The future of high-definition displays will change movies and the devices you use to view them, right down to the cables that carry HD signals.
What is screen resolution?
Screen resolution is a measure of how many pixels the screen can display horizontally and vertically. Standard HD resolution started out at 1280 x 720 pixels and advanced quickly to 1920 x 1080. Now, however, innovations in screen technology have brought us 4K resolution, or 3840 x 2160 pixels. Next on the horizon is 8K, which displays 7680 x 4320 pixels.
The resolution keeps getting better, but the screens also keep getting larger. A super high-resolution picture doesn’t look as sharp on a huge screen as it does on a smaller screen. That’s because of another important measure, screen density, or pixels per inch (PPI). A screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 will look sharper on a 27-inch screen than a 40-inch one.
How important is screen resolution?
Arguments rage over just how high screen resolution can go before it exceeds the ability of the human eye to detect or appreciate it. Some research suggests, however, that 8K resolution is more compatible with how the human brain processes visual information. In short, it actually takes less brain activity to process an 8K image than a lower resolution one. As explained in a 2019 article in Forbes magazine, it is sort of like a new higher-resolution television trying to process an older lower-resolution picture. It has to work harder to make the signal compatible. Plus, with every upward notch in screen resolution comes a lag in content created to take advantage of the extreme detail and clarity such high definition supplies.
Likewise, every time the screen resolution goes up, effectively sucking in more data or signal to cram into the available screen space, the HDMI or DP cables that carry high-definition video and audio signals to TVs and monitors must evolve to ever-greater capacity. Fortunately, cables that carry 4K signals are in stores now to connect new 4K TVs to cable and streaming boxes.
Why is screen resolution important to movie lovers?
What does all this mean for movie lovers who want the best viewing experience of their most favorite films? Much depends on practical considerations like budget and space.
It’s unlikely most people will spend over six figures for an immense display setup that consumes an entire wall of their home.
The most important considerations are a balance between resolution and density. A higher resolution loses some of its allure when disbursed across an enormous screen. While the future holds higher-definition displays, content and bandwidth haven’t caught up to the capabilities of most existing advanced HD devices. Science seems to say, trust the evidence with your own eyes and pick the picture that looks best to you.