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Beyond HDTV

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the give-me-pixels-or-give-me-death dept.

Displays 354

The Hub writes "The Economist writes a thoughtful article about the next generation of HDTVs and how they will provide resolutions beyond 1080p. The drive for higher resolution is driven in part by the demands of 3D content. Also, some see streaming higher resolution content to the home as a way to make up for declining DVD sales. This would mean the studios would have to better embrace services such as Netflix or stream directly to the consumer. Mind you, picture quality is driven by more than the number of pixels."

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354 comments

Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927182)

I would venture to guess that 80%-90% of the people buying HDTV's are doing it either because their old TV broke and it's the only thing available, or because they heard it was cool from a friend and wanted it for their Superbowl party. Either way, almost no one really understands it or even knows how to get the most out of all that resolution as it is NOW. We're talking people who buy 32" HDTV's and sit 10 feet away from them, thinking they're getting "high definition." We're talking people who hook up DVD (and even blu-ray) players to their HDTV's with composite cables. We're talking people who still have the same SD cable box they've had for years, thinking that the channels "really look better now in HD."

Joe isn't even ready for 1080p. This whole "let's add even MORE resolution" thing is just industry hype. It's Sony and Samsung thinking that if they just keep adding new gimmicks that people will constantly trade up their TV's like they trade up their computers. Joe Sixpack already has a perfectly good HDTV that he isn't even using to its full potential as it is, but they want him to go out and buy a TV with a resolution that he would need a magnifying glass to even appreciate. Welcome to America!

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927256)

You mean that technology improving over time is a bad thing? Get the fuck out.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927300)

No, I mean that past a certain point nobody gives a fuck. What good is a 1,000 megapixel TV unless I'm projecting it onto the superdome?

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927546)

No, I mean that past a certain point nobody gives a fuck.

No, you mean that past a certain point you don't give a fuck.

Doubling the vertical resolution of a 1080p screen and using glasses or proper placement of users could allow two people to play against each other in a multiplayer game on the same TV, while enjoying their own 1080p view.

That's just one example.

Think outside the box, or at the very least, stop conflating the opinions of others with your own.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (2)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927282)

Yeah. I have a 61" 1080p TV, and I'm not sure I could make out any higher resolution on it sitting at normal viewing distances. Higher resolution might be nice for theatres and archiving, but not for the general user. Hell, I rip all my Blu-Rays to hard drive so I can watch them more easily and if it's nothing that is special-effects heavy I encode it at 720p to save disk space. What good would higher resolution do?

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927368)

If you use it on a TV, resolution doesn't really matter. For a better display like a monitor, going below 1200p vertical is bad. Ok, assuming you weren't sold some shitty 768p piece of junk.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (4, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927678)

A monitor has a different use case. I'm not watching movies on my monitor terribly often, but I may do video editing. I also have 3 monitors hooked up to my PC. But I only have one big TV for watching movies/TV/console games (media center PC for the video).

My point is that 1080p is more than enough for most people. As the OP said, many people are running their HDTVs at sub-HD resolutions and don't even realize it. I have a pretty large screen and 1080 vertical lines is about the limit of usefulness on it. Most people won't have a TV that large, or a place to put it. So higher-resolution video wins 99% of people absolutely nothing. It'll get a few people with thousands of dollars to throw away bragging rights, and that's about it. We're just reaching the limit of returns for improvements in resolution as far as the physical realities of people's eyes and their lifestyles are concerned. Just like SACD is a lot better technically than a CD [wikipedia.org] , but... there's just no compelling reason for it for the vast majority of consumers.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927840)

What good would higher resolution do?

I'm guessing a 61" TV could benefit from better than 1080p resolution given the difference I've seen on 27" monitors with 1080 vs 1440 resolution.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (3, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928090)

Not at TV viewing distances: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum_HDTV_viewing_distance#Human_visual_system_limitation [wikipedia.org]

Monitors and computer/text use are a different ball of wax. For the video use most people make of their TVs, 1080p is almost overkill as it stands. I don't watch TV with my face 50" from a 32" screen. As for my 61" screen, I need to sit 95" away to not miss any detail. That's 8'. You crank that up to 2K resolution and you need to sit 6.8' from a 61" screen to be able to perceive all the detail. And that's if you have perfect 20/20 vision. 4K resolution you're looking at sitting less than 4 feet from a 61" screen to be able to visually determine at a single pixel. That's just not reasonable. If it were a computer monitor, it would be.

Again, I'm not saying there aren't uses for higher pixel densities. I'm just saying there aren't uses for them with a living-room television.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927402)

I bet if Joe Six Pack traded in his HDMI cables from big lots to gold monster cables from BestBuy he could finally get good quality picture. Also gold plated ethernet cables will make IE 7 on Joes laptop scream and look fluid like IE 9 or chrome. Just ask any geeksquad agent or a mr. Knowitall mcse from work?

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927468)

And the Monster HDMI signal will look especially good if he still has his DVD player set to "4:3".

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927620)

Also gold plated ethernet cables will make IE 7 on Joes laptop scream and look fluid like IE 9 or chrome.

The Denon AKDL1 [amazon.com] is obviously the pinnacle of Ethernet cables, but no gold plating. It will make Joe's laptop scream like versions of IE that have yet to have been envisioned. For what it costs, it must use some kind of wormhole technology.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928068)

The comments at amazon for Denon Cables are absolutely hillarious

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

djdanlib (732853) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927426)

Hmm. I can construe a few scenarios in which SD channels look better than they did before, when displayed on an HDTV.

1. If you had a really cheap, crappy set that gave you ~240 lines of vertical resolution, instead of the full 480i.
2. If you're tuning them in digitally over the air or via cable, you won't get the wavy lines or snow that happened with analog signal interference. Although, digital noise is (IMO) a lot worse - you get blocks eating your picture and the sound cuts out. Personally, I would prefer snow on that one.
3. Upgrading to a nice flat panel with good color and sharpness, from an old CRT television set. You know the kind - they had the tint/color knobs on the front! Yeah, some people are still using those.

Overall you have a good point, but there are cases where people aren't totally insane when they say their SD programming looks better.

I'd like to see cable TV companies do something more akin to video-on-demand to the television set, so I can get more bandwidth for my video stream and lose less high-frequency information to compression. It's kinda pointless when you have "HD" and everything looks like line art because of some extreme compression.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927998)

In theory, at the point where digital goes crappy your looking at a unwatchable analog signal anyways. In practice however, the amount of error correction included in a stream is adjusted by the service provider. And less correction data means they can fit more streams in a single data channel. End result is that all bets are off...

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927428)

It's all advertising. Assuming that you're sat 12ft from your TV you need a 40" TV to even tell the difference between DVD res (576p) and 720p, you need a 60" TV to see any more detail than 1080p. Given that the average joe probably doesn't even have a 40" TV, increasing res again is just another excuse to get people to buy a new TV and new media.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927582)

Whoever they base those distances on needs to see an optometrist.
I tried it out one time at work. Our company installs home theaters so we have lots of TVs on moveable racks and I could beat that chart by about one whole step. Other people did better than that.

Also 12' seems like a long way to sit from such a small set. That is what you get when you have a giant living room and then can't afford a proper sized display due to the mortgage payments on the Mansion.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927914)

Also 12' seems like a long way to sit from such a small set. That is what you get when you have a giant living room and then can't afford a proper sized display due to the mortgage payments on the Mansion.

No. That is what you get when you have people who don't live their lives around having an optimal viewing experience, who don't want to dedicate a whole wall to the TV, and arrange all the furniture in the living room to point at it...

Some people do more with their living room than watch TV, and the role, placement, and size of the TV reflects that.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927984)

Then put it in another room or buy a proper sized set.

I bet far more fall into "can't afford a proper sized display due to the mortgage payments on the McMansion" set then the "do more with their living room than watch TV" set. These are the same folks that drive an SUV and never leave the paved road, nor have more than 4 family members.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928034)

Not uncommon for people to have the TV along one wall and the couch along the opposing one. This quickly results in 12' if they are after making maximum use of the floor space in said room.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927682)

>It's all advertising.

Sorry, but no. No. A thousand times, "No!"

You can tell the difference between 480i and *anything* progressive on a 19" display across a smoky room the day after having laser eye surgery. It's the same difference you saw years ago when comparing any TV to any VGA monitor. It might have only been 640x480, but it had a pleasing "solid" appearance that was instantly visible compared to any TV.

That said, the difference between 480p60 and higher-res isn't quite as dramatic. 720p60 is a nice step up, but it's not night-and-day. 1080i60 can be better if there's not a lot of motion (to cause weave artifacts), but most of the time it gets bobbed into something with 960-1440 real horizontal pixels and 540 vertical pixels anyway. True 1080p60 is a sight to behold, but so little non-CGI real honest-to-god 1080p60 content exists, most of the time you're just seeing 1080p24 with every other frame shown 3 times in a row instead of 2, or maybe 1080i60 that's been deinterlaced with studio-grade postproduction hardware.

Also, "normal viewing distance" is so last-century. Real people with 60+ inch TVs sit almost close enough to touch the screen, because there's no *reason* to sit farther -- no screen door effect, no x-rays, and some nice perspective-filling immersion when you sit close to the screen.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927698)

The ability to differentiate resolutions is a function of many variables, not just screen size and distance. Content type (computing, text, games, video, etc.) is a big factor; while I have a tough time separating 720p from 1080p video, the difference in gaming and text rendering is dramatic. Also, sadly, visual acuity (and therefore age, as a pseudo-indicator) is a big factor.

I'm not saying that 69120p 3D isn't overkill for most applications; it certainly would be. But don't decry all the "Joe Sixpack's" who want to hook their laptop up to their TV and watch a game in PiP while they surf Facebook.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927902)

This thread is missing the point - we don't need to worry about the "average joe" any more because on-demand viewing can be tailored to whomever is watching. Once you stop broadcasting and start unicasting, it would be absurd to send an 8 megapixel video stream to a cellphone for viewing. But somebody with a nice projection system (a few years down the road) might well be willing to pay extra for it. There will be little if any reason not to produce at high resolution and then downscale as necessary.

As for "it's all advertising," give me a break. Sports and nature shows, in particular, really do look fantastically better on hdtv's than on the NTSC tubes of yesteryear. I know we look down on the common man and all that, but there are limits even to that.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36928070)

It's all advertising. Assuming that you're sat 12ft from your TV you need a 40" TV to even tell the difference between DVD res (576p) and 720p, you need a 60" TV to see any more detail than 1080p. Given that the average joe probably doesn't even have a 40" TV, increasing res again is just another excuse to get people to buy a new TV and new media.

Increasing resolution is that for TV makers, but for me, it's an end to the dominance of 1920x1080 as the only affordable computer monitor. Sure, my 21" (2048x1536) and 19" (1920x1440) CRTs on my desktop are still going, and I just scored a T221 (IBM's legendary 22" 3840x2400 LCD) last week, so it's not as dire as it could be. But once you include price, it becomes clear there's something wrong -- 1980x1080 LCDs start at $150 and equivalent displays in any nearby resolution (2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1920x1200, etc.) start at $250 if you can find them at all (there's barely anything but monochrome medical displays between 1920x1080 and 2560x1600 -- and you have to go to a huge 30" screen for 2560x1600. (And similar rules apply, at higher dollar amounts, if you add requirements for better display quality.)

And the old T221 is a product of its time: 50ms image formation time (sum of black->white and white->black transition times), 41Hz, 400:1 contrast -- it was decent, though not awesome, in all attributes except resolution 10 years ago. Now it's just pathetic (not that that stops a res-hound like me from grabbing one, mind). If 9Mpx monitors were still made, this year's model would be much better, and we could go for a resolution-heavy compromise -- but since they were discontinued, you have to choose between resolution or contrast + speed.

It may be bullshit to make the average joe spend more money than he needs -- but if it gets the displays I want back in production, and in quantities large enough to drive the price down to boot, I'm all for it!

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (5, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927518)

The whole 1080p thing has obliterated decent computer monitor resolutions. I don't give a rat's buttock about TVs and BluRays and home theater setups and all that crap, but the faster the mainstream media tech goes beyond 1080p, the faster I can have cheap high resolution computer monitors again.

1080 is low resolution garbage when it comes to desktop displays.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927680)

This!!

My old CRT did 2560x2048 now the best I can find is 1920x1280.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927848)

That's not true. The Dell U2711 27” does 2560x1440 (OK, lower Y res. than the one you mentioned due to the 16:9 aspect) but you will pay $900 for that vs ~$200 for a 24" 1920x1080 screen

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927936)

I wanted a 22-24" screen. On a 27" the DPI then is not much improved.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927904)

That's funny, I can pick up a 2560x1600 LCD monitor from any computer store. Color accuracy is better in the long term, there aren't any mask problems, it's smaller, and it doesn't pump out nearly as much heat.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928022)

Please A Coward do provide a link to such a monitor, 20"-24" and a non-TN panel.

Note that this is still below the resolution I quoted for my old CRT.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927774)

MOD PARENT UP

QXGA and other such resolutions were just starting to catch on for computers before the whole LCD/flat panel then 1080p craze caught on. We went from monitors being 1600x1200 and 2048x1536 (if you wanted to pay for them) to resolutions nearly HALF that and most people though it was an "upgrade", and we've been stuck at that ever since.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (2)

Jimbookis (517778) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927652)

Most people were happy enough with their old standard definition CRT. I think these sorts of changes take time, much like the CD player slowly supplanting records and tape and DVDs slowly replacing VCRs. Current full HD as broadcast on free to air is crappy a lot of the time due to the heavy compression used at times by the network. A good case is sports with lots of movement or camera flashes on the news breaking out into what resembles a Lego(TM) rendition of the scene.

SD-TV as TV production and editing hardware has been upgraded from PAL/NTSC conversion to full and proper 16:9 digital versions, has started to look a lot better of late. Even on my 1024x768 Panasonic Plasma a lot of new SD Australian productions look terrific. Compare the new shows to imports like the US version of the Amazing Race or Survivor that until recently were still shot in blurry 4:3 format.

What I do think was good planning on the part of producers ~20 years ago was to shoot shows like Seinfeld or Friends on film. Those shows re-mastered for 16:9 HD/SD have taken a whole new dimension with the improvement in picture quality. I just wish Frasier could be remastered in the same way, but I think they used video cameras.

Anyway, the full potential of 1920x1080p as used in broadcast TV hasn't been reached and I doubt that it ever will be as TV stations try to cram as many channels as they can onto a 6/7/8MHz block of bandwidth. SDTV really is good enough for most people and the jump from a CRT to a cheap LCD or plasma will be plenty good enough for a long time.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (3, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927712)

Can someone invest as much into the quality of the content, as they are doing for the format?

By "content", I am not just concerning myself with the visual appeal or other superficial characteristic. :-)

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927980)

Boobs aren't superficial.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927890)

We're talking people who buy 32" HDTV's and sit 10 feet away from them, thinking they're getting "high definition."

lolwat

I can sit 1" in front of my TV. I can sit 30" away from my TV. The resolution does not change. It's either 720 or 1080p, depending on the source material. With an HDTV, they are getting high definition. Oh, I'm sure they're not getting the 'optimal' viewing experience, complete with Monster cables and a handjob, but it is high definition.

And quite frankly, even at an obscene distance, if you can't immediately tell the difference between SD, 720 and 1080, you need to see an optometrist immediately.

Re:Joe Sixpack isn't even using his 1080p right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927908)

You're an idiot. EVERY single person that I have ever watched sports with can tell the difference between HD and SD. And America loves sports (football, basketball, baseball, soccer, NHL, the olympics). That's the driver behind HD adoption. Now, can sports look better than what is shown now? That's the question. HDTV's are like VHS to DVD, everyone can see it. The next TV's will need that same level of jump to get people to adopt.

Joe Sixpack didn't asked for HDTV, it was mandated (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928048)

The ONLY reason HDTV ever took off is because they turned off the standard signal and they stopped making the $50 old tvs.

Most people just want an inexpensive tv. To get people to move up they will either need to mandate the new technology or get it dirt cheap. DVD players only took off when they started costing less than a VCR and film companies figured out that you can make and then sell DVD's for real cheap.

Looking at actors' wrinkles (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928060)

Don't people watch TV to escape reality?

As in entertainment?

So what's with increasing resolution even beyond 1080p?

Funnily enough, it's said in some movies, they actually digitally blurred an actresses forehead.

Hold on there, Jack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927220)

"The drive for higher resolution is driven in part by the demands of 3D content."

I was unaware that 3DTV was really taking off. 1080p on a bright screen is already a lot for my eyes to take in. Increasing the resolution while throwing the 3D sensation into the mix is sure to overload my visual sensory equipment. Hell, I get a headache just playing the 3DS for a few minutes, and that's by no means high-res.

Re:Hold on there, Jack (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927586)

It's not, but they need new features to sell to get people to dump their existing 1080p sets.

How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927230)

At some point, displays have a high enough resolution that the human eye can't tell when the picture is any sharper. We've got to be getting close to that, no?

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927306)

At some point, displays have a high enough resolution that the human eye can't tell when the picture is any sharper. We've got to be getting close to that, no?

It's not just the resolution alone. you have to look at resolution and screen size together. Like a computer monitor you can get more "stuff" on the screen at once with a higher resolution, but it will have to be big enough for you eye to make it out. We could have television resolutions of 10,000 x 8,000 and still have them be perfectly useable as long as the screen was large enough.

It's all about the DPI.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927410)

Exactly. And in terms of DPI, we are not even close to where we were 10 years ago [wikimedia.org] . Granted, an IBM T220 did cost as much as a car, but having actually used one for some time, I have a hard time being impressed by HDTV [xkcd.com] .

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927526)

Don't forget the distance you sit from it too. The reason that a 576p TV looks fine but a 576p monitor looks like ass is because you don't sit 2ft from your monitor. It's all about dots per degree. 1080p TVs exceed the eye's resolution assuming that the TV is less than or equal to 60" and the user is greater than or equal to 12ft away (pretty common viewing distance, and pretty extraordinary sized screen).

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927792)

My daughter stands about 6" away... we've definitely got a long way to go in terms of dots per degree as far as she's concerned.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927418)

At some point, displays have a high enough resolution that the human eye can't tell when the picture is any sharper. We've got to be getting close to that, no?

We already have in many cases. Got a 40" TV? No point going beyond 1080p unless you sit less than 5 feet away. 60" TV? You better sit less than 8 feet away if you want any more than 1080p. I'd suspect more than 90% of people sit further away than those distances, and thus they aren't even seeing the full benefit of current 1080p TVs.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927640)

Go see an optometrist.

On a 60" screen anyone with a working set of eyes can see the difference between 720p and 1080p at 10' away.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (3, Informative)

iceperson (582205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927456)

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (5, Insightful)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927874)

And the misconceptions shown in that chart is exactly why we cant have nicer resolutions. That chart details the normal resolving capability of the human eye (one arcminute). The lines he drew there indicate when a person with 20/20 vision would be able to fully resolve each pixel. It does not account that a significant amount of the population can naturally see better than that, nor does it account for the fact that another significant amount of the population wears corrective lenses to see better than that. It does not account for the fact that certain structures like two parallel high contrast lines can be resolved significantly smaller than that. It does not account for the fact that structures smaller than that can still produce visible aliasing artifacts.

Basically, someone somewhere took a couple minutes to find out the meaning of "20/20 vision" and decided that's all the better we ever need, without realizing that the human eye is far more complex than that single value depicts.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927470)

I had a chance to see the IBM(?) super high res monitor in person years ago and it was breathtakingly sharp...but individual pixels were still visible. It was a great improvement over the pathetic 100-110dpi monitors we have to deal with on a daily basis, but still far from perfect. I would guess that for a computer monitor we'd need more than 300dpi, simply because the regular pattern of pixels is so easy to pick up.

I keep hoping that NEC or Eizo will step up to the plate with a 24" 3840x2400 monitor (or a 30" 5120 x 3200), but they haven't yet.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927716)

Remember, 16:10 is verboten, it's all 16:9 nowadays. There are some 3840x2160 displays in production, but they're all large format 40"+ and run over 50k USD.

I've got 2 of those IBMs in front of me right now, and yes the pixels are still very visible. Most of the text on my screen is drawn with 1 pixel wide strokes, the same as on any chunky-pixel display, and it's still just as clear & fully readable.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927556)

Yes at some sizes, no at others. That's kind of the problem with hi-res stuff, the actual resolution required be better than the human eye depends on the size of the display, and the distance at which you are viewing the display.

We're much closer to hitting those limits in the mobile space than we are in the television space, and that seems to be the "screens that are ~300dpi" How much resolution you need to get the same experience in the front row of a home theatre with a 10+ foot screen, I dunno. But 1080p, or even cinema 2K (which frankly isn't a lot more than 1080p as 2K refers to the horizontal resolution of 2048 pixels) - those probably aren't enough to defeat the human eye. I mean, at that point, I'm happy with them being "good enough"... and 4K is probably the most anyone would ever want in their mansion..

So we're getting there... but I do think at a certain point, you have to start releasing your media in different formats to suit different markets. Current 1080p is probably already good enough in many circumstances. The circumstances that would demand something like 4K... well... at that point I think it's worth setting up a new supply chain, because you really are getting in to home theatre type use there... I think finding a way of packaging what they send to theatres for 4K projection, they should figure out how to package for certain consumers, at a heftier cost. Physical media of some sort probably makes sense... maybe some sort of SSD... I mean, it's not all about resolution, you have to have the bitrate to back it up, and the modern internet doesn't particularly seem to be up to the task... or at least ISPs don't seem to be up to the task...

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928058)

How much resolution you need to get the same experience in the front row of a home theatre with a 10+ foot screen, I dunno.

Although 35mm film has far more resolution than any other video source (about 4096 effective pixels hoizontal, with variable vertical because of different aspect ratios), a lot of movies are run through 2K digitizing (for special effects, color correction, etc.) before the final print is made.

So, with a typical movie screen about 40-50 feet wide and sitting quite close (12 feet), you'd have the screen fill about 120 degrees of your field of view. Farther away (30 feet), the screen would fill about 70 degrees. Near the back of the theater (about 80 feet), you'd only have about 35 degrees filled. The first is "way too close" (front row), the second "immersive", and the third merely OK.

To match these fields of view at home with a 120" diagonal screen and 1920x1080 resolution (close enough to 2K), that screen would be about 8 feet wide, so you'd need to be 2 feet, about 5 feet, or about 13 feet (respectively) to match the theater experience.

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

dangDungDong (1732220) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927594)

Resolution has to grow with physical screen size to keep image quality constant. Cathode TVs have been limited in size, because of their cubic-ish nature; Now that we have flat screens, new dimensions become possible. Every generation, affordable screens will be a bit bigger thanks to improved assembly processes. Sooner or later, HD looks "blocky".

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927600)

It all depends on the picture size. We simply don't expect TVs to fill our field of vision, only because it has never been practical to do so. If it were practical, I'm sure lots of people would like to have wall-sized "retinal" displays. I would, why not?

Re:How Good is "Good Enough?" (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927760)

I sure do. Sit closer, why pay all that money for a nice HDTV and not use it?

The reason people sat so far away from old TVs was due to the low image quality, there is no reason to keep doing that.

3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (2)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927232)

3D doesn't necessarily require "higher resolution - what it requires is more fields per second. i.e. the ability to send two separate screen images, whereas now only one is sent.

The way 3D TV works now, is they cheat, and squeeze two pictures into one image. That needs to stop.

Apple's "retina" display gets its name, because the pixel size is small enough, that when viewed from arms-distance, has a small enough angle that the human retna can't distinguish individual pixels. Going any smaller won't by you anything.

At what point does does this happen with - let's say a 52 inch TV, in my living room with a 12' viewing distance?

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927542)

Yes, a 52" 1080p screen at 12' is a "retina display" –so is a 60". Beyond that, it's not any more.

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927608)

Retina display was a marketing gimmick. The resolution is exactly 2x the previous models allowing apps to scale correctly to the iphone4. It has nothing to do with a human retina.

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927628)

Video (or "film" if you want to be a snob) needs a serious bump in temporal resolution. I would rather see movies filmed at 720p60 than 4kp24. Unfortunately the film industry has its head planted firmly up its ass, egged on by morons who think flickery images are "professional" looking.

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927816)

Glasses free 3d requires more resolution in order to show different images to viewers at different angles. Without such 3d is only effective for a single viewing angle.

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927942)

...Could this be a way to get people to regularly re-purchase appliances that typically last for a decade or more?

Re:3D - and Resolution Maxed-Out? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928052)

That "retina" gimmick is marketing bullshit, individual pixels there are not only visible but even somewhat annoying. I'm nearsighted and that gives a bonus to close range sight, but I can't believe a "normal person" wouldn't be able to see this.

Demand for 3D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927238)

Do the demands *of* 3D really matter when there is such a low demand *for* 3D?

How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927242)

Instead of increasing resolution they increase bit rates and frame rates to make the video quality better? Is resolution really the limiting factor on picture quality at the moment?

Re:How about... (1)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927868)

Higher framerate. Please. I've seen glass-smooth 720p120 CGI on high-end computer monitors. It's so "lifelike" it's creepy. When you get to 100+ fps, video almost starts to look more "real" than real life (partly because we're all so conditioned from a lifetime of 24, 50, and 60fps video, anything faster automatically triggers the "must be real" visual reflex).

And no, I'm not talking about "100hz", "120hz", "200hz", or "240hz" TVs. They aren't increasing the framerate -- they're just using the faster refresh rate with oversampling to simulate interlace blur and scanline fade (partly because high-quality motion-vector deinterlacing is hard to do well, and pretty much impossible to do in realtime, so the only alternative to 1080i60 video with bob and weave artifacts on inherently-progressive displays is to simulate the way CRT scanlines used to blur and fade.

And yes, I'm one of those weird people who likes to rip 1080i60 interlaced content, then let something like Avisynth with MVtools chew on it for a week to decompose each scene into a panning/zooming "background" with moving "sprites", then tween them and synthesize missing detail to make everything look like real 60fps progressive-scan live video. :-)

3D demand (2)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927328)

The drive for higher resolution is driven in part by the demands of 3D content.

Too bad there isn't a huge demand from the users for this high resolution demanding 3D content.

Also, some see streaming higher resolution content to the home as a way to make up for declining DVD sales.

How does this make up for declining DVD sales? When I buy a DVD or BlueRay it costs between $10-$30. Am I going to be paying anywhere near this much for streaming high definition content? I have an Apple TV today where I can "rent" HD movies for somewhere along the lines of $4. I've done this twice, because renting regular resolution DVD's and low-quality streaming from Netflix is just fine with me. It would be nice if the quality was better, but I'm definitely not going to shell out much cash for it.

demands of 3D content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927338)

As opposed to the demand for 3D content. Actual demand is negligible. People are playing SD DVDs and SD streams on 1080p screens while Blu-ray whithers on the the vine. The 'demand' for 3D or >1080p is a figment of Hollywood's imagination.

Does anyone really like 3D? (2)

sphealey (2855) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927374)

Does anyone really like 3D, particularly in the home environment? One or maybe two 3D movies per half-decade is OK, but I don't hear (or see in line at the theater) any great demand for 3D other than among Hollywood marketing execs.

sPh

Re:Does anyone really like 3D? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927660)

I was not around in the 50's but I was aware of the first 3d fad.

and every few years, they try to rehash it over again. it never catches on for very long. this one wont, either.

and.... GLASSES? are you kidding me?

come back when those of us who already wear glasses can properly view '3d content'.

its only 'new' to the very youngest generation. I see no one else really buying this crap.

Re:Does anyone really like 3D? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928026)

In the home environment? No, not me.

However, in the theater, yes. I am a fan of the 3D movies that have been coming out. Probably the main reason I enjoy the current 3D movies is that the 3D tends to go "in" instead of "out" towards me. I never enjoyed 3D when it mainly involved things begin thrown at me - I don't understand why anyone would enjoy that. But what I enjoy about recent 3D movies is that the 3D goes in and it seems like I am watching through a window versus on a 2d screen.

They live in a fancy world... (0)

Lord Juan (1280214) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927416)

where the demands of their gimmick (3-D) drives the development other new gimmicks (higher res) ignoring entirely the demands of the people who actually buy things (such as, well, nothing more than a plain 2-D tv).

25:9 (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927432)

I have a suspicion 25:9 will take over before 2160p. Not enough of a change and bigger screen heights cause all kinds of issues like the need to rent a truck to bring your TV home. Wider screen gives options on how to arrange content to make it more interactive, as well as giving a wider field of view without resorting to the 3d gimmic.

Re:25:9 (2)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927604)

And there will be people watching 4:3 content on a 25:9 screen, set to stretch it to the full width of the screen. Don't want to waste any pixels, you know.

Oh please no (5, Insightful)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927612)

Computer monitors have been following television resolutions & aspect ratios. We need height back in our displays for all the portrait document-oriented stuff that we spend the majority of our times with on computers (emails, webpages, word processing, heck even board-based casual games). I'm sick of seeing my interactive options through a narrow slit.

Re:Oh please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36928066)

A high resolution screen, can display a whole page just fine on HALF of the monitor. This allows you to see TWO pages at once. Wide screens are great. Two wide screen monitors means you can see four pages at once. A 25:9 screen, means you could see three pages at once. That would be nice. OK, 25:10. Seriously, half of a 24" 1920x1200 monitor is enough to see a whole page with your task bar and ribbon UI, at 91% zoom. That is good enough.

HD formats are a kind of DOS attack (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927618)

hear me out..

many of us have HTPC's. we store our media on hard disk.

how much space does blue ray take, natively? a shitload, that's how much. many more times what a dvd takes in its native form; and many people take dvd and compress THAT further before storing on htpc.

add in HD audio (which is beyond what consumer DACs and preamp stages can do; so this is clearly overkill for playback systems at home) and you end up with huge file sizes.

I actually do think this was on purpose. and now that disks are getting bigger, still (of course they are) the entertainment cartels want to keep the storage requirements absurdly high to 'convince' us to use the native shinydisc stuff, which is chock full of DRM. and commercials. gotta LOVE that 'do not skip' stuff, too.

I'm actually ok with upres'd dvd's on my TV. and I like how they don't chew up nearly as much space; plus the drm on dvd is trivial to break. drm on hd discs is a bit harder and much more hassle to deal with.

think about it. making the files so large (and taking up more room than they really need to; lets be honest) is actually a DOS. denial of service; by taking so much room on your system, it denies you the ability to store a large library, in practical terms.

Demand for 3D content? WHAT DEMAND? (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927666)

Most of the call for 3D content are from the people PUSHING 3D as the "next big thing".

Actual traction in the customer channels is lukewarm AT BEST.

1080p+ Video streaming... On today's broadband??? (1)

leonbev (111395) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927668)

Call me a pessimist, but something tells me that trying to steam 4K quality movies over the kinds of broadband connections that most homes have right now is a BAD idea. Hell... even trying to stream movies in 720p without a ton of compression artifacts can be difficult in many areas right now.

Considering that the average connection right now is only 8 Mb/sec with a 100 GB download cap, you'll end up having to wait half an hour for a 4K resolution movie to buffer before it started. Not to mention that you would blow through your entire monthly bandwidth allotment before the movie was over.

My LCD laptop thanks them! (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927674)

The trickle down effect will ensure that we enter another craze were we're given our pixels back. I remember an age of 1200 vertical resolutions even on laptops (Dell D800 for business) that has become insurmountable with 'progress'. So the second these same guys who deflated our resolutions get down with setting some high posts, we'll be seeing our pixels back.

The bad part is that we'll reach an expanding - contracting sol-like state, because they got away with it once, and will do in the future. Meanwhile, it's a nice profit to make all of us (early-, late- and collector-type- adopters) throw money yearly at all these moving targets, specially with obsolete-by-design smartphones.

Not the problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927688)

Hollywood should fix the real problem: How about content I actually want to watch at any resolution? Really, their current copy protection scheme of making movies I don't even want to copy is working great. But this may not be the best thing for their industry.

The cable and sat systems don't have that much ban (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927704)

The cable and sat systems don't have that much bandwidth and they are still missing lot's of HD channels.

Now maybe if they where to dump all the old mpeg 2 sd and HD boxes and go all MEPG 4 they will have the room.

Can't deliver 1080p now. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927708)

Few sources, even Blu-Ray, consistently deliver 1080p now. Get close enough to a display to see the pixels, and notice the compression blur that stabilizes once motion stops.

The next logical step is a higher frame rate. 24FPS for movies is way too slow. Cameron ("Titanic", "Avatar", etc.) has been bitching about this for years. He likes pans over highly detailed backgrounds, which produce strobing effects at 24FPS. Movies should be at least 48FPS, and maybe 72FPS. (The Showscan tests [wikipedia.org] indicate that viewers notice improved quality up to about 72FPS, but not above that, so that's the limit of human perception.)

Personally, I'd like to see framefree compression. [framefree.com] This is a concept out of Kerner Optical (a Lucasfilm spinoff). Instead of merely switching from one frame to the next, the player computes a morph between frames. This allows running at any display rate, allows arbitrarily slow motion, allows much higher compression ratios than MPEG-4, and requires substantial computation in the decoder. They never did much with the technology, though; it was sold to Monolith in Japan, which hasn't done much with it. It's worth looking at again, now that putting a GPU in a TV isn't a radical concept.

Re:Can't deliver 1080p now. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927962)

And before someone brings in the whole "people are conditioned to like 24fps because that's what all the good movies are in" argument, let me point out that games have consistently been running at a full 60FPS for years now, and no gamer has ever seen a problem with that. Some even splurge on 120hz displays, for even higher framerates. Nobody I've spoken to has noticed any "fake" feelings from them.

Re:Can't deliver 1080p now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927988)

The hobbit is being shot at 48FPS!

Re:Can't deliver 1080p now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36928072)

Instead of merely switching from one frame to the next, the player computes a morph between frames

I understand that this is the purpose of I, P, and B frames; interlaced in a Group of Pictures (GOP). Not to mention quantization or Huffman Encoding. Could you please elaborate on the difference between 'morphing' and current compression techniques? ATSC standards do not simply switching from one frame to another.

h264 does framefree compression (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36928082)

Much of h264's compression is done using this method. It does require substantial computation to decode-GPU computation like dxva is often required for smooth 1080p playback.

in ten years? (1)

kirkb (158552) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927782)

Last night, my son asked me "Dad, what will TV look like in 10 years?". I thought about all the great technological and social advancements that are going on. Then I thought back to how painfully long it took for digital TV and HTDV to get adopted, and how old-world media conglomerates are clinging to outdated business models. "Probably the same as today", I answered him.

Wide Screen format (1)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927796)

The original NTSC format matched the aspect ratio of movies at the time. Movie studios wanted to differentiate themselves from tv so they switched to a wide screen format. With HDTV tv's again switched to the aspect ratio of movies at the time. The movie studios then decided to switch to even wider screen format to compete with HDTV.

You all realize where this is going. If they keep coming out with new wider screen tv formats, with movie studios making even wider screen formats, eventually we will be watching TV so wide that it will be a million pixels wide but only one pixel high.

Higher res is a must for HTPC (1)

Shompol (1690084) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927832)

For HTPC use:
All my content is streamed from internet. Quality of stream is almost always lower than 1080p, so there is no need for higher resolution for TV watching both now and in foreseeable future.

I also noticed that when I sit right in front of the 46" TV-LCD panel, that serves for a nice and spacious desktop real estate. Only one aspect of this setup bothers me: for 46" of real estate the screen resolution is crap!
So yes, good thinking. Start making beyond-1080 screens at a reasonable price and I will snatch one right away. No TV functionality required, just an HDMI or DVI port.

Who cares about TVs? Give me HUXGA instead (2)

Co0Ps (1539395) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927846)

More resolution on my TV to watch Movies? Whatever. I need resolution for my monitor though - 1080p is a joke in terms of desktop surface. Give me a standard 19" 4:3 LCD with same pixel resolution as the screen on iPhone 4. I'd easily pay1000$ for that.

A comparison: A normal 19" 1280x1024 LCD has ~90 DPI. If it had ~326 dpi instead like the iPhone4 claims, the display would have a resolution of ~4640x3710 - the closest "common resolution" would then be: 4096x3072 (HXGA) or 6400x4800 (HUXGA). *drool* Imagine all the lines of code that would fit on that.

Re:Who cares about TVs? Give me HUXGA instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36928018)

Check out the IBM T220 from 2001 [wikimedia.org] . It doesn't have the ~326 DPI you wanted, but with 204 DPI and a WQUXGA resolution (3840×2400 pixels) I can guarantee you it looks pretty damn awesome compared to the common 90-120 DPI displays today.

Unfortunately however, it is not manufactured anymore.

Never mind this nonsense (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927880)

Someone has a plan to auction off free over-the-air TV channel bandwidth to cell phone companies in exchange for billions needed to balance the budget. Isn't there some Federal obligation to provide access to those that don't want to pay for cable or is all bandwidth for sale? Grr.

What?? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927894)

> The Economist writes a thoughtful article about the next generation of HDTVs and how they will provide resolutions beyond 1080p.

But... but... why?

> The drive for higher resolution is driven in part by the demands of 3D content.

But... but... but... WHY??

What's the point with bandwidth caps present? (1)

Jophiel04 (1341463) | more than 2 years ago | (#36927922)

The idea of big studios pushing for more and higher quality streaming content is just unrealistic. Even current rumors of Apple streaming 1080p at 10Mbps [macrumors.com] would put the bandwidth requirements at 4.39 GB per hour. Even that could get some households in trouble with the new standard 250GB caps that Comcast and Time Warner have been pushing. Take for example a family, where the kids watch 2 movies a week and the parents watch 1 per week. Assuming a movie length of 2 hours, that alone would be over 100GB for only 24 hours of content in a month. Even before anyone does anything else, or before all of the youtube videos and such, that's 40% of a typical cap in the US. Without fundamental change on the part of large US ISPs, the idea that streaming content will push us to new and exciting resolution territory is just unrealistic.

Same old rubbish (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927952)

Instead of trying to find new and convoluted ways of selling us the same old rubbish over and over again, why don't they try to make some worthwhile content to show on the haunted goldfish tank?

I lived without one (in the UK) for 6 years in the late 90s. When I eventually got one again, the only improvement there had been was the increased nudity including bare breasts.

News, current affairs, documentaries and science programs had all declined severely. I fell like I'm being talked to like a 5-year-old child when I watch the news these days.

There is so much celebrity "news," gossip and lifestyle trash. It's dreadful.

At least you can get 30 minutes of bare breasts late at night for free on some channels with a bit of casual lesbianism thrown in for good measure.

Mind you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36927964)

Mind yourself!
And don't call me Shirley!!

3D is NOT a market driver... (3, Informative)

MrWin2kMan (918702) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928012)

I attended the NAB show in Las Vegas last year, and speaking with representatives of dozens of television manufacturers and content producers it was clear that 3D, even last April, was already a dead issue with no significant consumer uptake. The only people talking it up were the major studios. It's pretty clear the only group that benefits from 3D is theater operators, who charge higher prices for the showings. The major studios were pushing 3D to the home only to leverage their investment in producing the content. Nobody wants to wear the stupid glasses, and if you have a bunch of people over to watch a special event like the Superbowl, it's either impractical or downright impossible to accomodate everyone. Glasses-free 3D has a problem similar to 1st-gen LCD panels in that the viewing angle is extremely narrow. 3D is not driving the road to 4K and beyond. Military usage, as always is the big driver, as the NSA especially needs higher and higher resolution monitors for their analysis. The other off-shoot that is a big driver is cinema-width TV's. 1920x1080p is insufficient to view many of the CinemaScope and similar titles that were produced in their full glory, at a large enough size to make any difference from DVD resolution. Simply making 1080p sets larger only makes the pixels larger, and produces perceived graininess. They had a wonderful 200" Panasonic LCD television on display, but it was no where near as good as the 40" 4K set directly across from it. The bigger problem is that Joe Sixpack on average doesn't know the differences between 720p, 1080i and 1080p. DVD's look great on 720p sets, but BluRays do not. Even worse, Joe Sixpack doesn't know that there are different HD's at all! Joe Sixpack goes mostly on price, which is why the low-end sets are selling well, but the more expensive 55-70" 1080p 240/480Hz sets are not, and why the manufacturers are struggling right now. And why they're trying to change the focus to 4K sets. HDTV's have become a commodity, and they need to introduce something new to keep their sales momentum. Unfortunately, the consumers haven't been cooperating.

Let me know when companies will stream it... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#36928028)

We're gonna need more bandwidth at the service provider and at the home if we're gonna replace bluray with streaming...

1080p24 (24frames per second) is about 4-8Mb/s when streamed from something like youtube, however a bluray disk can stream at ~54Mb/s.

However, I could encode, or rather compress the hell out of a 1080p source and still call it 1080p. So I guess we come back to the definition of what is HD or 1080p...

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