Skip to main content

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 gaming 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:

Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding is a Senior Editor at Tom's Hardware. She has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, Scharon covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.

  • 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