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Best HDTV Resolution - DLP Rear Proj TV?? (1 Viewer)


May 27, 2004
Just completed building my HT. Now I need to make a reasonably priced investment in HDTV.

My viewing room is12'x21'. Have two risers in the back 3 1/2' wide, 8" and 16" up from floor. So viewing areas are approx. 12.5', 15.5', and 18.5' from the screen area.

Planning on a 61" 16x9 wide screen for the size of the veiwing room, and have been kind of focused on a new samsung HLP6163W that is due out soon. Seems to have some good improvements over the N series that are out available.
Wanted to spend $4,000 or less....

Biggest question is getting the best HDTV resolution. I understand HDTV at 720p can get up to @ 2,000,000 pixels. But the samsung resoltion on the new DLPs is 1280x720 (I think) which is around 1,000,000 effective

So I started thinking about not getting the best resolution I could from the theoretical HDTV max resolution of 1920x1080. Are there any other options I should look at to get better resolution of the HDTV signal???

OK, even if I have to scrap my budget #...


Ryan FB

Second Unit
Oct 4, 2002
720p is 1280x720. 1280x720 is 720p. They are the same thing. :) 720p can be displayed natively with no scaling, deinterlacing, or any image alteration whatsoever on a digital display which has a native panel resolution of 1280x720. That means there should be no loss in picture information or pixels displaying 720p on a Samsung DLP with a resolution of 1280x720.

I think you got 720p and 1080p confused. 1080p (i.e. progressive, not interlaced) would be a resolution of 1920x1080 for 2,073,600 pixels. 720p, which is 1280x720 has 921,600 pixels.

Let me get this out of the way up front: 1080p is not 1080i. 1080i and 720p are currently the two most-used resolutions for HDTV material. Here's the basic rundown: A display running at 1080i first displays the 540 "even" horizontal lines in the field (i.e. frame of video). The next field displays the other 540 "odd" horizontal lines. A display running at 1080p is displaying 1,080 horizontal lines, for every single frame. Both displays, however, are displaying 1,920 pixels in each horizontal line drawn. In the same way, a display running at 720p is displaying 720 horizontal lines for every single frame, with 1280 pixels in every one of those lines. Because of the way CRT's work, it is easier for them to display interlaced than progressive at higher bandwidths. That is why many CRT RPTV's cannot actually display 720p, but must instead rescale it to 1080i (note that there are some CRT's that can display 720p without conversion). Also, because of the way digital display technologies work, they can only display progressive. They have a fixed number of pixels on the panel, and that's it. Any image that is not the native resolution of a digital display must be rescaled in order to display properly. Thus, current 1280x720 DLP sets must rescale any 1080i input to 720p, so you will be sacrificing a small amount of image quality (it really depends on the quality of whatever does the scaling, but based on the rave reviews I've heard about the Samsungs I'm guessing it can't be bad).

There are rear-projection TV's that are capable of 1080p, but you'd be looking at a completely ungodly price for them at this point in time. In fact, the only one that's out right now that I know of is the LCoS (3-chip LCD) based 82" Mitsubishi WL-82913, at $15k+. 1080p DLP technologies are beginning to emerge as well, having made their first appearances in the front projection arena in the $20k+ price range (on the "low" end). If you're extremely patient, Samsung has announced some new 1080p rear-projection sets based on TI's xHD3 DLP chip that should come out in November, with the 61" HL-P6197W priced at $6,499.

Now, based on this information, what options should you consider?
-Wait for 1080p displays to come out and get to a somewhat non-absurd price. ;)
-Go ahead and get a 1280x720 digital display. I would recommend seeing if you can find a showroom that has a Samsung DLP that will do 1280x720, and a comparably-priced-or-sized CRT nearby. See if you can get them to let you watch 1080i and 720p feeds on both, and compare, seeing how you like 1080i on the Samsung.
-Get a CRT that can do both 1080i and 720p without rescaling.

Another option you might want to consider is going the front projection route instead of using an RPTV. As you stated, your viewing distances are approx. 12.5', 15.5', and 18.5' from the screen. The "rule of thumb" for optimal viewing distance is 1.5 times the diagonal size of the display. For a 61" diagonal display, that's a seating distance of 91.5 inches, and 12.5' is 150 inches. If you want to keep the seating the way it is, your screen size should actually be around 100" (or more) diagonal, which you could easily accomplish with an FP setup for around the same price as what you're looking at for RP now. With the depth of your room, projector placement to put up that large of an image shouldn't be too hard either. A quick search on projectorcentral.com shows:

Models MSRP (USD) Weight(lbs) Resolution Lumens Display Lamp(hours)
Panasonic PT-L500U $ 2,499 6.4 1280x720 850 LCD n/a
Panasonic PT-AE500U $ 2,499 6.4 1280x720 850 LCD n/a
Studio Exp. Matinee 2HD $ 2,799 9.0 1280x720 800 LCD n/a
Sanyo PLV-Z2 $ 2,995 9.0 1280x720 800 LCD n/a
Epson PowerLite Cinema 200 $ 2,999 11.8 1280x720 1300 LCD 1700
Sony VPL-HS10 Cineza $ 2,999 11.9 1366x768 1200 LCD 2000
Sony VPL-HS20 $ 3,499 11.9 1386x788 1400 LCD 3000

Of course, these are all LCD's rather than DLP's, but the lowest priced 1280x720 DLP is a bit of a jump up from the VPL-HS20. Note that you can often find projectors for far less than MSRP, so there still may be some 1280x720 DLP front projectors in your price range. There's also the option of using a CRT projector, but that's really not my area. Factor in about $650-700 for a 104" 16:9 Carada screen, and you've got yourself a party. ;)

Allan Jayne

Senior HTF Member
Nov 1, 1998
Actually geting the best resolution is going to be difficult, unless you have test equipment to help you choose what you buy.

1080i does give you about 2 million pixels, and you can measure that with superb equipment and "still" subject matter of excellent quality. For moving subjects the perceived 1080i resolution is less due to the intelacing. Some improvement is had with 1080p equipment but since the source is still 1080i, the resolution still falls short.

Practically all DLP's are 1280x720 or less. In addition the electronics in consumer grade TV's is probably not good enough to resolve three consecutive different brightness pixels in a row.

Another unknown is that, when incoming 1080i is converted to 720p for the DLP or vice versa for most CRT's, the intermediate processing sometimes downrezzes (for skimping reasons, not necessarily copy protection reasons) to 540 unique scan lines.

Video hints:
Oct 30, 2000
Don't want to be a one-trick pony on this board, but for the prices mentioned in front projection, a properly conditioned used CRT projector will provide at least the longevity and, in the opinion of many, multiples of PQ for the same prices....

There are reputable dealers who sell these things. The AVS board is their main hangout. I went this way after seriously considering a variety of new RPTVs, both CRT and digital, and for a dedicated home theater with proper screen size, it is hard to beat.

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