The trouble with a new HDTV

As you might know JBQ and I are in the market for a new 1080p 52″+ TV loaded with at least 4 HDMI 1.3a ports, to replace our old component-only Sharp 1080i/540p 55″ HDTV (2001 model). However, we can’t find exactly what we want. JBQ wants a deep-black “fast” Plasma, and I want 120Hz and, especially, 24p support. I can find both the features I want only from Sony’s new LCD line up (nobody else seems to support 24p specifically), and JBQ can only find what he needs (mostly) from Pioneer. Why the hell hasn’t Pioneer (or *any* other Plasma manufacturer for that matter) come out with 72Hz support for proper 24p?

I guess we will have to wait 2-3 years before we both agree on the TV we want to buy.

Update: It seems we found the almost-perfect model: the 50″ Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD. It supports 72Hz for proper 24p, although it’s not as big as we wanted it, it doesn’t have enough saturation/color settings as in their “Elite” line, and it doesn’t have Sharp’s “smart stretch” algorithm (useful for 4:3 optimization on a widescreen). However, it fits perfectly in our living room setup, and I think that this is the model we will go with eventually. Any TV article you read it says that Pioneer has the best plasmas today (if not best TVs in general). B&H sells it for $3500.

Oh, I almost forgot: it runs Linux.

17 Comments »

JBQ wrote on January 7th, 2008 at 5:21 PM PST:

What you care about is something that can display a 24p signal with all frames being displayed identically (or at least for the same duration). I’m interested in something that can display a 60 fps signal with each frame being dsplayed for as little time as possible.

A plasma capable of displaying a 60 fps signal at 60 Hz and a 24 fps signal at 72 or 120 Hz would work fine. Interestingly, one that could display 60 Hz progressive and 120 Hz interlaced would get quite close, but would still only need a single pixel frequency.


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Eugenia wrote on January 7th, 2008 at 5:24 PM PST:

Yeah, but I want progressive for my 24p at 120Hz (or 72Hz), not interlaced. Oh well, as I said, we have to wait years to get what we want… After all these supposedly glorious CES products out there, and they still haven’t got it right. Heck, look at the poor de-interlacing some TVs still do, after 50 years of such technology being around.


Billy wrote on January 7th, 2008 at 7:00 PM PST:

OK, so this is where my ignorance of the details becomes apparent: why would a 120 Hz LCD with, say, 4 ms response time not suit your needs framerate-wise?


JBQ wrote on January 7th, 2008 at 8:53 PM PST:

Well, from my point of view an LCD is equally bad regardless of whether it’s 60 or 120Hz. With a 4ms response time and a 60Hz source, each frame could get displayed for as much as 20ms, and I very much prefer situations where frames only get displayed for less than, say, 3ms.


Thom Holwerda wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 2:54 AM PST:

This is my ignorance, but ehm, isn’t framerate more or less predefined? In other words, if you want frames to display for a shorter period of time… You get fast-forward.

Right? So what’s the point?


Billy wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 10:52 AM PST:

>and I very much prefer situations where frames only get displayed for less than, say, 3ms.

OK, now I’m really confused. 😉 What content are you trying to watch that updates at 333 1/3 FPS? And I’m not quite sure how exactly you’re getting the 20 ms calculation (are you taking 16 2/3ms for the 60 Hz and then adding the 4ms?)

FWIW Eugenia, my Sharp Aquos LCD has Smart Stretch, but it can be disabled (it’s one of four modes you can toggle). I leave it set at pixel-for-pixel, personally.


Bob Curnow wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 12:06 PM PST:

If you’re wanting to buy now, go for the pioneer. If you want to buy later this year, buy the new panasonics and save some money.

I have a 1366×768 50″ commercial panasonic plasma. It is awesome; I used to be caught up in the numbers game until I got mine. I still haven’t seen a better picture. The processing is amazing. My next plasma will probably be a 58″ panasonic.

I almost bought a 52″ Sony XBR4 or 5 LCD last month, but I didn’t like the black levels. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t great like the pioneer kuro. My current panasonic has decent blacks, and I’m sure the ones coming out this year will be awesome… and they’ll have 24p and hdmi 1.3 and 1080p. That’s what I’m looking for now.
Bob C


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Eugenia wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 12:13 PM PST:

>Right? So what’s the point?

hehe, no… 😀
If a movie is 24fps, and the TV can only do 60hz (or in the PAL world, 50Hz), then frames will have to be duplicated to reach 30p or 60i. Because of legacy in the technology, 1 Hz meant 1 frame. Today, we don’t care about the Hz of the electric current and we can display any frames we want, but back in the day, in order to make frames to display, they had to play ball with the electric current. And this limitation is stuck with us today too on the cheaper TVs. So 1 frame from a 24p movie, has to be duplicated 2.5 times during 1 second to reach 60i. This creates jerky movements, because the 2.5 number is not a “clean” number that divides exactly with “60”. If you have a TV that does 72Hz, it can do 24*3, and so all frames are duplicated equally, and so it looks more smooth to the eye. Capito? 🙂

Billy, I think he’s mostly interesting in games. As for “smart stretch”, it’s our favorite algorithm for 4:3 content, we use it a lot in our Sharp.


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Eugenia wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 12:20 PM PST:

Bob, that Panasonic looks interesting. It seems to have the features we are after, and looking around Panasonic has good prices overall. However, while they mention 24p support, they don’t mention if it’s at 48Hz or at 72Hz or at 120 Hz. If it’s at 48Hz then it’s not such a good idea because the screen will flicker too much.


Billy wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 1:19 PM PST:

>This creates jerky movements, because the 2.5 number is not a “clean” number that divides exactly with “60″. If you have a TV that does 72Hz, it can do 24*3, and so all frames are duplicated equally, and so it looks more smooth to the eye. Capito?

Sure, so any 120 Hz (24*5) display should be fine there, right?

>Billy, I think he’s mostly interesting in games.

OK, but what games pump out that sort of framerate? 4ms is 250 FPS. 😉 It could just be me, but my PS3/360 games look great on my 4ms LCD, even when I don’t enable the “fast mode” (for games) option.

> As for “smart stretch”, it’s our favorite algorithm for 4:3 content, we use it a lot in our Sharp.

Yeah, my bad. I had initially (incorrectly) read your sentence to mean that you didn’t like that feature, so I was attempting to be helpful and let you know you can turn it off. 😉


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Eugenia wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 1:32 PM PST:

>Sure, so any 120 Hz (24*5) display should be fine there, right?

Yes, an 120Hz LCD does what I want, but so does 72Hz on Plasmas. But no LCD can match the plasma in overall quality. Read a recent article linked from gizmodo about a review of the BEST plasma against the BEST LCD. Plasma won easily.


Stacy wrote on January 8th, 2008 at 4:05 PM PST:

Oh what horrible problems you have! 😉

Why don’t you each buy a TV and be done with it!


Luis wrote on January 9th, 2008 at 4:29 AM PST:

But do you think that it’s human visible whether you’re displaying a fixed number of frames per cycle (refresh) or a variable one? I understand that in theory it sounds good to have a perfect multiple but in practice I don’t think it matters.

For example, do you think that you would notice any difference in watching a 24p movie in a screen at 100 Hz or in one at 96 Hz? Sure, at 96 Hz you would display 0.25 frames per refresh cycle – or to say it better, each frame would display during exactly 4 refresh cycles, while at 100 Hz 20 of those 24 frames per second would display in screen during 4 refresh cycles while the other 4 frames would display during 5 cycles. But can any human see the difference? I believe that above 72 Hz you shouldn’t worry that much about exact multiples.


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Eugenia wrote on January 9th, 2008 at 12:33 PM PST:

> I understand that in theory it sounds good to have a perfect multiple but in practice I don’t think it matters.

It does matter. YOU DO notice. We went to Best Buy last night to watch the Kuro play a movie at 72Hz, and it felt smoother than in our old TV at 60Hz.

Personally, I even VERY WELL feel the difference between 60Hz CRTs, 75Hz and 85Hz. Over my lifetime I had many CRTs who could do one or the other resolution/Hz, and I could very well tell the difference because of the flickering.


Luis wrote on January 9th, 2008 at 2:10 PM PST:

>It does matter

No, you’re talking about something different. At 60 Hz there is flickering and it’s clearly visible. Above 72-75 Hz it disappears and it’s hard to tell the difference between 80 Hz and 100 Hz (though you might somehow feel more comfortable with 100 Hz).

However, we’re not talking about the TV frequency here but about the conversion from the source framerate to the TV’s frequency. At high frequencies the fact that the multiple is not exact is irrelevant for the human eye. An easier example to try:

If you have a screen at 75 Hz, try to play two videos: one at 25 fps and one at 30 fps. The first one multiplies perfectly (25*3=75) while the second one doesn’t (30*2.5=75). Now, if you can notice the 25 fps video smoother than the 30fps one, I can only take my hat off to your incredible perception.

By the way, what Thom said about the framerate being predefined is correct. He was referring to the *source* framerate (the video), so yes, if you want each frame to display for a shorter period of time than it should you’d have fast forward (unless you fill up the space with black frames in between, which is a horrible idea). The difference between having a 75 Hz TV and a 100 Hz TV playing a 25fps movie is that in the first case each frame will be displayed 3 times while in the second it will be displayed 4 times. But in the end each frame will be displayed exactly the same time in both cases (1/25 secs.)


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Eugenia wrote on January 9th, 2008 at 2:34 PM PST:

Yeah, but I don’t care if something is 120Hz (LCDs) or 72Hz (plasmas). I just want an integer multiplier for 24p. I did watch the Kuro last night playing “Die Hard” using 72Hz and their “film motion” algorithm, and IT WAS smoother than on my TV.


Jon Belson wrote on January 11th, 2008 at 10:14 AM PST:

Luis: the improvement that native 24Hz makes is most obvious in panning or fast moving scenes. Agree that some people might not notice the difference, but others can. I would certainly pay more for a set with native 24Hz support rather than relying on 3:2 pulldown.

–Jon


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