If you have a picture, lets say its just 1 inch by 1 inch, and you have 40 dots or "pixels" in the picture you will be able to see only 40 items of detail. If you take another picture and it is also 1inch by 1inch, and you have 80 dots or "pixels", you have 80 items of detail.
This same idea applies to monitors and TV's.
In another example, if you take the first picture that is 80 dots per inch, and you add a second picture that was 40 dots per inch, and multiply it, you now have a 2 inch picture with only 80dots for your entire image. The quality is not any better, it is just bigger. You still have the same amount of pixels per inch. This is like the bigger screen.
A 19inch at 1440x900 = 89pixels per inch, if you take a 42 inch screen and put it at 1440x900 you only have 40 pixels per inch.
If your intent is to view high definition movies and television on your monitor, I would suggest you avoid any panels that aren't 1280x720 or 1920x1080..
The simple fact of the matter is that, when you don't use standard HD resolutions, you cannot playback HD content fullscreen without distorting the pixel ratio.. Ideally, you should use a 1:1 pixel ratio at all times, for best possible clarity.
This means that to view 1920x1080 video, you would need to downsample, and to view 1280x720 video, you would either need to upscale, or watch with 1:1 pixel ratio, but with borders surrounding the image.
I waited for years because I really didn't like the idea of running 1920x1080 content on a 1680x1050 panel, and decent 1920x1200 panels were firmly outside my budget. With the onslaught of fresh 16:9 ratio LCDs, I was finally able to afford a true 1080p panel, which I find delightful in both gaming, and viewing HD media. Hope this helps.
Also, excoracer brings up a good point about pixel density.. The higher the density, the better the image looks.. Large panels have lower pixel density, because you normally sit further away from them.. With 19-24" panels, you get much higher pixel density (if comparing to larger panel with same native resolution), which is a lot easier to look at when sitting close by.
honestly, i find i find the looks better, since the pixels get compressed. just stick closer to the screen, at least less than a meter away to appreciate it. but of course with bigger screens, you get to notice the details. especially when you're watching near. but sticking your face 2 feet away from a 30" screen will just kill my eyes. so it's either i go for a bigger screen watching at least a meter or two away, or go for a sub 20" screen watching two feet away. either way, you won't see the difference
but 1440x900 sounds higher than 1280x720 cause its 900 lines it has.so my scrteen would have to scale up 720p vids to my res therefore losing quality but at 1080p my screen res is closer to so not much is lose
Yes and no. You'd be perfectly capable of playing 720p content of any kind. 1080p is where it gets tricky. With Blu-ray or HD-DVD disc content, the HDCP would limit you to only 720p. In some cases, 1080p from a disc would either be downscaled to 720p, or in a worst-case scenario might not play at all.
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