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TV Terms Explained

There are a lot of terms wrapped around television and streaming services, but what do they mean? We're here to give you a basic overview of some common TV terms.


The resolutions you see are a representation of the number of horizontal lines a video has from top to bottom. So 480p is made up of 480 stacked lines, with each line being 852 pixels wide. 

To compare to 720p video, which has 720 lines that are each 1,280 pixels wide. This means it is more than twice as sharps as the same video at 480p.

Progressive & Interlaced Resolution

1080p (Progressive) and 1080i (Interlaced) are both HD resolutions, but they are displayed on your TV in different fashions. Progressive video shows the entire video frame at the same time on your TV. The interlaced video takes the picture going to your TV in 2 scans – even and odd rows. Your TV then puts the even row scan on screen and fills in the rest of the picture with the odd rows. Most channels available are broadcast in 1080i.

Aspect Ratio

Your aspect ratio is the width to the height ratio of a screen. For example, a 16:9 aspect ratio would mean that for every 16 pixels wide, it is 9 high.

SD VideoKitimat TV SD

SD or Standard definition was the standard quality of movies and other videos for a long time. Standard definition has a range of lower resolutions and no defined aspect ratios (width to height ratio of the screen).

The bigger your screen - the more you can notice standard definition's limitations. 

HD VideoKitimat TV

HD or high definition is the most common form of viewing today, providing a much higher resolution display than standard definition. With resolution displays from 720p to 1080i and an aspect ratio of 16:9. for a better viewing experience. 

Many networks offer both SD and HD versions of their channels. For a better viewing experience, always tune in to the HD channel if available.

4K Video

4K is the new kid on the block. 4K does offer higher resolutions than HD programming (3840 x 2160 or 4096 x 2160 pixels), but currently has very limited offerings on cable and streaming services.

To view 4K programming, you must have a 4K television and an HDMI 2.0 cable if you are using a device connected to your TV. Some TV networks and streaming services are developing 4K channels and content, but there aren't many offerings currently available. 

We hope this post helps to explain some basic TV terminology. Remember that CityWest has technical support available 24/7 for all your TV needs by calling 1-800-442-8664.