Video Formats  

This page shows the effective resolution of

Resolution Defined: Generally, resolution is defined in terms of the maximum number of alternating black and white lines that can be clearly recorded or transmitted or displayed using the video format in question. For example, if the horizontal resolution is 300 (like NTSC video on VHS tape) you can record and display 300 vertical lines of alternating black and white — that's 150 black lines and 150 white lines. Note that the lines are vertical, but the resolution being measured is in the horizontal direction, because that's the direction in which the alternation between black and white occurs.

Note: These "Video Formats" refer to methods of transmission, storage and display of video using electronic devices, like TV sets and DVD players. A few physical film formats are shown for comparison, but for a more complete list of physical film formats (which includes issues like the dimensions of the portion of the film frame used to hold the image) see this table of Film Formats. It illustrates the difference between, for example, the different cropped "Academy" formats adopted by the major studios in 1953, all of which differ only in how much of the frame is actually used for an image.

name year aspect
ratio
resolution notes
Edison Kinetograph 1889 1.33:1 2048×1556 see Film Note
NTSC 192x 1.33:1 460×480 see Analog Note
Super 35 192x 1.32:1 2048×1556 see Film Note
Academy 1932 1.37:1 1828×1332 see Film Note
cropped Academy 195x 1.85:1 1828×988 see Film Note
Panavision 1959 2.35:1 1828×1556 see Film Note
Super Panavision 70 1959 2.20:1 4096×1840 see Film Note
NTSC on VHS 197x 1.33:1 300×480 see Analog Note
NTSC analog laser 197x 1.33:1 560×480 see Analog Note
VGA monitor 198x 1.33:1 640×480
SVGA 800 199x 1.33:1 800×600
NTSC on DVD 199x 1.33:1 720×480
16:9 on NTSC 197x 1.78:1 460×360 see Analog Note
16:9 on VHS 197x 1.78:1 300×360 see Analog Note
16:9 on laserdisc 197x 1.78:1 560×360 see Analog Note
16:9 on DVD 199x 1.78:1 720×480
16:9 on VGA 199x 1.78:1 640×360
16:9 in 4:3 on DVD 199x 1.78:1 720×360
Panavision in 16:9 DVD 199x 2.35:1 720×408
Panavision in 4:3 DVD 199x 2.35:1 720×306
HDTV 1080 Progressive 199x 1.78:1 1920×1080

Film Note: Resolution of analog formats depends on exposure level, aperture, film "speed" and other lens/focus phenomena.

Analog Note: Resolution in horizontal direction (but not vertical) depends on modulation method, carrier bandwidth, signal strength and other "waveform" phenomena. Also, color resolution (U and V channels in YUV space) typically have even lower resoloution than that shown here.


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