TV Resolutions Explained

What do these numbers mean? Resolutions, explained

When shopping for your next TV or projector, there are plenty of numbers to consider when you make your final purchasing decision. The price and screen size numbers are easy enough to understand, but the resolution isn’t so self-explanatory. Anyone can understand how much a TV costs or how big the image will be. But to the unfamiliar, the resolution number can be a bit of a mystery. Most consumers know that with resolution, the bigger the number, the better the image quality. But what exactly does 4K — or 8K — mean? More importantly, how should you use them to make your next TV or projector purchase?

The resolution, at its most basic level, is a reflection of how many pixels make up the image shown by your TV or projector. Many older TVs come with a resolution of 720p. That “p” at the end isn’t telling you how many pixels there are. These TVs come with far more than 720 pixels. In fact, there are nearly one million pixels in 720p. (1,280 x 720 pixels = 921,600) This is where high definition begins.

The “p” in 720p stands for progressive, as in, “progressive scan.” Progressive scanning is the method for displaying an image on a screen, and unless your job requires you to understand how an image is displayed, that “p” is irrelevant to you.

1080 has a little over two million pixels (1,920 x 1,080) and is a bit more common than 720. You may sometimes see this referred to as “Full HD.”
Many Blu-Ray players and TVs come with a designation of UHD. This is Ultra High Definition, or 4K. If you see either of these used in describing resolution, feel free to interchange them. This resolution is 3,840 x 2,160 and has become commonly used by most of the new content that comes from streaming services such as Youtube TV, Disney +, Netflix, Amazon and more.

Things get tricky with 4K, however. The 4K on your home TV isn’t the same as the 4K you’ll find at a commercial movie theater (remember those?). True 4K is a horizontal resolution of 4,096 pixels, hence the 4K moniker. So yes, your home UHD television is not “true” 4K, but the difference is negligible.

Getting “true” 4K at home isn’t impossible. Sony’s line of projectors display true 4K resolutions and if that’s what you are after, Blue Grass Home Entertainment can install one in your home, along with a screen that ensures max performance.


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