Explained 1: Display Resolution

In general, screen resolution is the number of pixels present on the screen. These pixels are arranged in a horizontal and vertical pattern.

A screen can be considered as a plain canvas which is responsible for displaying information in the form of text and images using different display technologies. More on Display Technologies, in the next article.

When we hear about screen resolution, we come across something which is in width x height pattern, for example — 1280 x 720. Here, 1280 x 720 = 921600, which is the total number of pixels present on the screen.

With the advancement of technology and introduction of HD in the display resolutions, new terminologies are being introduced, making it confusing for the understanding of a normal person, like —

  1. 720p: 1280 x 720, also called HD
  2. 1080p: 1920 x 1080, also called FULL HD
  3. 1440p: 2560 x 1440, also called QHD or Quad HD, equals 4 times HD (720)
  4. 2160p: 3840 x 2160, also called 4K, equals 4 times FULL HD (1080)
  5. 4320p: 7680 x 4320, also called 8K, equals 16 times FULL HD (1080)

To get a better understanding of screen resolutions, let’s look at some terms.

  1. Frame rate — a frame is how images are displayed on the screen. A number of images combine together to form what appears to be an illusion of motion. The rate at which a number of images are displayed per second on screen is called frame rate.
  2. Refresh rate — unlike frame rate which is the rate at which a number of images are displayed per second on screen, the refresh rate is the rate at which the hardware of the screen updates per second to display the image.
  3. Aspect ratio — it is the ratio of the number of horizontal pixels to the number of vertical pixels. For example-

A 4:3 aspect ratio means that for every 4 units of width in an image there are 3 units of height. This calculates to a screen 33% wider.

A 16:9 aspect ratio means that for every 16 units of width in an image there are 9 units of height. This calculates to a screen 78% wider.

So, a 16:9 aspect ratio is not to be confused with a 4:3 aspect ratio screen.

Some other confusing abbreviations are the p and i in 1080p and 1080i-

Simply put, the i in 1080i stands for interlaced and the p in 1080p stands for progressive, which are two ways in which images are displayed on the screen.

In interlaced-scan, the image is displayed by illuminating the odd and even pixels on the screen and then stitching together their result to obtain the final image. This method is known to produce a lot of flickering. To overcome this problem the refresh rate is altered. So, the content is created at 30fps but displayed at 60fps. All this happens at a really faster rate, which makes it hard to be noticeable by human eye. However, this method has become somewhat obsolete these days.

In progressive-scan, the image to be displayed is stitched simultaneously in a line-by-line smooth motion to prevent any flickering. This method displays the content at the same rate in which it is produced, without any alterations. Thus, the outcome appears to be smooth and seamless.

A display resolution is what matters the most, choose yours wisely and intelligently.