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HDTV buying advice: 720p vs. 1080p

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 5, 2007 3:25 AM PDT

Hi, I have a question for you guys. I am not sure which model
of Panasonic plasma HDTV I should buy with Viera line. The
50 inches with 1080p (TH-50PZ700) or the 50 inches with the
720p (TH-50PX75). Will I see a difference in screen quality
from the 720p to the 1080p if I only use the HDMI cable from
a regular DVD player 480P to upconverting the signal?

I know for sure that with a Blu-ray or HD DVD the difference
will be day and night but like I said if I only use the 480p
DVD player will it be worth to spend that money on 1080p.

Since I am not going to buy a Blu-ray or HD DVD player soon
because I don't know know which format will survive. I am
only going to use a DV with the HDMI connection to upgrade
the signal from a basic 480P DVD player to hook up my plasma
TV. Any help here is appreciated!

--Submitted by CNET member Yves L.

Answer voted most helpful by our CNET community newsletter readers:

Which Panasonic Plasma to buy?

720p or 1080p?

- I believe that a 60" screen is the smallest size you should consider if you want 1080p
- 46" is just too small ... IMO you are wasting your money to go 1080p at this size ... better to buy a 720p set.
- 50" may be OK if you sit about 6 feet away ... otherwise you are not going to see the difference 1080p makes.
- 60" you will see the difference if you sit close enough. The recommended distance for this size when viewing HDTV is 8 feet.

480p DVD - 1080p?

- unless you plan on purchasing a Blu-ray or HD DVD player in the new year purchasing a 1080p IMO will be a waste of money. You just are not going to get much benefit. You are better to go with a 720p set ... spend the money you save on a larger size screen ... go for 60". Most people will agree ... the bigger the better!

Blu-ray or HD DVD ... which will survive?

- if you are waiting to see which format will survive IMO you are going to wait a very long time.
- all indications are that both formats are going to be with use for a very long time. Most reviewers now believe that both are going to be winners ... but these formats need your support if we are not going to witness another SACD/DVD A disaster!
- buy a combo player if you cannot decide on one or the other.

Panasonic Plasma?

- before you make a final decision on which Panasonic plasma to buy, I urge you to take a look at the new Pioneer KURO plasma series. IMO they have the best PQ in the business at the moment ... certainly no other plasma or LCD display on the market can equal them for their blacks! At a local dealer they have a Panasonic 65" 1080p display on one wall and a Pioneer 60" 720p on another. According to the salesman, everyone always picks the Pioneer as the better of the two!

I hope this helps!

--Submitted by CNET member HiDefBob

There are a lot of great contributions to Yves's question so please read on for more additional recommendations and advice. If you have any additional advice for Yves, let's hear them! Click on the "Reply" link to post. Please be detailed as possible in your answer. Thanks!
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720p or 1080p
by Watzman / October 5, 2007 12:14 PM PDT

Well, first let's acknolwedge that there could be other differences between these sets than 720p vs. 1080p, and that those differences could be significant ... indeed could outweigh the resolution ... in favor of either set. However, not having any information on that question, and not being able to see the two sets, we will for the time being ignore that, but not without recognition that it could be a significant issue.

In terms of your stated use of the set ONLY for use with an upconverting DVD player, no, I don't think you will see any difference.

However, I do wonder if that really will be your only use of the set. While no one is currently broadcasting 1080p, several networks are broadcasting 1080i, and you need a 1080 set to see such programming at full resolution, otherwise it gets "downconverted" to 720, and at that point, both because 720 is lower resolution than 1080 and because there was a conversion, the difference would be significant if, again, there are no other differences between the two sets.

You also need to consider that the likely life of the set is 6 to 10 years, a time period long enough that your use of the set may (probably will) change, AS WILL THE FORMATS BEING USED FOR BOTH BROADCASTING AND HOME VIDEO. It's highly likely that over such a long time, there will be a strong shift towards 1080p. How you use the set in 2007 and how you might be trying to use the set in 2013 or even 2017 could be very different.

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Plasma HDTV
by 131238 / October 6, 2007 3:34 PM PDT
In reply to: 720p or 1080p

Don't buy, they are expensive and unreliable.
Get the best LCD kit you can afford.
As for blue vs. red ray, I am going to sit on my hands until the twonks sort themselves out.

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Red Ray? That's not Hi-Def
by mdaneker / October 12, 2007 11:25 AM PDT
In reply to: Plasma HDTV

All hi-def is Blue Ray, 100% of it. The difference between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is that Blu-Ray sits closer to the laser and that allows more accurate reading so more information can be stored on the disk. Blu-Ray requires different manufacturing in both players and disk, where as HD-DVD delivers equal quality with minimal adjustments in manufacturing that makes it easier for the industry to adjust and change and makes it easier to manufacture hi-compatibility players for lower prices (as you may have noticed, HD-DVD players are far, far less expensive than blu-ray alread.)

Sony's never won a battle over the long run, the walkman was their only truly lasting innovation and Apple took the steam from that. You want to know, will Blu-Ray win the war? Well Remember Betamax? SACD? Mini-Disk? Did you notice the blu-ray flagship, PS3 is the #3 selling game console behind Wii and Xbox360? Sony is a company that suffers from chronic hubris.

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Body Blow
by MrGadgetman / October 12, 2007 5:37 PM PDT

We were all playing nice and then you had to go and slap Sony across the chin by pointing out their propensity to fall short of reinventing the wheel. What did Our Father Who Art in Japan ever do to you!? Wink

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Get the 1080 for over the air, sattalite and cable.
by walterot / October 5, 2007 12:33 PM PDT

Get the 1080 for over the air, sattalite and cable.
Newer TVs have built in digital tuners for over the air and cable TV.
Digital TV tuner will be mandatory to recive TV programs in the soon.
The 1080p picture is very clear.
There is smaller TVs now that can display the 1080p picture.
In my bedroom I have an 30 inch Sony that can decode both over the air and digital cable. It has HDMI input and HD RGB inputs.

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Go for the 1080p
by mdaneker / October 5, 2007 1:10 PM PDT

1080p will very likely be the standard, if your planning on owning your new TV more than a year, buy the 1080p model.

No matter what you are watching the more scan lines on the screen, the more detail you will see. Not only that, but hi-def cable can be as high as 1080i, so a 720p television will down convert the HD signal. You don't want that. Besides, with HD DVD players under $300 right now, don't bet you won't be buying one sooner than you think. Blu-Ray disk are outselling HD DVD, but not the players, it's the PS3 driving sales. Paramount just pulled out of Blu-Ray and went exclusive to HD, if Disney follows the war is over and HD will have won. If you buy a 720p TV now and next year Blu-Ray is a thing of the past and HD DVD players are $200 you might kick yourself for not having the full 1080p capabilities.

An up-converting HD DVD player will also give you a 1080p Standard DVD, not true HD but my Toshiba HD DVD player makes my regular DVD's as close to perfect as my HD cable signal. Well worth the investment.

The plain and simple of it is, more lines equals more details, don't make the investment on an already obsolete model. I bought my 42" 720p when 1080p wasn't available in a model that small, now I've seen the 1080p model and I wish I would have waited a year!

The HD standard is 1080p, not likely to change for some time since that's where the new formats are. Buy the TV that's going to give you best picture and not be obsolete for the longest possible time.

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Creating information that's missing
by genotypewriter / October 5, 2007 1:21 PM PDT

Regardless of where it happens (player/TV), at the end of the day you're fitting a standard definition DVD on to a 50" high definition TV and the missing video information will be added in the middle by the player or the TV.

If you're only going to stick to DVDs, I personally prefer the 720p option since overly smoothed/processed video at 1080p might look too synthetic and you're not really going to get the native sharpness either.

But, if you're ever going to upgrade to HDDVD or BluRay, do yourself a favour and get 1080p. It doesn't matter who wins the war does it? Because they both support 1080p.

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by MrGadgetman / October 5, 2007 1:42 PM PDT

There are a few factors which govern "how good" your upconverted picture will be on your new HDTV either 1080p or 720p. On an upconvert player there probably won't be a big enough difference discernible enough to justify buying the 1080p over the 720p. Up-converting SD (standard definition/480) video to HD is more of a gimmick if you break it all down. Kind of like cars with traditional automatic transmissions that offer a manual shift mode. When it comes down to it..., it still has no clutch pedal, different gearing, and a torque converter that's still ECU/TCM managed. You'll never be able to just drop the hammer at the start or heel-and-toe an e-brake hairpin!! Oops, getting off track here..., but the bottom line is that, gimmickry aside its still a 480 line source, no matter how you dress it and will never fairly compare to native HD resolution when shown on a capable TV. There are some good upconvert players and some of the SuperBit movies make good use of them but like HD movies, a lot of them are only gonna show as good as the source no matter how many lines you throw at the screen and in some case you end up with a worse picture, especially in the shadows, rapid light changes,close proximity blues and reds and fast pans.
I.N.M.H.O., don't bother to half-step on HD if you're going far enough to buy a kickass TV like the one you're considering. I'm a Blu-ray myself but if you are scared of being collaterally damaged in the format war then consider getting one of the dual format players.

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Which Plasma Should I buy?
by deltoncbaker / October 5, 2007 4:07 PM PDT

Both are fine machines and both would or will perform admirably with your 480P HD Source selection. But there are some things you didn't talk about in your letter that you should be aware of.
1]Older versions of Panasonic plasmas will experience screen burn in, burn in images like that of DVD players so called screen saver. The newer ones have fixed that problem.
LCD never experience burn in.
2]Since the Plasma screen is glass direct sun light will blind you or make it impossible to view the TV.
LCD TVs don't have as much reflection because the screens are plastic.
3]The life spam of a Plasma screen TV is about 10000 hours.
Compared to the LCD life span of about 60000 hours.
4]If you live in a high altitude area you need purchase an High altitude Plasma screen as they will make a humming noise like a florescent tube light bulb if you don't If you move to an High altitude area there is no fix other than buy a new TV.
Again LCD TV are unaffected by altitude.
5]Plasma TVs expend most of its energy as heat.
LCD TVs heat expenditures could easily be half that of Plasma.
6]LCD TVs do have their draw backs too. A fall from a shelf or A grandchild with a sharp nail could scar the screen for life. The same child with hammer could leave dent marks or even a fracture lines in the screen but still be alive to tell his grand children how close Grandpa came to killing him. If that child had hammered the plasma the explosion might put him in the hospital or worse.
7]You might have noticed I am a little partial to LCD TVs.
I paid $1700 for Sharp AQUOS LC-46D62U 46" 1080P last Christmas (which I still love)
and I see this year they are going for about $1200.
8]I did some checking and I found Sharps LC-52D92U 52" LCD TV and Panasonics 50PZ700U are comparably priced.

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Resolution isn't everything, many factors to consider
by Pannylover4ever / October 12, 2007 2:07 PM PDT

I must agree with many people posting here, after looking at a lot of screens out there, there is very little reason to worry about 1080P unless you are going to a 58" or bigger screen.

When viewing 50" screen a scientific test developed by the BBC shows that people can't see the difference between 720P and 1080P unless you are 6.5" or less from the screen, a distance almost no one would sit from a 50" screen. See the BBC data at:

For up-converting there is especially no reason to go to 1080P vs 720P, since the video processor has to interpolate the picture into something it isn't. It is actually more complex to interpolate to higher resolutions, and more likely for the results to be worse rather than better (especially on cheaper players).

Most people will notice right away that the contrast ratio of the picture takes a hit with higher resolutions, causing the 720P screens to be brighter with more "POP" in the picture in most cases. This is due to the fact it is easier to make fewer larger pixels bright, rather than many small pixels. The history of the Panasonic screens makes this obvious (one easy example of many is the older Panasonic Pro models for example, the 720P TH42PHD8UK was 3000:1 but the 480P TH42PHD8UK was 4000:1. The newer ones follow the same rule, the 720P TH50PX75U is 10000:1 vs the 1080P TH50PZ700U is 5000:1, half the contrast ratio). This actually makes the PX75U screen look a lot better when comparing them side by side from 7 feet or more. The rule of thumb recommendation I have found pretty accurate is optimal viewing distance from the screen should be 2x screen size. So for a 50" screen you should be close to 8 feet away.

The chances for 1080P broadcast/cable/sat channels is slim due to the immense bandwidth requirements needed. To move a single channel from 1080i to 1080P requires twice the bandwidth since you are going from 30fps to 60fps (as in 1920x1080x60 vs 1920x1080x30). I wouldn't hold my breath until you get a fiber cable into your house, which is far away for most of us. Due to the frame rate on the 1080i being half the frame rate on the 720P, you will see more motion related issues on the 1080i, especially on fast moving scenes and sports.

As for other screen types mentioned here. There are several downsides people forget about. The LCOS and DLP screens all have expensive lamps cooled with noisy fans. Lamp life is from 4-8k hours. Average lamp life of 6k hours (on the optimistic side) means if you compare them to Panasonic Plasma rated half life of 60k hours (LCD's are about the same), you will be buying 10 DLP or LCOS lamps over the lifetime of the set. With many of the lamps costing close to $300 each, you will be spending close to $3k on lamps alone. You can buy 2 Panasonic 50" plasma screens for little more than that. All RP TV's are going the way of the DoDo, being relegated to the biggest screen sizes now and are going to disappear completely in a couple of years as the LCD's and Plasma's price drops and they become cost competitive at the bigger sizes. You can already see the trend, DLP's used to be around 46", then 52", 60" and bigger. As the LCD's an Plasma become affordable at those sizes, you will notice the RP's disappering rapidly up the ladder.

Many of the newer LCD's have shiny plastic screens, (similar to the Brightview laptop screens) causing similar or identical reflections in bright rooms. Considering that Panasonic offers the excellent anti-reflective PX77U, I would be something I would look closely at before considering LCD's.

The bottom line I guess I am getting at is that anyone worrying about future proofing themselves 10 years into the future is fooling themselves. There is always going to be something bigger and better around the corner, and it is easier to upgrade from a $1500 screen couple of years from now rather than swallow the $4k screen.

I found this out the hard way when I bought my SD Sony 36" XBR flat CRT in 2000 for over $2000. Replaced it with my Panasonic Pro 42" in 2006 for $1200, and will probably replace that with something bigger in a couple of years for $?????

So the bottom line, enjoy the 50" 720P now, when 1080P finally takes off years from now, you'll be able to buy a 65" 1080P Plasma for about $1k. As a reminder of how things are progressing, count how many HD channels you have now, and how many are more than 720P. Last time I checked, I had about 18 HD channels vs about 300 SD channels. Last time I checked Blockbuster, they had a few thousand SD movies and about 100HD movies. You can get SD movies for about $15, HD movies are 2 to 3 times that. I think we have a long way to go before worrying about 1080P compatibility.

One last hint to many out there. Set your source output to match the screen you are using. Don't have your cable box take a 480i channel, up convert it to 1080i and then have your screen down covert it to 720P (or 480P etc. etc). Same with your up-converting DVD player. Don't convert a SD DVD from 480i to 720P just to have your screen re-convert it to higher or lower resolution. I noticed motion problems (hesitation, judder, etc) on many screens due to the double conversion. If your screen is 720P, set your cable box, SAT or up-converting DVD outputs to 720P, if your screen is 1080P set everything you have to 1080P as much as possible. It will make your video much smoother in many cases, as I found out first hand on my Plasma screen.

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Don't go by contrast ratio.
by emgesp / October 12, 2007 9:39 PM PDT

"Most people will notice right away that the contrast ratio of the picture takes a hit with higher resolutions, causing the 720P screens to be brighter with more "POP" in the picture in most cases. This is due to the fact it is easier to make fewer larger pixels bright, rather than many small pixels."

Actually, you are half right. Though, you can't just go by contrast ratio specifications. The new 1080p Panasonic Plasmas contrast ratio in real world performance is just as good as their 720p counterpart. Actually, the 1080p models up it one by having stable blacks.

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Contrast ratio's
by Pannylover4ever / October 14, 2007 11:44 AM PDT

In response to emgesp above.

You are correct that contrast ratio is only part of the picture and it tends to be subjective between manufacturers. Since there really is no industry standard measurement, just like brightness ratings on LCD's have no standardized measurements, comparing the rated numbers between Panasonic and Pioneer for example is very difficult.

My point was more, that every manufacturer would almost certainly tend to measure contrast ratio using the the same method on every screen.

With that in mind, using Panasonic's numbers as a guideline, they claim their 720P screens have double the contrast ratio, (the radio between the darkest and the brightest point of the screen possible) of their 1080P screens. The 50" 720P screens are rated at 10000:1 and 1080P 5000:1.

Physics appear to play a role here since separating the same area of space into a greater number of cells, dictates that more area is used for cell walls which appear on the screen as the lines between the dots. The more black lines, the less brightness for the same area.

Moving the resolution from 720P to 1080P means you increase the dots from 2.76M to 6.22M for the same area (since each dot is 3 colors using argon, neon and xenon gas for each color).

So technically speaking 720P screens would tend to be brighter than 1080P screens. Whether that matters in the real world among other factors is a different story.

My experience when browsing electronic stores is when looking across the room, I have found the lower res screens look better. When you get up close (couple of feet away) you like the higher resolution better.

What you end up preferring when sitting around 8' away from a 50" screen in your living room is personal preference. If you sit closer you would tend like 1080P, if you sit farther you would tend favor 720P. At optimal viewing distance of 8.3' (as recommended by SMPTE) you would be hard pressed to pick and would probably be very happy with either one.

So unfortunately there is often not a simple answer as to whether 720P or 1080P is "better" than the other one. It all depends on the application (components to be connected), preferences and other factors.

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This guy doesn't know what he's talking about.
by emgesp / October 12, 2007 9:27 PM PDT

Both are fine machines and both would or will perform admirably with your 480P HD Source selection. But there are some things you didn't talk about in your letter that you should be aware of.

"1]Older versions of Panasonic plasmas will experience screen burn in, burn in images like that of DVD players so called screen saver. The newer ones have fixed that problem."
LCD never experience burn in."

Good to know for sure, but it's a moot point now since he's buying a newer set. That is almost like saying T.V. used to be black and white.

"2]Since the Plasma screen is glass direct sun light will blind you or make it impossible to view the TV.
LCD TVs don't have as much reflection because the screens are plastic."

Actually, there are some Plasmas that have great anti-reflective screens, or at least decent.

"3]The life spam of a Plasma screen TV is about 10000 hours.
Compared to the LCD life span of about 60000 hours."

WOW you are wrong, they both have a life span of 60,000 hours, especially if you calibrate them.

"6]LCD TVs do have their draw backs too."

Yeah like being stupid expensive when buying 40+" displays. You can get a nice 50" Plasma for under $2k, a comparable 46" LCD runs you no less than 2k.

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Just My Two Cents...
by wakewop / October 13, 2007 1:28 AM PDT

Although this thread is not about LCD vs Plasma, I've found that once the screen size goes beyond 32" or so, the LCD displays can look almost cartoonish. It's my opinion that LCD makers were so anxious to jump into the market against the larger plasmas, they put out a product that is not quite ready or in some cases, even unacceptable. LCD is great for computer monitors, but when it comes to the big screens, nothing beats plasma. Walk around any store with a lot of both on display and you'll see what I mean.

Also I wouldn't be so harsh against DLPs. Sure, you have to change the bulb, but every time you do so it's like getting a new TV. No burnt out pixels. Just something to keep in mind. And the prices are extremely low even for large screens as compared to either plasma or LCD.

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3 LCD is the best choice if you are not hanging on a wall.
by mdaneker / October 15, 2007 10:35 AM PDT
In reply to: Just My Two Cents...

So long as the 12 - 17" depth isn't an issue none of the hi-def choices beats Sony's 3LCD, all the clarity and brightness of DLP but no moving parts but a cooling fan on the light bulb. The bulb will run less than $200 on average and is easy to change, I've had mine 2 years, the bulb has been on way past its life expectancy. Plus the 3lcd does not have a glossy screen so there's nearly no light reflectivity. Unlike the ultra-gloss Plasma, the 3LCD has looks like film and standing directly in front of a properly calibrated screen a hi-def DVD shows no flaws, no noise. It's an awesome tv and a remarkably well priced one, I originally thought I wanted an LCD or Plasma, but for the price I decided to check out 3LDC, I was surprised that it out-striped plasma and LCD.

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You will notice the difference
by pmh1939 / October 5, 2007 4:20 PM PDT

I have played the same DVD player through a 720p TV and a 1080p TV. There is no question that the same signal (player, cables, discs) played through the 1080p TV was considerably clearer and more realistic. With a 50" screen size at anything less than 15' from the screen, the increase in image depth and stability will be easy to see. If you are more than 15' from the screen, the resolution advantage of 1080p over 720p is more subtle but still noticeable until you are about 20' from the image. Over 20' from the screen, with normal vision, your eyes will still notice a difference in favor of the 1080p screen, but it will be more a sense of greater realism in the image.

All of the above assumes that you are dealing with TVs that have components of equal capability except for the difference in resolution. A poor quality 1080p set may not produce an image that looks as good as an excellent quality 720p set, especially with a 480i or 480p signal. Critical components here include the tuners, scalers, screen brightness uniformity, and color/temperature accuracy. Frequently, the 1080p screens get better components than those put into the 720p screens.

1080p HD DVD players can be purchased at a relatively low cost. They do a great job of upscaling regular DVDs, and the 1080p discs look even better. A good 1080p screen provides a better image in both instances than a good 720p screen. You can see this in any store where they demo the same brand 720p and 1080p screens side-by-side.

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Futureproof now for a more compatible future
by vdblu / October 5, 2007 5:27 PM PDT

I'd say go with the 1080p. True, full HD content is scarce but it will only increase as time goes by. Already, you have game systems like the Xbox 360 and PS3 capable of outputting 1080p. Also, regardless of who the victor is in the format wars, both Blu-ray and HD DVD support 1080p. Going 1080p now will prepare you better for the future.

Also, do remember that upconverting DVD players upconvert to 1080p. if you have a 720p set, then you're not getting the best picture possible.

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Re: futureproofing with 1080p?
by mrichman / October 12, 2007 12:20 PM PDT

With HDMI1.3 being released the resolutions will go to 1440p in fairly short order. Buying a 1080p tv to futureproof your investment will not work.Your best bet is to look at the displays you are considering and make a decision.

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by geoffinak / October 5, 2007 6:45 PM PDT

Yes buy the 1080. Then a HD DVD player
Why buy a big $$ HD TV and not spend 150 bucks for a HD DVD and watch hgow things turn out. My money is on DVD as it's the standard now. Beta was much better then VHS, but VHS already had made in roads into the market.. Just get the HD DVD and sit back and enjoy your new HD TV

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1080 vs 720
by mrtazmania2 / October 5, 2007 9:17 PM PDT

50 inches with 1080p (TH-50PZ700) or the 50 inches with the 720p (TH-50PX75). Is there a difference? Absolutely!! the 1080 is going to have more pixels than 720, giving a more "colorful" view. I have seen every combination of tv out there from the simplest setup to the most complex and I can honestly say that uunless you have an HD signal, it really doesn't make a difference which tv you get, the picture is going to be about the same. Now a 1080 picture on a standard analog signal, does give you a clear picture, but it has drawbacks.....since the signal only has 480dpi and the tv is set for 1080, you get a "film grain effect" when viewing a standard analog other words the picture is clearer but you'll notice the lack of pixels more easily with a higher dpi set than with a loower one. If you have HD signal however, thats a whole different ball of wax. With an HD or digital signal you're going to want the 1080 for sure, if you do not have HD signal available to you (via cable or satellite provider) then the 720 is going to work better overall. Hooking up a dvd player is the same story, they usually have the standard rca connections and possibly an s-video, some have the hdmi and for a dvd player, this does not give you any real advantage as the dvd you are viewing is in whater format its in and therefore the screen resolution is only going to be whaever the source is. If the dvd player has components then thats the better way to hook it up as it will give you the most options.
Now on to how to hook it up.
Everyone who sells hd tvs will tell you the only true way to hook up the hd tv is with an hdmi cable, they'll tell you it has the best throughput of all the connections. Truth of the matter is, however you receive your signal, be it through the air via antennae (hd or standard) or through the cable company (coax) or via satellite (digital)or via a dvd player with hd connections; whatever that signal is is the best its gonna get so the way the tv is hooked up to this equipment can but does not always, make a difference. The standard component cables are 99 times out of 100 the overall best way to hook up the tv to a set top box (hd tuner, satellite, cable, or dvd) and the cable or satellite company usually provides those so theres no additional cost to you. HDMI cables are expensive and really only give you one basic advantage, 1 cable and 1 hookup, rather than the 5 that the component cables use. Theres also a disadvantage of an HDMI cable has and that is its 1 connection instead of 5....with componant cables, if one of the connections goes bad, you don't lose everything and that one connection can be replaced fairly easily and inexpensively, if the HDMI cable goes bad (and I have seen alot of them go bad) you have to replace the whole thing.
In conclusion....1080 has more pixels than 720 but if all you have is standard reception 720 is the better choice; HDMI does not give you any special advantages and is usually just an option in connecting and , in my opinion, a waste of money; dvd players play the format the movie is in, and if the dvd player and tv can play in higher resolution it will.
I have been installing cable and satellite systems for years and have seen just about every possible configuration you could imagine and honestly, from viewing all these different options, it all boils down to what looks best to you.

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Panasonic 720P or 1080p
by cgkama / October 5, 2007 11:33 PM PDT

Dear Yves,

I work in the AV business and in my opinion you should get the 1080P set. I base this on the simple facts that while 720P is a very good picture and it is very hard for the human eye to tell the difference between 720P and 1080p resolutions on Plasma panels of 50" and smaller,you will eventually buy a Blu-Ray or an HD-DVD player or maybe
one of the LG and or Samsung Dual Players that let you have it both ways.While this format war goes on for who knows how long,one thing is for sure-1080P is here in a big way,and while 720P sets will continue to be sold for some time-believe me,from what I have seen and heard from the Consumer Electronics side of this-1080P is fast on it's way to becoming the norm in the larger flat panel and RPTV's as well.

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720 vs 1080
by servaes_marc / October 6, 2007 12:37 AM PDT

In short, the answer to your question is yes.

When playing a 480 DVD signal through a 720 or 1080 monitor, the 1080 will show a cleaner image, but not neccessarily a sharper one. Here's why. Flat screen monitors create an image with pixels. The smaller the pixels are, the more seamless the image will look, even when fed by a lower resolution source. Even with no image fed into the monitor and just a blank white screen, you'll see the individual pixels easier on the 720 monitor than on the 1080 monitor.

If you feed in a 480 signal to a 720 or 1080 monitor, the upconversion does not increase the true resolution; it cant. What it does is interpolate the larger 480 pixels of the source and break then down into more pixels that are smaller, creating the illusion of smoother edges. That's where the 1080 screen works better than the 720. Of course, the 1080 monitor will cost you more than the 720, sometimes quite a bit more.

In the long run, it's better to get the 1080 monitor up front because your system will grow into it in the near future. Plus you won't have to make a second upgrade from 720 to 1080 sometime later. 720 is better than 480, but it still is not truly spectacular in comparison to 1080. Someday when you get a good camcorder that produces a 1080 image, you'll truly appreciate the better 1080 monitor.

On a side note, most Hi-def broadcasts are much more compressed than the images you get from a Hi-def camcorder. So when you finally play your Hi-def camcorder into your 1080 monitor, you'll see an even better image than you will when watching the Superbowl. The quality is motion picture film-like, and you'll be really glad you sprung for the extra bucks for the 1080 monitor.

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If movies are your thing...
by Hi-def Jeff / October 6, 2007 1:03 AM PDT


Unless you are buying both TV's to sit side-by-side and watch the same content, you won't notice the difference...if there is any. It is unlikely that there would be any difference to see.

The Panasonic plasmas are quite nice though. Either would look great when properly set up. Hopefully, you have an antenna or other source of HD for your TV. (HD cable or satellite)

I recommend purchasing the lower priced model and use the savings to offset the purchase of a dual format DVD player - around Christmas 2008. The prices are already dropping nicely and they should be quite affordable by then. A dual format player purchase will allow you to view any title released and not worry about the war. If one does loose soon (and within the next 5 years would be soon) you would be able to pick up all of the losers titles at bargain prices to further offset your purchase price.

If you try to wait out this format war, you may be waiting a very long time! (The Beta/VHS war took over a decade to resemble a win, but the last Betamax machine didn't actually roll off the lines until 2003!) In today's world economy, there's a lot of money to go around. They both can survive on their partial shares of the take, but greed demands that they have it all. It is conceivable that the two will co-exist indefinitely.

For help with set up of your TV go to "Do's & Don'ts":

Enjoy your new TV!
Highdef Jeff

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Personally I recommend 1080p...
by ru4real2 / October 6, 2007 3:15 AM PDT

I know you stated several times in you question that you do not intend to upgrade to an HD source "any time soon". From my point of view though, I spend about 3 grand on a top of the line 1080 full system (bought just over a year ago, so I'm sure prices are a little lower now) for one reason: future proofing. Unlike computers, PDAs, cell phones etc etc, the TV industry doesn't see wide spread improvements on a continuing basis. I think one of my university professors put it best when he said that he worked in the television industry for 25 years and didn't see a single technological change in that entire time!

Yes we are going through a period of continuing upgrades right now (480i, 480p, 720, EDTV, 1080i, 1080p) etc. There were a number of foces causing this slow roll-out, but now that we have hit the 1080p platue, I fully expect things to sit at that level for quite some time. It likely won't be another full 25 years before we see further improvements, but do not expect things to keep increasing year-by-year. For that reason, I recommend to anyone buying a new set to get something that can display 1080p.

The short answer to your question though is, if you really don't mind buying a TV now and replacing it in 2-3 years, then get your 720p TV. It will display your regular up-converted DVDs just fine.


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Panasonic good choice
by jbaroni / October 6, 2007 4:52 AM PDT

First, congrats a choosing the Panasonic plasma. I bought the 50 in pro series monitor last Xmas and have enjoyed it from day one. I check occasionally on the new models and they now offer a much better package in their consumer line. There are so many considerations that each person may prioritize differently. I did not take the time to check the difference in price between these two models but I am sure the 720p model would save you enough to buy a hi quality upconverting DVD player and for just slightly more, a Toshiba HD player that is suppose to be a top notch upconverter. One of the units you listed is suppose to have an antiglare coating which is one of the few complaints about plasma. Will you have problems with reflections? Reading many reviews leads me to believe the difference between 720 and 1080 at 50in isn't going to be very discernable unless you sit within 7ft or plan to read text on it. You do not mention anything about HDTV. I was extremely lucky to be able to have Verizon Fios available when I purchased my Panny. The picture quality improved on my regular non HD 4:3 over cable but the quality of the HD pictures are amazing. I have become an HDTV snob, now and only surf between the 15-20 HD channels that are part of my basic package. I buy or rent DVDs of series I don't have access to and their upconverted pictures are for the most part nearly HD in quality. I have a fairly large viewing room and sit 14ft away from my screen. I feel it is to small for movies and some TV shows. HDTV is only broadcast in either native 720p(sports channels/better for action) or 1080i(more detail) and 1080p transmision isn't even on the radar screen. If this is going to be your primary viewing medium for the next five years or more then I would lean towards the 1080p set if like me you see it transitioning to your bedroom or spare set in a couple of years, then go with the 720p.

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by stephenng2000 / October 6, 2007 5:56 AM PDT

Yves, Buy the Panasonic TH-50PZ77u. It's a brand new model. It has ANTI-Glare with 1080P. You will see a difference in 1080P wih a big screen size of 50" and above. Check-out J&R Music World. My preference is Blue-Ray format. Blue-Ray picture quality is better than HD. I have both format and I did a side by side comparison. Blur-Ray is my choice for 1080P. I hope this is helpful.


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50 inch
by tedtks / October 6, 2007 5:57 AM PDT

best way to look at it is PLAN AHEAD !
Later when u upgrade your player - and you bought the 780p
then what ? ? a new tv ??
Tv purchases are expensive and you need to think what u will
possibly need in the future.
unless this is really Bill Gates in descizzzze Happy

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Futureproof yourself...
by Michael Vasovski / October 6, 2007 6:44 AM PDT

Get the best that you can afford. 1080P will be the defacto standard for some time to come. If you can afford it...

As for formats, it's not such the deal that it once was. Expect to see hybrid players playing both formats, at a reasonable price, in the near future. One is already available. But it's quite expensive.

My line of thought, when making purchases like this is; if I even have to think about it (can I afford it?) I don't buy it. I only buy something when I can do it solely as a reaction (I don't even have to think about it). That's when I know that I have more than enough money and that it's an appropriate time... Always buy the best that you can afford.

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Viewing files made from emails.
by ANDRADE-PAEZ / October 6, 2007 8:49 AM PDT

I used to file my mails. I did that in Outlook folders I named for, you know, JOKES, MISCELANEA, HUMOR, etc. Recently I had to free some space in the Outlook so I could continue to receive my mails, and I began to file that mails in folders in my hard drive, under My Documents. With emails that contain PowerPoint documents I had no problems, when you open them it's asked: what do you want to do? open? or save in disk?, after choosing open and looking at them I marked save in disk and filed them, and I always can re-read them; with mails that contained videos, after watching them I marked File>Save As and saved in the folder in My Documents, there were saved like a file with the Mozilla Firefox icon, which is my Internet access, but when I want to see the videos again and open the file all that I get is the sender's name, address and the topic name and the video is gone. How can I do to rescue the videos. Thanks in advance and forgive my english. Pedro.

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Hi Pedro, wrong topic... Please post your question in
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / October 12, 2007 6:25 AM PDT
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