You may want to see how 720p vs 1080p looks, without actually watching two distinct HDTVs. This is however impossible. There are a few guides around the internet that offer screenshots of 1080p vs. 720p vs. other resolutions but you should take them with a grain of salt as they are not exactly accurate. You must also understand that most of them depict how upscaled (resized) video content looks not how two screens of different resolutions look. Upscaled 720p displayed on 1080p (or a higher resolution) screen, looks slightly better than 720p on a 720p display of the same size, if you sit at the optimal distance for 1080p.
If you dont want to go and see with your own eyes the differences in a store, these are the closest to reality 720p vs 1080p comparison pictures. The upscaling method used for them produces a result somewhat similar to how those images would look on two different displays of same size (one 720p and the other 1080p). I have been criticized for those images by people that consider them misleading. I partially agree that they are misleading, but they are the closest comparison between 720p and 1080p displays that you can get without actually looking at two HDTVs or photos of TVs. Again, dont base your decision entirely on those images but more on what you have learned throughout this guide. Also, note that in the case of real content that is not static but moving (video), it is much harder to notice defects and artifacts because your brain focuses on the movement and it doesnt have the time to focus on details, as in the case of a static image.
The following image is an actual photo of two screens, one having 720p physical resolution and the other 1080p. In other words, this photo is more realistic and accurate than the rest. You can clearly see the lines (space) between pixels on the skin portion. Unfortunately there is only one photo. Credit GameSpot Forums – Playstation 3 – Difference between 720p and 1080p.
If you are interested on how upscaled content of different resolutions and encoding qualities looks, here is a comparison image. Credit Plastik.hu – Comparison between Xvid, DVD, HD 720p and HD 1080p
Note: There is a difference between how upscaled content looks and how content of native resolution looks. Content of a lower resolution (720p), when upscaled and displayed on a high resolution display (1080p) looks better than lower resolution content (720p) being displayed on a lower resolution display (720p). In most cases 720p upscaled and displayed on 1080p TV looks better than 720p content displayed on 720p TV. The difference is not easy to see in many cases but it exists.
Continue reading the next part of this guide – 720p vs 1080p – Technical Comparison – where you can see how the two resolutions compare at a theoretical level. The guides compares pixel density for screens of equal size and screen sizes for pixels of equal size.
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