How does a 1024 x 768 pixel TV display 720p content?

I’m pretty sure this has been asked before, but I can’t search at the moment.

I’m looking to take advantage of the post Xmas sales and buying an HD TV, either LCD or plasma. One question I have is how a 720p image is displayed on a TV with 768 lines?

I realise that 1080p is a better resolution but I don’t think there is any benefit to me getting one of those just yet.

Either a few lines are repeated, the image is interpolated (mathematically spread) over the 768 lines, or 48 of the lines are not used when displaying television (as opposed to computer) content.

You can probably find devices that do any of these, although I’d bet the last one is the most common.

A follow up question then is, why are 768 line televisions sold at all? Wouldn’t it make more sense to market 720 line TVs?

Because 1024x768 is a standard computer screen resolution as well, so they save money by reusing the chips. I bet this is an LCD display, which means it’s probably not overly large, which also means that unless you’re really really close up 720p is just fine.

Unless you are buying a really large TV (> 50"), or you plan on sitting a few feet away from the screen, it’s unlikely you could tell the difference.

Handy chart.

Try looking over a website called AVS Forums at

AVS Forums

They can explain it

I have a hunch that the typical image looks better after it’s interpolated a bit. Digital artifacts and aliasing are smoothed out.

My old “720p” TV was 1366 x 768.

I really can’t imagine some reason where it’s done for the sake of PC technology.

It’s a plasma. Pretty much all of the 42" plasmas I’m looking at are 1024 x 768 hence the question.

I’ve looked at the AVS forums after posting this thread and they gave much the same answer as given here. I had also already discovered that for the size of TV and viewing distance I will have, a 720p display is good. This morning I bought a Panasonic 42" plasma, yay!