questionswhich is better, a bigger tv at 720 or smaller tv…


Post the makes and models that you're considering - it's really hard to make a qualitative assessment on just the resolution and size.

I personally would always go with the larger set, and I'd be really surprised if it didn't have 1080i at least - many sets advertised as "720p" can also do "1080i", which is not as good as "1080p".

Base the size on a) your budget and b) how far away you're going to sit from the TV. Amazon has this lovely web page with good information:

Crutchfield has another wonderful guide here:


Thanks for your input... this is the set I'm leaning on.

It's for my bedroom, and I do sit a good ways away from the TV. That's why I'm deciding to get a new TV. My eyes are not as good as they once were, and I can't read the guide now.. and the picture is a little fuzzy. I'm leaning toward the 37"/720... but I just wanted some opinions on it. Especially since I don't pay for all those special HD channels...


The bigger the set, the more important higher resolution is. The number of pixels is set, so the bigger the screen, the more likely you would be to notice. Imagine a TV 20 feet wide- at 1920x1080 a pixel would be about .12 of an inch- noticable.

That being said, "High Def" programming, a la cable and satelite, is (currently) broadcast in 1080i, not 1080p. The only time you would use 1080p is for blue-ray DVDs or a computer hook-up. Playstation 3 is blue-ray (I'm not positive about XBox or Wii.)

Just food for thought...


@tcayer: xbox does not do bluray and I'm pretty sure Wii will only do 480p. I think some xbox games may be 720p.


None of the inputs you listed are higher-def than 720p
(An XBox 360 can theoretically be 1080p, but most (maybe all) HD games top out at 720p... and all HD games must have a native 720p or worse mode).

Therefore, based just on size/resolution, 720p at 37" in clearly superior to 1080p at 32" (Unless the 37" is too big in your bedroom.)


I would recommend going to a store like Best Buy and actually looking at the TVs you're interested in, or at least something similar.

All things being equal, if you're going to sit farther away, I would go with the bigger one, especially if you're not going to upgrade to HD cable service.

But if they're different in factors other than size & resolution, there's no real way to know without actually seeing them in use. For example, there are differences in viewing angles and contrast ratios between LCD, LED-LCD, and plasma, some models are better for situations with high glare, some have better built-in speakers, etc.

According to Wikipedia, Xbox 360 supports up to 1080p, but most games are designed at 720p.


Thanks! You all have been a HUGE help!


@tcayer: 360 had the addon for a (now pretty useless) HD DVD


I've never heard a single person say they wish they had gone with a smaller set. I have a 37" 1080i and the resolution is great. You could have it at the foot of your bed and it would still look really good (because your head would be 6' away). Also, remember that a 32" flat panel is still measured on the diagonal and because it's wide screen, it will be a shorter TV. I believe a 37" widescreen is about the same height as a 32" standard (4:3).

All of that being said, some sets just don't look as good as others. I don't trust in store displays as their settings aren't always optimal, but that means that if it looks good in the store, it will look good (or better at home).


FWIW, a 32" Widescreen tv image is slightly less tall than a 27" old style tv (if they made 33" widescreens, they would be as tall as a 27" old style.) I had a chance recently to get a nice deal on a 32" for the bedroom, and passed for that reason - I would still need my glasses to see anything meaningful on the tv while in bed. I would definitely go for the larger tv, especially since you're not doing hdtv anyway - you don't really gain anything with the higher resolution in that case. Oh, and a 37" widescreen, btw, is slightly less tall than a 31" old style tv.


Just fwiw, I bought a 50inch 720p plasma for my bedroom. This is the perfect size for me in the bedroom, and there are certain parts that look better on it than my 52in Sony 1080p. My only complaint: Burn in. It still exsist, atleast on this tv.


Low technology plasmas can still suffer burn in. LCDs don't.


The geek in me says to go for the 1080 set, but if you really don't ever see yourself using any hi-def inputs, then it doesn't matter. Go for the size.


Based on your needs I would recommend the 720p set. Viewing distance is the main variable that people ignore and then end up not seeing the greatness of HD.

use that chart to tell you if a 32" 1080p set would even be noticeable from your sitting distance.

If you have no HD source except xbox360/ps3 games 720p is all you will need.

However! I will warn you that the SD channels that you receive now will probably look even worse on your new TV. Don't expect a new HDTV to make your non-HD viewing experience better, unless it's a DVD.


@bbruin66: You know, I hadn't thought about that- when I first got a big widescreen, I strecthed the image so it filled the screen, as I couldn't see having a 65" TV and only using the middle. More and more shows are shot in widescreen now, and I don't notice much distortion any more...


@jdenn: I remember that. A good lesson why NOT to be an early adopter. Just ask any Sony BetaMax owners! All the fanboys out there will scream that it's better, but now you can't buy anything in the format.


Watch HDNATION on Let those guys school you on the True vs. BS hype about tv. It worked for me. 42" 1080p non-name brand.


i work at best buy, but dont know much about tvs. i do know that the tv settings are intentionally changed so that the tvs we make the highest profit on, look better. they purposefully make the tvs with a lower profit margin look worse so you are less likely to buy them.


@shanktheshazbot: Ooooh I hope you transmitted that info over a secure signal... the Best Buy Gestapo will be in route to "take care of this problem"... lol


nowadays, i wouldn't even take a free tv at 720p (except to resell). as flippant as that may sound, there is a huge difference between 1080 and 720p. the quality of HD programming nowadays is excellent and you will definitely want to take full advantage of it. sometimes i feel like i can reach out and actually touch the face of the person on the screen; it's so clear. you will not get that feeling with 720p.
unless you are going to lose more than a foot of screen real estate, it's a no-brainer. go with the 1080p.

i just noticed that you say you don't pay for HD. that is a mistake if you plan to buy an hd tv. if you insist on staying without HD, then it doesn't matter what you get -- money can be your bottom line. standard definition broadcasts suffer on HD tv's. in fact a SD broadcast will look far better on a SD tv than it ever will on an HD tv. An HD tv will stretch a SD picture to fit. when an image is stretched, it loses clarity... quickly.


@derek123: that's not necessarily true. it depends on several factors. Does the TV do any sort of noise reduction? If so, how good is it?

That can make a huge difference in image quality, but the biggest difference will be, are the SD channels analog or digital? Analog channels may look worse (see noise reduction question above), but if the SD channels are digital, then they will look better.

Also, how the signal makes it into the TV can make a huge difference as well. if it is analog, then there's not much to it. Coax it is. But if a cable box is used at all, then the quality chain from worst to best would be: composite (yellow) -> coax -> s-video -> component (red/green/blue) or VGA (d-sub) -> HDMI or DVI


I work for a home theater design company an I can tell you 1080p is imperative for larger sets smaller sets are compressed so the detail is greater I've seen 32inch lcds at 720p look better than a large set say 52inches that is 1080p because of the larger pixels an also the average person probably wouldn't notice the difference between a 32inch tv at 720p an a 32inch tv at 1080p.


Don't waste your time with 720 if you want to watch anything that looks awesome. Especially with Blueray!