What is 1080p?

In recent years, advanced television technology has caused the box-style cathode ray tube televisions to become highly outdated. Modern televisions often sport the ability to produce “high definition” pictures of broadcasts. These pictures are four or more times sharper and clearer than the pictures that analog cathode ray tube televisions can produce. However, it is important to know that not all high definition is made equal as 1080p is the most distinguished high definition quality generally found on the market.

What does the “1080” in 1080p mean?

Images on televisions are produced through horizontal lines made up of individual pixels. For the most part, televisions broadcast at a 16:9 ratio. For 1080p televisions, this means that pictures are rendered at 1920×1080 pixels, which refers to 1,920 pixels wide and 1,080 pixels high. This resolution would also mean there are 1,080 horizontal lines generated during displays. In digital imaging, a pixel is the smallest controllable element of an illuminated picture. In general, as pixels are increased for displays, the quality and clarity of the images rendered become sharper. The same can be said for images themselves as digital cameras with greater pixel resolutions produce higher quality images than cameras with lower pixel resolutions. Therefore, because of its greater number of display pixels, a 1080p television can render sharper images than a 720p or 480p television.

What does the “p” in 1080p mean?

Just as the pixels themselves can vary among high definition televisions, the method through which images are rendered on televisions can vary. 1080p televisions feature a method called progressive scanning, which means the 1,080 horizontal lines of the images are drawn sequentially in one cycle. This is different from interlaced scanning, which implies that only every other display line is refreshed in one particular cycle. This form of scanning is seen in 1080i televisions, and it may result in blur or distortion that is not seen in 1080p images when video broadcasts featuring rapid movement are displayed.

1080p televisions and network broadcasts

Currently, television stations do not typically broadcast 1080p television signals. In general, signals are generated at 720p or 1080i quality at best. This means that a 1080p television will not necessarily render broadcasts at a higher quality than 720p or 1080i televisions. However, modern game consoles and certain pay-per-view items available through cable services can be generated in 1080p quality. Additionally, some online video services allow streaming at 1080p quality. Television stations will likely begin to broadcast in 1080p, though, once more people have invested in 1080p televisions and broadcasting those signals becomes more economically efficient.

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