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# GEOFFREY MORRISON BLOG

## 1080i v. 1080p

There has been a lot of concern and confusion over the difference between 1080i and 1080p. This stems from the inability of many TVs to accept 1080p. To make matters worse, the help lines at many of the TV manufacturers (that means you, Sony), are telling people that their newly-bought 1080p displays are really 1080i. They are idiots, so let me say this in big bold print, as far as movies are concerned THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1080i AND 1080p. See, I did it in caps too, so it must be true. Let me explain (if your eyes glaze over, the short version is at the end).

For clarification, let me start by saying that there are essentially no 1080i TVs anymore. Unless you bought a CRT based TV, every modern TV is progressive scan (as in LCD, Plasma, LCOS, DLP). They are incapable of displaying a 1080i signal as 1080i. So what we’re talking about here mostly applies to people with 1080p native displays.

Movies and almost all TV shows are shot at 24 frames-per-second (either on film or on 24fps HD cameras). All TVs have a refresh rate of 60Hz. What this means is that the screen refreshes 60 times a second. In order to display something that is 24fps on something that is essentially 60fps, you need to make up, or create new frames. This is done using a method called 3:2 pulldown (or more accurately 2:3 pulldown). The first frame of film is doubled, the second frame of film is tripled, the third frame of film is doubled and so on, creating a 2,3,2,3,2,3,2 sequence. It basically looks like this: 1a,1b,2a,2b,2c,3a,3b,4a… Each number is the original film frame. This lovely piece of math allows the 24fps film to be converted to be displayed on 60Hz products (nearly every TV in the US, ever).

This can be done in a number of places. With DVDs, it was all done in the player. With HD DVD, it is done in the player to output 1080i. With Blu-ray, there are a few options. The first player, the Samsung, added the 3:2 to the signal, interlaced it, and then output that (1080i) or de-interlaced the same signal and output that (1080p). In this case, the only difference between 1080i and 1080p is where the de-interlacing is done. If you send 1080i, the TV de-interlaces it to 1080p. If you send your TV the 1080p signal, the player is de-interlacing the signal. As long as your TV is de-interlacing the 1080i correctly, then there is no difference. Check out this article for more info on that.

The next Blu-ray players (from Pioneer and the like) will have an additional option. They will be able to output the 1080p/24 from the disc directly. At first you may think that if your TV doesn't accept 1080p, you'll miss out on being able to see the "unmolested" 1080p/24 from the disc. Well even if your TV could accept the 1080p/24, your TV would still have to add the 3:2 pulldown itself (the TV is still 60Hz). So you're not seeing the 1080p/24 regardless.

The only exception to that rule is if you can change the refresh on the TV. Pioneer's plasmas can be set to refresh at 72 Hz. These will take the 1080p/24, and do a simple 3:3 pull down (repeating each frame 3 times).

Short Version
What this all means is this:

• When it comes to movies (as in HD DVD and Blu-ray) there will be no visible difference between the 1080i signal and the 1080p signal, as long as your TV correctly de-interlaces 1080i. So even if you could input 1080p, you wouldn't see a difference (because there is none).

• There is no additional or new information in a 1080p signal from movie based content.

• The only time you would see a difference is if you have native 1080p/60 content, which at this point would only come from a PC and maybe the PS3. 1080p/60 does have more information than 1080i/30, but unless you're a gamer you will probably never see native 1080p/60 content. It is incredibly unlikely that they will ever broadcast 1080p (too much bandwidth) or that 1080p/60 content will show up on discs (too much storage space and no one is using it to record/film).

So all of you people who bought 1080p displays only to be told by the companies that you had bought 1080i TVs, relax. The TV will convert everything to 1080p. Now if you bought a TV that doesn't de-interlace 1080i correctly, well, that's a whole other story.

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How much better?? I have a 4 year old Mitsubishi WS-55413 that has resolutions of 480i, 480p and 1080i. It doesn't do 720p for some reason. Anyway I have been considering purchasing a new 1080p HDTV to get the full benefit of my new Panasonic DMP-BD30 Blu-Ray player. Even though my Mits is over 4 years old it still has a great picture especially with Comcast HD channels. My question is how much better is 1080p compared to 1080i? Is it really noticeable? Thanks.Eddie

Just wanted to mention that this line:"Movies and almost all TV shows are shot at 24 frames-per-second (either on film or on 24fps HD cameras)."is incorrect. Movies are shot at 24, yes, but all NTSC SD broadcasts (the VAST majority of TV in north america) are shot and broadcast at 29.97fps. The majority of HDTV shot in North America is also 29.97fps. This has been the case since the introduction of colour. PAL is shot and broadcast at 25fps. There's also SECAM, but I have absolutely no clue what the specifications for that format are. In North America/Europe at the least, TV is VERY rarely shot at 24fps.

So, I have a DLP 50" projection TV that does 1080i. Should I have any problems with a Blue-Ray player not being able to output 1080i. I was looking at the Sharp Aquos Blue-Ray player at Costco. Would it work for me?

Wow! When I began reading this thread my eyes were opened and I saw the light. But the further I read, the dimmer the light got! Now I need to ask a question about my new 46" Sharp Aquos LCD HDTV (model LC-46D43U. It says it supports 1080i (HDTV), 480i (SDTV), 480p (EDTV), 720p (HDTV), and 768p . But I have no idea whether it will also --as you said above-- correctly display (ie: deinterlace) 1080i so that it displays as good a picture as 1080p (I only use it to watch movies and TV.)

So will blu ray work on my 55" 1080i samsung (rp) tv? The sales person at circut city said it would not work.

Let me make this simple. If you are using a 1080p source, it will look better on a 1080p display than it will on a 1080i display. Case closed! Stop confusing people with your interlacing/ de-interlacing mumbo jumbo. I have a blu ray player and currently watch it on a 1080i rear proj. t.v. However, I will now be replacing my set with a full hd 1080p t.v. because it looks better. This is not rocket science people.Also, for those of you who are tired of seeing blured HD sports when images are moving quickly on your hd t.v., it is because plasma is far better at motion rendering than lcd or rear proj. So, if you want the best picture when purchasing a new home theatre, get a blu-ray player (hd dvd is toast now) and buy a full hd 1080p plasma. Pioneer PDP-5010FD is the best reviewed on the market at the moment and you cannot go wrong with that.

Great post and thanks for all the additional comments as well. That being said, On my Toshiba 62MX195, which is a 1080p set, when I am watching a cable show ie HD Discovery,the tv displays that the signal coming in is 1080i. So that means that my TV is projecting it at the true 1080p resolution?

first off,all shows are filmed in 24fps, hence the 2:3 pulldown, 29.97fps is the corrisponding result, if you go look at a film camera in a studio it does 24fps, and digtal camcorder does 29.97 fps b/c it is digital. but how many movies are shot with a camcorder. Second the only time that motion looks blured on Interlace video is when you pause it, other wise it looks like regular film. 1080p is a marketing gimic. I wook for the 4 largest cable company in Canada, HD tv will never be brodcast in 1080p, no bandwith, look at you computer, how much power does it take to send a 1080p signal you are sending 6 megabytes a second. That is a lot, and 90min movie is 32Gb uncompressed, and if it is compressed then you aren't getting your full resulotion. Right now most tv stations are lucky to broadcast 4 hours of Hd content and most of the hd content isn't 1080i. The "HD revoltion" is a ploy to sell tv's to everyone who has tv's and to free up carrier waves for wireless internet. If anyone

first off,all shows are filmed in 24fps, hence the 2:3 pulldown, 29.97fps is the corrisponding result, if you go look at a film camera in a studio it does 24fps, and digtal camcorder does 29.97 fps b/c it is digital. but how many movies are shot with a camcorder. Second the only time that motion looks blured on Interlace video is when you pause it, other wise it looks like regular film. 1080p is a marketing gimic. I wook for the 4 largest cable company in Canada, HD tv will never be brodcast in 1080p, no bandwith, look at you computer, how much power does it take to send a 1080p signal you are sending 6 megabytes a second. That is a lot, and 90min movie is 32Gb uncompressed, and if it is compressed then you aren't getting your full resulotion. Right now most tv stations are lucky to broadcast 4 hours of Hd content and most of the hd content isn't 1080i. The "HD revoltion" is a ploy to sell tv's to everyone who has tv's and to free up carrier waves for wireless internet. If anyone

sorry, about that java messed up, hasn't noticed yet, that all digital tv is still around the 480i or p range and still looks better on a crt than an hd tv, so unless all you plan on watching is blue-ray movies don't rush to get a HD tv, b/c all I get all day is service calls to houses about people complaining about how bad 480I looks on there 50"plasma and that there 34"crt(which is all most as big consider that the 50" is widescreen and the 34" is 4:3 and 95% of tv is still 4:3 so unless you like short fat people on or streched pictures) don't rush into it. Wait till almost all shows are HD(true HD) its' just like when Color tv came out for years only a couple of shows a day where in color the rest in b/w. most people just bought color tv's when there old b/w set broke.Just my thoughts as a person who gets 2-3 service calls a day about poor HD quality, when it's just lack of HD content.

Hello,I just bought a Philips 42PFL7962D(TV). I'll use this in combination with the LG LH-RH760IA(DVD). TV uses 1080P while DVD uses 1080i. HDMI is connected. It's not possible to change the resolution on the TV itself, I can only do that on the DVD player. The best image I get is when I use 576i/p. When I go to 720 or higher(1080i), the screen gets less clear. This since the signal is not well converted. I really need to buy a scaler or this problem can be fixed with a cable etc? http://www.p4c.philips.com/files/4/42pfl7962d_12/42pfl7962d_12_pss_nld.pdf

I pretty much knew this but had trouble explaining it to others, so now I'll just pass along this link for your blog.thnx

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Great info to keep in mind when making my next television investment, which will be sometime during the next few months. Thanks for the info!

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