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HDTV - Digital Television Formats


The "p" and "i" designations below stand for "progressive" and "interlaced." For the progressive format, the full picture updates every 1/60 th of a second. For the interlaced format, only half of the picture is updated every 1/60 th of a second.


Standard Definition Formats
(roughly the equivalent of analog broadcast):

  • 480i - The Resolution is 704x480 pixels, sent at 60 interlaced frames per second or 30 complete frames per second.
  • 480p - The Resolution is 704x480 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.


High Definition Formats (I.E. HDTV):
  • 720p - The Resolution is 1280x720 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.
  • 1080i - The Resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, sent at 60 interlaced frames per second or 30 complete frames per second.
  • 1080p - The Resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, sent at 60 complete frames per second.



When you multiply the horizontal pixel resolution by vertical pixel resolution you get the total image resolution



  • 480i - Total image resolution 337,920 pixels
  • 480p - Total image resolution 337,920 pixels
  • 720p - Total image resolution 921,600 pixels (roughly equivalent to a 1 mega pixel camera)
  • 1080i - Total image resolution 2,073,600 pixels (equivalent to a 2 mega pixel camera)
  • 1080p - Total image resolution 2,073,600 pixels (equivalent to a 2 mega pixel camera)
  • The 720p image format has almost three times as many pixels than either 480i or 480p formats.
  • The 1080i and 1080p formats have over twice as many pixels (2.25 to be exact) as the 720p format.
  • The 1080i and 1080p formats have over six times as many pixels as the 480i/480p format.

    As you may have realized by now, most digital cameras today have a higher resolution than the highest HDTV picture resolution (1080i or 1080p). If you display a 10 mega pixel picture from your digital camera on your HDTV you will be discarding almost 4/5ths of the information (I.E. pixels).

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