Resolution for TV Display


Today’s Question: If you were going to project images on a TV mounted to a wall, what kind of resolution would you suggest?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For photos you’ll project on a TV (or digital projector or computer monitor) I recommend resizing the images based on the actual pixel dimensions of the display.

More Detail: When sharing photos digitally, they can be resized to pixel dimensions that match the pixel dimensions of the display or projector that will be used to present the images. The pixel-per-inch (ppi) resolution is not a factor in this context.

Before you can resize the images, you need to know the pixel dimensions of the display. Keep in mind that in most cases it is possible to set a number of different resolution settings for the display, so you’ll want to confirm which setting will actually be set on the display.

Some displays may use a relatively low resolution, at least by today’s standards. For example, you may find some displays use 720p HD resolution, which translates to 1280×720 pixels. Other displays might make use of 1080p HD resolution, which has pixel dimensions of 1920×1080.

Newer television displays often have higher resolutions, such as 4K or even 8K. A display with 4K resolution will generally have pixel dimensions of somewhere in the vicinity of 4,000 pixels on the long side. That might be something like 4096×2160 pixels, for example. Displays with 8K resolution will offer pixel dimensions of around 8,000 pixels on the long side. For many photographers, these large pixel dimensions may actually represent a higher resolution than their camera captures in the first place.

And again, keep in mind that the resolution promoted for a given display is not the only resolution the display will be capable of projecting in most cases. So be sure to prepare your images based on the display resolution setting that will actually be used.