HD defined

Viewing distance is a more important consideration for high-definition sets than CRT users might expect. Sit too close to a traditional set and the worst you're likely to see are scanlines thanks to its low resolution; do the same with an HDTV and every discrepancy makes itself known.

Gone are the days when the largest set was the most desirable, unless of course your living room or bedroom has the size to match.

The rough guide is as follows: for standard-definition images you should ensure a distance of three times the diagonal screen size, while for high-definition images such as those of Xbox 360, two times the same measurement is required. For the average room, this most likely suggests 26-32 inches.

Above: A progressive image is displayed as lines drawn from top to bottom in sequence, creating a more stable overall picture

Of course, you may have decided already that there's simply too much complexity and uncertainty in the HDTV market right now to justify the purchase of such expensive equipment. A year ago, you might not have even considered the prospect of a new television, let alone the supposed need for one.

This year, similarly, we may be discussing a more refined generation of sets as we come to terms with whatever Revolution and PS3 bring to the table.

But at least find time to check out the HD era for yourself in one form or other because, regardless of any scepticism you might have, this is still a milestone in the visual evolution of games that will catch up with everyone eventually.