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Television Media Hardware

1080p, Human Vision, and Reality 403

An anonymous reader writes "'1080p provides the sharpest, most lifelike picture possible.' '1080p combines high resolution with a high frame rate, so you see more detail from second to second.' This marketing copy is largely accurate. 1080p can be significantly better that 1080i, 720p, 480p or 480i. But, (there's always a "but") there are qualifications. The most obvious qualification: Is this performance improvement manifest under real world viewing conditions? After all, one can purchase 200mph speed-rated tires for a Toyota Prius®. Expectations of a real performance improvement based on such an investment will likely go unfulfilled, however! In the consumer electronics world we have to ask a similar question. I can buy 1080p gear, but will I see the difference? The answer to this question is a bit more ambiguous."
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1080p, Human Vision, and Reality

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  • 1080p content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Orange Crush ( 934731 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:03AM (#18674813)
    There's still not much available in the wild that does 1080p justice right now anyway. Horribly compressed 1080p looks every bit as awful as horribly compressed 1080i/720p.
  • People Are Blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CheeseburgerBrown ( 553703 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:05AM (#18674859) Homepage Journal
    Consider many people can't distinguish between a high definition picture and a standard definition picture warped to fit their HD screen, this question seems largely academic.

  • by bleh-of-the-huns ( 17740 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:06AM (#18674867)
    Last I checked, other then HD/BR DVD players, and normal DVD players that upscale to 1080p, there are no sources from cable or satellite that broadcast in anything other then 720, so its kind of a moot point. I have heard rumours verizon fios tv will have a few 1080p channels in a few months, but nothing substantial... and last I checked, there boxes do not do 1080p (I could be wrong about the boxes statement though)

    I have a series3 tivo though, which only supports up to 1080i :(
  • by Cauchy ( 61097 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:10AM (#18674943)
    Seems to me, the PS3 is pushing 1080P capable devices into millions of homes (sales issues aside). Many games that are being released are at 1080P. I just ordered my first Blu-Ray DVD (BBC's Planet Earth series). I think that is something worth seeing at 1080P.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:24AM (#18675137)
    My opinion is that this hi-res frenzy that's been going on for years is pure marketing bullshit. The truth is :

    1- only a small minority of consumers have 50" TVs
    2- only a small subset of aforementioned minority watches 50" TVs upclose
    3- What do you watch on TV that requires high resolution? most TV programs are crap, and if they display text in the image (the toughest kind of feature to display with a low resolution), it's big enough that it never matters anyway.

    High resolution is a solution in search of a problem. The best proof is, nobody in the 25-or-so years I've been hearing about HDTV coming "real soon now" is really clamoring for a better image quality. Most people are happy enough with TV the way it is. That's the reality.
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:32AM (#18675277)
    So the op says "the human eye can't distinguish between 720p and 1080p when viewing a 50" screen from 8' away" and then you go on and on and on to come to the conclusion that it ends up mattering how big the screen is and how close you sit to it, essentially because the human eye is limited to hd resolution or so when a screen is taking up 1/3 of your field of view. Nice work.
  • Content (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigDumbAnimal ( 532071 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:34AM (#18675289)
    This has bugged me for awhile.

    Many TV manufacturers have been pushing 1080p. They have even showed images of sports and TV shows to show off their TV's great picture. However, the fact is that it is very unlikely that anyone will be watching any sports in 1080p in the near future in the US. Television content producers have spent millions upgrading to HD gear that will only support 1080i at the most and 720p as the top progressive scan resolution. They are not likely to change again to go from 1080i -> 1080p to benefit the few folks with TVs and receivers that support 1080p. As others have pointed out, 1080p isn't even supported by the HD broadcast standard.

    The only sports you will seen in 1080p will be some crappy sports movie on Blu-ray.
  • by Luke ( 7869 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:37AM (#18675355) Homepage
    Exactly. I wonder how many people claiming they can see a difference between 1080i and 1080p happily listen to compressed audio with earbud headphones.
  • Re:Article Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospmiS remoH ( 714998 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @10:41AM (#18675439) Journal
    I think the bigger issue is that the majority of HD content out there sucks. Taking crappy video and re-encoding it to 1080p will not make it look better. Sure it's "full HD" now, but it can still look like crap. I have seen many 720p videos that look WAY better than some 1080p videos simply because the source content was recorded using better equipment and encoded well. TNT-HD is the worst network of all for this crap. Many of there HD simulcast stuff is the exact same show just scaled up and often times stretched with a terrible fish-eye effect. It is sad the amount of bandwidth being wasted for this "HD" crap (don't even get me started on DirecTV's 'HDLite'). [/rant]
  • by InsaneProcessor ( 869563 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:03AM (#18675823)
    This is just another reason why I still you an old standard TV. Until the dust settles, I ain't spending one thin dime on HD.
  • Interlaced must go (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:43AM (#18676531) Homepage
    Interlaced video has got to go. Interlaced video made sense with analog transmission and CRT tubes which rely on the persistance of the eye and the display itself is interlaced. However, virtually all non-CRT displays are inherently progressive. Doing a good job of deinterlacing video is a very difficult problem, and the results will never be as good as video that is progressive to begin with (the exception being film if the device is smart enough to know that the source material is progressive (i.e. 3:2 pulldown). MPEG encoding is also far more efficient and easier to do if the video is progressive as well, since otherwise it's much more difficult to figure out image motion if it shifts up or down an odd number of pixels (or less). Progressive video also uses less bandwidth. 1080p/30 compresses much better than 1080i/60.

    Good deinterlacers for TVs are expensive, and few TVs use good ones. It also introduces a lot of difficulty when trying to scale video since virtually all non-CRT sets also have some fixed native resolution.

  • by acidosmosis ( 972141 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:56AM (#18676753)
    You know, that is EXACTLY what I was thinking. I think this is the end of /. Surely, this means the end of the world... I mean... Slashdot.

    The next thing you know Linux users will actually agree that their OS isn't all it's hyped up to be. Oh no!
  • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:09PM (#18676957) Homepage Journal
    Besides, cell phones are cheap and have a shorter usable life compared to expensive HD televisions which should last at least 10 years like my Sony SD Tube did. I'd hate to drop that cash in an immature market and be stuck with a TV I don't like for 10 years.

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @12:33PM (#18677391) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. I wonder how many people claiming they can see a difference between 1080i and 1080p happily listen to compressed audio with earbud headphones.

    I'm not sure how that is necessarily insightful.

    Video is compressed too. Compression by itself isn't bad, it's when it is poorly compressed where it becomes a problem.

    Your comparison involves different systems of the body. There are people with better ears than others, but worse eyes than others, and there are people with better eyes than others but worse ears than others.

    Sometimes earbuds are a convenience thing. Once you're outside, the amount of exterior noise would likely wash out most of the sonic differences. Isolation systems are inappropriate for outdoor use because that kills situational awareness and reduces safety.

    Personally, I'll be buying a 1080p projector shortly after Epson releases their new model. Even if not a lot of 1080p video exists, the denser pixels will help reduce the "screen door effect" caused by the gaps between pixels.
  • Flawed Analogy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @11:16PM (#18685075)

    After all, one can purchase 200mph speed-rated tires for a Toyota Prius®. Expectations of a real performance improvement based on such an investment will likely go unfulfilled,

    One shouldn't have expectations that buying a high-speed rated tire will improve performance of the car itself. That makes no sense! The point of the speed rating is the tire is designed to withstand driving at those speeds, whereas if you put a S-speed rated tire on your exotic sports car and drive 200mph, your tire may very well "fail" in same same way Firestone SUV tires of a few years ago did.

    Getting back on topic, a TV's resolution support will have a direct impact on what you can see. To reverse the bad car analogy here, the poster just said that one shouldn't buy a 1080p monitor and expect all their 1080i and 720p content to look better. No kidding.

    The reason for buying the 1080p monitor is so when 1080p content starts appearing, you have the monitor to view it already. Just like buying 200mph tires for a Prius would be worthwhile if you were going to be adding a jet engine [ronpatrickstuff.com] to your Prius next month.

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