Your Guide to the Realm of Pixels for Your TV and Screens

What's that "one" thing that draws you when you're looking to buy a television? The resolution! Terms like 1080p Full HD', and '8K'come falling in from different sources. But all you understand is that the pictures should be good. 

Various resolutions like 8K, 4K, 1080p, 1080i, Ultra HD, and more may seem a bit confusing, and you may wonder, "what's the difference among these?" but have you ever wondered what these mean? Why are they so important? 

If you're intrigued to know all about pixels, this write-up will give it to you all. 

Let's get started.

What is a pixel?

In layman's terms, a pixel is a small building block in the screen's grid. Try to zoom your screen as much as you can, and eventually, you will find small squares of various colors, red, green, and blue. These individual blocks are called pixels. It is the most important measurement of a digital image. Don’t think of it as a physical rather think of it as a logical unit.

Basically, it is the picture "element," and each of these elements serves as an integral part in the screen's grid. 

Pixels are situated in a two-dimensional grid. The number of pixels in each grid determines the overall resolution of your television. Each pixel has its own unique location. The location of each pixel is specified by a set of coordinates.  And each of these tiny boxes has the potential to transmit millions of different colors. 

The History of Pixel

The term "pixel" is derived from the words "pics" and "element." Frederic C. Billingsley of Jet Propulsion Laboratory first published the word "pixel" in 1965. He described pixels as small images sent back to Earth from NASA space investigation exploring the Moon and Mars.

The concept of "pixel" dates back to the early television days where it was first used in Wireless World magazine in 1927, but according to various U.S patents, it was used as early as 1911. Interesting!

According to various research, the photogenic concept of pixels has a long and complicated history. Their origins can be traced back to German inventor Paul Nipkov's idea of "Bildpunkt" when he first mechanized television systems in 1884. 

Now let us find out why pixels are so important and how you can decide which is the best TV resolution to buy.

Pixels and Resolutions

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What is the resolution? 

Resolution is used to refer to pixel size. The resolution of a displayed image is proportional to the number of pixels displayed on the screen.

When we talk about a specific screen resolution, it means a predetermined number of pixels has to run across the screen horizontally and vertically arranged in columns and rows.

To determine the number of pixels in a TV screen or the pixel density, you must multiply the number of horizontal pixels in a row and multiply it to the number of vertical pixels in one column. 

Here are some of the pixel densities.

Resolution

Horizontal Pixel count

Vertical Pixel Count

Pixel Density

1080i/p

1,920

1,080

20,73,600

4K (Consumer Standard)

3,840

2,160

8,294,400

4K (Cinema Standard)

4,096

2,160

8,847,360

8K

7,680

4,320

33,177,600

How do pixels create colors?

Each individual point inside the grid blends with those colors around them to create a smooth transaction of colors. 

Let's consider it by taking the example of an absurdly detailed impressionist painting. The more colors the grid cam displays, the better and crisp the picture looks visually. The number of colors in a display is outlined by the number of bits used to determine the pixel.

For example, A 24-bit pixel can display 16,777,216 colors, whereas an 8-bit pixel can display only 256 colors.

Coming back to the resolution, which can be split into three main categories:

  • Standard definition TV resolution

  • High-definition Tv resolution

  • Ultra high-definition TV resolution

  • 4K

  • 8K

 We have discussed these resolutions in details in the following segments:

Standard definition TV resolution

A common type of TV transmission for years, it is today replaced by high-definition transmissions.

Standard SD pictures have an evident resolution of either 576i or 480i. It changes depending on which part of the world you’re in. (here "i" denotes that the transmission has an interwoven image. This was used to shorten the quantity of bandwidth necessary to transmit an image, and it affects the image quality)

A 4:3 480i image is inclusive of 640 pixels vertically and 480 pixels horizontally. Therefore it has a total of 3,07,200 pixels.

Note: While buying a high-definition TV, people often inquire whether they can still watch pictures that are not high-definition?

The answer is yes! You will notice that the only difference is that the image will be slightly "softer" compared to high-definition images and can lack sharpness. 

High-definition Video TV resolution

The best quality high-definition TV image is 1080p found on many live streaming services and Blu-ray players. 

A 1080p high-definition picture has 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pictures vertically. The total is 20,73,600pixels of resolution-which is more defined and sharper than a 480i image.

The "p" denotes that the image is recorded using a progressive scan, and it makes the picture quality better and clearer compared to an "i" or interlaced image.

 We know that a 1080p image is of higher resolution, but an actual 1080p image is not that common and is transmitted relatively by a countable number of sources.

It means even if a television company promises to transmit high-quality 1080p images, but in reality, you're not watching an actual 1080p image.

Areas, where you can witness real 1080p images, are:

  • Blu-ray players.

  • Game consoles- Xbox 360/One, Sony PlayStation ¾, Wii U/Switch.

  • Streaming services- Amazon, Netflix, Youtube.

 Discussing about high-definition images, it can be future segregated into 3 types:

  • 1080p = 1920 *1080 pixels (p- progessive scan)

  • 1080i= 1920 *1080 pixels (i-interlaced scan)

  • 720p= 1280 *720 pixels (p-progressive scan)


4K or Ultra high-definition TV transmission

4k or ultra-high-definition TV images are also known as 2160p and is recorded using a "p" progressive scan with a minimum resolution of 3840*2016 pixels, which amounts to 88, 74,630 pixels with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

For 4K images, you will need an Ultra 4K TV that uses Ultra HD Blu-ray specifications.

8K TVs

8K has a resolution of 7,680 by 4,320 pixels and a density of 33,177,600. 8K TVs pack four-times the pixels you find in a 4K TV. As a result, the main difference between 4K and 8K is the resolution. 

That being said, there is a shortage of 8K content in the industry. 

How crucial is the resolution of HDTV?

The native resolution of a particular HD screen is not that important. To witness the best quality HD image on your TV, the transmitted image resolution and the native resolution of the TV, should be the same

What are the major factors that play a crucial role in the image quality of a Television screen?

Quite a few factors make a difference in terms of how good your picture looks. 

  •  The screen size.

  • The distance between the TV screen and the viewer.

  • The resolution of the image source.

  • The processing quality of the TV.

  • The diversity ratio and the color preciseness of the image. 

The Screen size

If you're going for a high-resolution on normal resolution TV, consider the screen size. 

To buy a TV screen for your home, consider how many people will watch the TV and also the area you're going to set the new TV ( and obviously your budget). Pick a size that will set your place comfortably, and the sweet spot should typically be between 55 and 65 inches.

The Distance Between the TV screen and You

This is another factor that plays a major factor that helps to determine the quality of the picture. The general rule of thumb in determining the distance between the TV and your sweet spot should be three times more than the screen height for HD TV. For  a 4K Ultra HD and it should be just 1.5 times more than the height of the Television screen

The Screen Resolution

As you already know, the resolution is the aggregate of pixels that make up the picture on television screens. It plays a major role in determining picture quality. The healthier the resolution, the better is the picture quality. 

For many years, the 1920*1080 resolution was the standard and the most common resolution across the globe. Now manufacturers are shifting to 4K resolution, giving you better and sharper lifelike pictures that are better than an HDTV resolution.

Ultra HD videos are also getting easier, and you can watch them on various streaming services like Amazon, Netflix, Youtube. 8K TV's are becoming popular and are ready to hit the market through gaming consoles.

What is the importance of pixel depth?

The depth of a pixel represents the intensity of data that can be stored in an individual square. The more number of colors the pixel cam displays, the better is the tone of the photo, and it looks more lifelike.

The colors of the pixel are determined by the number of bits used to represent a pixel. It also shows how much each pixel can display and hold.

Along with the number of pixels, the depth of the pixels also helps determine the image's quality. 

How can you utilize pixel in Modern designing

Everything you see digitally is the game of pixels. Understanding the depth of pixels helps to create such amazing, visually digital designs and websites. 

 Let's take a dig into the ways pixels are changing the digital game today:

  • Creating a responsive website

 In today's world, it is all about responsive websites. Your website should look great at different screen sizes where the pictures adjust according to the size and the resolution of the screen. 

Each screen represents websites differently, and as a result, small images get pixelated, and the content gets scaled down. 

Tip: To make sure your website is usable across all devices, make sure you run tests at all common sizes and resolutions.

  • Designing for specific websites

Screen specs alone with CSS pixels help create brilliant device-specific designs. Though the manufacturer already provides the resolution and the device's PPI, you can also find direct device comparison on third-party websites. 

 Though CSS pixels are abstract, they are important units used by designers. 

  • Improving picture Quality

Increasing and shrinking the image’s resolution and the size can help to improve the PPI of a grainy image. Increasing each pixel’s data and even displaying fewer pixels enhances the color, tone, and image’s weight. 

Other settings like the size, the pixel density, and the pixel depth can change the colors drastically along with the image’s quality.

Quick TV buying tips

 Here we have a few important points that will help you to take a quick decision while buying a television set. Let’s take a look:

  • When you want to buy a quality TV, never settle for anything below 4K resolution. Try to avoid HD or 1080p television sets.

  •  You don’t have to necessarily go for an 8K TV. It’s damn expensive and 8K movies and shows are not available yet.

  •  For a quality 55-inch 4K TV, you must have a budget of at least $500 and for a 95-inch, your budget should be nothing less than $900.

  • If you want smooth motion for movies and live gaming and sports, look for a 60Hz or 120Hz refresh rate.

  • If you want to experience realistic colors and better contrast, look for TV sets that are HDR compatible.

  • Always go for TV sets that have a minimum of four HDMI ports.

  •  Television speakers are not up to the mark therefore also buy a soundbar along with your TV.

  •  Extra purchase protection is already provided by credit card companies. Therefore you don't have to invest in extended warranties.

Final thoughts

Pixels are indeed intriguing! 

When you watch those videos, how many of you even think about pixels or what is going on inside it? 

They have a whole different world- a digital world and gives us the pleasure to watch amazing pictures and movies. 

Next time when you are going to purchase a TV, don't get overthrown and confused by so many jargons and terms. Simply refer to our article and try to get a better idea and understanding of different TV sets.

 Hope you find this article helpful! Thanks for reading!

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