If you're shopping for an HDTV, you've probably seen terms like "720p" and "1080p", or "1366 x 768 pixels" used to describe
a television's resolution. But what exactly do those numbers mean, and what do they say about a TV's performance?
Here's a quick breakdown of each resolution type:
480i : Basic cable, satellite and DVD signals have a 480i resolution, which means the signal is separated into two fields containing
240 rows. DVD has a higher horizontal resolution (more columns of pixels) than cable and satellite SDTV signals, so it has better overall
detail. DVD resolution is 720 x 480, for a total of 345,600 pixels.
720p : Broadcasters like ABC, Fox and ESPN transmit their HD signals in the 720p format. Many early HDTVs and a number of today's
entry-level models have a 720p resolution. The exact resolution of these TVs is often 1,280 x 720, or 921,600 pixels
1080i : Broadcasters like CBS, NBC and the CW transmit their HD signals in the 1080i format, which means the signal is separated into
two fields containing 540 rows. We should note that, when the two fields are stitched together properly, a 1080i signal has the same
resolution as a 1080p signal: 1,920 x 1,080, or 2,073,600 pixels. However, there's a greater chance of motion artifacts and other processing
errors when dealing with 1080i.
1080p : This is currently the highest resolution available for most consumer HDTVs and source devices. A majority of new HDTVs,
especially the more expensive ones, have a 1080p resolution. The exact resolution is 1,920 x 1,080, or 2,073,600 pixels. Blu-ray discs
generally have a 1080p resolution. No broadcasters currently transmit TV signals in the 1080p format; however, satellite and cable
providers occasionally make on-demand movies available at a 1080p resolution.
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