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Consumers grappling with the question of which TV set to buy are faced with a host of technical measurements and features. From convergence and interlace to geometric distortion and transient response, these factors all share a common thread--they sound impressive. But how critical are they really?
Case in point: Lines of horizontal luminance resolution, or, as it is often abbreviated, resolution. Few measurements seem to be cited more often by manufacturers when touting their products. But exactly how important is resolution when evaluating which set to buy? Ask the experts (which we have done) and you may have some trouble getting a clear consensus on this point.
Perhaps the best place to begin is with a layman's definition of resolution in order to dispell some of the term's intimidating high-tech mystique. Succinctly, horizontal resolution translates into fineness of picture detail. Breaking it down a bit further, this detail is derived from a series of vertical lines, alternately black and white. Evon Beckford, Consumer Reports, senior project leader in electronics, puts all this into concrete, familiar terms. He likens lines of resolution to a picket fence, the TV picture's white lines corresponding to the fence's slats and the black lines corresponding to the spaces between the slats. If one were to try to place as many slats as possible within a given width, at some point the slats would be so close together that one could no longer see the spaces in between. This number of slats would correspond to the limit of lines that could be squeezed into a TV …