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What Determines A TV’s Resolution

Mark in Laurel, Mississippi asked us about his TV and Dish

Mark asked: “I’m on Dish and when I hit the “info” button on my TV it says that every channel is in 1080i, even the SD channels say 1080i. And we had a 4k preview on one channel and it still said 1080i. Are they upscaling the SD to 1080i or is my TV misreading the signal? When I go over the air, the channels are a mix of 1080i, 720p and 480.”


Dish is probably sending out every channel in 1080i resolution, and they’re probably doing so your TV doesn’t misread the signal.

1080i uses about half the bandwidth as 1080p, and about the same as 720p, and broadcasting every channel in the same resolution means that customers don’t have to deal with TVs that don’t know to auto-detect and change the aspect ratio or resolution every time they change the channel.

1080i uses about half the bandwidth as 1080p

The 4K preview channel should really be broadcast in 4K, though. Otherwise, what’s the point?

We suspect you may be seeing 1080i on that one because your TV can’t display 4K content, otherwise it’d be a little like having a color TV preview channel that’s broadcast in black and white.

Remember that cable and satellite companies RE-broadcast their TV content, they don’t broadcast it. So they can easily change elements about the resolution and/or picture format before sending it along.

That would account for the difference you see between over the air and what you receive off the satellite.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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