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Very Confused About Resolution!! Please Help!

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Biff, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    OK...

    I have a Sony KV-40XBR800 and the only true HDTV that I receive on it is via an HDTV cable box - 8 channels in total. I've had the set for a year now and I've been very pleased with it but I have no idea what its native resolution is so I have no idea if the letterboxed HDTV image that I'm seeing is "truly" 1080i HDTV (and I don't know that I really care or not - I'm pleased with the picture and I have an incredible surround sound system which I'm pleased with as well). But I would like to know - if someone out there is familiar with this model - what the native resolution actually is!).

    Now my real question-

    I bought a Samsung TSN3084WHD HDTV for my bedroom (along with an inexpensive, but highly rated "Home Theater in a Box"). I bought this model because it's 'sister' model (i.e., same specs less the built-in HD tuner on the TSN3084WHD) also received accolades in Consumer Reports AND because I was looking to spend MUCH less money on a bedroom set-up than I spent for my living room equipment. And if the TV is obsolete in a couple of years because it lacks DVI, I'll just buy another set.

    But two things confuse me about this model:

    1) it lacks 720 resolution - as a few channels are broadcast at 720, will the TSN3084WHD simply DOWN convert to 480p (or 480i) or will it upconvert to 1080i? Or (and I hope this isn't the answer) will it simply not display the 720 broadcast?

    2) As the model has only 800 horizontal resolution, I'm assuming (correctly?) that even though it's a widescreen 30" model, I WON'T BE seeing TRUE 1080i HDTV? So what in the heck will I be seeing??? Pseudo HDTV??

    The TV will be here tomorrow (February 9) between 9-11 am, but I doubt that the manual is going to be much help in answering these questions. Tomorrow I'll only be able to judge the picture quality against my KV-40XBR800 (and I have installed an antenna for the Samsung so that I can receive the HDTV signals broadcast in my area).

    So... while I'm expecting a bit of higher quality viewing from the Samsung compared to the present analog Sony KV-27FV310 in my bedroom - well, exactly WHAT will I be seeing on the Samsung? Not full-resolution HDTV, I know (but I'm not likely seeing that on my living room Sony KV-40XBR800 either, right??).

    I'm very, very confused... if anyone can help, please leave a message or email me at [email protected]... your educational aid will be most appreciated, I can assure you!
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    No consumer direct-view set can display all the lines of resolution in HDTV, and all but a handful of current RPTVs are incapable of displaying all lines of resolution. But what they can show qualifies as HD and is vastly superior to what NTSC-only sets can do.

    And very few sets display 720p natively; they convert it either to 1080i or 480p.

    Your KV-40XBR800 is one of the finest direct-view sets available, and your proposed Samsung is also a fine set. You're on the right path.
     
  3. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Jack-

    Thanks so much for your answer! The Samsung TSN3084WHD was delivered about an hour and 1/2 ago and I've been able to put it through it's paces with HDTV signals and DVD's and am - thus far - very pleased with the picture (it lacks the fine tuning controls available on my Sony KV-40XBR800, of course, but it's "good enough" for the bedroom).

    I was also wrong about the Samsung lacking a DVI input - no website (including Samsung's) that I visited even hinted that one of the inputs was DVI but, yep, there it is so perhaps this set will have a longer life-span than I anticipated!

    Again - thanks for your answer. I've been plodding along, enjoying HDTV channels and progressive scan DVDs for over a year now, completely unaware of resolution factors yet getting a great deal of joy from the exceptional picture quality which, in the end, is really what's important, I suppose!
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    does your tv have an "info" feature?

    i know on my mits i can hit a button and it will tell me what resolution it's running at (10801 or 480p - it won't do 720p). kinda cool....nice to know i'm seeing what resolution i think i'm supposed to be seeing! [​IMG]

    also i think samsung is a big proponent of dvi, so i'm not surprised they included it.
     
  5. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    One reasonably sure test you can do to a 4:3 CRT HDTV to verify whether it is using 1080 or 810 scan lines for HDTV:

    Turn the contrast way down, to say ten to twenty percent.
    After that turn the brightness way up.

    If the top and bottom "black bars" turn gray (or were gray to begin with) the set is probably using just 810 scan lines for the picture.

    When done turn the brightness down before turning the contrast back up.

    Many HDTV's won't take in 720p which requires that the set top tuner box convert the 720p shows to 1080i. It is still a significant and serious unknown as to whether TV sets that do accept 720p but display in 1080i (or tuner boxes when converting to/from 720p) use 540p as an intermediate stage. If 540p is used, the final vertical resolution will be 540 and not 720 even though there may be 720 (or 810 or 1080) scan lines.

    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/hdtvnot.htm
     
  6. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Hmm - I tried that last night on my Sony KV-40XBR800 - top and bottom bars unaffected... pitch black.

    But I still don't understand exactly what that means!

    But - Lord, this is a difficult confession to make: I'm a bright man who dealt with resolution and color fidelity in the digital pre-press area of printing for almost 20 years, but I'm STILL having a difficult time understanding HDTV resolution!

    To add to my previously expressed confusion, my latest confusion (I do feel incredibly stupid - but the folks here seem nice and no one has called me an idiot thus far...) has to do with "upconversion." I've been reading about DVD players that use a mathematical formula (one supposes) to 'upconvert' a 480p signal to a 1080i signal. While I understand how this could easily be accomplished (and I make the likely woefully inadequate comparison of using a bilinear or bicubic algorithm to enlarge a photo beyond it's optimum resolution), I don't understand how this would significantly enhance the image.

    I suppose that I'm taking a shot - in my ignorance - at some of the horrible quality "digital" transfers that I've seen in a handful of DVDs - digital artifacts (pixelization?) as big as my fist. And then I see true HDTV signals and the only 'artifacts' from film to digital signal seem to be those of high speed film grain...

    I have brochures that offer a cursory explanation of HDTV and I've visited a number of websites that offer quick overviews and those that offer technical data that, frankly, I don't understand. What I would like - if such a thing exists - is a book that offers explanations somewhere between the two... does anyone know of such a publication?

    In the meantime, I will lurk around here - this board has been a godsend (and I will pony up my donation today, if possible!).
     
  7. John S

    John S Producer

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    There is one book, I can't remember the name now, but it was in Japanese then translated to english. I read it quite a few years ago now.

    I will look for it at home over thenext few days. If I can find it, I'll send it to you. You can read it all you want, but I would like it back for sure.

    Beware, parts of the book were still over my head, and I have a degree in electronics.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i'll take a stab. [​IMG]

    the dvd players that upconvert to 1080i (like my samsung) are taking a signal (480p for dvd's) and "adding" more lines of resolution.

    the end result is (or should be) a sharper, more realistic picture.

    sorta like taking a 1 mega-pixel image and "enhancing" it to a 2 mega-pixel image. more pixels = better picture quality.

    i've done some casual testing of my dvd's using the dvi connection (1080i) and the composite connection (480p). i have to say the dvi connection is *significantly* better - i mean it's really night and day. even my girlfriend immediately noticed the difference.
     
  9. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Now - with the surprise that my Samsung TSN3084WHD does have a DVI input, I've been interested in the Samsung DVD-HD931... (I mean how many DVD players does one TV need? I have two now, but that DVI port is just crying out for some... INPUT!!).

    I have also been grossly displeased with the Samsung "Home Theater in a Box" that I bought for use in the bedroom - even though I've only had it up and running for three days, and I've been more than pleased with the audio quality, the DVD player is "hinky" - I've tried $40 cables and I've tried $100 cables, I've tried power conditioners, etc., and I've watched about 25 DVDs on it thus far and I still get what seem to be magnetic/power fluctuations, sudden color transformations (green for red, etc.), fluctuating brightness, odd icons popping up and disappearing, subtitles suddenly appearing and disappearing, etc. When I hook up my Denon DVD player, everything works fine. The DVD/receiver may just be faulty - I'm calling Samsung tomorrow to see about getting a replacement - but, as I bought the system from Cruchfield and they have an excellent return policy - I'm thinking of exchanging this system for a "Home Theater in a Box" sans DVD player and getting the Samsung DVD-HD931...

    Which Samsung DVD player are you using?
     
  10. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    John-

    Thanks for your offer - I just ordered Digital Television Fundamentals from Amazon - it looks as if (judging by the table of contents and a few quick searches of the text) that it may be exactly what I'm looking for, and although it looks to be a textbook - and a 4 year old textbook at that - from just the snippets I read, I was able (thank goodness) to understand the concepts discussed.

    But if it doesn't address some of the areas in which my confusion remains, I will certainly take you up on your kind offer!
     
  11. Biff

    Biff Agent

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    Ted-

    I am really curious about which Samsung DVD player you have! I'm going to try to make a decision by this weekend about whether or not I'm going to keep this DVD/receiver combo (I'm just so darned pleased with the Samsung TV set - and even the OTA HDTV signals that I'm able to receive) that being disappointed with the DVD quality is very, well, disappointing

    By the way - I loved that comment "even my girlfriend immediately noticed the difference" - my best female friend derided me for months about the money I spent on my primary HDTV set-up: she claimed that she "wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a video tape and that HD stuff." So one night she was over and I had a VHS tape of "The Others" and it was on HBO HD as well - I slammed in the tape and queued it as closely as possible to the transmission, switched back and forth between the signals and she was astounded. (Alas, she remains, as her husband elected her, "President of the Careless Movie Watchers Society" - she enjoys watching movies but a plot element from the first 15 minutes may be forgotten if it surfaces again 30 minutes later...).
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    That book looks somewhat advanced. I tried reading through parts of the other book that it can be bundled with "digital video and HDTV algorithms and interfaces" and found it quite advanced, though this one looks less advanced. It still will be quite helpful.

    You may also find this helpful, though it is very specific as per the digital side of things. I'm not sure how correct it is either, but it's free anyway:

    http://digitaltelevision.uemedia.net...book/toc.shtml
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    biff, i have the samsung 931.

    i really like it. it's quick, mechanically quiet (especially compared to my previous sony), and looks great. well..the blue light around the dial does kinda bug me...but i can live with it.

    performance wise i couldn't be happier. while i've never had high-end gear, this is the best performing dvd player i've ever personally had. the dvi connection is a definite stand-out.

    i popped in finding nemo, found a fishtank scene (because it was so brightly lit) and paused it. i then switched back and forth between composite and dvi. the difference was *very* apparant. nemo's orange skin seemed okay until you went to the dvi connection - it immediately became brighter ... i mean a lot brighter. the picture quality also became sharper and more defined (especially hard-edges nd jaggies).

    i don't remember if i did a component vs. dvi comparison though...i think the component is disabled when you connect the dvi at the same time. but when i had just the component connection, the picture was much better and closer to the dvi.

    you can get this thing for about 300 bucks from best-buy with a money-back guarantee. so...what are you waiting for! [​IMG]
     
  14. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    I forgot to mention, if whend oing the high brightness low contrast test to check the black bars above and below, if the bars turn gray that means some of the 1080 scan lines are up there and fewer (810) are left to make the picture in the middle with.

    Upconverting 480p or 480i to 1080i, when the TV is displaying 1080i (many HDTV's display only 1080i) you must convert the incoming 480 scan lines to become 1080 otherwisde the picture will be very small with black on all four sides. The better upconversion methods make a very smooth picture but th number of lines of resolution (vertical) relative to the subject matter is still about 480 for good upconversion, less for poor upconversion. The upconversion adds scan lines but does not add picture detail.
     
  15. John S

    John S Producer

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    I did find my book I was looking for...

    It is was published in Japan,in 1995, translated to english in 1998. It is called "Video-The Next Step" in it's translated form.

    I browsed through it again, now that I have more knowledge, and let me tell you, the thing was written for electronics engineers. I don't think it will be very usefull to you.


    The chapters on resolution, were boggle'n my mind. lol
    And I am at least somewhat considered an electronics engineer.
     

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