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HDTV: 720p or 1080p?

Steve

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I'm considering getting a flat panel HDTV. I recently upgraded my cable to HD, but I need to get a new TV to be able to enjoy it. I'm limited to a 32" because I don't want to give up my current entertainment center. I'm okay with that.

My main question is: should I spend an extra $500 to get 1080p, or is 720p good enough? I have read/heard conflicting opinions about this. I like Sony TVs, and I've pretty much decided on a Sony Bravia. The 720p is about $700 while the 1080p is about $1200. Football is my biggest priority when it comes to watching TV...if that makes a difference.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

Steve
 

MOXJO7282

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I'm considering getting a flat panel HDTV. I recently upgraded my cable to HD, but I need to get a new TV to be able to enjoy it. I'm limited to a 32" because I don't want to give up my current entertainment center. I'm okay with that.

My main question is: should I spend an extra $500 to get 1080p, or is 720p good enough? I have read/heard conflicting opinions about this. I like Sony TVs, and I've pretty much decided on a Sony Bravia. The 720p is about $700 while the 1080p is about $1200. Football is my biggest priority when it comes to watching TV...if that makes a difference.

Thanks for any thoughts or suggestions.

Steve
First I would suggest rethinking limiting to 32", if at all possible. We were in the same situation where we didn't want to change the entertainment center but after thinking about it, we were able to move EC to a different location and it allowed us to go bigger. That may not be possible put I figured I'd suggest a rethink, because we were in the same mindset and then creatively figured some out.

We ended up going with a Sony 40" XBR4 series and also went with a blue ray DVD. Both are truly amazing. See for yourself at the store. To me it was noticeably better. The contrast ratio, which is the key element of TV quality and clarity, is 18000:1. I think Samsung has one that is 16000:1

And to answer your question, I thought I was told if you don't go to at least 37" you can't maximize 1080P, and you might as well just go with 720P.

Regards.
Joe
 

mas

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It kind of depends on what you watch on your TV. If all you are going to do is watch broadcast TV (won't play DVDs and don't intend to) then 1080P is a mute point as the highest broadcast resolution is 720p or 1080i. The only way to view 1080p right now is via Blue Ray dvds (HD DVDs also produce 1080p but they are obsolete as of Jan 2008). Also, Joe is right in that the smaller the set (generally less than 37") the less impact 1080p will make.

Things may change in the future, or you may decide later on to add Blue Ray capability, if so, you can always get a second HDTV with those capabilities -- you can bet when you are ready to add the second TV it will be cheaper and most probably have more advanced features. However, if all you are going to do is watch TV (cable, Dish or broadcast) and you plan to stick to a 32" unit, then save the $500 and buy the 720p unit.
 

SunSand

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Sony is investing heavily in 1080p technology for consumer electronics, PS3 & BlueRay, etc. Sony is still king in professional broadcast technology and in consumer applications. You don't need to buy Sony, but betting against them, sometimes you get burned.
 

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If you are fixed on a 32" screen and enjoy high quality sporting events, I would focus on the "frame rate" design parameter. This will give you very clear images with fast movement scenes. The best spec is 120 Hz per second which is twice as fast as the standard HDTV rate of 60 Hz. Be aware the "frame rate" is NOT the same as the "refresh rate". Go to this link for a more detailed discussion between the two:

http://hometheater.about.com/od/televisionbasics/qt/framevsrefresh.htm

Don't be misled as there is no industry measurement standard for refresh rates and a number from one manufacturer has little or no relationshp to the number stated by another manufacturer.
 
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Joshadelic

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1080p is worthless on a 32" set. You don't notice the benefit of 1080p until you get to 40"+ sets.

If you primarily like to watch sports, then plasma is the way to go. What was said about frame rate is true. However, on an LCD TV the highest frame rate available right now is 120hz. Most plasma TV's run at a rate of 480hz and therefore have much more fluid motion. Look into the Panasonic plasma TV's and you'll be surprise at their quality. Look up the reviews on CNet!!!

~Josh :)
 

MULTIZ321

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The article Kal linked to provide an explanation of Video Frame Rate Versus Screen Refresh Rate mentions

"In terms of traditional video content, in NTSC-based countries there are 30 separate frames displayed every second (1 complete frame every 1/30th of a second), while in PAL-based countries, there are 25 separate frames displayed every second (1 complete frame displayed every 25th of a second)."

More information about which countries of the world use NTSC and which use PAL - click on the map to enlarge and/or scroll down to see the list of countries.


Richard
 

Kal

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...Most plasma TV's run at a rate of 480hz and therefore have much more fluid motion. Look into the Panasonic plasma TV's and you'll be surprise at their quality. Look up the reviews on CNet!!!

~Josh :)
Unfortunately the fluid motion is negated by the horrible screen glare of plasma sets. If you're not in a very dark room, you will see yourself and everything else in the room reflected on the screen. If the plasma has a "semi-non glare coating" the image clarity will be substantially degraded. The LCDs don't have that problem.
 

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As mentioned, if you plan on watching a lot of Blue-Ray discs, then 1080p may be worth the extra money. However, programming delivered over cable or satellite, they are apt to be so bandwidth-starved, that even if they broadcast in 1080p, it's questionable if you'd actually see a difference compared to 1080i. Comcast especially is knowmn for some pretty serious compression of their HD channels ('pixelation' being the main side effect). It's very likely that a less compressed 720p channel looks better than a more compressed 1080i one.

While there are technological items (mpeg4 compression, SDV) that should help to improve this, in my opinion, at best that will just help to allow more HD channels to be added, not necessarily to improve picture quality.

If it is strictly a difference in resolution, I wouldn't pay 70% more for a 1080p set than a 720p one (and are you sure it doesn't do 1080i already). As I believe Kal mentioned, there are so many more important qualities (contrast, refresh) to consider other than simply resolution.

Jeff
 

Steve

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Thank you for all of the helpful comments. There is a bit more to consider than I first realized. I'm doing some more research. I'm also now tempted to move the entertainment center to another room so I can get a big TV for the family room. It matches the furniture perfectly and looks great where it is, but I'd sure like a 40" or 46" TV for football. Of course, if I do that, it sounds like I'll want 1080p. The 120 hz would be great, too, based on the comments here and the reading I've been doing this morning....but that pushes the price up over $2000 for a big set. I'll have to decide how much I want to spend, but it's fun checking all of this out.

Steve
 

HatTrick

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Unfortunately the fluid motion is negated by the horrible screen glare of plasma sets. If you're not in a very dark room, you will see yourself and everything else in the room reflected on the screen. If the plasma has a "semi-non glare coating" the image clarity will be substantially degraded. The LCDs don't have that problem.
Not true. I have a 58" Panasonic plasma set in a room that's anything but dark, and there's no glare problem at all.
 

timeos2

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Not true. I have a 58" Panasonic plasma set in a room that's anything but dark, and there's no glare problem at all.
The biggest problem with plasma is the 5 year life (without a "refresh" which will cost nearly as much as a new set). LCD doesn't have that issue and thus is my choice over the usually more expensive plasma. Also LCD uses far less power so there are many things to consider. The best LCD's rival plasma in performance, viewing angle and brightness (but not at the low end of pricing).
 

AwayWeGo

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T. V. Sets Keep On Improving. Too Bad The T. V. Programs Don't. (So It Goes.)

LCD doesn't have that issue and thus is my choice over the usually more expensive plasma. Also LCD uses far less power so there are many things to consider. The best LCD's rival plasma in performance, viewing angle and brightness (but not at the low end of pricing).
What TVs did they go with at Cypress Pointe ?

Also, how is the resort progressing with changeover from satellite TV to cable TV ?

Next time the cable contract comes up for renegotiation, maybe the resort can get the cable TV company to add cable Internet service as a no-extra-cost throw-in, making possible free Wi-Fi for owners & renters & exchange guests for the 1st time in Cypress Pointe history.

Wouldn't that be something ?

-- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
 

HatTrick

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The biggest problem with plasma is the 5 year life (without a "refresh" which will cost nearly as much as a new set). LCD doesn't have that issue and thus is my choice over the usually more expensive plasma. Also LCD uses far less power so there are many things to consider. The best LCD's rival plasma in performance, viewing angle and brightness (but not at the low end of pricing).
How long can I expect my plasma TV to last?
All displays (TVs, computer monitors, LCD, plasma) lose brightness over time. Believe it or not, that old tube TV you have in the den isn't as bright as it was when you bought it 10 years ago. And displays dim faster if you set the brightness and contrast very high.

Panasonic plasma TVs have a projected life of 60,000 hours before they're only half as bright as when they were new. That's 20+ years at 7 hours a day (which is the average daily viewing time per U.S. household).

--Panasonic Web site
 

timeos2

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Different issues - Brightness vs...

How long can I expect my plasma TV to last?
All displays (TVs, computer monitors, LCD, plasma) lose brightness over time. Believe it or not, that old tube TV you have in the den isn't as bright as it was when you bought it 10 years ago. And displays dim faster if you set the brightness and contrast very high.

Panasonic plasma TVs have a projected life of 60,000 hours before they're only half as bright as when they were new. That's 20+ years at 7 hours a day (which is the average daily viewing time per U.S. household).

--Panasonic Web site
Its not a brightness issue - see how manufacturers know how to "distract you" with unrelated facts - its a burn in / sharpness problem. Go visit a few 4 or 5 year old plasma's - maybe one at your bank or in a store where they really have had 60,000 or even just 15,000 hours in use - and see what it looks like. It is a well documented problem. Oh, they're still bright but fuzzy as heck...
 

timeos2

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Yes we have plasma - but not in the units.

What TVs did they go with at Cypress Pointe ?
So far 3 plasma's (in the game room 52", the "fish tank" 60" and one test 47") but in the new model it's all LCD 1080i or p. The heat, power consumption and weight of the plasma's - along with the relatively short life span - make them a no go for the units. Our current HDTV's from 2004 are flat screen tube models! Again ahead of their time. The next model has a 47" JVC 1080P LCD that is absolutely gorgeous. Watch for photo's of the new unit soon.

Also, how is the resort progressing with changeover from satellite TV to cable TV ?

Next time the cable contract comes up for renegotiation, maybe the resort can get the cable TV company to add cable Internet service as a no-extra-cost throw-in, making possible free Wi-Fi for owners & renters & exchange guests for the 1st time in Cypress Pointe history.

Interestingly the cable folks are willing to discount TV (cable) services but want the full $25 + per unit (x2 for the "B" side) to offer high speed Internet. We have a dedicated, bounded T1 service that is far less and can be routed to cover the whole resort. We've also asked about FIOS or Cable 10MB service but neither is offered yet. When one or both are we'll be looking to upgrade!

There are reasons that resorts have Internet with or without WiFi service only in limited areas. It's expensive to install and in monthly costs. CPR was one of the first to offer high speed Internet in every unit in 2002. Now we just completed the all new G+ WiFi network with 95%+ signal to EVERY unit plus the Clubhouse, pool & recreation/picnic areas. All for $4.95/day or $19.95/ week. Heck, we are practically giving it away at those prices! In 2 - 4 years it may be to the point that Internet is paid for by the owner fees and offered "free" but it's not quite to the point that all owners feel they should be paying that cost automatically yet. Plus most resorts don't offer free service and many only offer it in the lobby or guest lounge - our owners wouldn't get equal value when they (reluctantly I'm sure) trade out to other, less progressive resorts. So we have the service at a reasonable cost for those that want it. Those that don't can't complain that they have to pay for it. As close to everyone happy as you can get with over 10,000 owners.
 
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HatTrick

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Its not a brightness issue - see how manufacturers know how to "distract you" with unrelated facts - its a burn in / sharpness problem. Go visit a few 4 or 5 year old plasma's - maybe one at your bank or in a store where they really have had 60,000 or even just 15,000 hours in use - and see what it looks like. It is a well documented problem. Oh, they're still bright but fuzzy as heck...
A plasma at a bank or store most likely isn't showing an HD image (sharpness) and most likely is showing a static image (burn in). Simply not an issue in a normal home setting. But hey, if you like LCDs better... :shrug:
 
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