What is High Resolution?


It's impossible to go to an electronics store and not hear about high definition and high resolution. High resolution is a term applied to many things; genres: computer monitors, printers, digital cameras, movies and television programming. While standard resolution electronics are still available, more and more people are making the switch to these advanced products and as a result, experience a higher quality visual experience with sharper, more realistic images.

What Is High Resolution?

  • In simple terms, high resolution means that something is produced at a very high level of detail. This something could be an audio file, video file, image file or printed image. Most commonly, however, when using the term high resolution, people are speaking about visual equipment like a computer monitor or television or a digital image.


  • Standard resolution for video outputs like computer monitors and televisions is usually around 520 lines, of which 480 are visible. The images that appear on the screen are refreshed, with half of the lines are refreshed about 30 times per second. This means that only 15 images are completely refreshed each second.

    High Definition TVs and monitors have much higher resolution, meaning more lines and with a faster refresh rate. High resolution is usually expressed by either 720p or 1080p. The letter P next to the number means that the image refreshing is progressive and that the complete image is refreshed. So with standard you get 15 new images per second and with high resolution you receive 30. For computer monitors, 800X600 and 1024X768 are the most common and refers to the number of pixels the monitor can support. The higher the pixels, the sharper the image.


  • The benefit of high resolution in video or imagery is a sharp, clear and more realistic image. In order to receive the benefit of your high definition television, you will need to receive a high resolution signal. Cable companies now provide HDTV (high definition television) programming packages. You can also watch high resolution DVDs on advanced DVD players like the Blu-ray system. For digital photography, you would need to take a high resolution photo and view it on a high resolution screen to see the difference.

Still Images

  • High resolution is available in still images and computer peripherals like printers and scanners as well. On digital cameras, the resolution is referred to as megapixels. Again, the higher the megapixel figure, the higher the resolution. With digital cameras, you can change the resolution that it takes photos at. Because high-res photos take up more space, many people set their cameras to a lower resolution to save space. Consult your manual on how to change the aspect ration and resolution.

    For printers and scanners, resolution is expressed in DPI (dots per square inch). The higher the DPI, the cleaner the image will be.


  • Not all electronics are high resolution or high definition ready. Some televisions are HDTV-capable but require an HD receiver in order to translate the high resolution signal. If purchasing a high definition product, make sure you understand whether you need additional equipment. Likewise, you may have a high definition monitor, but if the program, movie or game you are using wasn't created in high definition, the difference will not be remarkable.

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