When you are selecting a high definition TV (HDTV) there are a number of factors you have to consider. Some things you might consider are : do you like the look of the TV, will it fit into your room and then a lot of technical stuff that might make you eyes glaze over or might really interest you. This article will explain some of the technical details, specifically the picture resolution and the way the picture is produced on the screen. Picture resolution and scanning are neatly summed up by numbers like 1080i and 1080p. We will discuss what these numbers mean, some other types of picture types available and the difference between 1080i and 1080p.
The 1080 bit refers to the picture resolution. Both 1080i and 1080p have the same picture resolution. This means there are 1920 pixels of the image down the screen and 1080 pixels across the screen. This equates to 1920 x 1080 pixels on the screen in total. For some reason the industry only uses the number of pixels across the screen as a indication of the picture resolution. 1080 picture resolution is the best you can get at the moment. Other types of resolution are 720p (1280 x 720), 480p (720 x 480) and 480i (640 x 480).
The i and p bit indicate the way the image is put on the screen or the scan type. The i stands for interlaced. Interlaced scanning is an older method of putting the picture onto the screen. It is more common in older style CRT TVs. The p stands for progressive and is the modern way to put the picture on the screen.
The picture comes on the screen very quickly but the progressive technique is smoother and less flickery than the interlaced method. Thus it is claimed that the picture will be better using the progressive method although it is hardly noticeable to the eye. It may also be better for fast paced action movies or rapid changes to the image but, again, it is debatable whether the eye will pick up on this.
1080p is the best you can get at the moment in terms of latest technology. It will allow you to get the most out of the next generation DVDs, blu ray and HD DVD.
1080i is the current best standard for HD broadcast television.
Thus 1080i and 1080p simply mean how clear the picture will be on the screen and how quickly the picture is put on the screen.