Acer who are claiming that their new Blu ray notebook is 1080p Full HD offering have admitted that it is only 1080i and not capable of playing Full HD 1080p content to the new 18″ screen. There are also doubts as to whether consumers will get the full benefit of Blu ray with the 1080i screen.
Serious questions are being raised as to whether the new Acer 18″ Blu ray notebook is able to output the highest level of Blu ray quality to a notebook screen. The issue was raised after Acer earlier this week rolled out a new Blu ray notebook claiming it was the world’s first full HD 1080p notebook. However investigations by SmartHouse and ChannelNews reveal that it is only a 1080i notebook and not able to deliver full HD 1080p quality to the notebook screen.
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At the press launch Acer was not able to connect the notebook to a plasma screen at the Westin Hotel with some Acer executives claiming it was because of DRM issues. Instead Acer management chose to demonstrate a Blu ray demo disc running on their new range of Gemstone notebooks. Throughout their presentation Acer constantly referred to their new offering as being a 1080p notebook.
When SmartHouse and ChannelNews questioned Acer on this issue their PR Company Spectrum Communications came back and said, in response to your query Henry Lee, Acer’s Senior Product Manager Retail Notebooks (who did the presentation on Tuesday) has provided the following response: “The Aspire Gemstone Blue 8920G’s LCD is 1080i as Acer in Taiwan highlighted to you. Acer has marketed the Aspire Gemstone Blue 8920G as Full HD resolution, 1920 x 1080, and the capability for the unit to output 1080p via HDMI. So for users to enjoy the full potential of Blu-ray Disc movies, it is recommended they connect to their favourite large size TV and output via HDMI at 1080p”.
In the launch press release issued to the media Acer say “World first in full HD quality resolution for notebooks 1920 X 1080p”. They go on to say “The Gemstone Blue series is adopting the consumer electronics standard by providing a screen with the same resolution as a top of the line HDTV 1920 X 1080 pixels”.
Nowhere in the press release or in any of the marketing collateral does Acer say that the notebook is 1080i as opposed to 1080p?
This is the same problem that Hitachi faced last year when Harvey Norman kicked the Hitachi product out of their stores after discovering that their 50″ plasma screen which had been presented as a 1080p screen was in fact only a 1080i screen”.
Shortly after the run in with Harvey Norman that resulted in Hitachi having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars recalling and compensating consumers the Japanese Company quit the Australian consumer technology market.
At the time the NSW Department of Fair Trading said that the risk that retailers face is that a consumer who has purchased a 1080i TV believing it to be a full HD TV could in fact lodge a complaint over the transaction.
On the issue of the definition of what constitutes Full HD David Ackery General Manager of Electrical at Harvey Norman said: “We have written to vendors qualifying the definition of Full HD TV sets that we are selling. I believe we and vendors have a moral and legal obligation to not mislead consumers. As I understand it full HD is 1080p and the industry has to reach a consensus on this which is what we have asked them to do”.
Industry expert Len Wallis of Len Wallis Audio in Sydney said at the time: “We were of the belief that the Hitachi 50″ Plasma was in fact 1080p which is full HD. 1080i is not full HD. I will have to investigate this as we have advertised the Hitachi screen as full HD and this now appears not to be the case. It is also what Hitachi told us and what is in their own advertising”. He added, “1080i is not full HD and to say so is wrong”.
For many vendors the issue of what constitutes Full HD is a fine line as 1080p resolution — which equates to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels — is Full HD because 1080p screens are theoretically capable of displaying every pixel at the HD highest-resolution. 1080i, the former king of HD TV delivers identical 1,920 x 1,080 resolutions however it conveys the images in an interlaced format with the image “painted” on the screen sequentially.
The odd-numbered lines of resolution appear on first, followed by the even-numbered lines — all within 1/25 of a second. Progressive-scan formats such as 480p, 720p, and 1080p convey all of the lines of resolution sequentially in a single pass, which makes for a smoother, cleaner image, especially with sports and other motion-intensive content.