hoping to clarify standard video resolutions

Robert P. J. Day rpjday-L09J2beyid0N/H6P543EQg at public.gmane.org
Sun Nov 1 13:33:18 UTC 2009

  i'm currently considering getting a new laptop with better screen
res that the one i have now (1280x800), and i'm going slightly bonkers
trying to keep up with everyone's slightly shifting definitions of
video standards, so let me be a bit verbose.

  let's start here --
http://compreviews.about.com/od/video/a/NoteVidSpec.htm -- where we
allegedly see a list of official screen resolutions:

    * WVGA: 800x480
    * SVGA: 800x600
    * WSVGA: 1024x600
    * XGA: 1024x768
    * WXGA: 1280x800 or 1366x768
    * SXGA: 1280x1024
    * SXGA+: 1400x1050
    * WXGA+: 1440x900
    * WSXGA+: 1680x1050
    * UXGA: 1600x1200
    * WUXGA: 1920x1200 or 1920x1080

first, note the two possibilities for WXGA -- lately, i've seen
1366x768 labelled as "HD WXGA", which would make sense, i can live
with that.

  what is a bit puzzling is where that resolution came from.  i've
seen the explanation that that's the largest native resolution that is
still 16:9 and could fit into 1Meg of pixels -- in short, a totally
arbitrary set of values that is simply pushed to the limit.  it sounds
good, except that 1366*768 = 1049088, which is *larger* than 1Meg,
which is 1048576.  so that explanation doesn't really make sense,
unless that slight overage doesn't hurt anything.

  and here's where i'm going with this.  how does all this match up
with *video* standards?   because, these days, it makes sense when
selecting a laptop to try to get one that's compatible with HDTV
standards, no?

  as i read it, HDTV is defined as having a 16:9 aspect ratio, the two
standard resolutions being 1280x720 (720p), and 1920x1080 (1080i,
given that 1080p is still way too high-end for consumer stuff, yes?)
however, you can certainly purchase 1366x768 HD TVs that advertise
being 720p.  i assume that means the incoming signal is upscaled to
fit in 1366x768.

  and to tie this back to laptops, if i'm willing to spend more to
get better resolution, where are laptop resolutions going these days?
making any effort to converge on HD TV standards?  i was at future
shop a while back and asked the salesweasel about models with full
WUXGA (1920x1200) res, and he told me that they rarely see those
anymore, as all laptop manufacturers are moving over to 1920x1080,
allegedly to match HD 1080i.

  it's even more annoying now that i'm seeing various laptops with
screen resolutions of 1440x900 (yes, that's 1.6:1, HD aspect ratio)
being marketed as being "900p".  to the best of my knowledge, there is
no such video standard as 900p.  (i suspect that, in short order, i'll
run across 1680x1050 being marketed as "1050p", another non-existent
1.6:1 standard.)

  bottom line - i'm interested in what video capabilities and display
resolution i should look for in a new laptop that would be most
compatible with current and upcoming video standards.  pointers to
relevant web pages would be just fine, thanks.


p.s.  i'm still interested in where 1366x768 came from.  is it really
based on that 1M pixel count, so that a single frame would fit in 1M
of video memory, even though it doesn't quite match?


Robert P. J. Day                               Waterloo, Ontario, CANADA

            Linux Consulting, Training and Kernel Pedantry.

Web page:                                          http://crashcourse.ca
Twitter:                                       http://twitter.com/rpjday
The Toronto Linux Users Group.      Meetings: http://gtalug.org/
TLUG requests: Linux topics, No HTML, wrap text below 80 columns
How to UNSUBSCRIBE: http://gtalug.org/wiki/Mailing_lists

More information about the Legacy mailing list