Screen Resolution Guide

When you go shopping for an HD TV, there are a lot features and factors to consider. One of the factors that you are going to want to be aware of is the screen resolution. The resolution on a HD screen refers to the number of pixels that the screen has and this is represented in a number of ways. For the most part, the screen resolution will be represented in terms like 720p, 1080p or 4k. These different screen qualities are also represented by the respective industry names: HD Ready, Full HD and Ultra HD.

While there is more to picture quality than the resolution, this is a good baseline indicator of the picture quality of any given screen. If you fit more pixels into a screen of the same size, that means that the pixels are smaller and that will provide greater detail and definition to the image. If you consider an HD Ready model compared to a Full HD model, the HD Ready will have a screen with about 1 million pixels and one that is Full HD will have about 2 million.

Resolution can also be represented in the specifications of the TV in the exact pixel count both horizontal and vertical. You may see the resolution of an HD display written out in the technical specs as something like 1920 x 1080. That means that the display has 1,920 lines of pixels horizontal by 1,080 lines of pixels vertical. With these specifications, the TV would be a Full HD or 1080p model because the designation is determined by the number of vertical lines the display has. If you multiply the two numbers in the specs, then you get the exact number of pixels that make up the screen.

HD Ready (720p)

An HD Ready model is a TV that offers the lowest HD resolution. These models can display HD content, but it will offer less detail than a model that is 1080p or 4k. On a smaller screen, most people will find HD Ready to be more than suitable and the smaller the screen, the less noticeable the reduction in picture quality will be. As a second TV or for a person that is working on a budget, an HD Ready model can be a good option.

Full HD (1080p)

Full HD models are probably the most popular resolution on the current market. The prices of these models have come down to make them more competitive with the HD Ready models and they offer a picture quality that is superior. With twice as many pixels as an HD Ready, you will get much more detail and these TVs often have better processing power and onboard software that works to further enhance the images. The viewer is most likely to notice the difference between HD Ready and Full HD as the screen size increases. If you are looking for a TV that is 32-inches or greater, then you should put some serious consideration into getting a Full HD model.

4k Ultra HD (2160p)

This is the newest screen technology available and it offers the best resolution that you can find on the current market. An Ultra HD screen has about 8 million pixels and it will deliver a picture quality that far surpasses that of HD Ready or Full HD. This level of resolution matters most when you go to the larger screen sizes and for this reason, you are most likely only going to find 4k models in 40-inches or above.

To make the most of this level of screen quality, the consumer will need to have a source for Ultra HD content. Unfortunately, your options for true UHD content are somewhat limited. While a lot of content is filmed in 4k, very little is actually distributed in that format. As of this writing, there are no broadcast stations that provide 4k viewing and there are only a few online content providers that offer this service. Eventually, the networks will catch-up to the technology and start broadcasting UHD content, but until then, your best options are Netflix 4k and Amazon Prime. Since internet content is the only option for 4k viewing, it does make having Smart TV with the 4k that much more important.

One more thing to consider in regard to 4k TVs is the ability to upscale content. Even if you do not have a source for Ultra HD content, the TV will use onboard software that converts the images to the resolution of the screen. It will not be quite as good as viewing content that is from an actual UHD source, but it will improve the image quality of shows and movies that are from sources that are 720p or 1080p.

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