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Question 32-inch LED TV for HTPC - HD Ready vs. Full HD

JohnOrion

Established Member
In a world of UHD or 4K, I'm thinking about getting a HD Ready display. Reason? I'm building a small and affordable HTPC corner into a smaller bedroom. I would mainly use it for Kodi via MSI Cubi N mini PC but also for Windows 10 (browsing, light writing), freeview watching and with my old upscaling Oppo DVD player. The reason I'm currently thinking of getting this year's Panasonic 32CS510 HD Ready telly over, say, a Samsung Full HD model is:

  • Viewing distance: I'd watch the display from roughly 7-8 feet away. From what I understand, with a 32" display, it would be difficult to make any difference between 720P and 1080P.
  • Readability: Because of the display size and the viewing distance, I'm thinking in Windows 10 and in Kodi menus the text might go too small if I got a 1080P display and set the resolution to its native 1080P (I have a 40-inch HD Ready TV and when testing 1080P resolution in Windows 10, text becomes unreadable, not only because of the blurriness (due to HD Ready and scaling) but because it becomes SO small. Of course one can scale a 1080P to get better readability or play with font sizes, but wouldn't that defeat the purpose -- to buy a 1080P display over a 720P only to set it up to "720P mode" readability-wise.
  • Most of the media I have for Kodi is probably lower than 480P and only in rare cases over 720P in resolution. I've understood that minimizing the amoung of scaling (a 1080P has to do more scaling than a 720P display to reach low resolutions) helps to achieve good PQ. Of course, if the PQ is mediocre to begin with, than the point about scaling becomes less strong.
I know that a 1080P TV is more supported and compatible with devices (I'm thinking refresh rates etc here) but, especially concerning readability, I'd like to ask your opinion about this matter. Would you choose a 1080P set in my situation where there isn't even 1080P media to watch and there might be issues with readability (smaller display size, longer viewing distance)?
 

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