720p or 1080p?

Considering that HD broadcasts are only in 720p and considering that the only way to get 1080p is with Blu-ray (or so I’ve heard), what is the advantage to buying a 1080p set if you have no plans on buying a Blu-ray set-up anytime soon? Or is there an advantage?

I can’t speak for your provider, but there’s plenty of 1080i broadcasts currently. 1080p is on the way. DirecTV & Dish Network already offer 1080p pay per view movies.

But I don’t think there’s many other advantages. I have a 1080i & 1080p set and don’t detect a visual difference with broadcast TV. Blu-rays though…they are nice.

Many HD television broadcasts are in 1080i, so upconverting that to 1080p is a higher quality than from 720p.

Buy the biggest, highest resolution TV that you think looks nice, that you can afford.

It’s that simple.

1080i is in use by many cable companies and satellite providers.

1080p is blueray and just a matter of time before the cable channels upgrade and do you want that feeling that your two year old four figure cost TV is inadequate? If you’re going to invest, invest with the future in mind.

You have no plans to buy Blueray now, but that may change. DVDs may have another 4-5 years in them. But You’ll probably still have the same TV in 5 years.

1080p will likely last 15-20 years as a standard. 720p and 1080i are just stepping stones to that goal. What’s after 1080p? I don’t know yet.

Aside: Would a Blu-Ray player that also plays DVDs actually “breathe new life” into DVDs as the description claims? I got a 1080i TV but just have a regular DVD player still.

I’d phrase this differently. Buy the cheapest TV that you won’t hate.

Don’t invest in expensive consumer technology. Buy the absolute cheapest model that does what you want, and upgrade it when you feel like it.

In another five years, prices will have fallen by more than half, the new screens will be lower power, higher contrast, and faster refresh. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on a TV and expect to keep it for 10+ years, anymore. You’re much better off buying a cheap one now, then buying a cheap one every few years. You’ll spend less money and have a better TV on average.

Edit: to Gigi

They make upconverting DVD players which might be said to do that. Blueray player or new discs are not needed. Different brands use different interpolation methods, and some look better than others on an HD TV.

Don’t believe the upconverting hype.

With that said, all bluray players will play regular DVDs. And their upconversion process is no different than a regular upconverting DVD player, which you can get for less than $50.

I would only feel the need to get the 1080 all my friends had 1080 TVs and you’re hosting the Superbowl party this year.

I have a 32" 720 and my friend has the 1080 version of the same TV. I think my 720 is plenty nice (beats the heck out of my old TV!), but the 1080 is definitely a lot nicer for stuff that’s in true HD, like the Superbowl.

1080 vs. 720 only starts to stand out to me once screen sizes get over 40 inches. Upconverted DVD’s can look nice, but they still aren’t as clean as a true HD source. If the DVD is a bad transfer, it will look terrible upconverted.

It was my understanding that you couldn’t see a quality difference between 720p and 1080p unless your set was 50" or larger. I am not sure if that is true or not.

It depends on the viewing distance.

That’s completely untrue. 720p delivers more information over time than 1080i. In any case, the upconverted signal won’t be noticeably affected by the format of the original HD channel.

1080p broadcast isn’t likely to be common for a long time, the bandwidth demands are very high for a very modest gain over 1080i or 720p. There are some on-demand services, but overall, OP is correct that the main use for a 1080p set is blu-ray and video games. I’d buy a cheaper 1080i or 720p set just because IMO the step up to 1080p is minimal.

Here is a chart which is linked to from this Yahoo! Tech article about how big of a TV you really need to buy. Based on that chart, a 50" set viewed from around 10’ is about where you would get the full benefit of 720p. To get the full benefit of 1080p at the same difference, it looks like you need about an 80" screen.

720p and 1080i for most purposes are good enough. The “i” stands for “interlacing” and it isn’t as good for action. This is most noticable in sports. This is why FOX uses 720p as its high def.

The fact it, in terms of broadcasting it isn’t the method so much as the converter.

For instance in Chicago, WCIU has the best and most modern type of compressor for its TV station. So when it runs a high def feed of baseball on it’s main channel the subchannels and the main channel all look good.

Other stations like WMAQ and WLS in Chicago run very old compression. Thus their main and subchannels don’t look so well. WLS uses 720p and WMAQ uses 1080i.

Over the air broadcasts are the highest and “purest” forms of HD.

Cable on the other hand is usually fed a feed. In otherwords WGN-TV broadcasts over the air. In the old days cable companies would take this over the air signal and distribute it. Now they don’t. The cable companies get a direct feed from WGN. This was evident on 9/11 in NYC when the WTC collapsed along with the antenna, cable viewers got the feed still.

The problem is cable operators and dish operators take these feeds which are sent out already compressed and compress them further. Then they use different algorithms to decompressed them. So with Dish and Cable even your 1080p are not true 1080p. In fact most of your 720p and 1080i on cable and Dish aren’t those defintions, because of the additonal compression.

This results in cable HD and Dish HD not looking as good as over the air HD. Now for most people, they won’t notice, but it does happen if you have a really sharp eye. It’s most notable in sports (because of movment) and nature shows.

There is no question 1080p is better than 720p, no one broadcasts in 1080p, it’s still too large, eventually someone will figure out a way to do this economically.

The real question is, do you need it? Eventually it will become common, when will this happen? Who knows? But you’ll be prepared? Do you need it? Again it’s a matter of opinion. Since things will be upconverted that may be good enough.

For instance, if you watch old comedies mostly, you won’t need it 'cause none of those shows are in high def anyway. And even if they are does it matter? Is “Seinfeld” any funnier if you can make out Jerry’s face better? This is what cracks me up about news. They always say “Now in High Def.” Like somehow the quality of your news reporting goes up if I can see you better?

If you watch nature shows and sports, you’ll probably want it. Otherwise, it won’t matter much.

Finally if screen size matters. If your screen is less than 30" don’t waste your money. The human eye can’t make out the difference between high def and standard on screens less than 30 inches. Of course they do sell high def screens smaller than that, but it’s a waste, because while you ARE getting high def, you’re eye can’t tell between high def and standard.

So it’s up to you whether you want 1080p or not. You may be paying for something you don’t need or wouldn’t notice

I think this pretty much answers the question I was about to ask. Since all I really have the space for is a 32 in., and since the difference in the picture is probably minimal, and since the price difference is around $200, I will more than likely go for the 720p.

Say what? My computer monitor is much less than 30 inches, and telling the difference between high def and standard def on it is trivial. Same is true of my parent’s 24" HDTV.

The above might be true if you put the 25" TV at the normal viewing distance for a 72" one or something, but assuming you scale the viewing distance to the size of the TV-as is typical-resolution is resolution, and HD will look markedly better than SD.

This weekend I noticed that Fox was being broadcast in 720 and football on other channels was 1080i. Fox did not look as good as the other channels.

What about the difference between 60 hz and 120 hz? Can anyone tell the difference between those?

Answering your Question:

60Hz vs 120Hz

I’m not sure why there is a need for over 60Hz on pure TVs in the first place. Movies are generally shot in 24fps / progressive. When played on TV, they go through a teceline process http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecine (also called 3:2 pulldown), which jumbles up the frames, splitting a bunch. This goes on to make a 30fps / interlaced video, commonly referred to as NTSC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ntsc. When your TV plays it back, it plays every odd line, then every even line. It takes 2 fields to make a full frame, and 2 passes to show it to you on the screen. So it takes 2Hz to show a complete picture on your TV.
When you watch a regular NTSC video broadcast (If you’re in the US, all the old analogue stations were that standard) you are watching a 30fps video displayed in 60Hz because of the interlacing.
A side note: On most of the DVDs you buy in the store, the actual video is stored in a 24fps / 480p video. The DVD has a few frames at the beginning (or a flag, I don’t remember which) that tells it to use the 30fps / interlaced signal. The DVD then feeds the 24fps / 480p signal in, and the player does a teceline process in runtime.

Since the highest framerates that I can think of for video are 60hz, there is no reason a pure TV needs to go above 60hz. However, when you add in the fact that many people use their HDTVs as a computer monitor, and games can be played… This is where I think that the 120Hz comes into its own.
Telling the difference

This doesn’t directly relate to TVs, but on a computer, I can.
On old CRT (tube) monitors, my eyes fatigue very quickly on a refresh rate of 60Hz. Once I increase the refresh rate to above 75Hz, I am a happy camper working all day long.
In my case, I notice a very distinct flicker, very similar to what you see if you record an old tv on a video camera.

In the movie theater, I believe the videos are projected at 24fps / progressive. I can definately see the stuttering on the screen and it is distracting to me.

YMMV of course.