Resolution independent

A term to describe equipment that can operate at more than one resolution, though not necessarily at the same time. Historically, most dedicated television equipment was designed to operate at a single resolution although some equipment, especially that using the ITU-R BT.601 standard, could switch between the specific formats and aspect ratios of 525/60 and 625/50. More recently, the advent of the multiple formats of HDTV and UHD has encouraged new equipment able to operate with many, or all, of the video standards.

In today’s converged media world the gamut of digital ‘video’ formats now includes motion picture formats up to 4K and mobile TV operating in many formats down to 320×240, or 176×144 on some phones.

By their nature computers can handle files of almost any size so, when used for images, they can be termed ‘resolution independent’. However, as larger images require more processing, more storage and more bandwidth so, for a given platform, the speed of operation will slow as the resolution increases.

Other considerations when changing between video image resolutions may include the need to reformat or partition disks, check for sufficient RAM, allow extra time for RAM/disk caching and to select an appropriate display.

See also: Resolution co-existence