1080P HDTV: I told you so

In a few recent columns I have stated my opinion that unless you have a video projector with a large screen, 1080p is a pretty meaningless specification and most viewers won’t be able to tell the difference compared to 720p or 1080i HDTVs.     If I could have chosen the column’s headline (I do not create headlines: the editors at the newspapers create them based on the column’s content) it would have been, “1080p: Who Cares?”   The columns are linked below:



Since those columns ran I have received emails from readers with real-world experience, such as the one:

 “I read your article on 1080p tvs today in my local paper.   I wish I had read it a year ago.   I spent a lot of money purchasing a 40” LCD JVC 1080p tv only find out that it won’t accept a 1080p signal.   I just recently purchased an OPPO 1080p signal producing dvd player that would not work w my tv.   I feel cheated.   The picture is fine, but my daughter’s 1080i Sony is just as good and $1,500 cheaper.   What a rip off.   I was hoping to have purchased a tv that would be state of art for years.   Keep up the good work telling your reader what’s up.   I love your column.”

Larry Brown in Pittsburgh

I also received an email from an HDTV guru saying I was wrong and quoting tests done by Pioneer showing that 1080p is far superior.   I wrote him back and asked for more  information, but I never received a reply.    I am  usually leery of tests done by manufacturers to prove a point, as they can tweak test conditions to produce the results they want.   That’s one reason companies like Monster Cable won’t submit to a third-party blind listening test comparing their expensive wire to ordinary wire: they know that if an independent, unbiased party administers the comparison test, it will show that in listening you can’t tell the difference between expensive wire and ordinary wire.     At any rate, I stand by my statement that to most viewers, 1080p is no big deal and 1080i and 720p are more than adequate.  

This recent article on audioholics. com, “1080p and the Acuity of Human Vision” uses science to pretty much prove the point I have been trying to make.  


If your eyes can’t discern it, what’s the big deal?   It’s just marketing hype.   Buy the TV with the picture you like and don’t fret over 720p. 1080i, or 1080p unless you are getting a very large screen or sitting extremely close to your TV.     Even then, you would be OK with 720p or 1080i anyway.

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