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1080p high definition TV means consumers get more choice with viewing

Sony"s incredible BRAVIA range has been available for about a year now, and with it carries advancement in high definition technology. With first generation HDTVs displaying their high definition content in 1080i resolution, the Sony BRAVIA range looked to turn the arena on its head by introducing 1080p resolution - but has it? With the honeymoon period for the BRAVIA range now over, and with people now beginning to invest in high definition equipment, they also have to decide on whether they want 1080i resolution or 1080p.

First of all, consumers have to try to understand the differences between 1080i and 1080p, and to do that, they need to understand what each is. Both high definition resolutions produce the same sized image, 1920 pixels by 1080 lines. The main difference is the way that they render the final image on screen. With 1080i, the image is interlaced, with odd numbered lines appearing a split second before the even numbered lines. This "painting" effect happens incredibly quickly, all within 1/30 of a second to be exact, so that the eye is tricked into seeing everything appear instantaneously. With 1080p, the image is scanned progressively, whereby the all the lines are conveyed sequentially in one single pass. This means that at any one time, 1080p displays twice the number of lines of resolution, and the resulting image is crisp and flicker free.

Choosing which type of picture is only half of the battle when purchasing a new TV. In its simplest form, a TV is merely an output device, a vehicle in which to carry and display something that is inputted into it. This means that to display high definition content, the TV requires something else that plays in high definition. Currently, high definition sources include digital TV channels, HD-DVD players, Blu-Ray DVD players and a couple of games consoles. At the moment, HD channels from digital TV broadcasts and satellite channels are done using 1080i signals. This in itself causes a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, a lot of HDTVs are not physically able to display an interlaced signal as an image. In situations like this, the HDTV will de-interlace the signal and convert it into a progressive scan signal. So theoretically speaking, this means that all TVs display a 1080i image in 1080p format. Unfortunately, practice does not follow theory perfectly in tow. Complications exist in the de-interlacing process that causes a few problems. The refresh rate of the TV will also have a bearing on the output. All in all, it means that there is a good chance that you will end up with a lower resolution than what you intended.

Currently, HD-DVD players and Blu-Ray DVD players, as well as the PS3, are the only current sources that can output in 1080p signals. HD-DVD is able to output in both progressive and interlaced signals, where as Blu-Ray outputs in 1080p only. In terms of watching a movie in either signal, there is very little difference, and 1080p has a very slight edge in sharpening the images. However, the results are absolutely stunning, and provided that each and every movie is shot in 1080p mode, you should be very much in for a treat. With regards to the PS3, more and more games are being released in 1080p mode. The experience from playing a game in this sharper than sharp resolution is something that cannot be easily described, and it is safe to assume that the results are truly amazing.

1080p is probably the signal that will become the future, as it does seem to be superior as long as all the right and necessary equipment is available. That said, Sony BRAVIA TVs that carry the 1080p ability are more expensive than their 1080i or 720p equivalents. This is typical of Sony, where consumers can expect to pay premium prices for their guaranteed premium quality. Until there are more 1080p TVs, consumers may still go for the cheaper 1080i versions. However if you do have the budget, you"ll definitely be future proofing your living room with a 1080p.


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