Resolution is excellent on an iPad. Bigger suffers. Other hardware suffers.
It may be that your definition of resolution is different from mine.
I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Resolution has a very very specific meaning. It refers to the number of pixels in the image
. The resolution of Nomad is actually quite similar to the resolution of DVD. (They are both very approximately 720 x 480.)
It's patently obvious from the complaints here and my limited experience seeing someone's Nomad recordings, that Nomad is nowhere near DVD quality. Now, again -- and I'm kind of done explaining this -- the image quality
you see is not merely a function of the resolution of the image. You have a video file that's define by a number of key attributes. They are:
1) Encoding method used (e.g. MPEG-2, MPEG-4 -- which comes in a ton of variants, by the way such that almost everything you get these days is some kind of MPEG-4 encode)
2) Bitrate of the file (which determines how big the file is when multiplied by the number of minutes in the files)
3) Resolution of the file (the number of pixels, 720 x 480, 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080, etc. etc.)
You'd think that looking at those three attributes would actually tell you how good the file is. It doesn't
. Now, the question is why. And the answer is complex and beyond the scope of this discussion and to some extent my knowledge, but I'll summarize.
To encode a video file from one codec (e.g. MPEG-2) to another (e.g. MPEG-4) or to transcode it from one resolution (e.g. 1920 x 1080) to another (e.g. 720 x 480) requires significant amounts of processing power. So much so that in the case of transcoding, even a modern Core i7 doesn't do an amazing job at this without some help. However, there is often help in the form of purpose-built chips that can encode or transcode data in real time
or even faster (in other words, they can take 1 minute of video and process it in 1 minute or even less). Someone made a design decision to have Nomad retail for $149 and also offer real-time transcoding of MPEG-4 satellite broadcasts that are up to the higher single-digit-megabit range (someone can confirm DirecTV's top bitrate here, I'm not sure what it really is).
But here's the thing, the image quality
you see is a function of how good that encode is, regardless of the speed with which it is performed, the resolution of the resulting file and even the bitrate. And the reason for this is the better the processing that is done -- and the longer it's allowed to be done -- the better the result. Perhaps a good analogy would be the difference between Rembrandt and the guy who paints the exterior of the local Public Storage. One has skill the other lacks and one has time the other lacks. Imagine if you had Rembrandt on a chip. Even with the equivalent amount of time to the Public Storage painter, he'd make a lovelier painter. And with more time? Well, he might paint a masterpiece.
Encode quality is the system's "skill" and it's not measurable. It's a function both of the innate abilities of the processor involved in the device (in this case the chip that is Nomad's "brain"), plus what it knows (Nomad's software), plus how long it has to solve the problem (in this case, Nomad is instructed to encode no slower than 1:1 or real-time).
I actually am not rendering an opinion on whether the quality is good enough for iPod, iPad, or iMac (or their Windows or Android equivalent). That's incidental to what I'm trying to explain. Which is this: If there is to ever be a better result from Nomad -- in other words, a prettier to look at file, it does not need necessarily need to be any larger. Making it larger would allow for a higher bitrate or higher resolution -- or both. And either or both of those could improve the image quality. But an alternative would be to simply allow it to encode more slowly -- more diligently if you will -- after giving it more "skills" to use the time to get a better quality result. The files would then retain their portability, would not take up any more space on Nomad itself, but would look far better on larger-screen laptops, etc.
Nomad's file size is actually quite large. It's roughly twice the size per hour of the most comment torrent files, which tend to be based on OTA or cable TV broadcasts. Those torrents tend also to have resolution similar to Nomad's files. They can, however, often be blown up to a 50" screen without significant picture quality degradation. They are perhaps a bit soft and the lesser of them might suffer macroblocking under extreme conditions, but they are clearly superior to Nomad files despite having half as many bits. This is not in any way a knock on Nomad. Those files are made on high-end PCs, do not have to be completed in real time, etc. It just points out what is possible with even fewer bits than Nomad. I would suggest that those people wishing for higher quality Nomad files would be well served by arguing for quality rather than quantity.
The quantity argument will cause files to fit less well on smartphones and tablets which are often memory constrained. Quality, however, could be achieved merely through patience -- assuming, again, the Nomad hardware has the capability to be "taught" to do better if allowed more time to study the problem at hand.