Article ID : 00109094 / Last Modified : 02/18/2015

What do the terms Resolution and Aspect Ratio mean for my television?

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Resolution and aspect ratio are terms used to describe the format and image you see on your television screen.  In a television, these two values are related and one affects the other.

Resolution

Resolution defines the number of pixels (dots) that make up the picture on your television.  For any given screen size, the more dots in the picture, the higher the resolution and the higher the overall quality of the picture.

TV resolution is often stated as the number of pixels or dots contained vertically in the picture.  Each of these resolutions also has a name associated with it.

TV Resolution Example
[A] Resolution(# of vertical dots)

Aspect Ratio

Closely tied to resolution is Aspect Ratio.  This is the ratio of width to height of the TV screen.  Certain aspect ratios are designed to handle certain resolutions without any stretching or distortion of the picture and without any blank space around the picture.

TV Aspect Ratio Example
[A] Height
[B]Width

Common examples for TVs

 Resolution

 Description

 Aspect Ratio

Width (in pixels) 

 Height (in pixels)

480i or 480p

 Standard Definition (SD)

4:3

640

480

720p

 High Definition (HD)

16:9

1280

720

1080i or 1080p

 High Definition (HD)

16:9

1920

1080

2160p

 Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4K

16:9

3840

2160