HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Saturday, December 30, 2006

1080i on 1366x768 resolution problems

The title of this Post is, in fact, a very common search term that this site gets way too many hits from. That is a clue...

1920x1080 image with other resolutions shown inside, Pixel for Pixel

click for full 1920 x 1080 image

Your New Years Resolution should be 1080..
but if not... then read on. .1366 x 768 is not a broadcast standard in any way shape or form. It is a flatpanel plasma and LCD resolution offered for 16:9 displays Note ... this image above is not intended to show that 1366x768 cuts off a broadcast image, It is just to represent the pixel area differences of various resolutions. 1080i content is scaled down from 1920 wide to 1366 wide by the display. Read on.. Scaling matters.

1366 x 768 Native Resolution in fixed pixel flat panel displays:

There are 2 resolutions for HD broadcasts
1) 720p = resolution of 1280 x720 pixels ~ 1 megapixel
2) 1080i -= resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels ~ 2 megapixels

There is no 3rd resolution of 1366 x 768 in any HD source.
It is all about firmware scaling engine ( video processing chips ) in the display.

If you own a 1366 x 768 display then your image has been mashed about and re-scaled to fit your screen. Period. Meaning: you will not ever get a pixel for pixel rendering of anything coming into your display, so all this talk of "pristine 720p" from my 720p plasma display is bunk usually unless your display has an exact 1280 mode. Its no longer the video frame that the producer saw. Instead you actually are seeing an upscaled version created by the pixel scaler firmware with quality that the display manufacturer wanted to put into the HDTV.
Just because it is scaled does not mean it is not great imaging, some displays do a fantastic job of resizing and de-interlacing. Some 1366 displays do such a fuzzy job of scaling that the image seems about the same as regular TV, just bigger and wider, not Higher in Definition.

WHY does 1366 x 768 exist?
This has to do with a 1 megapixel processing boundary of easily available chipsets for VRAM ( video memory ) and video processing display drivers. Its a standard memory size of importance to chip makers. Makes for cost productive configurations where the Input / Output systems are built off of already available OEM devices, so basically the Manufacturer is more in the business of flatpanel Glass making and bezel/speaker situations on a large display. The functional basic math:

1 megapixel
1024 x 1024 = 1048576 pixels
1366 x 768 = 1049088 pixels 16 by 9 image
720p = 1280 x 720 = 921600 pixels. 16 by 9 HD standard .
720p is just under 1 megapixel of data per screen.

If they really wanted to make a 720p specific display, it would be 1280 x 720 pixels, but they decided to get every last bit they could into the viewable pixel space and that is what makes for 16 by 9 numbers to become 1366 across and 768 vertically. In fact 768 is a common vertical resolution memory boundary. Why get more pixels up into the glass and use 1366 x 768? ... because more pixels is better image resolution.

A 1366 x 768 image is ALWAYS SCALED
To Get HD from this means your image is at the mercy of scaling that makes 720 or 1080 source practically irrelevent to you, since whatever you see is processed and spit out by something you have almost no control over after your purchase. I trust Sony and Westinghouse digital, LG on some units. You must see it in the store in my opinion. Asking about scaler technology from most sales people will get you nowhere.

1366x768 is where the industry has not properly explained itself.
Why? I dont know , because i think they should, especially when the news is good, some displays have scalers that are superb and they should be claiming credit for that, since a huge amount of processing has to happen to make 720 into 768 or 1080 down to 768. In a Good display with a great processing chipset, the 1080 incoming resoultion is 2 times what the display can show, and since it has twice the information it needs, the 1366 display can really do a great job.

Ignoring this basic fact that people recognize the 1366 is not 1080 or 720, leaving out info about about scaler processing, is flawed reasoning at a fundamental level, and the google search hits i get about that are ample proof. People are smarter than that, and that intellect should be respected.

People DO want to know whats up with that. I think you need to see this nearly hidden piece : http://www.lge.com/products/tv/XDEngine/index.htm (flash) is not technical, but shows how LG handles the mutlitude of problems caused by resolution scaling and color. This is all done in chipsets that are in the display. By the way, LG does a great job and you will be happy to own a 1366x768 if the price-point is right for you.

1366 native resolution has caused some problems for the HD world.

why? Because many people looking at what they are told is the NEW HD are being exposed to 1 megapixel quality spread out over a large bright surface and they do not see the benefits of greater accuracy = HD in the display, because for the most part, that difference is not as dramatic, and stuff is still a bit fuzzy. Plasma displays at eye level in stores are the worst culprit. As a result some people see HDTV as a format / shape change from roughly square images to Wide Screen theater type displays that are flat. And the words HIGH and Definition are not being trusted as well. As a result you will see "FULL HD 1080" in marketing to put the HIGH back into the Definition.

THIS COLUMN written by some old guy in Baltimore sums it up pretty well, a huge 1366 x 768 screen was probably what he saw. Perhaps he would fail the 5 foot test With an eye chart of sorts here.

People that buy an HDTV also have worked with a computer... they see 1024 x 768 on a smaller screen without knowing that 768 is the display's pixel resolution ... some have seen a DVD on the computer screen. They seem to accept and relate that HD WideScreen TV is not going to be as sharp and detailed an image as thier computer has, & in my mind that is totally wrong... i blame the 1366 x 768 large flatpanel display makers for this misunderstanding.

A lot of personal computer laptop screens are actually higher in resolution , mine is 1440 x 960 and it and has enough VRAM for a secondary display, so there is a vga port in the back of it. The problems arise when you try to connect it up to a computer, which is by and large the next thing a wide screen HD display owner tries to do.

here is another term you have to live with regardless..
EDID (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EDID)
This is a real hassle, its the handshake between devices that sets the allowable resolution options you can select in the resolution menus of graphics systems.

This causes unavailable resolution to be grayed out and unselectable, even when the real truth would prove that the selection would be just fine, and should be allowed. The only way around this is to use a display driver for that monitor, which may be very hard to find.

There are codes for resolution.
They have the name EDID's and they are standards that exist across the globe, everywhere, but not always implemented in the same way and rarely include the 1366 x 768 resolution option.

WUXGA = 1920 x 1080 = HD1080 16:9 ATSC
WXGA = 1280 x 768/720 = HD720 16:9 generic PC
& by way of example; VGA = 640 x 480.

Standard EDID codes dont exist for 1366 x 768 resolution ...
causing lots of angst when people buy a 1366x768 panel and try to hook it up with VGA connector to a PC or a game machine, to find that 1280x768 is really the only clean resolution they get, and pushed to 1366, everything is rather blocky/blurry... doesnt look right. I'll bet you didnt know that, or if you just bought a 1366x768 HDTV you just found this out and you are seriously pissed about it. For DVI connections its a bit different and you really need the display card MFG and the monitor to behave properly, but not a lot of systems have DVI, you need to get that as an upgrade to your PC. The best solution i have for you is to replace your Graphics card with an nVdia 7600 GT or 7800 series graphics card. At this moment, nVidia does it best. For the technically adventure-centric DIY guy, a shareware program called PowerStrip 3 will attempt to control your graphics card, download it here: http://www.entechtaiwan.com/util/ps.shtm

Be careful though, and have an alternate display available to see what is happening in case you set your system to something unworkable by accident.

You will need perhaps a DVI to HDMI connector cable. Get that here: http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/dvi/index.htm

There isnt a future for 1366x768. Its just what is available due to chipsets and mfg, and is typical for low end LCD and many displays in Plasma. The plasma crowd is worried about this and producing all kinds of studies about the way people perceive color and motion at whatever viewing distance. If you never hook up a computer display, game machine or networked device, plasma 1366 may be right for you. If not, then this resolution is just Bigger wider brighter and flatter, with fat pixels you can see at 6 feet distance.


The over-whelming fact is.. people are hooking up their laptops and PC's to thier wide screen HDTVs, and this connects more and more people to HD and the web. I have found that people who get 1080p LCD displays have no issues, and those with 1366 displays have to fiddle a bit with the properties panel in the PC. Also, this seems to be one case where Apple does do well, many notebooks of theirs have DVI ports that seem to work out a full screen display.

is a word used by gamers and videopholes.
Basically what can happen is the graphics card/ memory refresh cycle is not completed in the displays refresh time, causing a loss of smooth motion or only getting halfway updated frames.
For 1280x768 this is usually not too much of a problem in a quick computer, but older 1.8 ghz systems with insufficient VRAM resources in memory will fail to produce a useable experience.

CYBERLINK PowerDVD software players...
Some systems will lock up or simply not display, especially when the extended desktop display is the HD screen, and the software wants to display on screen 1... forcing it to the secondary screen 2 while it is in use can crash some machines. In some cases you cannot change the properties in the PC display control to make the external screen become screen 1, and you can actually cause hard problems by doing so.... The best way for that case is is to start the DVD player -- pause it. -- drag the player window to the HD screen, and then restart the player not in full screen mode. pause it , set full screen , play.

There is a fellow on CNet that says he cant always tell the difference between a 1080p and a 1366 display when looking at HD content... AND states several times that the difference between Standard Definition TV and and 1366 HD display is more dramatic than the difference between 1366 and 1920 resolution displays. This is actually true, for him. If a person wears glasses and/or is near sighted, then perhaps the added cost of going from 1366 to 1920 pixel resolution is better spent on other things, so for some people its all good.

However, the difference between Standard Def 480 TV and HD 1080 is really what HD is all about, and in my time in front of displays, the 1080 stuff is preferred.

When the guitar on the wall next to the HDTV and a video or photo of that guitar on the HD screen look identical in detail, then HD becomes the accuracy of reality, it just feels right.

Friday, December 29, 2006


.. OOPS - Digital Rights Management.

Something called AACS was developed to assure usage and copy protection for Movie titles. It took a hacker on a windows machine 8 days to get around it for an HD-DVD. I'm like - so what? the average user is not going to de-encrypt anything, that noise is all the realm of the total geek., also this hack is for a specific Windows based player for HD-DVD on an XBOX USB HD-DVD player.

As usual there is a large underlying basic reasoning deficiency in all this furor.

The point that people are missing is that the decryption AACS key crack is only useful to people who do not have HDCP, which is the handshake performed by the video device firmware ( graphics card or HDTV ) and the AACS in the player. An HDTV with HDCP requires a valid Key or it will not allow full resolution play. All new players and displays have HDCP.

Basically you need old equipment (HD display with old DVI or VGA graphics card on a PC), the desire and ability to run Java code on your PC, and a lot of hard disc space... e.g. you gotta be a geek with old school stuff. If your display video card has HDCP then this crack of the PowerDVD 6.5 player is not needed for HD-DVD play, and therefore not worth the bother. About all you can do is what the hacker did.. play an HD-DVD file off a hard drive into a NON HDCP enabled system.

Its important to note that AACS as an encryption method has not been broken, only the access to a Title Key has been accomplished. This is comparable to designing a very hard to break door lock, and then accidentally allowing a lot of Keys to that door to get out and be copied. The Lock itself is still just as tough, the weakness is in the Key that opens it ... Hence you actually still need the door and its lock to get in, but now you have the key and can take whatever you want through the door ( the reason for the lock in the first place ) . How do you fix this problem? Change the lock of course, and this how AACS corrects the issue, revoke the keycode in future releases. This is rather like closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, so to speak, by the time you change your lock & Key, what you were trying to protect has left the building.

Actually re-writing the movie DRM-Free into a new file that can be copied to a blank HD-DVD and played in a Set-top or something other than a PC is a subsequent step. When Mpeg4 or Vc-1 format converted copies of even one HD-DVD movie shows up and PC users come to prefer that method of viewing HD Movies, then we will know that the purpose of AACS has been circumvented for that audience only, basically HD file sharing amongst XBOX HD-DVD drives with PCs connected to an HDTV.

I suspect this HD-DVD crack will be the straw breaking Toshiba's back only when someone drops a dozen cracked and pirated HD-DVD movie titles on some movie executive's desk. Probably a copy, WMV-HD formatted and no menus, just play on a PC with windows media Player 11. ( which by the way looks great... 720p or 1080p, both are superb )

HD-DVD releases are set to happen at the same time as HD pay-per-view availability on cable/dish HD networks, so all these movies may aleady be sitting on Tivos across the world anyhow. I sort of doubt that cracked DRM-Free downloads will show up everywhere since 20-25 gigs of HD is just a lot of too much data for todays connection speeds, and i would imagine that any "FREE" cracked software for HD-DVD will become rife with virus and trojans, making it risky to trust anything associated with it.

I do wonder what Toshiba / Warner / Microsoft has for Plan "B" - should be an interesting exposure of thier ability to damage control PR on this one, and how they manage the deal they have with cyberlink's Power DVD 6.5 software dvd player. I doubt they will be able to explain the real situation of HCDP to your average user, so this is a spin-doctor job for them. Bottom line? This AACS on HD-DVD furor is all noise and no real impact yet. However, this saga does not end here, it begins here.... and it is :


It's the format converted HD quality copy of a movie, duplicated in quantity and readily available ... that is feared by hollywood, and Asian duplication / knockoff houses doing it -- that is the real deal to consider, and great care must be taken by HD-DVD proponents, since it is by this means that some chinaman will be eating your lunch, and the HD-DVD will be how that was enabled.

Blu-ray key grabbing workaround for AACS has also been done. Its important to note that the crowd doing that is not the joe-sixpack average owner, but the PC user with lots of time on his/her hands and a willingness to spend large amounts of effort in dealing with downloads and hack software. Not a big contingent, but worth looking into, since all it takes is one enterprising character to create a mindlessly dumb and easy to use Keygrabber/converter and then a "borrowed" high def movie disc is copyable and can be played without HDCP/AACS in it.

My Observation is: that the usual buyer of High Def movies is not going to want to bother with any of this nonsense, and the studios have little to worry about from joe sixpack or his kids... i think more troublesome is the knockoff houses that counterfeit the movie and sell it like its an original copy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Year's Resolution = 1080

Regardless of what gets said, 1080 ends up in the buzzwords of choice category for 2007.

Dismal supply-side performance by manufacturers has rather damped the furor and buzz that the media attempted to raise over HD-DVD & Blu-ray value, but in almost all regards, it has emblazened the new term "1080p" into the mindset of the buying public, and if anything, that is good enough for now, as 1080 capable HDTV and HD Displays meet a tolerable price-point.

So its all good right?

Yup, although 1080 ubiquity is still a couple years away, at least it is becoming a known quantity by your middle income buyers, where in the past it was more of a terminology by-product for the consumer who evaluated a purchase mostly by price and physical size of the display width.

One interesting note however is the pending war between Plasma and LCD as competing technologies, at least in the mindset of the manufacturers and distribution chain, with each side claiming better and more quality.

I think the real Technology competition commenced when the SXRD and DLP rear projection 1080 displays got really good, and they are. NowI see the price-point value difference being much more of a choice where 1080 LCD wins for the smaller 32 - 47" screens and Rear projection for larger 50" on up. Just go look at an SXRD and tell me about it, its perfect viewing at any distance from the screen. I want one.

Have a Very 1080 New Year in 2007!

Friday, December 08, 2006

1080 - Upscaling to HD from lower resolutions

I get 2 specific format related questions. I get way too many search result hits from this.

1) How does a 1366 x 768 resolution Monitor display 1080i?
2) How does regular DVD (480) display on 1080?

HD1080i on a 1366 x 768 display
Short answer is that 1080 sources are scaled down and therefore are no longer 1080. There are people that say the alternate 720p HD is perfect for 1366 x 768 displays, but quite frankly, 1366 x 768 is enough different from 1280 x 720 ( 720p resolution ) that regardless of what your inputs are getting, you will be at the mercy of the HD display scaling firmware. Rescaling and de-interlacing any source video is non trivial and can produce really poor results.

Pixel for Pixel ...Numbers:
1366 x 768 display resolution is neither 1080 or 720, and doesnt exist in broadcast specifications. It is just a convenient size for manufacturers and thats why it exists.

The methods of scaling downward from 1080i ( 1920 x 1080 ) to 1366 x 768 typical resolution should a nice enough image, since more pixels are available than are needed. Newer displays generally do better than older designs, but in most cases de-interlacing is the first step in the down scaling process, and you need to see it live and in the store to determine if you like how any given HDTV performs. That is my advice because i have seen such a huge disparity in scaling quality that no general answer will be correct, except perhaps to say that in 50" or larger HD displays, 1366 x 768 plasma will look less crisp side by side with lets say a 50" 1080p SXRD.

UPSCALING: 1080 and the 480i standard DVD
Your basic DVD is 1/6th the resolution of a 1080 display.
You can do something about it. Process the DVD image quality and prepare it for your 1080 Screen, hook it up with component, or HDMI connector and FILL THAT SCREEN, with progressive processed, clean 1080.

Upsampling Scalers.
This task is of scaling larger images from smaller sources is complex, and in best case situations it produces the ideal scenario for the 1080p display owner, since a nicely upsampled DVD in an HD1080 monitor can fill the screen properly as opposed to a pillarbox 4:3 or letterbox 16:9 "zoom" scaled image which is just low-resolution blocky stuff made bigger. You need some technology, and an easy way to recognize that it is there.

Enabling Technology ::: Short answer;
DCDi by Faroudja. If the device/player has this firmware feature, then you will love it, award winning de-interlacing and Directional Correlation edge detection and managament at the per-pixel level , or in other words, proven high tech that looks great, but you need a new DVD player to get this happenning for you. A sample of what i suggest...

OPPO DV981HD Product Webpage for $230 or less.
DCDi Progressive Scan DVD player with HDMI into a nice 1080p image.

Yamaha DVD s2500 Product Webpage for $750 or less
DCDi Progressive Scan DVD player with HDMI, well liked by the pros.

DCDi Faroudja Processing performs the magic of de-interlacing a source and then processing that, frame by frame, in real-time, for scaling. It has been the choice of film makers and high-end projection systems for years. It takes almost anything in - and creates 1080p.

I'm not going into detail further but The Pioneer Elite -(No DCDi) , - works well, this unit is superb at a substantial price, and The Denon highest-end progressive DVD player unit, always a favorite, is pricey and many times preferred over anything else.

Lets discuss just a bit, since a lot of things have to happen for a lower resolution to be converted to a higher resolution. For one thing, the source low-resolution must be detected and made into a complete image first, this is called progressive display. ALL DVD stuff is interlaced Mpeg2 so basically it must be sampled and stored into memory in the player for processing, making it available for pixel level analysis, in short, the process requires computing memory and horsepower.

Problems arise when images are upscaled and converted, jaggy edges, especially fast moving angular edges, will look bad. DCDi by Faroudja handles that with Directional Correlation math-whiz processing that detects and fixes the upsampled and scaled image edge to remain smooth, eliminating the shaky dot crawl zig-zag of simple bicubic digital image processing. Actually it does a lot more than that, but what you need to know is that the best stuff has DCDi by Faroudja to handle scaling.

So for the Case of regular DVD play into 1080 display, it is proper to get a thouroughly enjoyable experience and well worth your existing DVD libary investment to have an OPPO player or DCDi by Faroudja enabled playback unit. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings DVDs in widescreen DVD will be truely a see again and love it's look kind of experience.

Yes , if you have a nice 1080p LCD screen, it may do all your scaling for you.
In such a case i have found that Component Input scaling behavior with a DCDi equipped monitor behaves just slightly better. Usually you can scale the display with a couple methods.

One would be at the cable/dish subscriber box in thier ZOOM mode, which is not usually very good, another is at the monitor if it has a ZOOM scaling option.

Genesis Display Perfection® technology
This is the best implementation of DCDi

Westinghouse Digital and LG use this in thier 1080p display product lines.
I have seen and tested both and they are for me at this moment, the best solution for input resolution display scaling. Although this information is not well known or even featured in marketing these products, the Genesis DCDi DIsplay Perfection chipset rules what you will see.

Is superb, they have a tuned solution that is specific to the unique display management of color and process, so a tech discussion here is not something i can do, suffice to say it can be trusted. If your have a Bravia or Grand Wega XBR than you are going to want to let the display do your upscaling for you. My personal best-of bang for the buck is still the SXRD XBR stuff. Sony has a sence for price-point performance that beats almost everyone but Westinghouse digital.

Life is Good... these people have superb R&D.
Face it... LG / Phillips combination of euro-brilliance and korean manufacturing, have so got this situation under control that my other posts cover it in more detail. ANY top of the line LG 1080p display made recently is going to do a fantastic scaling job, just plug the DVD players-video in and let your LG do it all. I insist that you go see LG stuff for yourself. Currently my chipset of choice is in the LG 1080p lines. http://www.lge.com/

very good is all i can say, it deserves more attention from me but i will get there.

Does very good svideo upscaling, but i have no indepth knowlege on how they are doing it, and that is only in the 1080p stuff i have seen... they seem still to be interested in plasma which at 1080p is rather pricey

excellent - but i dont know how they do it yet. The Pioneer Elite has fooled several people into thinking they are seeing an HD source when looking at widescreen Lord of the Rings regular ols DVD. Yes its that nice, but you probably have enough wallet for this to also afford anything else you want.

Friday, December 01, 2006

HD and the PC - IPTV , Hook me UP

I read Mark Cuban's Blog Maverick with great interest & He makes an excellent point about resolution and the HDTV to PC connection. "... look at the back of your PC. Look to see if you have a component, DVI or HDMI port out ? Chances are that unless you bought a PC with high def video in mind, you don't ..." He is correct and i will write about this experience here.

Most PC's have VGA connections and video cards in them that do not perform well if at all in HD 1920 x 1080, and may work resonably well in 1366 x 768. This is back to my mantra about the consumer endpoint device enablement being mission critical to next gen adoption.

there are ways to connect anything to anything.
XCM will do it. Some wireless systems will also.

In some ways, the Media Center By Microsoft does the job of storage and management for PC platforms, Apple is coming out with an iTV ( or some other name for it ) and there are more products in 2007 destined to support the process of having a home computer as a source.

-- you will want a couple things. --

1) Long VGA or DVI cable to reach to your computer.
2) A wireless Keyboard and mouse , i prefer the Logitech, works up to 25ft away, is nice.

You may want a DVI to HDMI adapter Cable.

Most HD displays have a VGA connector on the back and a PC input select button on the remote -- plug the VGA into your HDTV and start noodling with the Properties > Settings ... manage to finally get a useful image and go from there and you now have something you can see but it doesnt look great.

1) The HDTV should be and probably is PC compatible LCD
2) Your HD display has a DVI connector ( this is currently the best result for a PC connection)
3) your PC has a DVI output. This is usually where the whole idea falls short. No DVI, gotta buy one.

Short answer: - Get an NVIDIA 7600 GT graphics card. its cheap , works well with everything, has Pure Video HD firmware built in, does HD resolutions like 1920 x1080 with ease. I have 2 7600 cards, that gives me 4 DVI outputs.
My Desk:

(3) 1680x1050 LG Flatrons and (1) 1920x1080 Westy. ALL DVI.

NVIDIA is more plug and play for the weekend warrior, no real huge stress to buy and apply for the part-time computer kid. The surprise hassle you will encounter is in the outrageous cost of the DVI cable, costs MORE than the Graphics card... unless:
Smart way to buy your cable ...
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/dvi/index.htm you may need HDMI to DVI conversion, this place has that. BJC Series 2 - 15 foot HDMI/DVI Cable $ 36.50 ... the price is right.

Wireless connections... connecting your computer using cables and having specialized graphics cards is a pain. A Better idea, is to basically have a Wireless Media Center. This option is nice in a lot of ways, especially for those with cable modems and routers like Netgear and Linksys, Dlink etc.

All hooked up now?
2 things will happen. You will see brighter color than you see on the PC screen. This is because the HDTV is usually running a 75% color gamut at NTSC specs, basically compressing the range of color to do that. The other thing is that text will be small and you will sit closer, since almost nothing for IPTV or video clips is really HD out there. Pardon my jest but basically using your HDTV as a monitor is not going to provide you with great HD video from the web, but it is rather cool for some things. I have done this with and for a few folks, and what i have seen them do with it is not what i expected. I was guessing they would hunt down videos on the web, youtube stuff. That lasted for only a short time.

What was more prevalent?... Google Earth ( try it in 1920x1080 its rather amazing ) and photos and image galleries, high res photo sharing & stuff like that. Video.aol.com and the newer open system democracy player and in some ways Divx are breaking into the higher definition videos, all with special stuff to download. Mostly this is 480 quality, some is DVD ( 720x840 ) and a smattering is 720p, some WMV-HD trailers are pretty good, but thats about it. IPTV in HD isnt on a lot of websites, at least for the moment, Apple may have an iTV gizmo for iTunes downloadable at some point, Verizon FIOS may offer some advanced features in some areas.

There is some expectation that the XBOX Live and PS3 service crossection will have some HD video, althought Miscrosoft has had a year to play with this, it still really is not a high traction situation for them, i would expect that we are a about a year away from Game-console-as-media- player HD specific content really hitting into much more than movie downloads and techie gee-whiz TV. When a solid set of numbers on $$ per eyeball ad-value happens, then this whole HD from IP source enablement will be really something to watch.

There are lots of services cropping up that purport and claim full screen digital movie download.
That pretty much all insist on membership, download of a custom player, and installation of some software that constantly uses your computer connection to report back to them.
http://www.vongo.com/ http://video.aol.com (hi-q) etc. My experience is not that good for HD screens, in fact do not expect any claims of great HD to be for real. However, in a small window on your computer it can be ok.

This is where opinions diverge...
Mark thinks that iptv wont work, i dont really agree, i think its probably great for 480i standard definition on-demand stuff, but my real interest is in getting MORE HD content, which is hard to come by in the minimal channel availability for Movies out there at this time. Entering the IPTV world is not all that difficult. XBOX and PS3 both claim that AV access to on-line digital video is up and coming, so i will report of those outcomes as they reach a level that seems to work in the 1080 of HD, however if you dont have digital Fiber like Verizon FIOS, then maybe you will need a lot of time to download, essentially HD is for the high-speed chosen few.