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Watch This: Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Display Resolutions

The media technology world has electronic and computer accessories that live in a weirdly complex land of letters, numbers, and acronyms. Each stands for a different thing that a salesperson promises to be better than the previous model; this satisfies most customers, but many still remain a little curious.

And they should be curious. It’s a good thing to wonder about the TV you spent $1,700 on that has specifications attached that you can barely decipher. They’ll guarantee the electronic accessories and appliances you’ve purchased will fulfill all your audio visual needs, but what does that really mean?

For instance, HDMI can pass video resolutions from 480i to 4K. What those HDMI parameters are is determined by each individual manufacturer. You probably use HDMI every day. You might even be reading this blog from a 4K screen. Let’s look at what this stuff means.

HDMI: Standing for High Definition Multimedia Interface, it combines audio and visual files into one singular media interface. From standard video to the highest definition displays currently available, HDMI is how you see and hear most modern audiovisual content.

1080p vs. 1080i: You’ve doubtlessly seen a “p” or “i” following a certain number on TVs over the years. The number simply denotes the pixel resolution: 1080p and 1080i both display a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The “p” and “i” speak to display styles: interlaced scanning and progressive scanning. Progressive scanning displays an entire image every 1/60th of a second, while interlaced scanning displays an image in alterantingly displayed lines. Regardless of scanning type, the pixel resolution, in this case, is the same.

4K and 8K: Unfortunately, this answer is similar to the last one. The current highest display resolution in digital video is 8K, which boasts a pixel resolution of 7,680 x 4,320. They call it 8K to round that 7,680 to 8,000. Similarly, with 4K, the pixel resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 rounds 3,840 up to 4,000. Most of us are predominantly familiar with 4K and 1080p resolutions.

Of course, there are numerous other tidbits of technological jargon for us to explore, but we’ll get to them another time. Now you know the more commonly seen pieces of display-talk you’ll come across in the course of display purchasing. The holidays are coming, good luck out there.