1080p: Are We There Yet? - Part 2
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As I stated in my previous article , I believe that 1080p displays are the Holy Grail of Video. These displays offer consumers a no-compromise solution to getting the best possible image from all of their sources, be it high definition, standard definition, or even a PC signal. With many of the current displays' resolutions, the resolution that is available in the signal is, for lack of betters words, thrown away. While there are no 1080p signals available yet, other than from a PC, they are coming. The major issue with most of the current crop of 1080p displays is that they cannot accept a 1080p input signal unless it is on the analog RGBHV input (commonly used for a PC). In an age of digital rights management, most consumers that purchase a 1080p display today, will never be able to connect up a 1080p source.
Of the 1080p displays which are presently available, few will accept a 1080p digital signal. One exception is JVC's 1080p DILA projector, which will only accept a 1080p input signal. In this case, they do sell their projector with an external video processor which converts all incoming signals to 1080p. Most of the 1080p displays that will accept a 1080p signal will only do so on their PC inputs (analog RGBHV). The problem with this is that most consumers prefer to keep the signal digital from their source to their display, and even if they connect their source digitally to an external video processor, the HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) encryption which is on the digital signal mandates that the analog outputs of the video processor be turned off. This is by no means a technical limitation, it is purely for legal reasons.
Perhaps even more frustrating is not that the displays can't accept 1080p as an input signal, it is that several of the manufacturers have customers believing that it is a limitation of the HDMI spec. More difficult to swallow is the fact that the cost of the parts which make accepting a 1080p signal possible is minute. The truth is that the manufacturers have decided not to put 1080p capable digital inputs on their displays because they feel there is no reason to give their customers this capability. So those that are jumping in on the first generation of 1080p displays, the early adopters, do so with the belief that what they purchase today will be compatible with the formats of tomorrow. How do you think these folks are going to react when they find out once again they jumped in too soon? How would you feel if you just purchased a 1080p display and now you find that it is already flawed?
Sony's PlayStation3, due out next year, will have the capability to output two simultaneous 1080p signals to allow head-to-head gaming on two 1080p displays. HD DVD and Blu-Ray may come out with 1080p resolution content and I am sure that broadcast will eventually follow suit. I believe that every consumer who purchases a 1080p display would happily pay for the capability to accept a 1080p signal, even though they may have no use for it now. The reason that one would purchase a 1080p display over a 720p display is that they want the best possible picture quality that is available to them. Don't you think that it is safe to assume that these same users will be the early adopters when these 1080p sources do come to fruition? What will they do when they find out that their 1080p display is not capable of taking full advantage of these new formats?
There is good news. The next generation of 1080p displays will more than likely have 1080p capable digital inputs. I find it troubling that the early adopters, those that drive the industry, are the ones who always get burnt. 1080p displays are the "Holy Grail of Video," but there is one caveat, they must be able to accept a 1080p input signal.
Note: Don't miss part one of this article: 1080p: The Holy Grail of Video .
- By Josh Allen (reprinted with permission)
Originally published at Electronichouse.com
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