Why You Should Watch And Record Video In 720p Instead Of 1080i

Despite the many technological advancements we've had over the past few years, interlaced video seems to have stuck around. Interlaced is the "i" in 1080i and the reason it's not quite as good as 720p. It's in your cable, your televisions and your camcorders. You should stop using it. Benjamin Higginbotham, the Technology Evangelist, explains why in the above video.

Essentially, when you're dealing with interlaced video, you're really only seeing half the resolution because the image is split into two fields that alternate very quickly. This tricks our eyes into seeing the full image even when it's not being displayed at the same time. This was very useful for overcoming bandwidth limitations in the early days of standard definition. Now we can display progressive video (the "p" in 720p and 1080p) which shows us the full image in every frame. With 720p video, you get 720 lines of horizontal resolution in each frame. With 1080i video, you only get half of 1080 lines of resolution (meaning 540) in each frame.

In many cases this isn't a big deal, but it starts to show up in interlaced artefacts during high amounts of motion in any given frame. Basically, objects in fast motion will look like they're smearing cross the screen instead of looking natural. There are also numerous issues that can arise when displaying interlaced footage on progressive displays like HDTVs, for example.

For a full run-down of what is a pretty complicated subject, be sure to watch the video above. While 1080p is definitely your best bet in terms of highest resolution, don't think that 1080i is just as ideal because the number's the same. Choosing a progressive resolution like 720p will look a lot nicer.

720p vs 1080i HD Explained (HQ) [YouTube via PetaPixel via Apartment Therapy Tech]


Comments

    I agree completely. Although I read somewhere that the number works is two thirds - i.e. any interlaced resolution is worth 2/3's progressive, rather than half. e.g. 1080i = (2/3 x1080)p = 720p

    Also, given LCD displays are prone to leaving artefacts in high speed images, I would never recommend anything but progressive for LCD

    Great advice, some PS3 games only support up to either 1080i or 720p, and I always wondered which was better to utilise, now I know!

    why haven't we just dropped interlacing yet? it's the stupidest thing

    Quite wrong with respect to TV.
    1080i is far far better than 720p for most TV programmes..
    Artifacts are not an issue for most people.
    But the higher resolution is very noticeable on large TVs, those over 50 inches.

    1080i has a good place in the TV system. 1080p is better on sports but is not available on home TVs,
    You can watch Bluray on screens as large as2.4m from a viewing distance of 4 metres. but ordinary DVDs look terrible.

      I think you're confusing 720p with 576i there. DVDs are not 720p.

    The man speaks the truth. I' been saying exactly what he says for years. But sadly for those like bruwer the simplicity of resolution is beyond their comprehension

    Yep I hate 1080i. I am happy my camcorder can record at 1080p :)

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