Most channels in the UK are based on 1080i, and Channel 4 will be using only this format.

E4HD shows a proportion of its acquired programmes with 5.1 surround sound. 5.1 surround sound consists of 6 channels - a front left, center (for dialogue), front right, rear left, rear right and a subwoofer channel for low frequency effects. This is similar to the large number of DVD titles in standard definition which are now available.

Does owning a HDTV mean that I am watching in high definition?

No. As well as an HDTV, you need to have a decoder (set top box) that can receive the HD signals and a TV service offering high-definition programmes, some of which are free and some which you need to subscribe to. The tuner is available as an external set-top box.

What will I need to view the E4 HD service?

The E4 HD service is available on Sky HD channel 136 (channel 202 in Ireland) and Virgin HD channel 145. Sky viewers will need to have a Sky HD box and viewing card, be a subscriber to Sky’s HD pack and have a HD ready TV. Virgin viewers will need to have either a V+ HD Box or a VHD Box and the appropriate subscription package.

What format will the programmes on E4 HD transmit in?

The programmes will transmit using 1080i on Sky HD and Virgin HD.

Will all your programmes be in HD?

E4 HD is a direct simulcast of the core E4 schedule. Many of the programmes will have been made in native HD format, and your on-screen EPG will indicate which these are. The remaining non-HD programmes will be up-converted from the SD source material.

Will E4 HD have subtitles or audio description?

Yes, for the same programmes as standard definition E4.

Will all HD programmes be available with Surround Sound 5.1?

Not all, but some will have 5.1 surround sound and the on-screen guide will indicate which these are.

Why are black bars sometimes still visible on a 16x9 HDTV?

Original HDTV programming is made in the 16x9 (1.78) aspect ratio, which fits the dimensions of HDTVs which are Widescreen. However, many theatrically released films are made in either the 1.85 or 2.35 aspect ratio, which is even wider than the 16x9 (1.78) aspect ratios of HDTVs. Therefore, when viewing these films on an HDTV (if presented in their original theatrical aspect ratio) - you will see black bars on your 16x9 screen. However, the bars will be less pronounced than if the same movie is viewed letterboxed on a standard 4x3 set. For upconverted 4x3 programmes , these will be seen with black bars on the left and right.

  • Freeview Channel 28
  • Sky Channel 136
  • Virgin Channel 144
  • Freesat Channel 122
  • BT Vision Channel 28