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What Is 2K Resolution? A Basic Definition

2K is a common display resolution. A screen's resolution explains how many pixels it has in width x height format (the more pixels, the sharper the image). A monitor or display is considered 2K if its width falls in the 2,000-pixels range.

The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a group of motion picture studios that creates standards for digital cinema, defines Standard DCI 2K resolution as 2048 x 1080 pixels. But when buying a PC monitor or choosing a laptop, you'll rarely see this resolution. More often you’ll find 2K displays as having a of 2560 x 1440 resolution. However, that resolution is officially considered Quad HD (QHD). As such, many monitors and laptops claim their resolution as 2K/QHD. 

Common Monitor Resolutions

5K5120 x 2880
4K3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution); 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
Ultra HD (UHD)3840 x 2160
QHD aka WQHD aka 1440p2560 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:

  • Barty1884
    I don't think 2K really has any relevance in monitor marketing - even when it is mentioned, it's mentioned in conjunction with something else.
    There should only really be
    HD/720p / 921,600 pixels
    FHD/1080p / 2,073,600 pixels
    WQHD / 1440p / 3,686,400
    4K / 3840x2160 / 8,294,400 pixels

    .....and wide-screen variants.

    In that format, pixel count ~doubles per 'step' up, and is fairly clear/straightforward.

    2K is marketing blurb for TVs (where pixel count increased <10%), that has been misappropriated into the monitor space, IMO.
    Reply
  • marie811
    2K displays are those whose length falls in the 2,000-pixels range. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI), a group of motion picture studios that creates standards for digital cinema, defines Standard DCI 2K resolution as 2048 x 1080.
    Reply