What Local Channel Is The Football Game On Tonight HDTV – 720p, 1080i, and 1080p?

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HDTV – 720p, 1080i, and 1080p?

It seems like everyone is buying a new HD-TV set this year. Conversation around the water cooler is full of technical jargon. When the HDTV standard was established in the US by the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee), they defined eighteen different standards, but not all standards are in common use.

The standards you should be familiar with for HDTV (High Definition Television) are 720p, 1080i and more recently 1080p. The number in the format (eg “720”) is the vertical lines of the display resolution, and the letter in the format (eg “p”) is the display technique. The letter “p” means “progressive” scan and the letter “i” means “intermittent”.

HDTV (both 720p, 1080i and 1080p) has a wide screen ratio of 16:9 (width:height). EDTV (enhanced definition) is standard definition television (SDTV the pre-HDTV format) but with some “interpolation” software. EDTV offers a picture that is superior to that of SDTV, but not as sharp as HDTV. EDTV uses progressive scan. EDTV sometimes has a 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio.

For reference, standard definition TV (SDTV, the format before HDTV) has 480 lines of vertical resolution and an aspect ratio of 4:3. The SDTV signal is that the US has historically been a reciprocal signal. This means that your TV will draw each frame in two passes: once for horizontal lines and a second pass for odd lines. The specification is the maximum resolution for the technology, but often, the signal sources are less than the maximum. For example, a VHS tape has about 240 lines of vertical resolution, over-the-air SDTV has about 330 lines of vertical resolution, and DVD SDTV has about 480 lines of vertical resolution.

Televisions were (and are) the most advanced format in Europe and Japan. The progressive format gives one break for all lines. Progressive images look a bit smoother than interlaced images, especially when there’s a lot of movement on the screen like sports.

To add to the confusion, BluRay DVDs work, and later this year, satellite TV companies will broadcast in 1080p. This standard has both a higher number of vertical resolution lines and a more advanced priority format. Dish Network will launch 150 HDTV channels in 1080p in August 2008, and DirecTV will launch satellite and Internet broadcasts in late 2008 with approximately 130 channels of HDTV programming. Satellite companies compress their signal using MPEG-4 techniques, which reduces the bandwidth required for broadcasting. Currently, the only source material for 1080p is movies, especially movies originally made for IMAX. None of the major networks (ABC, ESPN, etc.) have announced 1080p support yet. In addition, Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have 1080p games.

HDTV video format: 720p, 1080i and 1080p, higher is better, right? While 1080i is technically a higher resolution, it’s not an obvious choice. 1080i has 1080 vertical lines and 1920 horizontal lines. 720p has 720 lines of vertical resolution and 1280 lines of horizontal resolution. But the 720p system is progressively scanned. This compensates for the lower level of resolution. 1080p signal is the best of both worlds, more picture information with progressive format.

If the signal you receive, such as for a satellite receiver, is primarily standard definition, a 1080p TV will not significantly improve your picture compared to a 720p TV. Image quality is mainly limited by the source signal (480 lines of vertical resolution). Similarly, if your signal has a 720 source, then a 1080 TV will not improve your picture. All High Def sports broadcasts from Fox, ESPN and ABC are broadcast in 720p.

Some networks have chosen the 1080i format because it provides more picture information, while ABC, Fox, ESPN and the National Geographic Channel have opted for the smoother 720p images. HDTV programs on CBS, NBC and other networks are broadcast in 1080i. Newer 1080i or 1080p HDTVs will likely display this type of programming somewhat faster than what can be found on a 720p TV. This becomes more important because as the TV screen gets larger, the noticeable difference in detail between 720p and 1080i and 1080p displays becomes more apparent. For this reason, most HDTV sets larger than 50 inches are 1080p or 1080i.

1080p HDTV System Features:

1080p HDTV displays all input signals in 1080p, as this is the device’s default resolution. If the system is below 1080i or 1080p, then a special purpose chip in your HDTV will scale the signal. It interpolates with SDTV signal like EDTV. If the signal is 1080i, the system combines the odd and even frames and displays the full signal as 1080p. The resulting performance should be similar to the original 1080p video source.

HDTV cable:

More than 100 million US homes can receive HDTV from their cable system, and all of the top 100 cable markets in the country have HDTV programming. Unfortunately, most cable providers only carry a few of the 50+ HDTV networks.

Satellite TV:

While the selection of local HDTV channels is generally better on cable than on satellite, the major satellite companies offer more national HDTV channels than any cable provider. Both DirecTV and Dish Network have promised to offer more than 130 HDTV channels by the end of the year. “Satellite will be limited more by how many channels it can transmit than by how many they can receive,” Bob Sherman, Satellite Business News.

  • By 2010, 60% of US homes will use a satellite signal, up from 15% in 2002.
  • Summary:

    Screen resolution for HDTV is comparable to microprocessor speed for personal computers. While clock speed isn’t necessarily a perfect indicator of overall system performance, it’s often what the consumer thinks it is.

    Interestingly, when a group of experts, SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) recently evaluated the importance of the solution, it was ranked fourth. SMPTE evaluated contrast ratio, color saturation, color temperature, and grayscale before making critical decisions. The Scientific Imaging Foundation came to this conclusion. However, most HDTV manufacturers include quality features such as improved contrast ratios with higher screen resolutions to their higher-end HDTVs. So, if you buy a set with a top-of-the-line screen resolution, you’re more likely to get the top of the manufacturer’s product line for other important screen metrics.

    Prices have fallen significantly over the past two years, but the pace of price decline seems to have slowed down a lot recently. “Television buyers who visit mass merchants may be more concerned with finding the lowest price and may not seek expert advice. But television buyers should know that the lower prices they find at mass merchants are primarily due to , which these stores tend to carry. To carry second-tier brand TVs rather than major brands like Sony or Panasonic. When pricing for a specific TV model is compared at each retailer, the prices are surprisingly similar,” said Larry Wu, from JD Power.

    And on a final note, be sure to consider the audio side of your system. George Lucas (Star Wars) once said that audio is half the experience of watching a movie. This is also true for a good game of football or basketball.

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