Resolution Definition and Meaning

Whether it is a computer monitor, television set, smartphone or tablet: the resolution of the screen or display always plays an important role when making a purchase. After all, it has a decisive influence on the sharpness and thus on the overall quality of the image.

  • The resolution describes the number of pixels that are available for the overall image.
  • A native resolution corresponds exactly to the physical digital resolution of the respective device and usually enables the best image quality.

What does dissolution mean?

The term “resolution” applies not only to screens and cell phone displays, but also to digital cameras, printers and scanners. Because of this multiple use of the term, misunderstandings arise from time to time. Basically, however, the resolution indicates the level of detail of a structure.

From a technical point of view, the resolution describes the amount of horizontal and vertical points in a corresponding grid. In relation to the image display, the term “resolution” indicates the number of image points or pixels that make up the overall image. Accordingly, the image resolution results from the amount of pixels present per display line and the number of lines of the respective display or screen.

The image resolution is usually displayed in the X * Y format. There are special proper names for some very frequently used resolutions. The resolution 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, for example, is known as “Full HD” and offers a total of slightly more than two million pixels. With a fixed image size, the higher the resolution, the smaller the pixels. With a higher resolution, fine details can also be displayed.

What is native resolution?

If a resolution corresponds exactly to the physical digital resolution or the number of pixels of a device, then experts refer to this as native resolution. However, not every screen has a fixed number of pixels. For example, for tube monitors, due to the technical functional principle, no native resolution can be specified.

Many modern screens and displays use liquid crystal displays. Due to the technology used, these so-called LCDs (liquid crystal displays) cannot display every image in its original resolution with the same sharpness. The device adapts smaller or larger resolutions through scaling and interpolation. Scaling is the change in size of a digital image. Interpolation, on the other hand, is a method for generating image content. Due to such techniques, the maximum resolution of a screen is usually higher than the native one.

Why is native resolution important?

Every change in resolution requires a conversion of the image information. As a rule, this means that the image quality – for example the image sharpness – drops. However, there are exceptions. For example, quadrupling the resolution does not have a negative effect on quality. Nevertheless, it is advisable to always choose the native resolution. Since conversions are not necessary with her, there is no loss of quality in the image display. This is also the reason why many manufacturers no longer specify the minimum or maximum, but instead the native resolution of the device.

More image details thanks to higher resolution

In general, manufacturers are naturally interested in continuously improving their products. As a result, the resolution of the devices has increased steadily over the past few years. On the one hand, this leads to finer and more detailed images. On the other hand, larger and larger display devices are necessary so that it is even possible for the human eye to perceive this wealth of detail.

A very important term in this context is the pixel density. This provides information about the number of pixels present on a certain area. It is particularly important for mobile devices. In contrast to PC monitors and televisions, with these it is not so easy to keep increasing the display area. In order to improve the resolution, the manufacturers are reducing the distance between the pixels instead.

The most important formats for resolution

In order to be able to guarantee the best possible display on as many devices as possible, the industry developed a variety of different resolution standards. Some of the best known include the following:

HD :

  • stands for “high definition”, which can be translated as “high resolution”
  • has a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels

Full HD :

  • is the abbreviation for “Full High Definition”, which means “full high definition”
  • has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Ultra HD :

  • stands for “Ultra High Definition”, ie for “extremely high resolution”
  • Differentiation between UHD1 (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) and UHD2 (7,680 x 4,320 pixels)


  • means Wide Quad High Definition
  • has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels

4K resolution :

  • 4K stands for 4,000, this number refers to the approximate number of horizontal pixels
  • Resolution of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels
  • is mainly used in the production of cinema films


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