What is the resolution of a monitor?


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Even if the technical jargon intimidates you, and some terms such as 4k resolution and HD or Full HD resolution make it difficult for you to choose a new TV, computer or smartphone, know that things are not as complicated as it seems at first glance. It is enough to understand the basic principles of how images can be displayed on monitors, to navigate through the different types of resolutions and make a good decision. We explain below what the resolution of a monitor is and what each of the mysterious numbers that refer to this feature of digital images means.

What does the monitor resolution mean?

Any digital image is made up of basic units called pixels. The more pixels it has, the clearer and more detailed the image displayed on the monitor. 

Resolution is the size of the displayed images, measured in pixels. 

Let’s take as an example the current standard resolution for television, video streaming and smartphones: full HD, also known as 1080p. A full HD TV, ie one whose screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, displays images consisting of 2,073,600 pixels (1920 pixels long x 1080 pixels wide). The number seems impressive, compared to an HD screen, which displays only 921,600 pixels, but it can be even better: there are screens that display 8 times more pixels than in our example. These are the screens with 8K resolution, the largest at the moment. However, the image quality does not only depend on the resolution, but also on the size of the monitor or screen. If the more than two million pixels in our example are spread across a larger screen, the displayed image will not be as clear and detailed as one with the same number of pixels concentrated on a smaller screen. Pixel density (measured in ppi = pixels per inch) is therefore another important feature of a screen, which must be correlated with the image resolution. The higher the density, the better the image quality, but know that, from a certain value onwards, the human eye is no longer able to detect differences in pixel density. At a density of 110 ppi the images are clear enough and you don’t even have to adjust their size to be able to distinguish the details or, in the case of computer monitors, the text. What are the most common video resolutions?

720p resolution (HD, HD Ready, Standard HD, 1280 x 720)

720p resolution images consist of 921,600 pixels. It is the lowest High Definition resolution and is enough if you need a TV to watch only TV channels or movies played in 720p format. Most HD TVs available today have a slightly higher resolution than the HD standard 1280 x 720, namely 1366 x 768. 

1080p resolution (Full HD, FHD, 1920 x 1080)

1080p resolution images consist of 2,073,600 pixels. A  full  HD  TV displays images with twice the quality of HD. The difference is obvious, and the price to know is often even lower than HD devices. 


1440p resolution (QHD, WQHD, 2560 x 1440)

An image with a resolution of 1440p consists of 3,686,400 pixels, which means exactly 4 times more than in the case of 720p resolution. Hence the abbreviation QHD (Quad HD = Quadruple HD). This is the standard resolution for high-end monitors, TVs and smartphones. 


2K resolution (2048 x 1080)

The number 2K (approx. 2000) refers to the horizontal size of the image (its length). Resolution of this type is specific to projectors in the film industry, but the term 2K is often assimilated to QHD resolution, although the dimensions of the two types of images are different. TVs or monitors sold as having 2K resolution have a real resolution of 1440p. 


4K resolution (Ultra HD, UHD, 4K UHD, 3840 x 2160)

4K resolution images consist of 8,294,000 pixels, which is exactly 4 times more than in the case of Full HD 1080p resolution. The 4K number (approx. 4000) can also refer to the approximate horizontal size of the image. A  4k  TV offers an image of impeccable clarity. The prices of 4k resolution devices dropped dramatically in 2014 and it is expected that by 2020, more than half of US home consumers will replace their old TVs with some Ultra HD. 


8K resolution (8K UHD, 4320p, 7680 x 4320)

8K resolution images consist of 33,177,600 pixels. The technology that offers 8K images is the newest, currently working on its integration into TVs and computer monitors. 4320p resolution screens can display images with colorful details and so well defined that they awaken very powerful sensory experiences. 

These are the most important things to know about monitor and screen resolutions. Arm yourself with the above information before you start looking for a new TV or computer and it will be much easier for you to make the right choice for your needs

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