What does 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 2K, 4K and 8K mean from a resolution perspective?
From the outset, the resolution has been described by the number of pixels arranged horizontally and vertically on a monitor.
The available options were determined by the technical features of the GPU and were different from one manufacturer to another.
Windows came with a set of some default options, and in order to change the resolution to a bigger or one with more colors, you had to install a special driver for the GPU.
IBM originally developed color monitor technology. At the beginning there was CGA (color graphics adapter), then EGA (enhanced graphics adapter) and then VGA (video graphics array). Regardless of the monitor’s technical specifications, you could choose one of the available image options thanks to the graphics card drivers.
Windows defaults were minimal, so if you did not have a driver for your video card, you had to deal with the minimum Windows resolution. If you’ve ever looked at a Windows installation or installed a newer version of a video driver, you’ve probably seen a screen with a 640 x 480-pixel resolution, even for a few moments. It was nasty even on CGA monitors, but it was the default option in Windows.
You may have seen that some resolutions are described by values such as 720p or 1080i. What does this mean? The letters tell you how the “image” is drawn in the monitor. The letter “p” means progressively, and the letter “i” means interlaced.
An interlaced image monitor is the successor of the early televisions and old CRT monitors. Any monitor or TV screen has a series of pixel lines which are horizontally arranged on it. These lines were relatively easy to see when you were getting close to a monitor or an old TV, but nowadays the pixels on the screen are so small that it is difficult to be seen without a magnifying glass or something similar. The monitor electronics “draws” the screen line by line, too fast for our eyes to notice it. An interlaced screen displays the odd pixel lines one by one, then the even ones.
What do the numbers mean: 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 2K, 4K and 8K? Numbers always refer to the number of horizontal pixel lines of the screen:
1. 720p = 1280 x 720 – is a resolution commonly known as HD or “HD Ready”
2. 1080p = 1920 x 1080 – is a resolution also known as FHD or “Full HD”
3. 2K = 2048 x 1080 – refers to screens that have a horizontal resolution of approximately 2000 pixels. Although close to 1080p, it is considered to be a different resolution standard.
4. 1440p = 2560×1440 – a resolution which is is commonly known as QHD or Quad HD, generally available on gaming monitors and premium smartphones. 1440p is a resolution four times the HD 720p or “HD ready” resolution.
5. 4K or 2160p = 3840 x 2160 – resolution known as 4K, UHD or Ultra HD. It is a very high resolution, and you find it on premium TVs and monitors. 2160p is being called 4K because its width is close to 4000 pixels. In different words, it offers four times more pixels than 1080p FHD or “Full HD.”
6. 8K or 4320p = 7680 x 4320 – is the 8K resolution and gives you a 16-pixel image on a 1080p FHD or “Full HD” screen.
You may wonder if you can see a high-resolution video on a lower resolution screen. For example, is it possible to use a 720p TV to watch a video at 1080p? The answer is yes! No matter what resolution your screen has, you can see any video on it, even if the video resolution is different (higher or lower). However, if the video you want to see has a higher resolution than your screen, the device converts the resolution of the video to one that matches your screen. This is called downsampling.
What is the size of an image in pixels?
It was initially used in movies to indicate the width of the image relative to its height.
Depending on the display ratio, you can only use resolutions that are specific to its width and height. Some of the most common resolutions that can be used for each display ratio are:
1. 4:3 – 640 × 480, 800 × 600, 960 × 720, 1024 × 768, 1280 × 960, 1400 × 1050, 1440 × 1080, 1600 × 1200, 1856 × 1392, 1920 × 1440 and 2048 × 1536.
2. 16:10 – 1280 × 800, 1440 × 900, 1680 × 1050, 1920 × 1200, and 2560 × 1600.
3. 16:9 – 1024 × 576, 1152 × 648, 1280 × 720 (HD), 1366 × 768, 1600 × 900, 1920 × 1080 (FHD), 2560 × 1440, 3840 × 2160 4K) and 7680 x 4320 (8K).
We hope this article has managed to help you understand the essential features of a screen: type, resolution and display ratio.