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Plasma TVs- lower than HDTV resolution?


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#1 of 22 Roger DW

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Posted May 28 2002 - 01:27 PM

I have a Pioneer RPTV that displays the full 2+ megapixels of 1920x1080 content, but I was still thinking of eventually getting a 16:9 HDTV compatible plasma display. Then I noticed something: in the specifications for every one I was reading up on the maximum resolutions were never higher than 1366x768 or 848x480, depending on screen size. I thought at first that those were native resolutions and that a 1080i signal would be detected and displayed in full HDTV resolution, but the specs always referred to 768 or 480 lines as the maximum. Can this be true? Are people shelling out 10,000 clams for sets that just downconvert HDTV content to VGA and SDTV resolutions? I had a similar revelation about CRT projectors that max out at 1.3 megapixels 1280x1024. My low-end RP HDTV is outputting a much more detailed image than even the new digital theatres showing Star Wars. My image is artifact-free and sharp as heck, so I don't see what the trade off could be, other than the weight and having to adjust the convergence regularly.

#2 of 22 Mike Bledsoe

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Posted May 28 2002 - 01:39 PM

Roger
I know what you mean. It can be confusing. I am not sure but I think that the displays that you mentioned would probably be able to show 720p which is also considered to be HDTV. That's the only thing that I can think of.

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#3 of 22 Dan Hine

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Posted May 28 2002 - 01:55 PM

Roger,

First off keep in mind that 1920x1080i is NOT the only HDTV spec. The other is 1280x720p which the 1366x768 plasma displays do meet. Also, most RPTV's do not give you a full 1920x1080i resolution unless they are using 9" CRT's which only the top of the line models do.

Also, for plasma displays (as well as LCD, dlp, and other digital projectors) there are no "maximum resolutions" really. These are fixed pixel display devices. All inputs are scaled if need be to fit the exact resolution of the display. In other words, whether it's VHS, DVD, or HDTV on a 1366x768plasma they will all be scaled to its resolution of 1366x768. The only difference would be of course if it is Pan and scan or wide screen in which not all the pixels need to be used. You could always use a zoom or stretch mode to fill the screen.

I agree with you though that overall RPTV do look much better than plasmas and cost much less. But most people that can afford a plasma don't buy them b/c of video quality. Although, if you have not gotten a chance to see a HD image on Pioneer Elites newest plasma screen you owe it to yourself to do that. I was truly amazed at the picture. If that is the future of plasma then I'm sure it will do well!

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#4 of 22 Bill Lucas

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Posted May 28 2002 - 02:09 PM

Roger,

I hate to be the one to burst your bubble Posted Image but your Pioneer RPTV does not fully resolve HDTV resolutions. The only animal capable of approaching (Some say achieving) this are 9" CRT front projectors. I'm not sure where your information about CRT projectors is coming from but it is not accurate. Regards.

#5 of 22 Roger DW

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Posted May 28 2002 - 04:11 PM

Ah, OK, I see. I still assume Pioneer's 7" CRT widescreens are well above the 1.3 megapixel standard of theatre projectors since these sets are designed to generate the unconverted, unscaled 1080i HDTV format. Taking into account the line loss I suppose it rarely even reaches 1000 horizontal lines. Not complaining tho. Thanx.

#6 of 22 Dan Hine

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Posted May 28 2002 - 04:26 PM

Roger,

Just out of curiosity, what makes you think that projectors at movies theaters are in HDTV format? If a movie theater really only had 1080lines of resolution the picture would look like crap on a screen that large. I think you are mixing things together and getting a tad confused. From where are you getting your information?

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#7 of 22 Dylan Savage

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Posted May 29 2002 - 12:39 AM

Dan, Star Wars ep. 2 is being shown in DLP theaters across the country in a resolution of approximately 1280x800 (accounting for line loss due to 2.35:1) and it doesn't look like 'crap', far from it. Posted Image
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#8 of 22 Dan Hine

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Posted May 29 2002 - 02:49 AM

Dylan,

Interesting. Thanks for that info. So, I guess my question would wouldn't that resolution on that size a screen make for vary noticable scan lines?

Thanks,

Dan Hine
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#9 of 22 Dylan Savage

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Posted May 29 2002 - 05:46 AM

Dan, they don't use CRT projectors in the theaters, they use DLP or film projectors. No scan lines on either. I havent heard reports of pixellation or any other resolution related problems though.
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#10 of 22 Dan Hine

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Posted May 29 2002 - 09:23 AM

Dylan,

Yes I know that commercial theaters don't use CRT projectors and that with film this would not be an issue. I guess what I meant by scan lines would be rows of pixels, similar to LCD's screendoor effect. I suppose what I've read about dlp's not having this problem due to the mirrors being so close together must be true if the image is seemless on that large a screen. Too bad no theaters near me use them yet. Posted Image Bravo for TI.


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#11 of 22 Allan Jayne

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Posted May 29 2002 - 10:45 AM

If the plasma display has just 480 or 540 rows of pixels, the incoming 1080i HDTV will end up as SDTV. The picture will most likely still be grainier than a good 7 inch CRT projector since the latter can still align diagonal edges at any of 1920 x 1080 possible places on the screen while the former is restricted to 480 or 540 possible positions vertically. The plasma display may or may not be able to align things horizontally with any of the color stripes as opposed to any of the red stripes giving (for an 858 pixel screen) a choice of 1920 out of 2574 possible positions horizontally rather than just 858.

Also for the 720 or 768 row plasmas or LCD's or DLP's, it is anyone's guess as to how the 1080i video is converted to fit. If individual 540 line fields are each upconverted to 720 scan lines one field at a time, the resulting vertical resolution could be just 540 lines instead of 720 or 768 depending on the method used. The best results are had by de-interlacing 1080i to 1080p and then downconverting to 720 or so, but I "kinda" doubt any modest price displays do that.

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#12 of 22 Dean McManis

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Posted May 29 2002 - 11:29 AM

Hmmm. A couple points.

"Addressable" resolution is the highest resolution that a particular monitor or projector can display.

"Resolvable" resolution, which is NOT used when trying to sell DTV displays, is the highest resolution that a particular display can actually resolve.

From my point of view, NO CRT projector, front or rear, can fully resolve 1920 X 1080 pixels. None.

And I'd say that the best 9" CRT FPTVs can do maybe 1600 X 1200 when setup by and expert, and most regular DTV RPTVs and FPTVs with 7" CRTs can resolve around 1250 X 850 resolution max.

Mind you, that still looks stunning, especially with the 6X increase in color resolution of a HDTV signal over NTSC, and the fact that the BEST NTSC signal is roughly 720 X 480, so it almost 4X actual, resolvable resolution for most CRT based displays. With LD, and especially DSS, and VHS all lower.

Plasma, DLP, D-ILA, and LCD are fixed-pixel displays, so like the CRT displays they will take in 1920 X 1080 signal, but the CRT display will do it's best to display the picture within it's bandwidth, optics, and lenticular screen's (RPTV) limitations. Whereas the digital display will use their internal scalers to scale the input (whether 480i or 1920 X 1080i) to match the native resolution of the display's panels.

As far as Star Wars goes, it uses a 7000 lumen 1280 X 1024p DLP array, and a 2.35:1 anamorphic lens, which uses the full 4:3 panel resolution to display the movie.

I have seen EPII twice now in a DLP theater and it looks breathtaking.
Because it was displayed on a huge 60' wide screen, I could see pixels in the opening and closing credits from 20 feet away, but it wasn't noticable during the movie. Pretty good considering that it would be equivalent of watching a 27" TV from 7" away.

And I watched it again last night from the back third of the theater (50' away) and it looked simply amazing. Crystal clear with good contrast, no flicker or jitter, no debris or scratches. Just excellent.

As much as plasma displays have improved greatly over the last fewe years with much better black level and contrast, I still prefer the look of a nice CRT RPTV, and the biggest problem in my mind is still the cost.

The newer 60" plasma displays (with a great picture) are $20K, and even though the 50" plasma displays have dropped to around $7K, I'd MUCH rather get a front projector like the Sharp Z9000 for that price, and get 6X the image size and equivalent picture quality.

As far as the smaller 42" plasma displays goes, most of the more affordable ones are only 852 X 480 resolution, which is fine for DVD, but lacks the resolution for HD material, and the earlier 42" models had loud fans, bad black level/contrast, and poor internal scalers.
Plus many had burn-in problems.

So I'd put ultimate-HDTV-resolution capability at the bottom of my concerns relative to plasma displays for DTV use. They are undeniably cool, but not the best HT bang for the buck.

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#13 of 22 Roger DW

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Posted May 29 2002 - 04:02 PM

Yeah, that. What he said.

#14 of 22 Gabriel_Lam

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Posted May 29 2002 - 11:59 PM

What do you guys think this CRT projector will do?

Barco BarcoReality 912

Posted Image

12" ultra high definition CRT Tubes
3200x2560 pixel compatibility
Virtual and augmented reality applications

I'm guessing it can do 1920x1080.

BTW, not every digital theater uses a 1280x1024 7000 lumen 3-chip DLP, and thus, not every digital presentation of Star Wars was shown on this spec system. Some are using older machines which were not quite as bright. Some are using the newer "black chips", some are not.
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#15 of 22 Dean McManis

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Posted May 30 2002 - 06:27 AM

Gabriel,

Actually the Barco 912 is a good example of specsmanship.

The 3200 X 2560 is again the addressable resolution, and has little to do with the actual resolvable resolution.

The 12" CRTs are great for boasting that they are the industry's largest, and the larger CRT area allows for a potentially smaller spot size, but the real purpose of the 812/912 was mostly more light output with the 912 putting out 500 lumens (2X most 9" CRT FPTVs, but about half the light output of the average sub-$2K DLP FPTV).

Mostly it's the optics that are the limiting factor is actual resolvable resolution, not the electronics, and the best results are still only derived by a CRT projector expert spending 8hrs+ setting one of these up.

I had read about one such calibration expert that set up a Barco 812, and could not even get 1500 X 1200 actual resolvable resolution out of it.

The best CRT projector that I've seen is the Sony G90 with 300 lumens, and very good picture clarity, but I still haven't seen any CRT FPTV actually resolve 1920 X 1080 pixels.

Actually the early Digitial Projections DLP FPTVs were all 1280 X 1024 3-chip models with at least 5000 lumens and anamorphic lenses. It is true that the newer models do have the black chips with visibly better contrast.

Even though the industrial DLP FPTVs are very good, I don't know why Lucas is stuck on DLP. JVC has a much superior D-ILA FPTV with a native resolution of 2048 X 1536 and 1000:1 contrast and it would provide 2.4X the resolution of the DLP models with an even smaller pixel gap.

The nice part of the JVC QX1G is that it is the only projector that I know that actually can fully resolve 1920 X 1080p natively, pixel-for-pixel.
Of course the downside is that the QX1Gs are $220K, but they are being sold out at that price, and a surprising number of them are actually being used for $$$ home theaters.

I just hope that Lucas gets to visit one of these HT setups and either pushes TI (DLP) to make a true 1920 X 1080 DLP chip, or that he switches over to QXGA D-ILA, which would be much better suited to large (50'+ wide) screens.

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#16 of 22 Gabriel_Lam

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Posted May 30 2002 - 08:48 AM

Yeah, it's pretty crazy the number of QX1's going at that price... and that price is sans lens. Ouch! Posted Image Definitely wouldn't mind having one of those. I think the problem with using the QX1 on 50' wide screens is really the brightness. A 50' screen has a screen area of about 1400 sq feet. A 14,000 lumen projector like the Digital Projection Lightning 25sx would probably be more appropriate (though of course, the resolution cannot compare).
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#17 of 22 Dean McManis

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Posted May 30 2002 - 09:16 AM

Gabriel,

I just saw EPII on a 60' wide screen and the one comment that everyone made was how bright the picture was. It was probably the brightest thatrical image that I've seen so far.

I'm not sure exactly what model that they used, but I really doubt that it was more than 8000 lumens,

The past DLP theaters that I've seen were on a 40' 1.78:1 wide screen using a Digital Projection 6SX with 6000 lumens, and it looked very bright as well.

So I think that the QX1G's 7000 lumens should be plenty of light output for a 50'-60' wide screen, especially since most film projectors are cranked down to half that light output to save bulb/filament life in most theaters.
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#18 of 22 JeremySt

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Posted November 04 2004 - 08:41 AM

I just thought Id revive this thread.. as I read it and didnt really get an answer to what I was looking for.

When a plasma has a resolution of 1024 x 768 or 1280 x 768.. does that mean that an incoming 1080i signal is getting "dumbed down" And even if that is the case, it the differnce negligable? Ive seen HDTV on plasmas of above mentioned resolution, and they look great to me... What exactly does resolution mean? Number of pixels? Is it really relavant? Im confused!!

#19 of 22 John S

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Posted November 04 2004 - 09:11 AM

Yes, the 1080i is converted to 720p, 720p is still HDTV.

On the ED plasma's it is converted to 480p or ED.

Sounds bad huh? I recently lost a bet. I ran all my HD and DVD at 480p for a few weeks. Only on maybe 1 to 2 % of sources / titles was any substancial difference noted at my viewing distance.

I mean thread patterns on football uniforms, blems on faces, hairs on arms, delicate bio detail on plants were all still there. I was quite shocked by this myself.

There is so much more to a display than raw resolution.
The better 480p displays will slay the below everage HD displays hands down.

At 60" of screen size,
480p and 960i cannot be differentiated by the eye.
720p and 1440i cannot be differenciated by the eye.
540p and 1080i cannot be differenciated by the eye.
My point is, at first thought you'd think 480p -vs- 1440i, no contest right? In reality ED and HD are just not that different no matter what anybody tries to tell you.
The resolution at the source sure seems much more important than the resolution at the output as far as detail goes.


All these tests were done on a 60" screen, I would assume the more you blow up the size the less true my statement becomes.

Additonal comment, I re-read this post, obviously there was no way to test 1440i, this was an assumption. The tests were done at 480p, 540p, 1080i, 720p, and 960i, two different displays as I have a friend involved with the test as well. (960i is an odd resolution available on some displays including mine as an alternate way of presenting 480p)

#20 of 22 John Goodwin

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Posted November 16 2004 - 07:51 AM

I am considering upgrading from a 32" CRT to a larger display,and am also confused somewhat.

Living in the UK ,we dont have any HD tv broadcasts that are easily available (until at least 2006,which will be subscription only) as yet.

The retailers in this country seem to be heavily into plasma,and most are of the 42" variety.

I also didnt understand the resolution issues mentioned above ,again thinking that "true HD wasnt obtainable" on the current crop of plasma screens-when in fact it is.

The main question i have is regarding Blu-ray/HD-DVD,as that is what i will be using a HD capable display for predominantly,as HD tv broadcasts wont be available to me.

Will i be able to purchase a current plasma display and be able to get the full potential out of Bluray etc?
Is there a minimum resolution to look for in a screen to take advantage of HD-DVD?

Could someone explain what the difference between an EDTV screen,and a HDTV screen is please?
EDTV as a description doesnt seem to be used in any of the UK home cinema magazines/forums ive read.

Thanks
John.