Screen resolutions have been stirring up confusion since the arrival of high definition earlier this year. Just when you thought it was safe to assume that any screen adorned with an HD Ready logo guaranteed complete high-definition support, the goal posts have moved.
Most recent HD Ready LCDs feature a WXGA resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. This will display the commonly used 720p and 1080i formats, although 1080i signals will be downscaled to fit. To display 1080i signals in their entirety, you'll need a screen with a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, which has been coined 'Full HD' by the marketing men.
The confusion doesn't end there, though. The arrival of the latest progressively scanned 1080p format being used by next-generation DVD players and games consoles also requires a Full HD resolution -– although not all 1,920x1,080-pixel screens will accept 1080p input (the HD Ready standard does not require support for 1080p, only for 720p and 1080i).
If you're interested in devices like Blu-ray or HD DVD players or the PlayStation 3 then finding a screen that supports 1080p is important. Otherwise, a standard Full HD resolution screen is fine and still offers more detailed performance from sources like Sky HD.
So, finding the best screen for you depends on your uses and we've listed four models featuring Full HD resolutions -- two that support 1080p and two that don't.
Toshiba's 42WLT66 is incredibly affordable for a high-resolution screen, although it won't support 1080p signals. The compact, understated design features integrated Freeview and dual HDMI connectivity, which means you can connect two HD sources simultaneously. High-definition performance is excellent for the price, but standard definition is less impressive.
Philips' 37PF9731D is expensively priced but image quality is exceptional, despite not being able to support 1080p signals. Philips claims it isn't necessarily the number of pixels but the processing that's important, and its advanced Pixel Plus HD system makes it difficult to tell the difference. The stunning design features Ambilight technology and superb connectivity, including several options for digital devices like a camera or MP3 player.
Samsung's LE46F71 has been designed to accompany its BD-P1000 Blu-ray player and will display 1080p signals. The pricey specification includes lustrous styling, advanced image processing and convergence features such as support for up to ten memory-card formats. Aside from a few digital artefacts, high-definition sources look great. The absence of integrated Freeview, limited conventional connectivity and average performance elsewhere, however, mean it's for HD heads only.
Sony's KDL-46X2000 is our current class-leading Full HD model with a future-proof specification that supports all high-definition formats including 1080p. The design features elegant styling and excellent build quality with uncompromised connectivity for standard- and high-definition sources. Sony's LCD-dedicated Bravia Engine technology produces peerless performance with intricate detail, stunning colours and smooth movement. This makes the high price easier to justify.