Television picture resolution
refers to its vertical and horizontal detail.
Vertical-resolution is the number of vertical-transitions, the
number of horizontal-lines, traced across the screen top to
bottom. Horizontal-resolution is the number of
horizontal-transitions, the number of pixels per horizontal
The original analog NTSC TV system had up to 525 lines of
vertical resolution. 43 of its lines included horizontal
& vertical synchronizing data. That left a balance
of 482 lines for the image.
However, the NTSC analog system did not produce all 482 lines
sequentially or progressively. Instead, NTSC used an
interlaced method of two alternating fields to compose one
The first field traced the
odd-numbered lines in 1/60th of a second. The second
field traced the even-numbered lines in the next 1/60th of a
second. NTSC completed a frame in 1/30th of a second,
fast enough for the brain to perceive the video as a complete
frame of a moving image.
As stated, NTSC offered up to 482 lines of vertical
resolution. However, the vertical resolution varied as
interlaced scenes transitioned from one to the next. For
example, a transition from all black to an all-white frame
reduced the vertical resolution to 241 lines. NTSC could
only produce all 482 lines during a still picture frame.
NTSC video interlacing determined actual vertical resolution,
while the video source determined horizontal resolution.
The DVD offers the best NTSC horizontal resolution, 720 pixels
per line. LaserDisc horizontal resolution equaled 400
pixels, VHS videotape 240 pixels.
Standard Definition Television,
SDTV, has a vertical resolution of up to 480 interlaced
lines. Therefore, SDTV retains the same vertical
resolution interlaced issues as NTSC TV. But the absence
of analog noise is an improvement over NTSC. SDTV
horizontal resolution ranges from 640 to 704 pixels per
line. SDTV is a clear improvement over NTSC.
Enhanced Definition Television, EDTV, is a significant
improvement over NTSC and SDTV. EDTV produces the video
progressively line by line, which eliminates interlace
issues. EDTV offers a fixed vertical resolution of 480
lines by 704 pixels per line.
High Definition Television offers three resolution options.
-- 720p by 1280 @ 60 frames per second with a 16:9
aspect ratio. (broadcast)
-- 1080i by 1920 @ 60 frames per second with a 16:9
aspect ratio. (broadcast)
-- 1080p by 1920 @ 60 or 24 frames per second.
720p (progressive) has a
vertical resolution of 720 lines with a horizontal resolution
of 1280 pixels per line at 60 frames per second (fps).
1080i (interlaced) results in a vertical resolution
ranging from 540 to 1080 lines with 1920 pixels per line at 30
frames per second.
720p vs 1080i
The number of pixels per second is almost indistinguishable
between 720P & 1080i video.
However, sports broadcasters have favored 720p because it
eliminates interlacing artifacts.
1080p high definition non-broadcast sources -- Blu-ray
disc, computer media, and Internet streaming -- eliminate the
All HDTV sources offer a broader
palette of color than NTSC, SDTV, or EDTV.
UltraHD TV (UHD) increases video
resolution to 2160p by 3840 pixels per line @ 30fps, 60fps,
and a planned 120fps with a 16:9 aspect ratio.
UltraHD also doubles the color gamut of HDTV. UltraHD is
often incorrectly referred to as 4K TV. Some also refer
to UltraHD as UHD-1.
DCI 4K Standards
DCI is the real 4K standard.
The Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) defines digital theater
standards which includes:
- 4K DCI 2.39:1 aspect ratio with 1716 lines by 4096 pixels
- 4K DCI 1.85:1 aspect ratio with 2160 lines by 3996 pixels
8K UltraHD (UHD-8K) doubles UHD resolution to 7680p lines by
7320 pixel per line. UHD-8K televisions are currently available.
However, 8K sources are not yet
readily available. ( January 2022) Some refer to 8K
UltraHD as UHD-2.
includes HDMI encryption prerequisites.
Their absence will lead to downgraded video, noisy
picture, or a blank screen.
1. HDMI 2.0
/ 2.0a / 2.0b / 2.1
HDMI is an interconnect encryption system. Page 9
offers more HDMI explanation.
- HDM 2.0 supports
UltraHD @ 60fps with 18Gbps bandwidth.
- HDMI 2.0a adds support
for the HDR10 format. (Page
9 will delve into HDR formats.)
- HDMI 2.0b adds support
for the HLG HDR format.
- HDMI 2.1 adds support for
12bit Dolby Vision
- HDMI 2.1a adds support for
Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) (Page
9 HDMI 2.1a describes SBTM)
1st generation UltraHD televisions and video components are
limited to HDMI 1.4 @ 30fps.
2. HDCP 2.2
/ (8K) 2.3
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection encrypts digital
video sources with a key that requires authentication from
both the transmitting and receiving devices. HDCP
2.2 is required for all digital consumer -- HD/UltraHD --
HDCP 2.3 is an 8K video standard. Page
9 offers more explanation.
compression is included in video sources and displays.
MPEG HEVC H.265
(High Efficiency Video Coding) supports UltraHD (4K).
-- MPEG VCC H.266 (Versatile
Video Coding) supports 4K
& 8K Internet streaming.
VCC H.266 reduces data
requirements by about 50% when compared to HEVC H.265.
High Dynamic Range
expands color volume. Page 9 covers HDR formats in
HDR is considered by many as the most significant
television improvement since the introduction of
A TV displays a
blurry mess if the source resolution does not match the TV
resolution. This became a widespread issue with the
launch of HDTV in 1988. NTSC source
resolution did not align with HDTV.
An NTSC DVD
consists of 345,600 pixels, while an HDTV consists of
2,073,600 pixels. They don't align. Then HDTV
does not align with UltraHD 4,147,200 pixels.
UltraHD does not align with 8K UHD 8,294,400 pixels.
How can you view a DVD on a HD, UHD or 8K TV?
the issue. Scaling up-converts the source resolution
to interface and align with the TV resolution.
Initial types of
scaling were essentially a math process. They
primarily divided the source pixels by the display
resolution. For example, it divided the DVD's
345,600 pixels into HDTV's 2.073,600 pixels.
Scaling then improved with adjacent pixel
assessment. Instead of solely dividing a pixel into
more pixels, better faster processors compared adjacent
pixels, then filter-adjusted their sharpness. The
improved scaling created better clearer images.
Further improvement added multiple frame assessment to the
adjacent pixel adjustment. It samples video frames,
then selects a filter process from a set of
predefined solutions. The result reduces motion blur
and noisy artifacts.
The latest methods add a version of artificial
intelligence. AI scaling adds an extensive reference
image database. In real-time, the scaling
computer/processor compares each frame to the database of
images and then applies the best adjustment
are available in many proprietary versions. The best
solutions separate the best manufacturers from the others.