720p or 1080i

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by coolant113, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. coolant113 macrumors 6502


    Jun 12, 2007
    New Jersey
    i am planing on buying a new HD tv... i want to know if there is a big difference between 720p and 1080i.... all the advice would be apreciated

    Thanks In Advance
  2. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    720p is 720 vertical lines, with all 720 being refreshed on each pass. 1080i is 1080 vertical lines, but only half are refreshed on each pass (as opposed to 1080p)

    Some tv channels broadcast in 720p, some in 1080i. Most HD TV's are capable of displaying both, and more expensive ones can do 1080p to

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television for more info.
  3. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
  4. netnothing macrumors 68040


    Mar 13, 2007
    Most flat panel HDTV's are going to be either 720p or 1080p natively.

    Flat panels have a fixed pixel resolution, so whatever signal it gets sent, it converts it to the native resolution. Most flat panels you see in stores will most likely have a native resolution of 720p (it can display a 1080i signal, it just converts it to 720p).

    If you plan on getting into the high-def DVD players (HD-DVD or BluRay) then you need or should consider going 1080p to get the most out of them. I wouldn't worry about broadcast channels doing 1080p anytime soon.

  5. stainlessliquid macrumors 68000

    Sep 22, 2006
    Future proof yourself and get a 1080p tv. If you cant afford it then wait it out until you save more or until prices come down. TV's last a long time, you dont want to be screwed by locking yourself to 720p for like 5 years when you could have gotten a 1080p tv if you waited just a couple months longer.

    Personally Im waiting until I can get a high contrast 1080p tv at a decent price. Im not a stickler for size as long as its atleast 27", but I refuse to even consider a 720p tv.

    1080p will feel like twice the resolution of 720p. If you want to compare and have a decent sized monitor you can go to the quicktime trailer page and look at the HD trailers, 1080p is huge compared to 720
  6. Mydel macrumors 6502a


    Apr 8, 2006
    Sometimes here mostly there
    Generally it depends what size are we talking about. If you not going >46" 720 will be plenty. On screen <50 I cant say what resolution Im looking at even if source is HD or Blueray. I think that youcan get very good 42-46" panel for around 1000$
  7. alebar14 macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2007
    Auckland CBD, New Zealand
    What makes 1080p better than 1080i ? What aspects ?
  8. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    Consider your viewing distance. If you can't see the pixels then higher resolution won't buy you anything. Some more modern panels will look better than older ones but not because they are 1080 versus 720, just that they are newer.

    As for 1080i, it is just a delivery format. There is exactly the same resolution as 1080p and it would only be an issue if you had a CRT based HDTV since all panels will convert whatever signal comes in to the native resolution. 1080i material sourced from film can be perfectly reconstructed to progressive anyway.

    Just to give you some idea of the size of screen you need to really benefit from 1080 native resolution, I have a 120" 1280x720 DLP projector. From my normal seating position 12 feet away from the screen I cannot see the pixel structure of the screen. If I sat a bit closer (say 10 feet) I can just make out the pixels. I am just on the limit of what going to 1080p would benefit and that is 120" from 12 feet. If your screen is half that size (60" is pretty big for a panel too) you would need to sit about 6 feet from it to see the difference. 1080 TVs go for a premium and some people must pay for it but they are fooling themselves having spent substantially more to get that extra resolution. I'll worry about it when 1080p is the only option and I upgrade my screen to something bigger still.

    Oh, DVD looks OK on the projector but you really need an HD source to appreciate it. HD DVD is my weapon of choice at the moment because Blu ray is region locked and substantially more expensive than HD DVD.
  9. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    1080p (the p is for progressive scan) displays all 1080 lines of the frame at once, while 1080o (the i is for interlaced) displays half of the 1080 lines of the frame at a time, alternating between adjacent lines. Most TVs that say they play 1080i only have 720 lines in a frame to which the TV converts the signal. 1080p TVs by necessity have 1080 lines, and thus higher resolution.
    I have a Sharp Aquos 42" 1080p LCD TV that I got a few months ago for less than $1400, and I'm sure they cost even less now. It's a beautiful screen.
  10. nhexima macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2007
    I agree. 1080p is great and all, but honestly I think most people who are getting a screen below 40' will not notice the difference between 720p and higher resolutions in normal viewing situations. When you go higher, it will start to be noticible, but it really depends on the screen size/distance from the TV and amount you are willing to spend.
  11. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Check the specs very, very carefully.

    On CRT monitors or TVs, all the even lines where sent in one frame, then all the odd lines in the next frame. That is what 1080i (or 720i, or 480i, everything with an "i") does. For an LCD monitor, that doesn't make sense, because all pixels are displayed all the time, so they naturally use the "p" formats.

    There is a good chance that 1080i only refers to the signal that the TV can receive; it might then convert that 1080i signal to 720p and display it that way. Check what resolution the TV has. If it has 1366 x 768 then it can only display 720p; if they sell it as 1080i then it will convert 1080i to 720p, which looks worse than just taking a plain 720p signal because of the extra conversion step.

    If the resolution of the 1080i is 1920 x 1080 (that is what you need for 1080i), then you still lose a lot compared to 1080p. So: Look at the actual resolution. Higher resolution is better. If it is sold as 1080i without higher resolution, don't touch it - the seller is just being dishonest.

    I'd check out the prices of 720p and 1080p; if you can't afford 1080p then go to a shop with a large selection, look at the 1080p screens, and then buy the 720p that comes closest. There can be _huge_ differences in picture quality at the same resolution.
  12. WhiteShadow macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2006
    Washington D.C.
  13. midorix macrumors member

    Nov 23, 2007
    Here's the article that will tell you the difference between 720p vs 1080i vs 1080p.


    I just purchased a HDTV myself (and I admit, I'm a hometheater fanatic).

    What you have to determine is:

    1. What is the distance you'll be watching normally.
    2. What is your source that you'll be watching mostly (standard definition, high definition via cable/air wave, blueray/hd player, etc.)
    3. What is your budget?
    4. Will you be able to control light in this room? (which will help you decide lcd vs plasma vs dlp/lcos vs front projection)

    The best bang for the buck today I believe is 720p assuming you're not sitting close (>8ft) and not getting larger tv than 50 to 58". However, don't take my word for it. Go to Best Buy or Circuit City and stand at the distance where you would more than likely watch from. Compare two TVs side by side with 720p and 1080p. Can you tell the difference? As some have posted, yes you can see the difference if you're 5 feet away on 50" tv. At 14 feet, it's impossible to differentiate.

    Don't plan on future proofing. You'll save more money by getting the best bang for the buck today as "future proofing" costs way too much money and the technology changes too fast (you'll probably see newer version or replacement of HDMI connection in few years....remember DVI was a big deal couple of years ago?). Another reason is HDTV is still getting cheaper every day.

    Good luck.
  14. aswitcher macrumors 603


    Oct 8, 2003
    Canberra OZ
    Agreed, unless you have a big TV or will sit very close, dont get too hung up on 1080 over 720. Sure, if you can afford it get 1080 but remember you need to have a big enough set to see it and content that displays at 1080.
  15. nismo86 macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2007
    I have a 720p/1080i 50" TV that I love, it looks better then same 1080p TVs I have seen. Then again I paid $580 for my TV brand new.... :D
  16. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I'm looking at getting a 37" Philips 720p HDTV (37PFL5332D) for dirt cheap ($500). It's good to work for a company that sells them :)
  17. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    What kind is it and how in the world did you get it that cheap?
  18. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Most 720P displays will do 1080i. When I'm watching football...I'd MUCH rather watch a 720P game than a 1080i game. There's far too much interlacing and artifacting with 1080i games.
  19. TBi macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2005
    The artifacting is probably due to the screen scalling the 1080i image down to the native res. If you had a 1080p native screen then 1080i would look better than 720p.
  20. alex1 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2007
    I won't rehash everything that's been stated before, but I think something else to consider is the built in video card. Just as between a Mac-Book and a Mac-Book-Pro there are different video cards, thre are different video cards in the LCD/Plasmas as well, yes even within the same brand. Cheap models use a simpler cheaper card and even though it may have the same panel as a higher end model, there can be a huge visual difference. Cheap cards have more lag time, more macroblocking, and resolution loss with motion. So if say I was looking at a LCD or better yet Plasma (another debate) I would pick a 720p 30-40" TV (premium model) with a good video card than a 1080p (bargan model) with a cheaper video card. That's when it helps really watching both side by side and look at edge enhcnements/aliasing, fast motion (camer paning) and if there is macroblocking etc. Unfortunatly, most panel makers don't go out of their way to indicate which graphics card they are usuing, so often small indi retail stores have more info than big box stores, and in general the premium video cards.

    Or you can give up and pick up a bagan model LCD at a closeout 2nds outlet for $250 for a 32" Samsung with some scratches on the case. (big whoop). I did see at Sears however a nice 42" plasma 720p (Hitachi/Mistsubishi?) for $699 a couple weeks ago. Hard to complain that it's 720p for that price. If you don't like it, move it into the bedroom in a year when you get a 1080p super screen.
  21. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    My brother-in-law went for a 42" plasma that was as cheap as that. I have a 27" LCD panel which is 1366*768 and it looks nice and clear with all content including 1080i downscaled. I also have a 1280x720 native DLP projector which also looks smashing. However, my brother-in-law's plasma looks like hell. It is only 1024*768 so can't even be classed as HD IMHO. The phosphor elements are big and quite visible and it just doesn't look HD to me. Of course, he is only watching standard def material and worse, everything is set to widescreen even though most broadcast material here in NZ isn't so everyone looks short and fat. At least it was cheap, but it isn't HD, barely any better than standard def DVD.
  22. alex1 macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2007
    Well it all depends what intests you the most. 90% of all plasmas up until this year were 1024 x 768 anyway. Plasmas look the same from all angles while LCD's shift colors and get darker off axis. LCD's are brighter, but lack dark blacks. Plasmas usually have higher detail in highlights. Plasmas also handle fast motion far better. In LCD's favor 1280x720 true res is everywhere, and even 1920x1080p are on the market for a lot cheaper I would have thought 2 months ago. The kicker is 90% of HD footage you watch is not full res anyway. Many programs are shot on DVCPRO HD which is is even lower resolution 960x720p and 1280x1080i. So a 720p plasma even last year's 1024x768 is still higher res than most or the HD content. Sony's HD formats are 1440x1080i which is less than stellar as well in HDV but good in XDCAM or HDCAM. Only 2008 will there be some commercially available 1080p (1920x1080p) cameras on the market in the $40,000 to $100,000 range. Of course if you are watching it on DirectHD, it won't matter since it's sooooo compressed, how could you tell the difference?

    But yes, I agree with you 100% that a new Good LCD is now as good as or even BETTER than a new entry level Plasma. In the next few years the LED's and OLED's will surpass the LCD's and Plasmas in probably all aspects and quickly become cheaper as well. 5 years from now everyone will have LED's or OLED's and the next thing will be better faster cheaper. But for now if anyone is still in the market, get a budget, look around, buy what you like that you can afford and not worry about it.... But yeah.. get 1080p if it's not too much more money. Lots of deals out there, especially in January 08.
  23. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I don't know much about hdtv, but how can that be? 1024x768 is 4:3, and not widescreen 16:9. If you stretch it out to fit a widescreen frame then yes, the pixels would be very wide/fat. I didn't know that any hdtv's did that, it would be really ugly.
  24. Muncher macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2007
    You're assuming square pixels. With wider pixels, you can have 1024x768 as 16:9, which is quite common among plasmas.
  25. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    OK, I'll take your word for it. So how do you fit a standard 1366x768 hdtv image onto a 1024x768 screen? Do you only see the middle part of the picture, or are the 1366 pixels of image somehow overlaid on top of the 1024 screen pixels?

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