So is 1080p the absolute best picture quality?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by London Lawson, Feb 3, 2006.

  1. London Lawson

    London Lawson Second Unit

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    Ok so is that the physical limit on how good a pic can look? I don't have a good understanding on all of that so I could use an explanation. Like 5-10 years from now will their be a better?
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    It's not a simple as that. A poor quality 1080p will certainly be bested by a good quality 720p (or 768p) display.

    The further you are from the display, the lower resolution you need.
     
  3. Joel...Lane

    Joel...Lane Second Unit

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    I'm sure I've read somewhere recently that there are displays currently being developed in the 3000p to 5000p range.
     
  4. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Traditional film is analog and is only limited by the resolution of the emulsion. Digital "prints" (like the Star Wars ones at those digital projector venues) are usually files to be played through a "2K" DLP projector (about 2048 x 1080 resolution which is close to the specs for 1080p at 1920 x 1080). However, now that 1080p is reaching the Home Theater Market via WMVHD (HTPCs) and soon Blu-ray and HD DVD, the digital theaters are looking at "4K" DLP resolutions to provide something "better" than HT.

    "4K" resolution means 4096 x 2160 pixels and it's said to look even better than 35 mm film. Coincidentally, at CEDIA I attended a special screening of SWIII using one of the 2K DLPs at a local theater in Indianapolis and it looked great. A few days later I attended a press briefing by Runco where they were showing off some of there $250K projectors and the engineer showed a clip from the movie. He told the audience that he was expecting a 2K digital file, but he actually was given a 4K print which the Runco could resolve. It looked gorgeous. So I've had a peek at that future you were asking about.

    The reason 4K digital is so impressive when compared to film is that even though film is theoretically almost infinite resolution (limited by the film itself) in reality there are small scratches that affect the image. 4K is said to resolve images so finely that it actually can do better than film with its inherent scratches and other physical imperfections. If you want a bit more information about digital cinema go here.

    So to address your original question, YES, there will be something better - 4K (4096 x 2160). In fact it's already here in commercial form. In this dog eat dog competitive world commercial theaters have to come up with something that outdoes home theaters in order to survive in the technical oneupmanship. And that will benefit us all. As soon as the content is there, displays will be built to show that content.

    It never ends, but you probably already knew that.

    As someone else mentioned, just because a display lists itself as "1080p" doesn't guarantee how it will look. A lot of this is due to the implementation, but that's another topic for another time. Currently, good 1080p is the current "as good as it gets" HT display. In fact digital has gotten so good that most people concede that the benefits outweigh any disadvantages when compared to CRT technologies. However, there will always be a segment of the tech population that will still side with CRTs and I don't wish to get into that argument. It's sort of like Vinyl vs. CDs all over again and neither side will convince the others.

    Incidentally, as I was writing this reply a related thought came to mind. I've often heard the comment,

    Unfortunately, some people are equating this with the wide screen vs. standard screen movies of the pre-1950's world and it's really not the same. At some point in the process of getting film to "television" the telecine operator uses equipment to create a "digital intermediate." The resolution of this intermediate is what determines the resolution of the final TV film. In SD days the telecine operator limited most transfers to SD resolutions (or a little better) and with HD now out there the TV studios showing the film can go one of two ways. The proper way would be to create a new digital intermediate at HD or better resolution. After all, film, as stated before, has almost infinite resolution (within physical limits). But this costs money so a lot of places just take the original SD digital intermediate and "upscale" or "up-res" it to HD via interpolation rather than a new transfer. That's something akin to optical zooming (good) vs. digital zooming (ech!). And that's why not all HD movies on your display look great. Garbage in, Garbage out.

    Of course, the above has been simplified for clarification to make my points so please don't take me to task for glossing over some of the technical details which I would leave to my telecine friends. This has become a HUGE business in Hollywood ever since revenues from the DVDs have eclipsed the revenues from the theater engagements themselves. But, once again - another story for another time.

    Hope some of this helped rather than confused.
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    There will always be something better in the future.

    1080p isn't even close to sufficient for large-format presentations such as commercial cinemas.

    And there's a lot more behind pure resolution to the image, there's also bit depth and gamut and things like that.

    The future also brings High Dynamic Range displays, which are unlike anything you've seen before.
     
  6. Alex Antin

    Alex Antin Extra

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    Well I can attest to seeing....in 1998 no ;ess....a demo of what was then called "Super HDTV."

    It was on display in the lobby of the Equitable Life Bldg. in NYC.

    The image was static...ie no movemnt in the frame. Just a shot of a glass half filled with wine sitting on a table.

    The image was created by computer and fed to an Evans and Sutherland 12" monitor. The claimed resolution was 2500x2000 at 60 FPS.

    Everyone...and i mean everyone, including yours truly tried to touch that glass by reaching "into" the monitor and couldn't understand why our fingers stopped at the front of the monitor.

    MIT was one of the companies that was originally doing work on HDTV before the ATSC decided on the standards and there choosen format was 2500x2000x60. Problem was that there was no compression system that would fir that in the alotted 6mz channel bandwidth. Their argument was "why put in a system that will be upgrades 20 years from now when we can put in a system that would last 50 years...like Color TV did.
     

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