MultiChoice spokesperson Jackie Rakitla has revealed that the company does not have immediate plans to broadcast in 1080p on its HD PVR service.
1080p (progressive scan) is a high definition display format for HD televisions. Both 1080i (interlaced) and 1080p feature HD display capabilities with each representing a resolution of 1920×1080, a number which is regarded as full HD.
The differences between the two lie in the way in which the signal is displayed on an HD screen. 1080i sends images in alternative fields, meaning that each row of pixels is regarded as either even or odd. Odd fields are displayed first while even fields are displayed second; both of these fields together create a full frame on the screen.
1080p displays all frames progressively. This means that both even and odd fields are displayed together, resulting in an arguably smoother image.
Although the differences between the two are largely negligible to the untrained eye some video professionals believe that a 1080p image is superior to 1080i while displaying HD and Blu-Ray video formats.
Currently MultiChoice only broadcasts its HD signals in 720p (also known as HD ready) and 1080i.
“MultiChoice has no plans at this stage to broadcast in 1080p resolution. This resolution requires changes to the broadcast infrastructure and also utilises much more bandwidth than the 1080i and 720p resolution,” said Rakitla.
In addition, the majority of DSTv’s HD programming is not in full HD. “The standard for the MultiChoice broadcast of HD content is 720p resolution, however, MultiChoice may from time to time broadcast in 1080i.”
Despite this the company believes that the differences between 1080i and 1080p do not have a significant bearing on picture quality.
“It is important to note that a broadcast of 1080p does not result in a dramatic improvement in picture quality for most viewers and in addition, if the customer does not have a full HD receiver, the content would need to be downscaled to 720p for display,” said MultiChoice.
According to source material provided by MultiChoice, the differences between 720p and 1080p on screens smaller than 50 inches while being fed the same source Blu-Ray material are almost unnoticeable.
While this may be true it does not take into account those users who are viewing on screens larger than 50 inches expecting to receive a consistent high definition signal.
Multichoice currently offers its HD PVR service for a price of R499 (DSTv Premium Subscription) with the addition of a monthly access fee of R60. The current PACE HD PVR decoder retails for R3 999.
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