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I'm new to all this high definition stuff and would like to know what 480i/480p/720p/1080i each stands for. From what I've read, 480i means "interlaced" and 480p is "progressive". Also, doesn't progressive produce better picture quality than interlace? If so, then is 1080i interlaced?
 

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Television images are made up from horizontal scan lines. The more scan lines in an image, the sharper the vertical resolution appears. To reduce the amount of data needed to create an image in its refresh rate (typically 1/30th of a second), images scan lines may be sent and put on your screen so that only the odd scan lines are put on the screen (in the first 1/60th second) and then the even lines in the second 1/60th second). In other words, with an interlace signal, you do not see more than half the picture at one time. It is relied on for your vision to blurr two images into one.

A progressive picture shows all the scan lines in one image. The 1080i format actually scans 540 lines per field (i.e. image half).

Some people claim to be able to detect the difference between 720p and 1080i. There are so many variables inherent in comparisons like this that most test are meaningless.
 

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i=interlaced, p=progressive. 480i means 480 interlaced lines of vertical resolution, which means 240 horizontal lines are drawn in 1/60th of a second and then the other 240 lines are drawn inbetween those in the next 1/60th of a second. 480p means all 480 lines are drawn in sequence every 1/60th of a second. 480p produces better picture quality than 480i, but for the same effort as 480p the set could draw 960i, from which your eyes will extract more detail than 480p. A progressive picture is more steady-looking and keeps more of its effective resolution during fast moving scenes.


480i = interlaced DVD and normal NTSC TV

480p = progressive DVD, line doubled TV, and basic DTV

720p = one standard for HDTV, going out of fashion

1080i = most HDTV broadcasts, most HD sets native HD mode



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