What is the difference between Definition and Resolution of a screen?

It often happens that we mix the terms “definition” and “resolution”. They must be distinguished, even if complementary. What is the difference between the definition and resolution of a screen?

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The definition is …

… the number of pixels on the screen. It is calculated in pixels by multiplying a horizontal pixel line with a vertical line of pixels. For example, a Full HD panel is 1920 x 1080 pixels or 2,207,360 pixels, a 4K / UHD panel has 8,294,400 pixels because its definition is 3840 x 2160 pixels.

The resolution is …

… the relationship between the definition of the screen and its size (we will take the screen surface). Determines the number of pixels per unit of area. We will express the definition in pixels and the size expressed in inches or inches (2.54 cm). Often DPI (dots per inch) or PPP (dots per inch) is used.

To put it simply, more DPI means better reproduction quality. For example, take a tablet and a smartphone. For the same definition, the resolution will be lower for the tablet (the surface is larger).

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TVs sold in supermarkets with the 4K logo have a definition of 3840 x 2160 points, hence the name and logo of ultra HD or (UHD) associated with the description of the device.

If the vertical definition is identical to the film version, the horizontal definition is less than 256 pixels. This band of 256 missing pixels will have to be compensated by clipping of the image to the production or by black bands on the screen.

The definition of 3840 x 2160 points is exactly the double vertical and horizontal generation of Full HD (1920 x 1080 points), for convenience and to avoid having to invest in more complex industrial instruments. For the remaining 256 pixels and chose not to stick to the original 4K definition (that of cinema).

  • The cinema in 4K is 4096 x 2160 = 8,847,360 pixels
  • 4K HUD is 3840 x 2160 = 8.294,400 pixels

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