Pic­ture Res­o­lu­tion


fined by uti­liz­ing lo­cally-dimmed back­lights, which again split the screen into zones. Whereas edgelit back­lights con­trolled the lights em­a­nat­ing from the sides of the TV, lo­cally dimmed back­lights split the TV into blocks within the TV. Each of the re­sult­ing back­lights is in­di­vid­u­ally ad­dress­able and can vary its bright­ness for its spe­cific sub-im­age. Vizio Canada, which re­cently launched in Canada on Septem­ber 12th, uses a 36-zone lo­cal­ly­dimmed back­light in their M-Se­ries HDTVs. This back­light con­sists of 4 rows split into 9 col­umns each, al­low­ing each in­di­vid­ual sub­sec­tion to be con­trolled, re­sult­ing in bet­ter qual­ity. This pre­cise con­trol is es­pe­cially ap­par­ent with ul­tra-widescreen con­tent as the empty top and bot­tom hor­i­zon­tal black bars are pitch black.

Many HDTVs are also com­ing pre-cal­i­brated from the fac­tory, en­sur­ing view­ers get the best pic­ture qual­ity pos­si­ble. While many big­box stores will switch to a harsh, un­nat­u­ral screen mode to make the TV stand out against a wall of other brightly lit TVs, the in­clu­sion of cal­i­brated or movie/film modes is

putting qual­ity over quan­tity. HDTVs of­fer two na­tive pic­ture res­o­lu­tions - 720p (1,280 x 720 pix­els) or 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pix­els). If you’re pur­chas­ing a TV un­der 50”, there is no dis­cernible visual dif­fer­ence be­tween 720p and 1080p for view­ers with nor­mal eye­sight sit­ting at an ap­pro­pri­ate dis­tance – it is only when pur­chas­ing larger sets (over 50”) that a dif­fer­ence can be seen. So if bud­get is a con­straint, con­sumers can save with a 720p set with­out wor­ry­ing that they’re miss­ing out on res­o­lu­tion.

Step­ping up to larger HDTVs over 55”, which many con­sumers are now up­grad­ing to, after mak­ing the switch to flat pan­els, 1080p is the res­o­lu­tion avail­able on the majority of HDTVs un­der $3,000 CAD. 1080p dis­plays are avail­able from across all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ ranges, from their en­try-level sets all the way through their high-end sets. Pric­ing dif­fer­ences come into ef­fect for dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fea­tures such as re­fresh rate (120 Hz, 240 Hz, etc.), smart/con­nected TV func­tion­al­ity (such as WiFi mir­ror­ing, built-in Net­flix, YouTube, etc.), back­light tech­nol­ogy (lo­cal dim­ming, edgelit), size, and even shape (more be­low).

4K or Ul­traHD

The next step up from 1080p is 4K, or Ul­traHD (3,840 x 2,160 pix­els). 4K tele­vi­sions of­fer four times the res­o­lu­tion of 1080p (8,294,400 pix­els ver­sus 2,073,600 pix­els) and change the line count from hor­i­zon­tal (1,080 lines) to ver­ti­cal (3,840 lines). This change was also made so that empty black hor­i­zon­tal lines wouldn’t be counted in ul­tra-widescreen con­tent (e.g. 21:9), in­stead only count­ing ver­ti­cal lines which al­ways have con­tent. 4K tele­vi­sions, with their in­creased pixel den­sity, are typ­i­cally only ad­van­ta­geous on very large sets (65” and larger) but are also use­ful in small sets for a dif­fer­ent rea­son: the abil­ity to sit closer to your tele­vi­sion with­out los­ing im­age de­tail. As you move closer to your tele­vi­sion, the in­di­vid­ual pix­els on a 1080p TV be­come more ap­par­ent, caus­ing the im­age to lose de­tail, but with a 4K tele­vi­sion, the higher pixel den­sity due to the smaller pix­els com­pen-

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