hoping to clarify standard video resolutions

Brandon Sandrowicz bsandrow-Re5JQEeQqe8AvxtiuMwx3w at public.gmane.org
Sun Nov 8 06:36:59 UTC 2009

On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 5:33 AM, Robert P. J. Day <rpjday-L09J2beyid0N/H6P543EQg at public.gmane.org> wrote:
>  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.

As far as standards goes, the line between a TV and a computer monitor
has burred in recent years. It used to be 16:10 was 'computer'
widescreen and 16:9 was 'tv widescreen' (because movies are shot with
a 16:9 aspect ratio).

The problems with all the UWXVGA123 labeling is due to a lack of a
standards body to deal with this stuff.  I may be mistaken, but I've
felt like the naming for resolutions has been
fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants for a while now.  The introduction of
*even more* 'standard' resolutions just adds to the confusion.
Especially with introductions of things like the netbooks and their
smaller form factors.

On the non-computer side of things just look at the situation with
televisions. A while back the new televisions were advertised as
'digitial televisions', then 'hd televisions.'  There were plenty of
people that went into a store thinking that 'digitalTV = HDTV,' and
I'm sure many walked out thinking they would go home and instantly get
their OTA television in higher quality. Then there was the onslaught
of HDTVs, many of which could only do 720p, but only advertised
themselves as 'HD' in the hopes that people wouldn't know the
difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080p.

Wikipedia sorts things like[1]:
1280x720 = "WXGA, min"
1280x768 = "WXGA, avg"
1280x800 = "WXGA, avg"
1366x768 = "WXGA, max"

Oh, and I had a PowerBook G4 that I had was 1280x854 which doesn't
even have a 'standard' name.

Looking further into this, it looks like the 1366x768 resolution usage
in computers is just an artifact of the migration to 16:9 resolutions
for computers. Most of the initial hits from Google return people
complaining about HDTVs being distributed with that resolution instead
of 1280x720.[2][3][4]

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_common_resolutions
[2]: http://hd1080i.blogspot.com/2006/12/1080i-on-1366x768-resolution-problems.html
[3]: http://www.engadgethd.com/2006/04/21/whats-the-deal-with-1366-x-768/
[4]: http://archive.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=471096
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