High-definition televisions are available in three primary resolutions: 720p,1080i and 1080p. Understanding the differences between each type of resolution will allow you to make the best decision when you decide to buy a new high-definition television.
Resolution and Scan
The resolution of a television determines the quality of image it is capable of producing. The numbers 720 and 1080 represent the amount of scan lines, or pixels, that the television uses to produce a picture. The more lines, the higher the picture quality. The letters “p” and “i” represent the type of scan technique the television is programmed to use. A progressive scan television refreshes each scan line in numerical order every 60th of a second. An interlaced scan refreshes each scan line alternately every 30th of a second. Progressive scanning results in a smoother, more detailed image quality than interlaced scanning.
The cost of a television usually increases as the resolution quality increases. Typically, a 720p resolution television will cost less than a television with 1080i resolution. A television with 1080p resolution will be the most expensive type, given that all other specifications are the same.
It is important to consider what level of high-definition you need. The 1080p resolution will produce the best images. However, the source of your entertainment must support this maximum resolution to benefit from the higher priced specification. Currently, only Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Blu-ray players and select On-Demand video sources support 1080p. Also, note that a 1080p source will only display in the maximum resolution of the television on which it is displayed. For example, if you are playing a PlayStation 3 game with 1080p specifications on a 720p high-definition television, the game will be displayed in 720p.