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Guide to TV Resolutions

 

Resolution determines the television picture detail; and is the main reason why HDTV programs look so much better than standard definition TV [SDTV].

By comparison, standard definition programming has at most 480 visible lines of detail, whereas HDTV has as many as 1,080.

This makes HDTV appear sharper and clearer than regular TV, especially on big-screen televisions. To enlarge standard definition tv to the size of large plasma and lcd televisions, the picture quality would suffer, showing a very grainy image, with sometimes distortion at the edges.

The three current resolutions include 1080i, 720p and 1080p

  1. 1080i - has more lines and pixels
  2. 720p - is a progressive-scan format that supposedly delivers a smoother image that stays sharper during motion.
  3. 1080p - combines the superior resolution of 1080i with the progressive-scan smoothness of 720p.

True 1080p content is currently only found in Blu-ray, HD DVD and the latest video games. As of publishing, none of the major networks have announced 1080p broadcasts.

The chart below compares HDTV with standard TV and progressive-scan DVD

Name Resolution HDTV? Wide-screen? Progressive
Scan?
1080p 1,920x1,080 Yes Yes Yes
1080i 1,920x1,080 Yes Yes No
720p 1,280x720 Yes Yes Yes
Wide-screen 480p (DVD, EDTV) 852x480 No Yes Yes
Regular TV Up to 480 lines No No No

 

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