What Is HD? High Definition Explained

AOC 24-inch monitorAOC 24-inch monitor

HD stands for high definition display resolution. Resolution explains how many pixels a display has in length x width format (the more, the better when choosing a PC monitor). HD displays have a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, also referred to as 720p. A display can also be called HD if it has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, commonly referred to as 1080p. However, a 1920 x 1080 resolution is more officially referred to as Full HD (FHD).

Neither HD nor FHD is particularly sharp, but both compare favorably to the old Standard Definition (SD), which is usually around 640 x 480. If you're buying a laptop or an external monitor, don't settle for any less than FHD (1920 x 1080).

Common Monitor Resolutions:

5K5120 x 2880
4K3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution)
4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
Ultra HD (UHD)3840 x 2160
Quad HD (QHD) aka Wide Quad HD (WQHD)2560 x 1440
2K2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution)
2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)
WUXGA 1920 x 1200
Full HD (FHD) aka 1080p aka HD1920 x 1080
HD aka 720p1280 x 720

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

Further reading:

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