## Sunday, January 07, 2007

### Does 1080p Matter?

If you are looking at HD TVs, all the talk now is about 1080p resolution. But, is it really that important? Have we gotten to the point where increased resolution is beyond what the eye can make out? Carltonbale.com investigates.

Based on the resolving ability of the human eye (with 20/20 vision it is possible to resolve 1/60th of a degree of an arc), it is possible to estimate when the differences between resolutions will become apparent. Using the Home Theater Calculator spreadsheet as a base, I created a chart showing, for any given screen size, how close you need to sit to be able to detect some or all of the benefits of a higher resolution screen.

As the chart above shows (click for bigger version), depending on how far away you sit from your TV, you might not be able to see the difference. If you have a 42" HD TV, if you sit beyond 12' from the TV, you won't be able to distinguish between 480p and anything above it. If you sit 7' from the TV, you can't distinguish anything greater than 720p. To get the full benefit of 1080p you must sit 5' in front of the TV. Unless you have a really big TV, or like to sit really close to it, you probably won't be able to see much of an improvement with 1080p.

As Carlton concludes:
However, if you are an average consumer with a plasma on the far wall of your family room, you are not likely to be sitting close enough to notice any advantage. Check the chart above and use that to make your decision. And remember, the the most important aspects of picture quality are (in order): 1) contrast ratio, 2) color saturation, 3) color accuracy, 4) resolution. Resolution is 4th on the list and plasma is generally superior to LCD in all of these areas. So pick your display size, then measure your seating distance, and then use the charts above to figure out if you would benefit from the larger screen size.