A short guide to Anime formats, qualities and processes
There are 3 main types of quality levels when it comes to encoding anime series.
These are: LQ (low quality), HQ (high quality) and HD (high definition).
Before i explain resolutions are quallity types,i want to add about resolution type or screen resolutions.
There are basically 2 types :
- 4:3 (this is the ratio between the width  and height  of pixels on the screen.The resoultions in this type are i.e. 640x480 etc.
- 16:9 (same thing,except i.e. the resoultion is 1280x720) this is also called WS - Widescreen resolution.
Now,what does this mean? Simple,when u devide (let's say) 640 with 480 u get 1.33,the same number u get when u devide 4 with 3,and if u take 1280 anddevide with 720 u get 1.77 the same number u get from deviding 16 with 9.
Now, the file types that have the lowest and worse graphic quality are the ones that are in LQ – low quality, meaning that the codec used in the container format ( a container format is a computer file format that can contain various types of data, compressed by means of standardized audio/video codecs. The container file is used to identify and interleave the different types of data) has high compression both in audio and in video.So the overall graphic detail (and sound) looks/sound really bad; there is a lot if pixilation (those squares you see during playback ). Also the resolution of the file is really small, usually around 400x300 pixels (meaning that the height is 400 and width is 300 pixels in 100% zoom ).
Here are some samples of a LQ anime, I’ve chosen the anime Naruto (since it is the most popular).(click on the “SPOILER” tag to view the images) and an anime called "5 Centimeters per second" [a personal fav.] These will be used again in the HD examples.
But, LQ has one advantage over the other formats and that’s its file size. An anime that is approximately 22-24 mins is around 50MB when in *.rmvb (the most common LQ format).
So basically LQ format/resolutions are all resolution below 848x480px
On to HQ – high quality, the most common in use when it comes to anime. This is also know as the “DVD format”. Why? Well, DVDs have this level of quality and also the most important thing (I'm sure many of you have noticed) that when an anime episode is in HQ format, it is always around 180Mb. Why? Well, when you have an anime series which consists of 24-26 episodes which are around 22-25 mins. and if each is around 180Mb and less it can be burned/stored to a DVD (4,5 GB – 4500MB) and it fits perfectly. This is one of the main reasons why most anime is in this format; it has a very good level of quality when it comes to graphics/art-work and it can fit on a single DVD.
Most anime in HQ format are Avi and Mkv (others are used but rarely).Avi is usually compressed using codecs like xvid/divx/H.264/mpeg-4, while Mkv is usually compressed with H.264.
So basically HQ is all resolutions in between 848x480px (more commonly known as Dvd format or 480p) and 1024x576px (or commonly known as 576p)
Here are some examples of the HQ.
Images will be added.
Finally, HD – high definition (my personal favorite; you’ll see why).
This has the best overall quality both in graphic/artwork and in sound/audio.
HD formats are also the largest. They can vary from 250Mb up to 1+Gb, depending on their encoder type, and also what the container file has (dual audio, synchronized subtitles/multi languages, etc).There are 2 main types of HD : 720p, 1080p. The smaller of the 2 HD formats is 720p which has 1280x720px resolution and the smallest container file size, however it still has better picture quality then the best low compressed HQ formats. These files are normally compressed via H.264 because it does produce the best results . The 1080i format has a resolution of 1280x1080px and the 1080p has a resolution if 1920x1080 which is currently the best format there is; it is called the “true HD” format. The picture quality is best, but the file size is also the largest, it can be up to 1+GB (and above) for a 24min anime episode. The new format 2160p has a monster resolution of 3840×2160, but it will only be available begging of the year 2015 and only in Japan and S.Korea.
So basically Hd formats are 1280x720px up to 1920x1080px for now (commonly known as 720p and 1080p -"true hd")
Here are some samples of a true HD anime 1920x1080px (at 100% zoom) called “5 centimeters per second : a chain of stories about their distance” (also my personal favorite anime overall, from artwork to storyline etc.).
Click on the “SPOILER” tag to view the images (images may take some to load for slow internet speeds).
Here's same examples of a full HD anime,same example as in LQ ,an anime called "5 Centimeters per second" The images are sadly,in 1600x900px,since TinyPic doesn't support 1920x1080px >_> FFS
Well as you can see there is no comparison to HQ and LQ.
Note: this is only for anime. May not be accurate for other types of digital media.
Would also like to thank BlackBlade for his help. Also if you have anything to say about this you can PM me.
And thank you for reading.
~~~ UPDATE SOON (def's for players and other formats and driver's,and more)...