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01-31-2007, 05:38 AM
Okay, I'm still debating on getting a HDTV now or to wait....but here's my question...

Would a standard cable picture on a 720p 46" hdtv be the same quality as on a 1080p 50" hdtv? Both have cable thru s-video and the same brand, just different sizes and resolutions.

I'm thinking not only because the 1080 has twice the number of pixels so the picture would be at least a little smoother.

I saw a friend's 720p tv and the pq was pretty bad for cable. Some stations came in a little clearer but people's faces and outlines were very pixelated and backgrouds were almost so fuzzy I couldn't even figure out what it was sometimes. DVD's and games looked awesome but I couldn't live with the cable quality.

Any thoughts?

01-31-2007, 08:29 AM
Lots of thoughts on these issues. When you refer to cable feeds via S-video, do you mean analog broadcasts? If so, no digital HDTV is going to make them look particularly good. True, some displays are better at processing these signals than others, and the smaller the screen, the better this material is bound to look (simply because it's harder to see). But, in general, digital TVs have no business relying on S-video. Anyone who upgrades from a typical CRT to a large digital HDTV without planning to watch films and video at a minimum resolution of 480p--either via satellite/cable or standard DVD--via HDMI, DVI, or component is making a mistake. I'm almost of the mind that unless you intend to watch at least a little HD as quickly as possible, a high-grade digital TV may well be a waste of money. The fact of the matter is that many people who buy these sets and get their first taste of HD soon begin to lose their tolerance for anything less.

Here's the general skinny about HD at 720p and 1080p. On a 50" set viewed from a distance of 10' (or closer), the eye can't resolve the extra detail between 1080p and 720p. The pixels are just too small for most of us to see. With poor SD sources, neither resolution necessarily has an advantage. If the 1080p set's processing is poor, the SD picture might be visibly worse than that on a 720p set with better processing. All things being equal, however, I might lean toward the 1080p model, since images would be tighter--or smoother, as you say--though they would still be soft on both sets. Obviously, when you put a 46" TV into the mix, you'd have to move even closer to see any difference in resolution.

But you should be aware that the resolution numbers game is not the be-all and end-all of how a TV performs. Many other aspects of display technology are more important--grayscale, black level, gamma, and color decoding, to name just four. Choosing the right size and type of display for your environment and preferences, acquiring suitable material to watch, and evaluating performance on multiple fronts will usually produce a more satisfying result than simply buying on numbers.

Edit: It might be a good idea to add in this context that proper setup in the home--at the very least with a disk like DVE or AVIA--is vitally important for all but the least concerned about picture quality. Few TVs come out of the box with the proper settings for home use. A TV left to its own devices could easily make everything that it shows look significantly worse than it deserves. Because TVs in all but the most conscientious stores are programmed for a bright, garish environment or ignored altogether, sometimes seeing is not believing; in that case, firsthand viewing should be supplemented with the reports from professionals or informed enthusiasts.

02-01-2007, 05:35 AM
Thanks, that helped a lot.
There's just so much to think about.

Another question I have is comparing HD cable to Standard cable...if both were sent to the TV via S-Video would the picture end up being the same in the end?

I'm wondering because I would like to ask someone at Circuit City to show me how the tv looks with an S-video cable instead of the High Def that they are using to display the tv. But if the HD broadcast they send will look better even thru s-video it's not really helpful.

And since not all channels are in HD yet, do the standard cable channels (480 resolution) that are sent thru the hdmi cables still look as "bad" as the ones sent thru s-video from standard cable?

02-01-2007, 06:39 AM
Another question I have is comparing HD cable to Standard cable...if both were sent to the TV via S-Video would the picture end up being the same in the end?[
You don't get anything except 480i through S-video or composite. The answer to your question depends on how well the scaler in your TV handles that.

I can say, however, that by feeding a digital signal from my comcast/motorola HD (digital/HD cable) TV box via composite to my Toshiba 32HL66 results in a stunning picture, even on SD programs.

Likewise, when I used it's internal tuner (ATSC,NTSC) for OTA programs, the results were the same.

To put it simply, you've got analog cable. Unless you want to try for OTA HD, which requires a TV with built in tuners and local stations that offer this, or ante up for digital and/or HD cable, why bother?

02-01-2007, 06:57 AM
Yeah I agree, It's not worth it without getting a HD signal it seems...and what's holding me back is the need to run everything thru Tivo wich only allows S-Vid. So unless I forget about Tivo or bipass it and only record in SD but watch in HD OR upgrade to their HD DVR I will probably just wait and see what my options are in a few months.
I don't think it's worth it to get HD service yet if i can only get a few channels in HD anyway regardless of tivo or not.