1024 x 1024 Resolution Plasma Display Monitors vs.
853 x 480 Resolution Plasma Display Monitors

Reviewer: Robert Wiley
Review Date: August 2001

Pixel resolution with regard to plasma monitors is a tricky issue. Basically, all 42" plasma tv's have a built in converter/scalar to take care of the interpolation issue with matching up the incoming signal with the native pixel resolution. A 42" plasma monitor with 1024X1024 will not display a 1080i signal straight out. In order to show a true 1080I HDTV signal a 42" 16:9 plasma display monitor must have a native pixel resolution of 1920X1080. None currently have this resolution. All current 42" plasma monitors must do a certain amount of interpolating through the video processing chip/converter/scalar.

Because the 1024X1024 monitor seems closer in native pixel resolution to the 1080I signal than an 853X480 monitor it stands to reason that it would show the 1080i signal at a higher resolution - closer to the 1024 than the 853. However, the 1024X1024 monitor uses an interlace scan to see every other line while the 853X480 monitor uses progressive scanning. Using a comparison at a 60hz refresh rate, what you will actually see vertically is 512 lines on the 1024X1024 monitor compared with 480 vertical lines on the 853X480 monitor. Not much difference.

While the 1024X1024 (XGA resolution) plasma monitor still appears to have the edge in resolution we have to remember that the pixels are rectangles rather than square. This enables the monitor to produce the images for the 16:9 widescreen monitor. This means that the 1024 X1024 monitor has to do more interpolating on the horizontally stretched pixel, which can cause some softening. There is just a lot of severe scaling to be done there. The 853X480 monitor, having square pixels, will have an easier time with the horizontal conversion.

The 1024X1024 monitor can end up softening the image more due to the more severe horizontal filtering. It can depend upon the scalar/converter of the monitor as to which views the best.

This is where the difference between reasoning and true to life experience gets a little hairy. Contrast, brightness, and black levels come in to play with video images. What the eye picks up may be a much better picture on the 853X480 monitor because the converter/scalar does a better job of "blending" (through progressive scanning) the color information in such a way as to cause a crisper image. Contrast will necessarily translate into a better picture image given the effectiveness of the scalar/converter, though at the same time the 1024X1024 monitor may show a bit better depth/ three dimensionalities.

Since computer signals are progressive the 1024X1024 monitor will convert the signal very well to interlaced and provide a good resolution vertically. Obviously an XGA resolution will favor the 1024X1024 monitory because of the similarity in signal and pixel. Still image graphics for instance would look better on the 1024X1024 than on an 853X480 monitor because the refresh rate does not come into play. The progressive scanning 853X480 may look better using a computer with fast motion imaging, but generally the 1024X1024 monitor should display most computer graphic presentation materials better. A normal VGA resolution of 853X480 will match up nicely with the 853X480 monitor.

The 50" plasma monitors display somewhat different pixel resolutions. Native pixel resolutions of 1280X768 or 1365X768 are shown. These plasma monitors will use progressive scanning to show the best possible picture. An incoming 1080i signal will be cross-converted to 768P (as opposed to down-converted with an 853X480 widescreen monitor). An incoming 720P signal will be upconverted to 768P. Therefore, the viewer will get a full and true HDTV picture.

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