What Exactly is a 1080p Projector?

When it comes to buying a projector for your home theater, you’re probably going to go with HD, or high definition, and there are a couple choices available.  One of the most popular HD formats that people go with is the 1080p projector.  This is the best HD standard available these days, and will give you the best picture for your home theater.

Let’s quickly dissect the anatomy of the term “1080p” and how it compares to other formats, ie, 720p and 1080i.  First off, you have the number, 1080.  This number corresponds to the number of scan lines.  1080 is quite a few lines, and significantly more than 720, so we have a clear winner in that respect; you’re going to get a sharper picture here because there are more pixels, more scan lines, more awesomeness.  In a typical home cinema setup, where you’re using a 16:9 aspect ratio, this number of lines equates to 2,073,600 total pixels of pure viewing pleasure.  1080p projectors are looking like the winner in this category.

Now, let’s look at the letter.  The “i” means interlaced, and the “p” means progressive scan.  An interlaced picture involves the scanning of two different fields, one consisting of the odd lines, and the other the even.  This generally isn’t something easily noticed by the naked eye, but if you’ve ever taken a photo of a television, and have noticed dark horizontal lines across the image, this was because the photo was snapped when either one set of lines or the other was being scanned.  This causes some problems.  For example, if you use a home theater computer system, you’re really going to notice this effect.  Computers output in a progressive scan format, and the interlacing effect will be noticeable and irritating.  It is the flickering of interlaced images, whether noticeable or not, that causes eye strain when watching TV or video for too long.  So, what about this “p” or progressive scan?  This format, as the name implies, progressively scans just one image, rather than two.  This means you getter a better, crisper, more comprehensive picture.  720p, or even 420p is arguably better, for home theater purposes, than 1080i for its clarity.  The 1080p home theater projector wins again.

What does this all mean?  Well, with 1080 being the best resolution, and “p” being the better display method, you’re going to get your best viewing experience from an hd 1080p projector.

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