Does a 1080p Big Screen TV Really Make a Difference?

Can you tell the difference between a 720p HDTV and a 1080p HDTV?

For years TV manufacturers have been telling us that the sharpest pictures can only come from a 1080p television.  Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent reinforcing this message so when someone buys a new 1080p TV set they tell their friends and family that the picture is sharper than what they could get on a 720p TV.

Quietly die-hard video enthusiasts have said that 1080p is only visible when the television is a certain size and you’re sitting a certain distance away.  For a 26 or 32″ television it would be a waste.  At 46 or 52 inches the ability to perceive a difference greatly increases.  PC Mag ran a test to find out how people would respond when only their wallets were taking out of the picture and their eyes had to tell the difference.

The results are actually really amazing.  Using two LG 42″ HDTVs, one 720p and one 1080p he asked 64 people to determine which one looked better while the movie Star Trek was playing.  25% of the people actually thought that the 720p television looked better and another 16% couldn’t tell the difference between the two.  The opposite side of the story is that 59% of people did and that majority opinion means something but not very much.

A sample size of only 64 people isn’t large enough for the results to have much significance.  A better test would to have a larger sample size where people were not only asked to determine which “looked better,” but also have a set of people where the positions of the television are switched.  Test administrators have a problem of influencing results with their words, tone and boy language.  The world isn’t perfect so one can’t expect test to be either however this test may save people a few hundred dollars when they shop for their next HDTV.

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