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Is there really a 1080p advantage?

Justin Murray

Everyone is hearing a lot about 1080p resolution these days. Sony is promoting the resolution as a primary feature in the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft recently added the functionality to the Xbox 360. All of these big resolution numbers are nice and all, but is 1080p really all that it's cracked up to be?

According to the Imaging Science Foundation -- a professional organization that trains TV calibration techniques to technicians -- the three most important factors of a television's image quality are contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy. Resolution ranks fourth and we're surprised that other important factors such as response time didn't rank above resolution. Tests done at CNET confirm the relative non-importance of 1080p over 720p; they state they find only minor differences in the two HD resolutions -- and only in very specific scenarios.

If professionals who spend much of their time reviewing HDTV sets have difficulties telling the difference between 720p and 1080p, will the general public have any reason to spend the extra dough on a 1080p set? Even if a person could notice the difference, would they care if they can see individual nose hairs when they are when being shot at in Resistance: Fall of Man or Gears of War? With the near zero difference the additional pixels make, Microsoft and Sony are sure spending a lot of money -- and driving up development costs -- for a feature few will truly appreciate.

See Also:
The future of high-definition gaming

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