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What does "Couldn't handle 1080p/24 content properly" mean?

by king_john_3 / October 13, 2010 11:53 AM PDT

I see this alot on reviews and was wondering if anyone could tell me what this means. Thanks

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Don't they all?
by ahtoi / October 13, 2010 4:24 PM PDT
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I mis-read your post;
by ahtoi / October 13, 2010 5:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Don't they all?

I was thinking could handle..not "couldn't handle 1080p/24", sorry.

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CNET's explanation
by Mr.Mark--2008 / October 13, 2010 7:28 PM PDT

More mixed signals: 1080p/60 versus 1080p/24

1080p HDTVs are a dime a dozen, but not all 1080p HDTVs are created equal. First off, some older HDTVs with 1080p resolution couldn't accept 1080p sources at all. More recently, the advent of Blu-ray has delivered another video format variation to worry about: 1080p/24.

The numbers 24 and 60 refer to frame rate. Moving video is composed of a certain number of frames transmitted every second that combine in the viewer's mind to create the illusion of movement. The nominal rate for film is 24 frames per second, while the rate for video is 30 frames per second. In standard 1080p video, which is technically 1080p/60, each frame is repeated twice. Every 1080p HDTV sold today can accept and display 1080p/60 sources via its HDMI inputs.

Not every 1080p HDTV properly displays 1080p/24 sources, however. Most Blu-ray players, as well as the PlayStation 3, have a setting that lets the player transmit 1080p/24 video directly. Blu-ray Discs with movies that originate on film are encoded at 1080p/24 to preserve the proper cadence of film--that characteristic motion that's smooth but not too smooth. If your player is set to output 1080p/24 directly, and your TV can properly display it, you're seeing the image as close as possible to what the director intended--how it looks when displayed on a cinema screen from a film projector at your local movie theater.

Generally, for an HDTV to properly display 1080p/24 it needs to have a refresh rate at some multiple of 24. The standard refresh rate for HDTVs of all varieties is 60Hz, which is not a multiple of 24. There's no benefit to sending these displays 1080p/24 instead of 1080p/60. If the HDTV can actually show the signal (some cannot), the result usually looks the same regardless of the setting on your Blu-ray player.

On the other hand, increasing numbers of LCD TVs have refresh rates of 120Hz or 240Hz, for example, while a few plasmas refresh at 48Hz, 72Hz, or 96Hz. All are exact multiples of 24. Some of these HDTVs come closer to preserving the cadence of film than others, and some can introduce extra dejudder video processing (usually user defeatable) that also affects cadence. Unlike with resolution, there's no easy way to tell from the spec sheet if a display with a multiple of 24 as its refresh rate handles 1080p/24 correctly, although most such displays that we've tested do.

For most viewers the visible benefits of 1080p/24 are slight. Displays that cannot show it correctly can nonetheless produce a viable semblance of film's cadence, one that to experienced viewers appears to stutter slightly, especially in pans or camera movement, instead of move more smoothly like true film cadence. But for purists interested in seeing every last benefit of film, 1080p/24 signals mated to a 1080p/24-compatible display are worth the investment.
1This is the number of physical pixels the television uses to produce a picture. You may notice that some of the resolutions in the table do not match the HDTV source resolutions exactly. That's mainly because TV makers find it more cost-efficient to make panels with the pixel resolutions in the table, namely 1,366x768 and 1,025x768, and then scale the incoming sources to fit the screen. It's true that ideally you'd like to exactly match the incoming source with the display's native resolution, but it's much less important in HDTV than in, say, computer monitors. That's because scalers in HDTVs generally do a good job of converting the signals, and because most HDTV is in motion and seen from a distance, as opposed to static text seen up close.

2All fixed-pixel displays are natively progressive-scan, meaning that even if the source is interlaced, they'll convert it to progressive-scan for display. That's why, for example, you'll hear about a "1080p LCD" but never a "1080i LCD."

3According to the CEA's DTV definitions, which, for obscure marketing reasons, actually include televisions that have fewer pixels than HDTV source resolutions in the section above.

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