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Christmas Gift Guide
TVs

What's the deal with 1080p TVs?

I work in the games industry, and I need to buy an LCD TV that supports 1080p high definition, but I can only find 1080i models. Can you help?

I have been reading your reviews on HD Ready LCD televisions, and while they're informative I can't find any LCD TVs that support 1080p definition.

I work in the games industry, and I need to buy an LCD TV set that will be compatible with 1080p. Most of the sets I have researched seem to be only 1080i compatible.

Could you please help me out with any knowledge you may have of existing 1080p TV sets?

Anthon Thomas

Thanks very much for your email, Anthon. You're quite right, we're yet to review any 1080p televisions, although we have explained the technology in our feature on high definition.

As far as we know, there are only a few 1080p sets currently available in the UK. Philips do one, the 37-inch 37PF9830. If you search around online, you'll find this comes in somewhere north of £2,200 -- twice the price of other Philips 37-inchers. There's a 42-inch version as well. The 45-inch Sharp LC45GD1E is also 1080p, and we found it online for around £3,800. JVC has announced the LT-46H800, a 46-inch 1080p TV, but we couldn't find it for sale or even to order anywhere. Sony has a couple, at 40 and 46 inches, due in September. Pioneer is promising the 50-inch PDP-5000EX, which will probably be over £5,000. There may be others we've missed, but the market isn't exactly crowded yet.

The PlayStation 3, which we assume is what you need the 1080p TV for, isn't out until November and the electronics industry is still preparing itself. To complicate matters, the PS3 is being released in two different flavours, and only the high-end £425 model will support high-definition 1080p. Sky HD, the most high-profile HD launch so far, only supports 720p and 1080i formats, as does the Xbox 360.

So while 1080p offers the best picture available, it's in relatively short supply -- and you have to pay a high premium to get it. Philips barely even notes that its 1080p TVs have the better standard, let alone boasts about it.

It will be some time before 1080p becomes commonplace, so expect to pay a premium in the meantime. Looking around on the AV Forums, we found that there can be an issue with 1080p TVs in that 720p sources can look terrible, as they are down-converted by the TV's picture-processing systems. Have a look for yourself -- the AV Forums are a great resource.

However, we'll do our best to get the Philips 37PF9830 and Sharp LC45GD1E in for review as soon as possible.