The Truth About 1080p

With all the hullabaloo about HD-DVD standards, we've missed a conversation about one of those "improvements" that people are trying to sell us.

Comments (3)
  1. zzz says:

    "requires way too much bandwidth or severe MPEG compression. (Consider that uncompressed 1920x1080i requires about 1.3 gigabits per second to move around. 1080p/60 would double that data rate.)"

    What kind of bs is that?

    Any Modern camera has native eSATA 3 Gbps that you can directly attach to any Modern laptop or a backpack of HDDs powered with lithium battery pack.

    It’s trivial to record 1080p/60 at home.

    The broadcast problem to old tv sets is also Trivial to handle with suitable converter for Legacy TV sets.

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks for the education on this. It’s an American thing, "if we are buying the latest thing, and spending the most money, we are getting the best there is".

    1080p is just another electronic red herring. A DVD scanning into my 1080i widescreen at 420p looks phenomenal. Same same for the HDTV broadcasts.

    It’s like buying an airline ticket for a supersonic transport vehicle that will get us from New York to L.A. in 2 hours, in 2020.

    Hopefully by then, the 1080p sets wont be burned out junk lol.

    But the key to all the discussions is to never forget that we are not looking at a static image, but instead at moving images that create the illusion of motion. For that reason it’s not the resolution of each image that really matters, but the pixels per second we watch – also known as “temporal resolution”.

    When you do the math, you see that 1080i60 (and also 1080p30) only delivers 12% more pixels per second than 720p60. This is why most people can’t tell the difference between 1080i and 720p broadcasting – because their eyes and brain are practically seeing the same number of pixels per second.


    Number of Lines

    Pixels per active line

    Display Rate

    Pixels per second




    60 fields per sec





    60 frames per sec


    Only when static images or small changes in the scene are displayed is that the improvement of 1080i over 720p in HDTV broadcasting is noticeable. As soon you focus on fast moving visuals, 720p looks as good as, or better, than 1080i. This is why it is the preferred format for broadcasting sports.

    In addition, you also have to consider the fact that progressive is better than interlaced. First, progressive scanning will never produce flickering for the viewer, and in addition, there is no need of a deinterlacing process. On the contrary, interlaced signals always require a deinterlacing process at some point, either by the broadcaster or the viewer.

    Another reason why 720 looks better than 1080 in HDTV is because the 1080-line formats that can offer better temporal resolution than 720 are not part of the standard. Although the ATSC includes 1080p formats, they are capped at 24 and 30 frames per second; so there are neither 1080p50 nor 1080p60 variants, which are the only 1080-line formats that will (in practice) surpass 720p60.

    The reason for that is that 1080p50 and 1080p60 would exceed the 19Mbit/s bandwidth allotted in a 6Mhz channel as required by the ATSC standard. The highest HDTV formats that don’t exceed that limit (and in fact are very close to it) are 720p60, 1080p30 and 1080i60.

    To sum things up regarding this topic, the ATSC only allows 1080p broadcasting at a maximum frame rate of 30 frames per second due to bandwidth requirements. 720p video can go up to 60 frames per second with the same bandwidth. 1080 line formats can only deliver a maximum of 60 fields per second (1080i60) or 30 frames per second (1080p30). Both 720 and 1080 line formats, as implemented in ATSC broadcasting, deliver practically the same amount of pixels per second.

    Conclusion: 720p is better than 1080i in HDTV because the highest 1080 line formats (1080i60 and 1080p30) as defined in the ATSC standard, deliver only a few more pixels per second than the highest 720p variant (720p60).

    1080i delivers a higher quality visual when static images are broadcasted. As soon as you have fast changes in the visuals, 720p look as good or better than 1080i.

  3. Erik says:

    In a few years a new HDTV generation display is coming all over the world "OLED"

    All about the newest display generation OLED at or (German)

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