What does the term 1080p mean?

What is 1080p and why it matters in the world of TV? When purchasing a new TV or home theater component, consumers are bombarded with terminology that can be very confusing. A confusing concept is video resolution. 1080p is an important term for video resolution, but what does that mean?

This information applies to televisions and computers from various manufacturers, including but not limited to those made by LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Vizio. Other home theater components are also made by numerous other manufacturers.

The definition of 1080p

1080p represents 1,920 pixels displayed on a horizontal screen and 1,080 pixels below on a vertical screen.

The pixels are arranged in rows or lines. This means that those 1,920 pixels are arranged in vertical rows that cross the screen from left to right (or right to left if you prefer), while the 1,080 pixels are arranged in rows or lines, running from the top to the bottom of the screen in Horizon. 

The 1,080 (which is referred to as the horizontal resolution, since the end of each line of pixels is at the left and right edges of the screen) is where the 1080 part of the term 1080p comes from.

The total number of pixels in 1080p

You might think that 1,920 pixels displayed on the screen and 1,080 pixels going from top to bottom don’t seem like much. However, when you multiply the number of pixels across (1920) and down (1080), the total is 2,073,600. 

This is the total number of pixels displayed on the screen. In terms of digital camera / photography, it is about 2 Megapixels. This is referred to as pixel density.

However, while the number of pixels remains the same regardless of the screen size, the number of pixels per inch changes as the screen size changes.

So where is 1080p resolution used?

1080p is considered the highest quality video resolution for use in TVs and video projectors (currently 4K is the highest – equivalent to 8.3 megapixels), it does not hold up to the megapixel resolution of most budget digital cameras. 

The reason for this is that it takes a lot more bandwidth and processing power to produce motion pictures compared to still images, and currently, the highest video resolution possible using the current technology is 8K, which eventually approaches a resolution of 33.2 megapixel digital still images.

However, it will take a few more years before we see 8K TVs as a common product offered to consumers.

Here is part “p”

OK, but what does the letter ‘p’ mean? What the “p” represents is progressive. No, it has nothing to do with politics but has to do with how lines (or lines) of pixels are displayed on a video or TV projection screen.

When an image is displayed progressively, it means that the rows of pixels are all displayed on the screen in sequence (one after the other in numerical order).

FHD vs UHD- what are the differences?

How 1080p refers to TVs

1080p is part of the landscape of high definition video standards. For example, HDTVs, especially those 40-inch or larger, have at least a native 1080p (or pixel) display resolution (though an increasing number are now 4K Ultra HD TVs).

This means that if you input the signal into a 1080p TV with a resolution of less than 1080p, the TV will have to process that signal in order to display the image across its entire screen surface. This process is called “Upscaling“.

This also means that input signals with a resolution below 1080p will not be as good as a true 1080p video resolution signal because the TV has to fill in what it thinks is missing.

With moving images, this can result in unwanted artifacts like jagged edges, color smears, macroblocks, and pixels (this is definitely the case when playing those old VHS tapes!). The more precise the conjecture, the better the image. 

Your TV should have no difficulty with 1080p input signals, such as those from Blu-ray Discs and streaming / cable / satellite services that can offer 1080p channels.

TV broadcast signals are another matter. Although 1080p is considered Full HD, it is not officially part of the structure that TV stations use when broadcasting high definition video signals over the air. These signals will be 1080i or 480i depending on the resolution adopted by the associated station or network. Also, 4K TV broadcast is on the way.

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