While there is still a lot of confusion in the market about what constitutes Full HD, several companies are still branding certain models of their TV and camcorder products ‘Full HD’, despite confusion with some vendors and retailers as to what actually constitutes Full HD.
After reporting at length about Full HD television sets and what the market classes as worthy of sporting this label, SmartHouse has now shifted its gaze to camcorders that claim to be Full HD. After reading the specifications and write-up of various camcorders in the market, we have found that the ‘Full HD’ camcorders available can only shoot and display images at 1920 x 1080i, which is not Full HD (or 1920 x 1080p) for a lot of experts.
Various camcorders from Sony have touted themselves as Full HD (HDRSR5, HDRSR7, HDRSR8, HDRUX5, HDRUX7, HDRHC5, HDRHC7, HDRFX7, and HDRFX1) but only seem to use the advanced “1080i AVCHD standard as the recording format, which allows it to record high-precision HD 1080i video on various media,” according to the company’s website.
Each time Sony mentions the phrase “Full HD” on its website, it uses a hyperlink that leads the customer to the ‘Full On, Full HD’ website. (http://www.sony.com.au/category.jsp?id=23773)
This website says that: “There are different formats of High Definition but for something to be considered to be Full HD it must be capable of 1080 vertical pixels. 1080 vertical pixels (often referred to as 1080 lines) is the maximum number of vertical panels in an HD image.”
“The way that the picture is ‘drawn’ onto the screen affects the quality too. Traditional TVs use an ‘interlaced’ (i) system whereas flat panel TVs all use ‘progressive’ (p), as it usually displays more detail. HD digital TV is broadcast in 1080i and some players use an interlaced signal too. But for the best picture quality without the need for conversion, you need a 1080p signal from devices like a Blu-ray Disc player, compatible DVD player, or PlayStation 3,” the website says.
Finally, it claims that the 1080p standard gives you the same amount of lines, and therefore the same amount of visual information, as the 1080i HD standard, but it presents it to the viewer in the more natural progressive display format.
We have also checked out Panasonic’s website and found that its High Definition Video Camcorders (HDC-SD5 and HDC-SX5) were touted as “Full High Definition 1920 x 1080” but can only “record 1080i high-definition signals onto media such as 8-cm DVD discs and SD/SDHC Memory Cards.”
While Panasonic was not able to give a concrete definition on what “Full-HD” is, they were still able to give a brief explanation between HD images and SD images (found on their website and PDF Buyers Guide).
“Full HD images contain five times as much information as conventional standard definition images. For starters, compare the number of scan lines. Full HDTV has 1,920 horizontal scan lines x 1,080 vertical scan lines. However SDTV has only 720 horizontal scan lines x 576 vertical scan lines. That translates into much higher resolution and much finer detail. Pictures are so clear and sharp, you can see the textures in an image. Also, Full HD uses a 16:9 aspect ratio, so the pictures you record have proportions that match more closely the human field of vision. This means that viewing is more natural and comfortable,” they said.
We also visited the JVC website and found its Full HD Camcorder line (GZ-HD7 and GZ-HD3) claims to offer ‘Full HD 1920 x 1080’ pixel recording. Checking the specifications has revealed that it can only record 1920 x 1080i, with a 26.6Mbps Constant Bit rate, rather than 1920 x 1080p.
According to the JVC website (http://jvc.com.au/), “Full HD 1920x1080i recording means that all of the image information you are capable of seeing on an HDTV display will be recorded at the camcorder. Without losing any visual information to start with, this native 1920 x 1080i resolution is maintained throughout the recording to playback process from lens, CCD, MPEG2 Transport Stream and output via HDMI or USB2.0 with no quality-degrading conversion.”
Finally, we have checked the Canon website and viewed its camcorder range. One of its camcorders, the HG10, touts itself as a camcorder with a “True Progressive HD CMOS sensor (1920 x 1080) for fast capture and processing and low power use.”
But viewing its specifications revealed that the video system standard of this camera is: 1080i / AVCHD / 40GB HDD with anti shock absorption system.
The Canon camcorders are “Complete High Definition Video Cameras” as it has the following features:
- True progressive HD CMOS (1920 x 1080) utilising Canon’s 20 years of EOS technology and development.
- Fully specified HD video camera with progressive HD CMOS, HD video lens and DiG!C DV II processor with exceptional processing capabilities enabling high speed processing of progressive HD, a specification for digital HDTV broadcasting.
- HDMI output for connection to HDTV and HDV output for HD streaming.
- High definition images deserve complementary audio of Stereo Sound with manual audio control and four channel audio playback.
Does this mean that so long as a camcorder can display up to 1920 x 1080 pixels, it can be considered as Full HD regardless if it is interlaced or progressive? What about the claims of various experts in the industry that says that 1080p output is what constitutes Full HD?
As of this moment, there are no 1080p camcorders available for consumers. There are however, camcorders like Panasonic’s AJ-HPX3000G that can claims to have 1080p output but will cost users $70,000.
Check out the following links to read more about the Full HD Debate: