What’s a TV Pixel and Why Should I Care?

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When you want to purchase a new TV, the choices can start to seem overwhelming, and the terms might not even make a lot of sense to you right off the bat. There are now options, like 720p, 1080p, and 4K displays, but what does that really mean? This article looks at today’s high-definition viewing options so you have a better idea of what kind of TV will be right for you.

What’s a Pixel?

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Image via Flickr by Brett Jordan

Pixels are the building blocks of the picture that makes up the image on your screen. One pixel is the smallest unit of a digital image. Each pixel is usually a square block placed on a two-dimensional grid, like a TV screen, computer monitor, or device screen. The overall number of pixels on that grid determines the resolution, or how clear and detailed the picture appears.

How Do Pixels Alter Resolution?

Two common TV screens, the 720p and 1080p, have names determined by their pixel count. If you multiply the 1280 by 720 measurements of the typical 720p screen, you will know exactly how many pixels are included. The “p” in 720p and 1080p actually does not refer to pixels, but to “progressive scan,” or the way a high-definition picture is sent to the screen.

While 1080p screens today have over 2 million pixels, ...

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