The hidden HDTV quality scam

There is a scam taking place and precious few people know that it is being perpetrated.

Walk into any stereo store, best buy or other TV dealer and ask about HDTV. The salesperson will of course show you the latest sale item, explain how great the picture is, maybe talk about HDDVD or BluRay but almost never will the conversation turn to pixel depth, why? Well because this years newest HDTVs are more concerned about price and less concerned about quality. Sure the quality is great and it is always getting better but if you visit a Costco you will see what I am writing about.

At Costco just as an example you can see racks of big screens. There are Plasmas, LCDs, a token rear projection. But, the little tag will tell you a little bit more. That tag with the price will tell you the resolution and the resolution really ranges. The best you can find and the one that people think that they are getting is 1080P but out of 20 sets in my latest trip to Costco only 2 had this magical high resolution.

What are these resolutions?
OK, so maybe you are now scratching your head wondering what all of these resolutions mean. HDTV has three main resolution, 1080, 720, and 480. Here are the resolutions.

1080p 1,920×1,080 lines
720p 1,280×720 lines
480p 852×480 lines

As compared to your standard computer monitor which is either 1024×768 or 1280×1024. Or if we look at what we are used to today the horizontal resolution of VHS tape is (about) 240 lines; broadcast TV (about) 330 lines, laserdisc (about) 420 lines; and DVD (about) 480 lines

Progressive vs Interlaced
The P or I at the end is the way that the TV screen gets painted. Just to simplify, I, which is interlaced is the way that a TV generally looks with every second line being painted at a time and alternating to every other second line at once. P stands for progressive which means that every line is painted with every refresh and looks a lot more smooth to the eye to watch.

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