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full HDTV (ultra-HD, true HDTV, 1080p)

Full HDTV, also referred to as ultra-HD, true HDTV, and 1080p, is a television (TV) display technology specification that surpasses the quality over the original 720p high-definition television (HDTV) technology specification, providing an image resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels.

The original HDTV technology offers vertical resolution that ranges from 720 lines with progressive scanning (720p) to 1080 lines with interlaced scanning (1080i). Full HDTV provides 1080 lines with progressive scanning, which is sometimes referred to as 1080p. In these specifications, the numeral indicates the number of horizontal lines in the complete raster. The p stands for progressive scanning, in which each scan displays every line in the image raster sequentially from top to bottom. The i stands for interlaced scanning, in which each scan displays alternate lines in the image raster and two complete scans are therefore required to display the entire image.

Progressive scanning is considered superior to interlaced scanning for full-motion video displays because there is less jitter, particularly for the portrayal of objects that move diagonally or vertically across the screen. The improvement is especially noticeable for fast-moving images, typical of television and DVD programs. The improved motion and image stability result in a more lifelike experience with less eyestrain. Progressive scanning is  required for satisfactory video on TV sets that use micro displays, plasma displays or liquid-crystal display (LCD) flat panels. The improved image quality afforded by full HDTV is well suited to the extra-large-screen displays used in home theater systems. Even smoother motion is achieved by increasing the refresh rate of 60 Hertz (Hz) to 120hz along with frame interpolation, creating averaged motion frames between the original frames.

Since the production of 1080p sets, they have become a near ubiquitous technology as 720p and 1080i becomes increasingly rare. Higher resolution standards for computer and television displays have emerged such as 4K and 8K displays. The respective resolutions of these new standards are actually 3840x2160 and 7680x4320. These new specifications are termed ultra-high definition (UHD) or UHDTV.

This was last updated in October 2018

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