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Understanding Pixels: What Pixels are and How to Choose the Right Screen

Pixels play an important role in the quality of your television image. The evolution of technology and graphic resolution means people now have access to screens with better and better image quality. These changes are all centered around the pixel.

Fillion Électronique explains the importance of pixels to the quality of images and helps you choose the right resolution for your screen. 

What is a pixel?

A pixel, or ‘picture element’ is the smallest element of an image on a screen, a tiny point of colour that is like a building block for a digital image. Pixels are what give your screen's image a certain clarity and brightness. An image is composed of millions of pixels in rows.

In screen technology, a pixel is defined according to its width and height, or ‘pixel size’. The pixel size depends on the dimensions of your screen. Pixels emit primary colours at different intensities, which allows for the many colours that can be projected from a screen.

Display Resolution vs. Pixel Density

If you're currently in the market for a television, you've probably heard the words "display resolution" and "pixel density" thrown around. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have slightly different meanings.

Display resolution

Display resolution or ‘screen resolution’ refers to the number of pixels a screen is able to display. It is generally expressed by two values which indicate the number of pixels displayed horizontally and vertically.

For example, for a Neo QLED 8K TV, the definition of the screen is 7680 pixels horizontally and 4320 pixels vertically, or in shorthand: 7680 x 4320 pixels.

The Samsung QN900B smart TV with 7680x4320 definition.

Pixel density

Pixel density describes the density of pixels on a given surface. It is usually expressed in pixels per inch (PPI).

Pixel density is calculated by dividing the total number of pixels displayed by the screen by its diagonal length. For example, to calculate the resolution of a 65-inch (164 cm) 4K UHD TV, divide the number of pixels displayed horizontally by the diagonal size of the picture in inches. A 65-inch (164 cm) 4K UHD TV will have a pixel density of 59 PPI.

For the same screen size, the higher the pixel density, the tighter the pixels will be on the screen and the sharper the image will be. Pixels per inch is information that is not often put forward by manufacturers. It is more commonly discussed by gamers or virtual reality enthusiasts who are looking for a visually-heightened virtual experience.

It is also important to note that the overall quality of the image will also depend on other factors such as the quality of the screen, the type of technology used and the lighting in the room.

Chart: screen resolutions on the market

Display resolution is a key element in determining image quality and choosing the right television.

HDTV, FullHD, UtraHD, 4K, 8K – within these terms you can find valuable information for making a good choice of TV. Here is a summary of the technical terms used by manufacturers and electronics stores.

Resolution Standard Display Resolution Names Used
720 p HD Ready 1280x720 pixels HDTV, HD 720p, 720p, HD Ready
1080 p Full HD 1920x1080 pixels HDTV 1080p, HD 1080p, 1080 p, Full HD
2160 p UHDTV1 3840x2160 pixels 4K, UHD 4K, Ultra HD 4K, UHD-4K, 2160 p
4320 p UHDTV2 7680x4320 pixels 8K, UHD 8K, Ultra HD 8K, UHD-8K, 4320 p

Today's TVs come with many different technical features and resolutions. Wondering which TV to choose? Want to know the difference between QLED, OLED and HDR? Check out our article: "QLED, OLED, 4K, HDR... How to choose a TV?".

Better resolution for the same image size

The main benefit of choosing a TV with a higher display resolution: more pixels on the same size screen allows for a more accurate image. Textures, landscapes, skin texture and backgrounds become rich in detail and realism.

This illustration shows 5 televisions of the same size, but with different resolution. The same picture size, but richer in detail.

For a similar screen size, the higher the definition (and therefore the pixel density), the finer and more detailed the image.

For the same screen size, a 4K UHD TV, for example, uses four times as many pixels as a 1080p HDTV to display the same image. The pixel density is multiplied by 2.

Between a 4K TV and an 8K TV, the pixel density is multiplied by 4, and the resolution by 2. The images are much more realistic, for a much more immersive experience.

Find a screen that suits you at Fillion Électronique

Just because your screen is large doesn't mean your image will necessarily be high quality. A clear, bright display requires the right screen resolution and pixel density.

Other technical criteria also come into play when choosing a television. Are you having trouble deciding on one model over another? Contact the professionals, they can guide you towards the television set that best meets your needs.

Fillion Électronique offers a large selection of televisions with different resolutions. To see for yourself, we invite you to visit our physical stores in Montreal. We’ll be happy to help.

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