Commented in current Australian Open thread that PQ is very good this year on ESPN2-HD. That's with the 1080i50 capture converted to 720p60, piped through my NYC TWC system, converted to 1080/60i (1080i30) by my cable STB, then to 1080/60p by a high-end 1080p pro plasma (with 18-bit video processing
). Lots of overseas matches seem to show stuttering tennis ball flights, sometimes so bad it's hard to see where the ball lands. Haven't seen any of that from the Open this year.
Speculated during some U.S. golf games last year, when 1080 cameras fed both ESPN's 720p and 1080i networks, that 720p sometimes looks so good because the 1080=>720p downconversion may make images 'sharper'. That is, lower and mid-range frequencies are boosted in contrast. So images seem to appear 'crisper'. Effective resolution (resolvable detail) boosting might also approach the 1280X720 format resolution, while 720p capture (presumably) for mid-'90s ATSC approval tests delivered 1139X550 (static), 1068X420 (dynamic). Data was converted from the test report's
table 2.3; yup, hardware's changed since the mid-90s. Arri's Hans Kiening outlines resolution versus sharpness in this paper
(see figs. 6 and 8).
Recording games delivered in both 720p and 1080, from 1080 capture, and comparing background details, such as crowds and signs, shows 1920X1080's slight resolution advantage, it seems. Maybe someday we'll see whether 1080 downconversion from, say, ~4k cameras, would provide a similar 'sharpness' and effective resolution boost to 1080i delivery.-- John