|Originally posted by ChriÅ*|
I haven't bought a new TV in over 10 years. I have about $2500 to spend so I'm considering a RPTV.
Regarding Hi-Def, are TV's either 1080i or 720p, but not both? If so what is the better choice? If I go with a 720p and watch something that is broadcast in 1080i, does it get downconverted to 720 lines, and does that look any worse?
And something that really confuses me, do all 16:9 TV's stretch a 4:3 broadcast to fit the 16:9 screen? A friend of mine has a widescreen TV that he thinks is so great, but whenever I'm over there I get annoyed because the stretched image makes everything look awkward. Isn't it possible to watch regular TV how it's intended, or is it bad for the TV do this, or is it not even possible?
Thanks for any help with this.
The best recommendation at this point is some heavy forum reading to catch up. There *should* be some kind of primer with the basic information somewhere on the web (or on this forum?) but I don't know where it is personally. Anyone?
Some basic answers:
- Most sets in your price range do only 1080i. Most that do 720p are "fixed pixel" displays like plasma and DLP that are a bit pricier. The Toshiba LCoS does 1080p. All sets take all ATSC-valid inputs and convert them to their native display format (1080i, 720p, or 1080p). Most viewers report little degradation in such conversions. I think there have been/are some sets that can do both 720p and 1080i, but I don't know what they are. There is a long-running debate as to whether 720p or 1080i are better. I personally don't care.
- CRT-based RPTVs are typically set to stretch a 4:3 image to fill the 16:9 screen. This is done to avoid "burn-in" which is an uneven wear of the phophors in the displays (meaning you will permanently see "shadows" of the gray/black bars that would display otherwise). Sets can also be set to display in 4:3 with gray/black bars, remembering the above problem. Note that constant icons, scrolling marques, or status displays in video games can also cause burn-in. Note that plasmas (which also use phophors) also have burn-in risk.
- Many on the forum have gone with one of the various bulb-projection displays that do not have a burn-in risk. This includes DLP, LCD-RP, and LCoS technologies. Most have a very good picture, although they tend to not be as "deep" in their picture as a CRT-based set. They also cost a bit more, but a 43" DLP, for example, is very close to your range. A big benefit here is that you can watch 4:3 TV in 4:3!
- Net net: Go go a GOOD A/V specialty store and look around at all that is available to begin your understanding of this vast domain. It is not a simple subject, unfortunately, as much of this industry is still in a new technology growth mode, much like the early PC market.