HD Confusion

While I was reading about Engadget HD tonight, I came across the “Xbox 360 HD DVD ad: 6x the resolution = 6x the…breakdancers?” post. I thought the ad was fairly effective in communicating that HD DVD gives you a fuller experience than DVD. The use of breakdancers was a bit lacking in the classy department but overall I think the potential consumers of Microsoft’s HD-DVD external unit got the point. But that’s not why I’m posting tonight.

After watching the video, I decided to read some of the comments. I usually don’t do this because I have wasted too many minutes reading comments that really have no value whatsoever, but today I wanted to waste a few because I was curious as to what others had to say about the ad and HD-DVD in general. And, I came across a comment and a reply to that comment that I thought was ridiculously funny.

Comment: My LCD TV only outputs 1080i anyways, no problem for me. I’m picking this up on release.

Reply: No LCD (or DLP, or plasma, or LCOS, or anything other than CRT) outputs anything interlaced. It might only accept a 1080i signal and not a 1080p signal, but any fixed display technology will always output a progressive image.

Now, the first comment clearly signals the lack of knowledge about what 1080i is. But then to post a reply, a definitive reply!, for the world to see and make a fool of himself was too much for me. I just had to blog about it.

You see, no matter what display technology you have, whether it shows motion pictures in an interlaced or progressive manner wholly depends on how the motion picture is delivered to your display. There are many HD formats but let’s just talk about 1080i. Most TV stations, satellite and cable programming broadcasts HD content in 1080i. If you simply plugged the antenna, satellite or cable box into your HD TV that display will show motion picture at 1080 horizontal lines and update it in interlaced mode. Now, if you have a de-interlacer or an up-converter that manipulates the 1080i content and generates a progressively updated motion picture your HD TV will now display the original 1080i content in 1080p or something else. The person who replied also has some misinformation about CRTs. CRTs are just like any other display in that it can display motion picture in interlaced or progressive. The confusion probably comes from nearly all video sources having been interlaced when CRTs were the only choice for TV technology.

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