Is there a noticeable difference in picture quality in the 2 formats?
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If they were prepared correctly (i.e. adequate bitrate and encoding settings), and from a proper source (not uprezed, and not from a low quality HD source like a consumer camcorder), and you have an appropriate way of viewing them (i.e. at least 1920x1080 high quality HDTV or monitor) , then yes, there is a big difference. There are >2x the number of pixels
+ the size of the TV
Originally Posted by MJA
In what context ?
If you are talking about putting the same amount of video into the same space, you may find that the trade off is between resolution and bitrate artefacts.
There certainly is a difference, however the result is still far better than standard definition (e.g. DVD)Read my blog here.
One difference is that 720p is the only progressive format on bluray that allows higher framerates like 50 fps or 59.94 fps.
In my opinion, "quality" equals clarity and for commercial products shown on TVs, perceived quality depend more on cinematography than it does on the number of pixels it takes to fill up the screen. I have many DVDs that show more "quality"(clarity) than some of my BRs. The cleanest clip I have is a 720p clip shot with lighting so good that every item on the screen crystal clear.