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Poll: Can you see the difference in picture quality...

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / December 12, 2007 8:30 AM PST

Can you see the difference in picture quality among a 720p, a 1080i, and a 1080p HDTV during normal viewing (approx. 7 feet from screen)?

Yes, absolutely. (Please explain.)
No, not at all. (Please explain.)
Yes, just slightly. (Please explain.)
I wouldn't know, I don't have an HDTV.

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No. not at all
by gabereyes / December 12, 2007 8:40 AM PST

I cant see any diffrents between 720p and 1080i.

dont know about 1080p yet.

I am using an sony KD-34XBR960 and I set about 7 feet away, it maybe diffrent with a bigger TV set.

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by froasier / December 12, 2007 1:35 PM PST
In reply to: No. not at all

You can't compare them on the same TV, you need a 720p TV, a 1080i TV (no LCD or Plasma TV is truly 1080i), and/or a 1080p TV, all with appropriate sources, to compare them. Plugging a 1080i source into your 720p TV does not give you 1080i--it gets converted to 720p--and vice versa.

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RE: LOL - wrong!
by trybble / December 14, 2007 12:34 AM PST
In reply to: lol

"You can't compare them on the same TV, you need a 720p TV, a 1080i TV (no LCD or Plasma TV is truly 1080i)..."

You are absolutely wrong. I just bought a Hitachi P42H401. It's a 42" plasma, and it's native resolution is 1080i. That is perfect since all the broadcast and cable HD in my area is 1080i. True you cannot compare them on the same TV, but you can side-by-side from the same source. As they say in the article, half that battle is whether your TV is any good at converting the source to it's native display mode whatever that may be.

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by Stephen92085 / December 14, 2007 1:34 AM PST
In reply to: RE: LOL - wrong!

In order to compare the various resolutions, one MUST be comparing APPLES TO APPLES (source and destination [or in this case, rendering device (aka, TV)]), or your REVIEW of 720i, 1080i, and 1080p is, as you say, how well the particular television renders a non-native INPUT SOURCE.

If, however, you?re asking if any given individual can tell the difference between 720i, 1080i, 1080p resolutions, then that?s all subjective and (as LOL was saying) dependent on a MATCHED SET of INPUTS to television rendering resolutions.

Personally, I looked for a HDTV which not only renders 4:3 well, but also supported the 1080p (the current highest resolution) ? and purchased a DVD player which can generate 1080p to match.

Discussing 720i, 1080i and 1080p with non-matching video INPUTS is like discussing the pros and cons of various digital cameras? megapixels based on how well the images print out on 300 DPI printers (not exactly the best way to judge the quality of the image captured, don?t you agree?).

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umm... you're wrong
by froasier / January 12, 2008 1:26 PM PST
In reply to: RE: LOL - wrong!

Your TV's native resolution is 1280 x 1080 (Hitachi calls it HD1080), which is the vertical resolution of 1080p but the horizontal resolution of 720p. This allows it to display both 720p and 1080i/p content while only scaling in one direction. Get your facts straight before you call someone wrong.

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by Riverledge / December 12, 2007 8:54 AM PST


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Have we missed a few parameters on the question?
by ahtoi / December 12, 2007 9:38 AM PST

Just 7 feet doesn't seem to be enough.

To answer the question; I wouldn't know because I don't have a HDTV.

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Yes absolutely
by samkh / December 12, 2007 11:45 AM PST

Blu-ray to 1080p TV

Your question didn't mention source.

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by winsoftwareman / December 14, 2007 7:59 AM PST
In reply to: Yes absolutely

blu-ray to hd dvd on 1080p. Like i said earlier, there is no difference between the quality on blu-ray and hd dvd. cable matters. hdmi will do better than component or rca. Try having a 720p tv and a blu-ray with HDMI. Try having a 1080p with blu-ray and component. !)80p still looks better.

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Depends on the brand
by T Haltom / December 12, 2007 11:57 AM PST

Sitting side by side some 720s look much clearer than some 1080s. Depends on the brand. JVCs, Samsungs, Panasonics, and some Philips or Magnavox seem to make absolutely no real discernable difference. Not worth the price of the difference for most folks.

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Diff between 780P and 1080P and 1080i
by htaberner / December 12, 2007 12:05 PM PST

You bet there is a diference and the 1080p wins hands down especially with BluRay and HD DVD. Buy the best for the best picture you can afford!!

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1080p erfect!!!
by deltajjj / December 12, 2007 12:18 PM PST

There is a diff at 7 feet 10 feet 14 feet 20 feet. 1080p at 120 hertz
IS high def!

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120 hertz?
by froasier / December 12, 2007 1:32 PM PST
In reply to: 1080p erfect!!!

1080p is currently 24 or 30 hertz. In the future it will be 60, but never 120.

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looking further into it...
by froasier / December 12, 2007 3:11 PM PST
In reply to: 120 hertz?

I was talking about sources. Some LCD TVs are now being made with a 120-Hz refresh rate, but this feature is only intended to reduce LCD motion blur for standard 24-, 30-, or 60-Hz sources, not display 120-Hz sources, and it's pretty pointless even for that (see this article about it

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Without a doubt there is a noticeable difference...
by ggipper / December 12, 2007 12:09 PM PST

I have the 1080p full hd Toshiba dlp and it is so incredibly clear that everyone that has witnessed this monster, stands in wow, fascination and disbelief. But the eyes tell the true story.
My cable provider shows 1080, 720 and 480, all as HD, but only in 1080 do you get absolute clarity. I have had mine for eight months and all I care to watch are shows in 1080hd. The sad thing is that only a few stations allow for 1080 or 720. Evidently 480 is cheaper to produce, so 99% of all HD is presented in 420i. This is what I have experienced in the world of HD,in Atlanta for the last eight months

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They are lying to you
by froasier / December 12, 2007 1:38 PM PST

480 is not HD by any means. 480i is SD (there is no 420i and that would definitely not be HD), 480p is ED, and 720p and above are HD. Also the reason few stations are in HD is because it takes up more bandwidth, not because of production costs.

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480 is not HD, just clarifying...
by chopsaw84 / December 12, 2007 9:17 PM PST

Unless it's 720x or 1080x it's generally not considered HD, anything lower than 720i, such as 480p is standard definition (SD).

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tiny correction
by froasier / January 12, 2008 1:33 PM PST

480i is SD; 480p is enhanced-definition (ED)

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Re: Yes a little.
by Sterlingm13 / December 12, 2007 12:19 PM PST

I work in a testing lab where we look at LCD and plasma HDTVs for picture quality and performance.

This is a huge can of worms to open with several variables.

If we are to assume that the panel is capable of a true 1080P resolution and not an upsampled 720P image, and the panel is 42" or larger, then the average user should be able to see a slight difference between the two resolutions. However, the individual who has little to no experience with HDTV will not see a noticeable improvement between the two resolutions, and will see both as "really sharp picture".

If the panel is under 42" and that same 7 foot distance, the image is too small to easily detect with the untrained eye the differences between 720P and 1080P.

Bottom line, look at the specifications of the panel and what the performance capabilities are. Also look at the same content on the screen from the distance your couch or chairs will be in your viewing area. 720P may be "good enough" for the distance you are sitting at and save you some money for that HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player to go with it.

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Yes, there is a difference but not what you think
by astrobuf / December 13, 2007 12:52 AM PST
In reply to: Re: Yes a little.

I cannot tell a difference in spatial resolution between a good 720p and a good 1080p display showing 1080 content. However, I can tell a significant difference in the picture quality. Strangely, many 1080p devices (LCD and PDP) actually look worse when viewing movies and TV. The reason is the poorer contrast ratio inherent in the 1080p capable device. To achieve 1080p, the devices (LCD and PDP) end up giving up much pixel aperture ratio, that is, the space around the pixel (black border etc) becomes a much larger percentage of the display. The lost aperture ratio leads to a loss in contrast ratio, something already in short supply for LCD TV's. The loss in contrast ratio leads to a loss in color gamut. In general, I find the color, brightness and contrast of 1080p devices to be worse than 720p devices. Witness CNET's own assessment of the Pioneer Kuro 50" 720p display as producing the best image of any TV these days!

Now, there are other problems with 1080p devices beyond color and contrast. In the case of LCD's, the 1080p devices in general suffer more off axis color shift as well. The reduced viewing angle also leads to most viewers getting a poor quality image.

I do also see that 1080p LCD's suffer much more from motion artifacts. I'm not sure if this is due to some limits int he bandwidth of the image processors, or pixel latency related to the liquid xtal's response. Whatever it is, I find it most disturbing, especially when I've paid for a premium device.

Finally, both LCD and PDP devices displaying at 1080p are much more power hungry. The loss in aperture ratio leads to lower luminous efficiency in the case of PDP TV's. The loss of aperture ratio leads to a reduction in transmission efficiency in the case of LCD TV's and thus an increased use of optical gain films and CCFL's.


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Panasonic 1080p v Pioneer 720p Plasma.
by nomore801 / February 2, 2008 10:56 PM PST

Cnet just changed their assessment, giving higher marks to the
Panasonic over the Kuro in the 40/42 inch range (I can fit either). Any thoughts?

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720p,1080p,1080i ,plasma,LCD Mitsubishi,Pioneer,Panasonic
by nomore801 / January 29, 2008 1:09 PM PST
In reply to: Re: Yes a little.

I left a post/question which I do not wish to repeat word for word but, if you follow this thread, you will seeit. ....

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780 p v blu-ray
by / March 14, 2008 1:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: Yes a little.

I was very interested to read your reply. I have a Samsung 320p 32 inch wide-screen LCD with 1080p capability and a Denon DVD 1910 player which has 720p and 1080i capability. My wife and I sit about 8 ft. away from the screen and most films look good particularly the full screen ones. I am considering buying a Blu-ray player which will use the 1080 p parameter. I am wondering if this would be wise and whether we shall be able to discern any difference. We have never had TV.
What do you think. I spent a lifetime working on visual display systems but these were CRTs in an MoD research establishment.

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Yes there is a difference and size does matter!
by dony / December 12, 2007 12:39 PM PST

I have two HD sets, one that plays 720p and 1080i (and lower) and the other plays up to 1080p. Both are larger than 50 inches. I also have an upscaling DVD player and a PSIII (newest) that I use for blueray. I have tried all the combinations and this is my conclusion:

For broadcast tv, 720p or 1080i are both good and I cannot tell the difference. 1080p, however is far superior. I am receiving satellite HD signals from Bell in Canada. I do not know why but I can really see a big difference.

For ordinary dvds, 720p is better than 1080i for car races and anything that is moving objects across the screen fast. For scenery and people talking, 1080i is superior but not by much (you can see it though). 1080p is totally superior to both the others and the difference is seriously better.

Of course, there is the ultimate and that is the blueray. I bought Pirates last weekend and it is better at home than on the big screen...far, far, far better. One look and you will not need any convincing.


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720p vs 1080p
by spanky322a / December 12, 2007 12:48 PM PST

I agree that 1080p is far superior to 720p. However, I (and probably most respondents who agree on this point) are comparing their 50" plus, 1080p, primary HDTV's with much smaller 720p models used as secondary HDTVs (26" in my case). It would be most valuable to perform a controlled, double-blinded control study using a large group of participants under the same laboratory conditions.

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by dlstephenson / December 12, 2007 12:55 PM PST

With the SAME contrast ratio, SAME size Screen, SAME Vendor, SAME Settings, SAME Input, SAME MFG, and THE SAME MODEL, you can see a differance. But I think contrast ratio is way more visable than the resolution, and the type of HDTV is even a bigger factor, that 1080p is generally not a big factor. I want a 100 inch plasma.

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720 vs 1080
by frash82 / December 12, 2007 1:17 PM PST

Studies done by experts state that the human eye can not see the difference between 720 and 1080 on screen sizes 50" or less. So if you are planning on buying a 50" or smaller save your money and find a 720P because you won't see a difference.
It really bothers me that the manufacturers only bring out one feature at a time when they could have brought it out all at once 1st 720 now 1080, it's to keep the public spending their money. Joe public should start boycotting consumer electronics because whatever you buy will come out next week with better features.

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that quote about the study is incomplete and misleading
by froasier / December 12, 2007 1:44 PM PST
In reply to: 720 vs 1080

Your ability to see the difference in resolution relies just as much on viewing distance as screen size. If you sit 4 feet from a 24" screen it is equivalent to sitting 8 feet from a 48" screen.

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by froasier / December 12, 2007 2:16 PM PST

Assuming all other specs on the TVs are the same, and assuming each has an appropriate video source (with native resolution matching the TV, or at least high quality scaling), it will depend on the following factors:
1. Screen size
2. Viewing distance
3. Your vision acuity (e.g. 20/20)
4. Type of image (rendered text or 3D graphics will a show more noticeable difference than will captured video or photographs)
5. Motion in the scene (this only applies when comparing 1080i)

In fact without even having an HDTV you can use your LCD monitor and math to figure out at what screen size and/or viewing distance you could tell the difference between 720p and 1080p with the same type of image.

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Absolutely - but you must start with a true HD pix
by SatcomGuy / December 12, 2007 2:46 PM PST

I watch a friend's set. 1080 "Full" (not necessarily just p) is worth it. As many have said, resolution is only part of the story. It's overall pix quality counts, incl. contrast, color dynamic range and hue, and for lack of a better term "liveness." You must FIRST start with a true HD pix; many "HD" sources are not. Playing an appropriate video disc (like the BlueRay touted by many already) is one way, or a full HD live broadcast (like some news or football!) ok - it's a guy thing. For some broadcasts you feel like you could walk right onto the field (or into the scene) rather than watching a 2-D image! Much variation in room lighting and with LCD, Plasma, and DLP technology as well. I'm settling on DLP - and curious to see what pops out at the comm'l show in LV. (elec engineer w >30 yrs in SATCOM, plus a few in educational broadcast TV)

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