(1.1) Is 1080p Essential for the Seventh Generation Console Gaming? ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ I do apologize for the use of technical terms without offering any practical explanation. So if you’re not technically minded, it’s best to avoid this section. Or feel free to contact me (chapter 11, last page). Most games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 are, and will be rendered in 720p primarily because it’s considered to be the sweet-spot between visuals and performance. This is largely due to the limited bandwidth between the GPU and onboard RAM (128bit instead of 256/512bit). In addition, the PS3 lacks the ultra-high-speed eDRAM and the unified memory architecture of the X360, which limits its chances of rendering visually intensive games at 1080p30/60 (with stable frame rate) even further. So the answer is no, 1080p displays are not essential for console gaming. However, 1080p displays do have their usefulness: 1. HTPC, PC Gaming and Viewing Text Based Contents 2. HD-DVD/Blu-Ray and Online Media 3. Full HD Broadcasting (1080i/1080p) Viewing distance and screen size also play a big role when choosing a panel. Also, If you’re interested in purchasing a quality LCD that is 40 inches or over, then 1080p is the only choice. (1.2) Is 1080p Essential for Viewing 1080p HD Movies? ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Simple answer, no! But, if you wish to maximize Blu-Ray and HD-DVD experience, 1080p Full-HD TV with true 24p support is highly recommended. Currently, videos are captured in two formats: film (analogue) and digital. Most movie cameras are mechanical in nature, and film is used to capture and store moving images. The film, depending on quality and generation can contain resolution equivalent to 12 million pixels (~3000p). But the definition of the picture is mostly governed by the focus. Most modern films converted from film to digital FHD (Full HD) will look amazing. However, movies filmed using the latest generation high-quality 35mm film, with accurate focusing, excellent mastering and post-production will look even better, and can truly show the potential of Full HD that is 1080p. Having said that, not all movies are lucky enough to get such exquisite treatment, in fact, some can look similar to enhanced DVD, especially low-budget and old/classic movies. In the digital arena, picture resolution is limited to 1080p (for the moment). Star Wars Episode II was one of the first movies to be filmed entirely in digital using Sony’s CineAlta HDW-F900 HD camera in true 1080p. The sequel (Episode III) was filmed using the second generation Sony CineAlta HDC-F950. As you may have noticed, the sharpness of the characters wasn’t at the level of 35mm film or CGI based movies. This is because the live action scenes did not contain the picture detail equivalent to 1080p, (due to the focus accuracy and the resolution of the captured image). In other words, the actual picture detail was below the captured resolution. As for CGI, it will always appear highly defined compared to the captured video. This is because; the CGI is the only medium that takes full advantage of all the available pixels in a given resolution. In simpler words, if a frame is rendered in 1080p, you will get picture detail equal to 1080p. Here are some images to illustrate what I mean: Screen-cap of a 1080p BD movie encoded using AVC (35mm) vs. screen-cap of a 1080p Samsung demo encoded using MPEG-2 HD (Digital) vs. screen-cap of GT5 Prologue at 1080p (CGI) So, 1080p is not a must have, it’s in fact optional. But this will change in the very near future. (1.3) 1080p Picture Processing on 720/768p TVs: ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Older LCD and Plasma TVs with standard resolution of 1024 x 720 to 1366 x 768p could only accept two HD resolutions: 720p/1080i, which meant, 1080p sources either had to be downscaled to 1280 x 720 and up-scaled to the panel’s resolution or, interlaced to 1080i, de- interlaced back to 1080p and downscaled to the panel’s resolution. During this multi- conversion processes, the image quality become slightly degraded. The latest 720/768p models give user the option of inputting 1080p directly, which will simply downscale the image to the panel’s native resolution. Some models even have complex algorithms embedded to help reduce most scaling artifacts. So make sure your future 720p set has this feature.