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What HD Monitor Resolution to Get?

Discussion in 'DISH™ High Definition Discussion' started by Oompah, Feb 26, 2006.

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  1. Oompah

    Oompah Cool Member

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    Feb 7, 2006
    I'm in the tire-kicking stage of HD shopping now; long-time Dish subscriber (since 1998) but no HD equipment at all yet. I currently have a 501 DVR (great box!) and a 4000 from last century in another room. I may be interested in going to HD before the Germany '06 World Cup (on ABC & ESPN) this summer. Since I don't want to give up the DVR features, I figure I could replace both boxes with a ViP622.

    I am familiar with NTSC (SD) and digital video in general and the difference between progressive and interlaced scanning. I've been reading up on the new standards, but I have some questions about LCD and Plasma monitor "native resolution" (the number of dots physically present on the screen) and the conversions necessary when the actual source is a different resolution. From reading, I find that some broadcasters (i.e. ABC, ESPN) use 720p (is it 60 or 30 fps? 60, I hope!) while others (CBS, Fox?) use 1080/30i (30 frames = 60 fields per second). These formats are downlinked from the satellite using whatever standard the originator provides [more or less - I read in the archives where E* was sometimes reducing horizontal resolutions over the satellite to save bandwidth, and the arguments over resolutions that ensued].

    My understanding is that you set a ViP622 receiver's HD output to whatever standard you choose from those available (720p, 1080i, etc.), to match your monitor's capability. If some other resolution comes into the receiver, it is converted to the selected resolution. The receiver does not "pass thru" whatever resolution it receives. Is this correct?

    I have looked at the HD offerings of the local Big-Box stores and specialty electronics and video retailers. In teh 37" size I'm most interested the big-box stores carry mostly 1280 X 720 (720p) monitors with an occasional 1920 X 1080 (1080i or 1080p) monitor; the specialists have a larger proportion of 1080's.

    Say I get a 1080i or 1080p-capable monitor and set the 622 to deliver 1080i to it (that's the highest available, isn't it?) If I'm watching 1080i source material, everything should match and the PQ will be as good as possible, right? Now, suppose I'm watching a 720/60p ESPN feed. I presume the receiver converts this to a 1080/30i signal for transport to the monitor; this means scan conversion and interlacing a previously non-interlaced signal. Yuck. ESPN made a decision to go with progressive scan at somewhat lower resolution instead of interlaced for sound technical reasons (flickering, combing on stop-action), and doing this conversion would seem to nullify that.

    My question: if I plan to watch a lot of - but not only - 720p source material, would I be better off with a 720-line monitor?

    Even the people in the high-end video stores don't seem to have a clue.

    Does any of this really matter?

    Thanks for all the info. I have spent hours browsing the forums and archives and learned more here than everywhere else combined!
     
  2. liferules

    liferules Godfather

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    Aug 14, 2005
    Boy that's a loaded question! There are many differing opinions on this issue. Personally, I don't think most people would notice a different between 720p and 1080i. Some say 720p is better for fast moving frames compared with the 1080i...all I know is that 1080p is not being used by anyone...DVD or TV thus it would be of no benefit at this time.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Oompah

    Oompah Cool Member

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    Feb 7, 2006
    Thanks for the reply, liferules. Yeah, I don't want to start a flame war over resolution and bitrates, I'm just trying to find some details that no one I've asked seems to know, or isn't forthcoming about.

    I tend to buy stuff for the long haul (consider the vintage 4000 I'm still using that still works fine...) and want to be happy with what I choose for a while, anyway. Flat HD displays are still expensive...

    The difference between computer screens with 768 lines and 1024 lines is very apparent. TV is more forgiving since the pictures are moving and you don't look at them as closely, but I'd hate to settle for 720 lines when 1080 are (sometimes) available, for not much more money. IOW, I'd like to get the best available within reason, but hate to think that I end up with the disadvantages of both reduced resolution (lower res source to start with then smeared by scan conversion) and introduced interlacing - a double whammy - in what I watch most now, for higher cost.

    What to do? What to do? Maybe I'm worrying too much about too little. :)
     
  4. rbyers

    rbyers Godfather

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    The AVS Forums have a Plasma and LCD Flat Panel Display forum that should be a good resource for anyone mulling this question. Be forwarned that a lot of the posters on that forum are awfully particular (and sometimes dead wrong) just like on these forums. But, with a lot of reading, you can get a good sense of what to look for in a particular display technology.
     
  5. liferules

    liferules Godfather

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    Aug 14, 2005
    The other thing to keep in mind is that the decision may be already made for you if you're buying a big screen (greater than or equal to 42 inches) as they are almost all now 1080i from what I've seen lately in the stores...

    Certainly if you're looking to not limit yourself, then the 1080 would be the highest resolution and if necessary could downgrade the resolution...
     
  6. logicman

    logicman Mentor

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    Feb 9, 2006
    Oompah,

    I was were you are at now about 2 months ago ...

    1) If budget was no issue (yeah, right) then I would have purchased the Sony LCoS technology, which produced beautiful HD images and did decent with SD.
    2) Projection systems are good and give you "true" theater effects, but the image quality is slightly below direct view systems.
    3) Sony has the best image quality of all the brands (IMHO) but this is very subjective and you may find Samsung, Panasonic, etc. have the edge.
    4) I honestly think that 1080i and 720p deliver nearly equivalent pictures and these formats will dominate for the next few years. When 1080p is "mainstream" it will be an upgrade in quality but probably not so drastic that you'd wished you waited.
    5) Look at 1080i and 720p HDTVs that you can afford and pick the one that you think looks best. Then enjoy it. That's what everyone here has done. It's been both a curse and a blessing for most of us.
     
  7. voripteth

    voripteth Legend

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    Personally I'd recommend getting a set that has a native resolution of 1080. For me that meant a Sony SXRD that outputs a 1080p picture. That way if the incoming signal is 1080i or 720p I won't lose any detail. If I went with a set that could just generate 720p then all the 1080i signals would have to be downconverted.

    IMHO 720 sets are "old" technology.
     
  8. LtMunst

    LtMunst Hall Of Fame

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    They say 1080i only because they will accept a 1080i signal. You often have to dig deep into the fine print to find that most are still 720p native.
     
  9. alindber

    alindber New Member

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    Jun 30, 2005
    IMHO, purchase the highest resolution you can afford. There are several systems with 1080p now available. Some will say so... My answer would be that the new "DVD" devices, "Blue Ray" etc, will show DVDs with 1080p resolution. By summer, there will be several to choose from.

    Myself, would love the new Mits., 82" 1080p system..
     
  10. guruka

    guruka Troublemaker/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Dec 27, 2003
    For a fixed pixel display (LCD, DLP, Plasma) 1080 native = 1080p (1920x1080) That's the way to go. I would not buy a 720p native display today. Things are moving too fast.

    .....G
     
  11. bhenge

    bhenge AllStar

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    Mar 2, 2005
    Also remember that going from 720p to 1081i is downconverting (you lose information). 720p displays 720 lines every 1/60th of a second, 1080i displays 540 lines every 1/60th of a second (in some HD circles 1080i is actually called 540p). This is also why 720p tends to be better for fast motion video (sports) and was adopted by ESPN and ABC. 1080p displays 1080 lines every 1/60th of a second. The only problem here is the lack of 1080p source material which forces an upconversion of all existing signal formats be it 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i whatever. Your PQ in a 1080p set will be more dependent on the built in scaler that upconverts the signal than virtually anything else (but it is always better to upconvert than downconvert). That said, if you can afford it, go 1080p native.... 1080p sources will come and you will be ready for them (some PC and gaming systems are already there I hear).
     
  12. olgeezer

    olgeezer Guest

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    Dec 5, 2003
    In sets smaller than 40" it may be difficult if not impossible for the human eye to see the difference between 720p and 1080p. p refers to frames per second. i refers to fields per second. There currently is nothing broadcast and may not be for some time in 1080/24p or 1080/30p. HDDVDs and Blu-Ray can support 1080p, but not sure when and how much these discs are. There are many great sets out there. I personally like the SXRD, but who knows what else this year may bring. Get something soon you're missing a lot of great TV.
     
  13. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    Since 1024i is really just 512 interleaved then any set that does 720p should do 1024i?

    -JB
     
  14. Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Kittrell, NC
    This is wrong!

    720p is not higher resolution than 1080i. So 1080i is NOT a downconvert of 720p in any way.

    I wish people would quit getting this confused. Newbies are getting confused by erroneous information floating out there.
     
  15. tomcrown1

    tomcrown1 Hall Of Fame

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    1080p is a marketing gimmick as this format will never come into being. One problem is the amount of bandwidth to do a true 1080p. If you compress the 1080p format than it will be no better than 1080i or 780p. The inexpensive 1080P 37 inch lcd Westinghouse is one example how bogus 1080P can be. The picture on the westinghouse is not anywere near as good a picture, as the 37 inch lcd sharp tv, which has a 720p native resolution. Their are other factors to a tv on how good a picture you will get--EX how good is it tracking for color showing details in the black background etc. In general a more expensive set like the 52 inch plasma tv from pioneer will give a better picture because of the better compontents inside.
     
  16. Rogueone

    Rogueone Hall Of Fame

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    There was a very lengthy discussion in these forums a few months ago on this topic.

    720p gives you the fewest pixels per second. 1080i gives you about 50% more pixels per second. 1080p could double that theoretically, but in actuality, can not put up any more "original" pixels than does 1080i, but it should be able to put them all up at once versus in 2 passes.

    bhenge, your statement that 720p to 1080i is a downgrade is in error. this is not a matter of opinion. TV signals are 30fps, movies are filmed in 24fps. it doesn't matter how you do the math, 720p/30 only puts up 720 scan lines of original pixels for each frame of a program. 1080i puts up 1080 scan lines per frame, 1/30th second, so 1080i is a much more defined image. it doesn't matter than only 540 of the 1080 were lit at any given time, the BRAIN processes them as a full 1080. The human eye/brain can NOT differentiate images faster than 30fps, so even if 720p were working at 60, like 1080p might do as well, the unit has to put the same frame up twice before putting up the next new frame, since there are only 30 frames to put up in each second of TV (24 in the case of a movie). But as I understand it, 720 is 30 not 60.

    1080 will be the best picture. 1080p could, possibly, be better than 1080i, but 1080p is not a supported mode according to the FCC docs linked in that other discussion. 1080i and 1080p will produce essentially the same picture, the same number of unique pixels per second. The difference is 1080p should be smoother in fast action, if the source were 1080p, but there are no 1080/60p sources, not even BluRay. The "source" is still at best 1080/24p or 1080/30p. But the point is, what is the difference in a 1080/30p and a 1080/60i image? To the brain, none. It's still compiling a complete frame every 1/30th a second. The phospurs/pixels in a 1080i system are designed to stay lit for 1/60th a second (1080p they stay lit 1/30th, or it would have to draw the same frame twice at 1/60th), so as the 2nd line is drawn, the first is going out. Due to how the Brain works, it still sees them both lit. it doesn't matter who you are, that is how your brain works, and why TV works as it does. The only flaw to interlaced is the drawing of the next frame, where the even lines are the old frame and the odds are the new frame. If your eye is sensitive enough, you MIGHT be able to see this. That is why fast action is always mentioned. In normal pictures the changes between frames are so slight you won't "see" the difference. But something like Nascar is so fast it makes it easier to notice.


    Are the flat panels really 1080?
    And as others pointed out, the bigger problem is most every HD set says it handles 1080i, but that does NOT mean it displays 1920x1080. Very few LCD and Plasma sets are actually 1080, and those that are, are not the sub $2000 models. The top of the line models are the ones that might do 1920x1080, so if you want 1080, be careful. DLP is a good example of this as well. The older DLP is 720p. This year, DLP is selling a 1080p product. It's not really 1920x1080 mirrors though. It's 960x1080. The Horizontal mirrors "wobble" to reflect onto 2 spots at once. it's very fast, and likely has no noticable impact on image quality, and was likely a lot cheaper than trying to build a chip with 1920x1080 mirrors. oh yeah, and you mentioned only 37", at the smaller sizes like this, you are less likely to see the benefits of 1080 as the pixels are so close together for both. As you reach 60" and bigger, 1080 makes a big difference in eliminating the "screen door" look.

    Future considerations
    If you have to have a flat unit, you are limited in how inexpensive you can get. DLP could allow you to get in a little cheaper, but those units are going to be 20" or so deep. LCoS might be an option, but again, for a real 1080i display set, expect to be out of the entry level prices. expect to be in the middle to upper pricing range. Also, depending on what is driving you to get HD now, keep in mind that all the of major Plasma and LCD panel manufacturers (Matsushita, LG, Samsung etc) have announced in the past 2 months plans to push their existing plants to full production while bringing online new plants which have the same capacity, so by summer, all of them will be producing roughly 4x the panels they were this past fall. Some of the same articles announcing these new plants also noted current store stocks are 50-75% over stocked. Obviously, if the makers are ramping up production, and units are NOT selling well, prices are due to drop hard and fast by next Christmas. Also, these makers are just starting to push out higher volumes of 1080 panels, so by later this year, you could expect much better choices.

    I would take that into consideration, and if you really want a better product for long term without paying out the nose, I'd buy the entry level 720p panel if you want HD now, then keep an eye on things around Christmas and this time next year to see if the TV you really "want" now is finally available and at the price you want to pay. And by this time next year, SED should be out in force. From one article :
    and another I found reported this
    so I'm holding onto my old 65" projection unit until there is an SED I can afford :) (unless things change again like they always do haha)
     
  17. LtMunst

    LtMunst Hall Of Fame

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    Just can't keep those 1080i=540p clowns down. :lol:
     
  18. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    What I meant was that if a set was capable of doing 720 scan lines then it should be able to do 1080i because the set only displays 540 at a time while 720p.

    Nothing to do with better picture or whatnot.

    -JB
     
  19. LtMunst

    LtMunst Hall Of Fame

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    Nope. 1080i is 1080 lines. The cathode ray (if CRT) scans the first 540 on one pass and the 2nd 540 on the next pass to make up a full frame. It does not use the same lines. No way to fit into 720 lines without a downconvert.
     
  20. jrb531

    jrb531 Icon

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    Don't think so.

    The very reason for interleaving is to allow a larger resolution with lessor equipment.

    If your monitor can do 720 lines in one pass surely it can do 540 interleaved.

    This is why 1080i sets are cheaper to produce than 720p.

    -JB
     
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