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There’s finally some content out using the latest and greatest HD standard, but I certainly won’t be running to the store to replace my 1080i HDTV anytime soon. If you’re a video “geek” like myself or have just been following the evolution of HDTV, you know that the PS3, Blu-ray, and 2nd generation HD-DVD will support 1080p. If you haven’t been following this evolution, after reading this (and the CNET article linked below) you’ll be able to tell the sales guy at your local electronics store to go annoy someone else while you browse for your next HDTV.

Picture quality is determined by a multitude of factors, and believe it or not resolution isn’t necessarily the most important factor when we talk about 720p, 1080i or 1080p capable HDTVs. Sure, it ranks right up there, but contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy do as well. For more detailed information on the HDTV standards and resolution, check out this excellent CNET article from David Katzmaier. The fact of the matter is that difference in picture quality between 1080i and 1080p will not be noticeable to the average viewer.

The other thing that should be pointed out is that the only content you’ll find that’s truly 1080p will be via Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs. If you have HD cable or HD satellite service today, you’re probably just as frustrated as I am that there’s not more HD channels available. More importantly, those HD channels that are available today are broadcasting in either 720p or 1080i. It’s highly unlikely that these channels & networks will toss out their investment in HD hardware just to upgrade to 1080p, at least anytime soon.

So if you’ve just got to have the latest greatest, get a 1080p capable HDTV; at least you’ll have it when more content is available (if it lasts that long). If you’re not filthy rich and/or already have a 1080i HDTV, I’d say hold off on going 1080p until there’s a real good reason for doing so.

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