I manage a retail store specializing in Sony flat panel TVs, and am often asked the question - what is the difference.
I will try and help a little !
For starters, lets take standard HD ready, or HD resolution.
A flat panel Tv is made up of rows (or lines) of dots.These dots are known as pixels. A standard HD ready tv has a lot more lines of dots than a standard tube tv. If you take a standard Sony LCD panel, you will see the resolution is 1366 x 768.
This means the screen has 1366 dots across the width of the screen, and 768 down. Therefore you can work out how many dots there are on the screen by multiplying the 2 numbers. 1366 x 768 = 1049088. Thats just over 1 million pixels making up the picture. (with me so far ?)
Ok - now a FULL HD panel.
The resolution of a full HD ready panel is 1920 x 1080. When we multiply the figures we get - 1980 x 1080 = 2073600. Thats just over 2 million pixels making up the picture.
Q -So double the pixels means a better picture yes ??
A - Not necessarily !!
This is where a lot of confusion lies, you see the quality of the picture is dependant upon what you are watching.
If you are watching standard tv, the broadcast quality is simply not enough to fill all the dots on an Hd screen. The TV has to work to add extra dots to the picture so it fills the screen, this is the reason why when you get too close to a screen it looks fuzzy or "pixelated". The more dots there are on a screen, the harder the tv has to work to fill those dots. Therefore, if you are watching a standard broadcast - the cheaper standard HD ready Tv will give you a better picture !
SKY HIGH DEFINITION
The Sky hi-definition service is well under way, and for those of you that have not seen it .......WOW !! It will blow you away with the quality. Quite simply the HD transmission from Sky contains more pixels, so the picture fills the screen, the tv does not have to work as hard, and therefore the picture quality is much better.
What most people dont realize though, is that the Sky high definition service only currently outputs 1 million pixels, so if you plug it into a FULL Hd panel, it will only fill half of the pixels on the screen, so the TV still has a lot of work to do. The picture is still good, and miles better than a standard broadcast, but you are still not seeing its full potential.
SO WHY FULL HD ?
There are many full HD sources on their way, the new high definition dvd discs that are just starting to emerge (blueray for example) will offer a full 2 million pixel output, and the long awaited PS3 games console will also be able to fill all the pixels on a full HD panel. Also, inevitably, Sky will at some stage in the future probably launch an enhanced broadcast.
SO WHAT DO I BUY THEN ?
Well it all depends what you are going to be watching. If you are going to be simply playing a PS3 and watching blueray high definition films, then maybe it is worth spending the extra cash and going the full hog. Me personally, i considered both options, and went for the standard HD ready panel. It can be argued that a full HD panel is more "future perfect" but i didnt want to suffer a worse picture in the meantime. Also, i have seen both versions working, and to be honest, i could not really tell the difference. I am also very wary of the whole situation, especially when you look at the way digital cameras have gone over the years. I have a 3.2 million pixel camera, that takes great photos - yet if you go to buy one today, you apparently need 7.2 or 10.1 million pixels. - is the human eye really that good !!!????
Now that you hopefully understand some of the basics of how the Tvs work, and how they have to fill in the dots to enhance the picture. If you look at the current Sony BRAVIA range, you will see that most of them have a Bravia engine. This Bravia engine is the piece of electronic trickery inside your Tv that fills the dots in for you. It does a pretty good job, and there are other toys too in various models that can enhance the colour etc etc. Considering how much work the set has to do to give you the nice big picture you want - in my experience these toys are all good, and the more the better.
My own decision was to buy a Tv without the extra pixels, but use some of the money i saved towards a model with extra toys in it. (i went for the V-series)
It is also rumoured that over the next 5 - 10 years, the resolution will be stepped up again and again - much like digital cameras have. Some experts speculate that we will be seeing 7000 x 5000 panels in about 10 years time. Thats 35 million pixels !!
I hope this guide helps you a little in your decision. please remember that these are my own personal opinions, and others who work in the field may recommend otherwise. I guess alot of it is down to personal preference.
Full Hd is better, but it is only worth spending the extra money if you are going to fully utilize it.
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