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HDTV: Cutting Through the Fud

July 26, 2006

Gizmodo linked to an interesting write-up on why 1080p isn’t all its cracked up to be. I passed it on to my local display expert (althought he won’t admit to that), Matthew Montgomery, and he brain-dumped this. Thought it was worth sharing, as its all new to me! So read the gizmodo link, then read the below:

Yeah. It also depends on how good the TV’s deinterlacer is. This will of course vary. Another thing to note is that typically, the resolution of 40 inch and up LCD televisions has been 1366×768. This does not conform to any HTDV resolution so the scalar is of great importance. My Dad’s Samsung is like this and frankly I hate the picture quality. Real HD content looks nothing like it should. Granted his was a pretty early model so he paid the early adopter tax in both price and quality.

So, 720p (1280×720) is a typical HD resolution and is capable of 60 frames per second. This is great for faster moving programming and is what ESPN broadcasts in. 1080i (1920×540 I say 540 due to the fact that interlacing is at work here) is only capable of 30 frames per second. This looks better for slower moving programming. For example, the Discovery HD channel broadcasts in this resolution. True 1080p (1920×1080) is like 720p in that you can get 60 frames per second but last I read this was not even officially approved as an HDTV resolution. I imagine that it will happen as we have blu-ray outputting 1080p. There are issues with blu-ray but that is another story.

If your native resolution is 1366×768 you have the scalar in effect for every TV resolution. If you get a 1920×1080 native set you still get the scalar but in the case of 1080i, I assume you don’t have to scale the width. My plan was to get the highest native res available in an LCD and one with good reviews for deinterlacing and scaling.

This is why good old CRT technology still has the edge in picture quality, since they can support all the TV resolutions natively.

There was also a pretty good podcast from the Xbox 360 guys on HDTV. They talked about why they recommended 720p over 1080i for games. When I compared the two resolutions on my Sun 24inch LCD, I could certainly make out some flicker during fast motion at 1080i that wasn’t present at 720p.

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3 Comments
  1. This is an interesting post – so would you advise againt 1080p completely ? I am considering popping for one in the next month or so….

  2. paging Dr Matthew…

  3. Matthew Montgomery permalink

    Well, I just ordered a 1080p 42 inch LCD. While there isn’t anything on the market, that I know of, that can properly output 1080p. It is in the blu-ray spec but the first generation players seem to have issues.

    The prices of the first generation players are a bit much for me and the features seem lacking so I have not invested much time into research. Of course, you could plug a PC up and get the full 1920×1080 but that is old news.

    I took the plunge in the hopes of being more future-proof. I am starting to see more and more 1080p sets coming out. One thing to be wary of when looking for a 1080p set, is if it actually takes a true 1080p signal as an input. There are a number of sets out there that will only accept up to a 1080i signal and then up-convert it to 1080p. Wacky I know.

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