Is 1080p Really worth it?

I distinctly remember recently all the videophile’s bemoaning the fact that the newly announced Apple TV device only supported 720p. I started thinking ‘why would Apple do that?’ so as I conducted research I came across various web sites that talked a great deal about the resolution debate and how; ‘does it matter’ depends so much on you’re viewing distance and the size of the screen. Coming from the LED side of the digital signage industry it came as no surprise that screen resolution ‘fit for purpose’ is a function of viewing distance. If you don’t believe me go 3ft away from a 48 sheet poster and check the size of the print halftones that you don’t even notice from 75 feet away.

So here is the graph that the experts say matters when it comes to resolution Vs Screen Size Vs viewing distance.

resolution graph

This is actually very interesting viewing. It begs the question – Is there any point in having the extra production costs / increased player performance & cost / increased download times (especially if you pay for bandwidth as many do) if your screens are only of typical size? Especially in an out of home environment where the audience may well be actually moving, compounding the issue of relevance of 1080p.
I’m not saying 1080p is wrong and of course our system can quite easily handle 1080p, but in many cases it may well be the case that 720p is perfectly adequate.
Remember – Its not about finding the sharpest needle in a haystack just the sharpest to sew with 😉

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