I've been window shopping for a 37" LCD for a while, and I've been curioud how this Westinghouse 1080p LCD compares to the 720p models available. It's one of the only small 1080p displays available and I think it would make an excellent Display for a Home Theater PC.
Also, Is there a reason that so many 720p displays have a 768 pixel resolution? And does it just scale a 720p input, or does it display black borders?
I will be testing the Viewsonic 47" 1080p LCD (LVM-47w1) next month so I'll try and give you an idea of the major differences. From what I've seen and read, there is a noticable difference in fine detail with top quality HD sources when comparing 1080p to 720p/768p displays. Most viewers do notice the difference while some claim they do not. I have also read that non-HD sources look worse on 1080p displays as they are more revealing.
As for why there are so many 768p displays as opposed to all of them being 720p, it is because LCD panels have their roots in computer resolutions, and the stardard resolution for many years was 1024x768 (XGA). When the first Wide panel XGA (WXGA) were produced, they increased it horizontally to 1280x768. This worked well for PC Monitors, but the 15:9 aspect ratio does not work for TVs. The panel makers decided to stretch it wider rather then cut off some vertical to get to 16:9 ratio, and that's how they got to 1366x768.
Finally, all sources are scaled to full screen with 768p displays, so whether its 480p, 720p, or 1080i, they will be scaled to 768p with no borders.
By the way, regarding reference images, I will be changing my reference image in my next review to a closeup photo of each image on a Dell 1905FP 19" LCD Monitor, which has produced very good images that are more similar in characteristics to other photographed images while retaining good color, contrast, and overal image composition characteristics as my previously used computer screenshots.
Also, I will post a 'How we test' article soon, going into detail as to my test environment and conditions, but I can tell you the details of how I take my test photos:
Canon A610 5 Megapixel Digital Camera
Lights are OFF
No Flash, Tripod
F-Stop - 2.8
Shutter Speed - 1/4 sec to 1/50 sec, depending on each image requirements
Distance - I usually take the photo from the same distance as normal viewing (7-11 ft)