back to article How to choose the right screen size

How big is big enough? It’s a question many of us have asked, as we cruise the aisles of Currys or John Lewis, looking for a new TV. It’s all too easy to be seduced by a special offer, or by extra features like net connectivity, and end up with a TV that’s larger than you anticipated. And while you might make space for a jumbo …

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Boffin

subtitles

"If you're waiting for a time when TVs won't be superseded by the next generation in six months, you will never buy a TV again. Just buy one you think is really good and use it for three years or more, like everyone who doesn't feel the urge to condemn rapid technological development as a bad thing."

Then I'll never buy a TV again and I'm not the only one. The sales figues for tvs are worrying electrical retailers as people who don't want to spend £££ on the never ending merry-go-round of the next big thing are not buying. We've gone from CRT through LCD, plasma, HD, Freeview, more HDHD, bigger and bigger and now it's 3D all in only a few years.

People bought a tv when their old CRT died and while some have swapped once, only gadget show fans have updated to the latest tech every 6 months.

"just buy one you think is really good "

How? What criteria am I using? In the shop each screen looks different most of which is apparently due to the transmission cable the shops use to transmit to all the screens. So I can't compare screens. Also there's no sound, so I can't compare the audio quality. So that leaves me with a stream of numbers and technical specifications which mean nothing and when you look on the net or in magazines for advice you get diametrically opposing views on everything.

For example I've been told that for games I *must* have a plasma as <insert technobabble here> and I *mustn't* have a plasma as the HUD from my favourite game will get burnt into the screen. So, who do I listen to?

Repeat for every other technical aspect of the television.

"use it for three years or more, like everyone who doesn't feel the urge to condemn rapid technological development as a bad thing."

This is not a luddite thing, the rapid technological development you love isn't development. Stuck my old CRT next to my mates HD tv with Halo Reach on both. No discernable difference in the picture quality.

Mum went to currys (other shops are available) and bought a telly when their CRT one died. This was 3 years ago and they're on their 3rd tv now. They keep dying, blocks of red pixels, power not working, etc. They're under guarantee so they keep getting given new ones. It's hardly inspiring me to spend upwards of £500 on something that seems destined to break.

So why should I buy a telly that isn't that much better and that'll only last 3+ years when my old one lasted 13+ ? Please explain to me how that is "technological development". An identical product that doesn't last as long as the previous iteration is regression, not improvement.

As another example take DAB which has been set as standard here, but there are other better DAB versions now so we're told we should use an upgraded system and the government is wasting money on DAB. When does it stop? Do we role out a new transmission network every year and people have to buy new kit every year to access it? The old analogue system has been around for how long again?

I could just as soon call you a gadgetfreak with too much money/credit for buying into the merry-go-round, pointless blanket insults aren't helpful are they!

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You're right, you don't need a new TV

If you can't tell the difference between 1080p and 625 lines analogue, then you're either blind or partially sighted.

So your mother had bad luck with TVs; that's a shame, but one piece of anecdotal evidence does not mean all modern TVs are crap and unreliable. My own mother picked up her HD TV about the same time yours did, and it's worked perfectly since the day she got it. Guess that means all HD TVs are good, right?

As for your "pointless blanket insults", it was good of you to check that I have a 3D TV before calling me a gadget freak with too much money. Oh, wait, you didn't - you just jerked the knee.

Now as it happens, I actually do have a 3D TV. I saved for it for half a year and I bought the best TV I could afford. I also paid for a 5-year extended warranty on it. Know why I planned this way? Because I don't "buy into the merry-go-round" - I intend to get full value for my money and use that TV for five years, if not more.

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glasses, 3d or otherwise

As you've not seen the tvs in quesetion, you can't really comment on our visual acuity. If you have a small screen, you don't need HD. The HD is there to fill the blanks in on your big screen.

Exciting ascii art diagram - this is how a pixel looks on a CRT tv

#

this is the corresponding area on a big HD tv viewing SD

@@@

@#@

@@@

the HD fills in the @s and smooths the edges so you see

/ -- \

| # |

\ -- /

with nice curved edges that you had on the smaller CRT.

My mum's was an example of technology failure, about a third of the people I know who've had new tvs have had problems of one kind or another, some as minor as a few dead pixels, others DOA when they took it out of the box. Others had various breakdowns and failures over the next year.

Old tvs, no out of the box failures, very few problems until tv the tv died totally many years later.

The new TV tech is too delicate, which suits the manufacturers just fine because they can sell more of them. 1 CRT tv lasts as long as 3 new tvs so you can go and spend more money with them.

No jerking of knees or elbows required.

"like everyone who doesn't feel the urge to condemn rapid technological development as a bad thing."

This is the kind of thing only people who've spent or are going to spend a lot of money on a gadget say...and you have.

So you had a CRT before? Bought a bluray player? Bought sky HD/3D?

And you bought the extended warranty, more money spent but which is now essential as they break. Extended warranties have been a cash cow for retailers for years as the percentage of people needing to make use of them was very low and consumer bodies recommended not buying them for anything. With new tvs it's a must have and the same comsumer bodies say you *should* get an extended warranty for your shiny new one. Surely that proves their fragility and unreliability.

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FAIL

No, actually it doesn't

Preparing for the worst does not mean that the worst is going to happen. It just means that if it does, you're covered and hence do not have to come to El Reg forums to pule and whine about your terrible experiences.

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Heart

hmm

If the worst that can happen has a vastly higher probablility of happening sooner with the new (with such a high probability that you have to take out extra security) then the old is better. Maybe not technically, but stability wise, certainly. Insurance for an 18 year old driver is £3000, for a 30 year old £300 as the 30 year old is less likely to crash.

It's like saying that rock climbing is safer than climbing stairs because you've had to rope up to go climbing. The need for a safety net doesn't make the new better.

Forgive me for wanting to buy something that doesn't have a high chance of breaking before the year's out.

As for "pule and whine about your terrible experiences"

1 - they aren't my experiences because I haven't bought a new telly

2 - I refer you to your original post whining that I'm a luddite

3 - my original post was bemoaning that there are so many bits of technical information and varied opinions on how to interpret them and updated versions of it all, it's hard to know what to buy so you're not left with an HD-DVD collection when you should have bought bluray

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Upscaling is important too

Compression is important, but if you're watching SD material on an HD set the upscaling and filtering also makes a massive difference.

I use an HTPC using DXVA for rendering with carefully chosen codecs, and 0 TV scaling (since the PC always outputs 1080p) and watch Freeview. All sources look great, with artifacts greatly reduced. OTOH my friend's Sky+ on an equally sized TV looks, frankly, like shit with tons of artifacts and blockyness.

Properly upscaled SD material on an HD set can look a lot better than native SD, even with the crap bitrates some channels use.

Btw. I sit about 1.5m from my 42" and I'm pretty sure I could tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. I never understood why people by massive sets and then sit miles away from them.

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WTF?

Help!

El Reg

Can we have a terminology guide, that last post was just gobblydegook

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sixty

I had a last generation Pioneer 50", and the difference between Sky SD and HD was minimal to say the least (might be because the Pioneers had pretty good inbuilt scalers)... With the Pioneer 60" it was much more noticable... HD is good, and I have it...but I could live without it...

Its strange how they shrink tho... I took the tape measure out more than once to double check the size...

Thats sitting 10ft from the screen btw...

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all depends on your vision

you can use 'retina' calculations to calculate the right size of a tv for your room and depending on the content you mostly watch. you can use wiki or other sources to get it right. from my findings it looks like THX is using calculations based on 'retina' of human eye as they usually state closer viewing distances than others. on my 40" while watching 1080p source i can't go closer than 1.2metres, i start to recognize pixels, my vision is ok, not perfect but don't need glasses. for SD content i need to be at least 3 metres away from the screen. so it really depends on the content and your vision.

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Jobs Horns

Retina - that's only one factor.

Don't listen to the snake oil salesmen! Your visual acuity is dependent on a large number of factors (as any photographer or optician knows), aperture (iris) size, lens quality, ambient light conditions, display brightness, whether the display is reflective or emissive to name but a few. The resolution of your retina at its finest point (yep, it isn't uniform) is only one factor of many.

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yep

that's why i suggest ppl to do their own observations with existing gear to work out what's best for them. i used to sell projectors and never really understood my customers wanting huge screens and viewing distance wasn't far enough and it was at the times HD was just starting.

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FAIL

Bedroom

A former colleague (young lad, first proper job, bit of spare cash) tootled off to one of those warehouses to buy himself a new flat-screen TV. When it came to paying the salesboy did a decent job and talked him into buying it on credit, then pointed out that he could now afford a much bigger screen. Result? Young lad, tiny bedroom in his parents house, 50" screen. Neck-ache or what? It works both ways y'know.

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Beamer

My projector screen's 100" (2.5m) and I watch it from just under 4m away. I don't need a TV, just a PC and pj - I can watch all the (mostly US) TV shows I like on that.

I saw a post somewhere that had a BluRay 720p image blown up to 1080p dimensions, vs an actual 1080p native image from a BluRay and I could barely tell the difference, and although my eyesight's not great, this was from close up.

Perhaps I'd be able to tell the difference on an actual BluRay disc if my pj was 1080P (it's an Infocus 7210 which has the DarkChip 3 technology, which was pretty good a few years ago when I bought it and is still going strong).

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WTF?

But anyone with a flat screen tv would already know this?

You'd do your homework before buying surely?

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Anonymous Coward

So why oh why

Don't broadcasters stick to 1280x720p50 rather than the hideous 1440x1080i bodge?

The former is immune to interlace artifacts, has more temporal resolution, the spatial resolution is not significantly worse, and it may compress better.

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MJI
Silver badge

Possibly historical

They are exactly the same settings as used by HDV.

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Far too much work there

I've a much better method:

1) Find your spot for your TV

2) Buy the biggest thing that'll fit / you can afford

Simple.

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Silver badge

cheapie lcd

22" and I can clearly see the difference between SD, SD(upscaled) and HD

Then again I only sit 75cm from it most of the time (It's on the wall above my computer monitor)

Corner placement only made sense for Tvs when they were bulky and had long rearward protrusions - ie, they were the only spot you could put the things and not lose too much space.

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HD/SD comparisons

I did a fairly basic comparison between 1080p Blu-ray and 480p DVD, using the Up! combo back - the Blu-ray went into the PS3, the DVD went into the Xbox 360 (which upscales it) and both were shown on my 40" 1080p TV.

And... yes, there was a perceptible difference in visual quality. It was slight, but it was definitely there.

But. Was it enough to affect my enjoyment of the film? Not in the least.

Overall, it confirmed my previous sentiments. Generally, I'll be sticking to DVDs - aside from anything else, they're usable pretty much anywhere, whereas relatively few laptops/relatives/friends/bedrooms/etc have a blu-ray player. The only exception is where the "combo" pack is cheap enough, or where it's an animated or CGI-heavy movie, as I think animated graphics do significantly benefit from the higher resolution.

(on a similar note/rant: has anyone done a "blind" test with 3D technology? I'd love to see the results of sitting a bunch of people in front of a cinema screen, giving them 3D glasses and sticking on a 2D version of something like Avatar. I suspect a significant percentage would swear the 3D effects were amazing...)

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No

DVDs are not 480p, they also aren't 576i. These are resolutions that came out a long time after DVDs started out.

A reference encoding on DVD can have around 700 vertical lines, i.e. closer to 720p. The DVD reference standard exceeded broadcast quality when it was introduced, 480p and 576i are frequently misquoted as they roughly equate to the NTSC (525 lines, minus 50 for data) and PAL (625 lines, minus 50 for data) picture standards.

Disney have always been meticulous with their DVD encoding, hence an upscaled DVD doesn't look that much different than the BD, as the difference is between 720p (roughly) and 1080p.

As for enjoyment of the film, that will, invariably, be based on whether you like the film or not and have nothing to do with the image quality.

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re your rant

The only 3d-display experience i have is from CAVE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_Automatic_Virtual_Environment), and there i always felt disappointed, until one day during setup i saw it cycling through setting for different assumptions of eye-to-eye distance. At about twice the usually assumed distance it looked amazing, though definitly not "right" :)

So i'm definitly not blind to that "3d" effect but my brain seems to automatically expect anything on a screen to be 2d (resp. ignore "3d" if it is) unless it is severly exaggerated (to the point where i would get sick had i to sit through a whole movie at that setting).

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FAIL

Bzzzt

Yes, they are. Suspect you're confusing vertical lines with vertical resolution, not at all the same thing. DVD's are mpeg2 encoded at either 720x576 or 720x486 generally. I can also assure you those resolutions were in very common use in broadcast behind the scenes well before DVD came along. Google "D-1 sony" if you don't believe me.

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Happy

we don't see the quality

DVDs may be encoded at 720x576. But most budget films come from a USA master tape that is only at 500lines NTSC. Old BBC analogue programmes have only got about 500 lines PAL resolution.

Then they took a 16:9 film, squeeze it in horizontally to fit into a PAL frame and then expand it horizontally to fill a 16:9 sd TV. My old high-end 32" Panasonic widescreen crt displays about ~600lines. So still not showing me full PAL resolution.

DVD is not capable of showing me full PAL. It wasn't designed too.

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Showing the workings

If anyone wants to check the maths, the working out is all on show over on my blog:

http://gonedigital.net/2011/05/19/showing-the-workings/

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720 .vs 1080 in my case

Our first HD set was a 50" 720p plasma. It hung on the wall about 10 feet from where we sit. We loved it - and the picture was stunning. However, I kept hearing about how much better 1080p was, so a few years later, we bought a 52" 1080p plasma. It's also beautiful, but frankly I can't tell the difference. The 1080p unit is now the living room unit, and the 720p unit is the downstairs unit, but I pretty convinced I could swap them and the family would never even notice.

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Silver badge
Boffin

But you're asking the wrong question...

It's all very well speaking of the size of the pixels - but if you're not watching something whose format matches the resolution of the viewing device you're at the mercy of the upscaler. Which ought to be a piece of cake these days - I'm old enough to remember when standards converters took three 19" racks - but, for example, the upscaler in a Humax box is significantly better than the one in a Toshiba TV

And of course, you're watching a *seriously* compressed image anyway, in most cases. A full-bandwidth SD image pushes 270Mb/s a second but is transmitted at most at two megabits or so - variable due to statistical multiplexing - so there's a lot of information which the codec hopes you won't notice is missing. (Hint, watch the snooker on BBC 2 sometime - a beautiful detailed picture until someone moves and then it's covered with jpeg artefacts.) Some of the commercial channels are broadcasting at under 3/4Mbits/s, and look it, irrespective of the display.

HD images run to 3 gigabits a second and are compressed - even on the BBC - to around 10Mb/s - a compression ratio of 300-1. Even Bluray only has fifty megabits a second or so in the stream - so whatever you're watching, it's unlikely to be showing everything that's theoretically visible.

An interview with Andy Quested at the BBC might be interesting.

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Ivor Biggen

120-inch screen via 1080p projector, viewing distance is sat 5 metres away.

Even 720p stuff looks not that bad, but 1080p sources like Blu-ray are excellent and broadcast HD is nearly as good.

Games consoles are also super fun at this kind of size.

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WFW
Stop

Times two error in resolution?

'The generally accepted figure for human visual acuity is one minute of arc, so we need to calculate the distance at which one pixel is equivalent to that.'

We want the minimum distance to _not_ see pixels, so you want the distance at which one pixel is 1/2 arc-minute (or less).

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Anonymous Coward

That's for 20/20 vision

The one minute of arc figure is for 20/20 vision which is the lowest level of visual acuity that is considered acceptable before corrective optics are needed. Normal visual acuity is better than that so you probably need to go even narrower.

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JDX
Gold badge

At the end of the day, it's program quality not picture quality that counts.

So you presumably use a 21" CRT. In black & white. With a portable aerial.

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xyz

My girlfriend cannot watch Emmerdale or Corrie in HD...

...because you can see every crease (crevices) in everyone's faces, so we have to watch it in 576i (or whatever it is) as they look ancient and HD spoils her enjoyment.

This is on a Bravia 40" LCD via Freeview and we sit about 4-5 feet from it. You can tell the difference watching football big time. No artifacts if you switch from normal to the HD channel version.

I've also turned down the settings (sharpness, brightness, backlight) so those blocky "blokey" Dave type channels (god bless 'em) have there arses covered display wise.

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Happy

Size of screen has nothing to do with resolution

Size of screen, resolution, and distance I sit away are largely independent factors. I buy HD for the simple reason that with all other things equal it looks better, but doesn't really cost any more. For distance I sit away, that is largely a function of the geometry of the room. Size is easy as well. I get the smallest size which my wife won't complain about being too small. That is currently 52" (although I get some complaints about the size of that). My view is that too big for your room looks stupid (when it is turned on or off), too small is just irritating. We don't size cinema screens because of the resolution, we size them because we want a big ass screen to watch movies on.

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Badgers

Next in the Series

I eagerly await a study of how 4:3, 16:9 and 2.35:1 aspects relate to how the human eye works. I'm convinced 4:3 is the best aspect for how our vision works and I despise looking at life thru a gun slit - or watching a 2.35 production. It sucks you can hardly buy 1600x1200 monitors anymore, the shortscreen crap has taken over.

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Silver badge

46" at 10'

I've got a 46" Samsung TV and sit 10' away, my Humax HD recorder allows watch a HD channel and send either 576, 720 or 1080 line resolution to the TV. Even with my tired 43 year old eyes, I can quite clearly see an improvement in detail between 720 and 1080, and enormously so over 576. Now obviously the lower resolutions have to go through two lots of scaling, but if the original content is 1080, it makes sense to watch it at that resolution for the best results regardless or optical resolving theory.

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Happy

whatever porn shows up best on

'nuff said.

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Welcome

ELO

Are the 15% that can tell the difference (as mentionned at the bottom of page 2) the same people who see the rainbow effect with DLP projectors?

I think I'm both but maybe could be coincidence.

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Thumb Up

Go big, or go home.... your home, not mine.

We have a 40" 1080p TV in our bedroom, a 55" 1080p TV in our living room, and a 55" 1080p TV in our playroom. All are Samsung LED Series 6 and 7's.

Does it make a difference? Hell yes. My wife and I definitely see the difference.

We sit an average of 2m away from our playroom TV (comfy Lay-z-boy recliner loveseat - love it!).

We sit an average of 3.5 away in our living room. Again, love it.

We lay an average of 2m away from our bedroom TV. No surprise here - we love it, but keep thinking we should have gone bigger. Perhaps mount a 55" on the ceiling beside the mirror ;) Joking about the mirror, BTW.

We are obsessed with knowing which resolution we're watching, but we turn it into a game, and try to figure it out. SD - no troubles there - easy to tell. 720p vs 1080p, we can see a difference, but it's not as great a difference as 480p vs 720p.

We watch digital TV, Blu-rays, and play our PS3. We watch Netflix. We also have computers connected. I love the large real-estate and small icons 1080p provides.

I work with optics on a daily basis, and I consider my eyes to be highly keen. To hear my wife say "oooooh, nice picture" every time we turn on one of these TV's brings a tear to my eye - I have found love, 5 times - my wife, our son, and our three TV's.

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Anonymous Coward

Crap progams in HD

are still crap programs.

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front projection - it's the only way to go

80" screen from a 1080p projector viewed from about 10ft. Yes, Blu ray is clearly better than broadcast HD, even dvd often looks better than bbc hd, but it does depend on the content quality of both sources.

iPlayer HD works pretty well too - usually a bit better than broadcast sd as long as there's not too much fast movement, but only through sony blu-ray player. iPlayer through our humax freesat box is unwatchable.

PC quality is good, but the blu-ray player is slightly better - mostly because it pans more smoothly.

The cheapo channels (never watch em anyway) are pretty dire. Of course you do need a darkish room for good viewing, but with bright, high quality 1080p projectors available for around £1,000 I really don't see the point of big screens.

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Happy

all very well...

but if you have eye slight like mine (2/60), sit any further than 2 feet away and I can't see the thing at all, it doesn't matter how big it is.

Any visitors to our house say, "your sofa is too close to the telly". Its about a meter away for my partner to sit on, whereas I have to sit on the floor right in front of our 42" HD Plasma.

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All HD does is reduce visble MPEG compression artefacts

All that info confirms to me that effectively all HD does is reduce visble MPEG compression artefacts.

I've yet to see a TV shop display an HD display next to a non HD of the same size showing the same program with the appropriate source so you can compare HD and non HD properly.

i.e. If they used less compression on non HD then the 'higher res' of HD would be unnoticeable when viewed at anything approaching a normal distance for the screen size.

Sounds a bit strange that everyone seems to view their screen at the same 2.7M I thought the whole point of large screens was for bigger rooms where you sit further away.

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Wrong Assumptions Nigel Whitfield!!!

A common mistake is to confuse resolution with sampling. To reproduce the RESOLUTION of a normal eye (~1 arc minute) with a digital display device what is needed is slightly more than 2 pixels per resolution element according to the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem and not 1 pixel per resolution element.

In other words, you do not want to resolve the screen and see each screen pixel. What you need is to match the screen resolution to the eye resolution. The theoretical maximum screen resolution of ANY digital screen is given by the number of pixels divided by the Nyquist factor. In the case of HD would be 1920/2.3=830 in the horizontal direction. This is the resolution you need to match to the eye resolution of 1 arc minute. The eresulting distances to the TV screen are therefore 2.3 times larger than the ones you quote,

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Linux

for computer use...

You think viewing a 37" screen at a 24 inch viewing distance is alright, when using it as a computer screen...?

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reporting in

D = 0.988m for my 25.something" (H=345mm measured) 1920x1200 (0.2875mm high pixels) computer display i watch TV and most movies on.

For other things i sit about 0.6m from it, but leaning back for movies gives 1.10m, well close to what the formula tells me to do.

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Thumb Down

Alias anyone

All the calculations are related only to pixels. But pixels do not translate directly to resolution because Nyquist theory gets in the way. A number of factors will come into play in trying to work out how to balance maximising viewable bandwidth against the avoidance of alias frequencies. If screens have a high enough number of pixels than is needed for display, then alias becomes a non-issue. But if you receive a genuine (i.e. not up-converted) 1920*1080 picture, then a 1920*1080 screen cannot show all the resolution available in the 1920*1080 picture. The actual displayed resolution will be reduced by a certain factor - let's say 75% H and 75% V. This means that what the screen can present is lower than the calculations shown.

The unrealistic way to get near to the screen resolution is to down-scale super-sampled source pictures (say 4096*2160) to 1920*1080 and then up-scale back to 4096*2160 at the receiver. Ridiculously expensive of course so it's not done (at least not yet). That said, it's why SD pictures look so much better on an HD screen than on an SD screen. The point is that a bit of over-scanning helps to get a better result. The calculations in the original post do not make that point.

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Jim: ..1920*1080 picture, on a 1920*1080 screen problem?

Err.. I'm lost how can a "1920*1080 picture, on a 1920*1080 screen not show all the resolution available in the 1920*1080 picture"?

Also I've been told that often SD pictures upscaled for an HD screen can look a lot worse than when displayed on an SD screen. Unless the upscaling introduces effects like antialiassing that is surely impossible, and those effects don't suit some sort of images/motion. e.g. antialiasing a picture of a saw blade may antialias away the teath!

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Thumb Up

A 1920*1080 picture does not have 1920*1080 resolution.

The resolution of a 1920*1080 picture is less than its number of pixels. This is what I was trying to describe in my previous post.

A 1920*1080 picture can only resolve 1920/K * 1080/K regularly distributed elements where K is larger than 2.3 according to the Nyquist theorem.

Just do the experiment of taking an image of 1920*1080 regularly spaced holes in a back illuminated plate.

Because the number of bright spots is the same as the number of pixels, the light from each hole will fill each and every of the available pixels and the resulting image will be completely uniform, no structure will be detectable. To RESOLVE a such a distribution of holes you need black pixels between the white pixels to detect the black spaces between the holes in the plate. i.e. twice as many pixels.

Conclusion to resolve a 1920*1080 distribution or image you need a display of at least 3960*2160 pixels.

Sampling is not the same as resolution!

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Unhappy

Bring back quality

PAL full spec is 768x576. This is usually shot in camera at 720x576 and clipped down to 700x540 by the time overscan on your TV is taken into account.

In the days of VHS this was recorded at ~240x500 and didn't look too bad as TVs were pretty poor at displaying high resolution analogue TV. When TVs started to get better VHS started to look worse so we got SVHS at 400, hi-betamax at 500. Then DVDs came out capable of showing 500 lines. Still quite poor and soft when compared with a real PAL picture in the studio.

I was stunned when I visited a BBC studio and saw the quality of PAL live on BBC professional TVs.

The only time I got this quality was with BSB with their full RGB route from camera to my SCART RGB socket. I could actually see every gradical line in their testcard! Then digital TV came and quality went into the guttet. No wonder no one broadcasts the testcard any more... Too ashamed.

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Flaky maths

Are you really suggesting that I should trust the maths of someone who writes "28.65 sqrt( D^2 / 377)", and doesn't realise that this is actually just 1.56*D?

OK, so I've got a maths degree, but REALLY people ...

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Megaphone

Suck it and see

Really interesting debate, went off topic a little but thankfully back on track. Just wanted to add my tuppence worth:

720p for screen sizes 32" - 39"

1080p for anything above

I upgraded from a Sharp 42" LCD to a Panny 50" Plasma and found that my wife and I both felt more comfortable closer to the screen. This is no doubt due to many factors, not just one. It's all down to personal taste. The arguement was always about safety back in the day; how close could you be without damaging your eyes. But still the actual 'litmus' test is exactly the same. If you can make out an actual pixel, you're too close; if you have to squint and can't read the credits at the end, you're too far away - job done.

As for other nonsense; not ONE broadcaster in the UK (or anywhere to my knowledge - open to correction) broadcasts in 1080p - 1080i is the most you'll get. Once you understand the difference between a progressive and interlaced picture you'll see that 720p and 1080i are not noticeably different to the human eye. (and yes, that's purely annectodal and has no basis in science - ok, maybe a little) Add to that the fact that the vast majority of HD TV's have built in upscalers or other such trickery and basically all of your home tests are for squat. I liked the guy/girl talking about hooking up an XBox to a CRT and an HDTV and not seeing any dfference. News flash mate - your buddy's HD TV is either fooked/shite or you're not using the right connectors. Try a PS3 on a CRT vs an HDTV.

Anyhoo - according to the BBC's own documentation and experiments one of the most crucial factors in people's enjoyment and appreciation of HD content is actually focusing. Odd I know, but on an SD picture on a 28"CRT the focus can be quite a bit out and your brain just fills in the blanks. But on an HD broadcast on a big screen the focus being out just a little can make the picture look worse. And of course you have cameras, compression methods etc etc. See first series Torchwood in HD and then most recent Doctor Who HD broadcast for comparison. The former was broadcast at a higher bandwidth than the latter but looks like poo when stacked up against the Doc. That and wildlife docs look better than both of those.

One final note to the lady whose mum had the trouble with the TV's and who is still using a CRT - I presume you have a coal fire, drive a 1982 vauxhall corsa and don't trust iron's because they break down? Stuff gets better and it gets most complex therefore more shit breaks. It's called entropy and applies to the entire universe. Go buy yourself a 50" LCD (forget LED cos it's a gimmick and plasma is, trust me, not for you - you'll have burnt the screen in a week and tell me it;s my fault) try to get a decent one -better response time = better image and find one that you like it the shop. Don't worry about "the colour looks better on that one" - grab the remote from the spotty tennage salesperson and mess around with each one until you're happy. Oh, and FFS spend more than £500 if you want it to last more than a year. As with the old CRT's, you get what you pay for.

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