Understanding the Number of Picture Lines on Your Digital Video Camera

The number of picture lines on your digital video camera will vary by the type of TV IMAGE created by the camera. More picture lines create a sharper picture, allowing hi-def images to be sharper than STANDARD DEFINITION images. This is obvious given side-by-side comparison, with HD sharper than NTSC or PAL.

High-definition formats are named for the number of picture lines in the image. 1080p, full HD, has 1080 horizontal picture lines. 720p has 720 lines. 480p has 480 lines. The number of lines stays the same despite the size of the television. The lines just become thicker on a 60" TV compared to a 32" TV. Shooting at the highest quality, using the greatest number of lines, ensures a sharp image on a large television.

Standard definition formats, NTSC in America or PAL in other parts of the world, have 625 vertical lines, with 576 of those lines visible. So, 1080p full HD should be twice as sharp as standard definition. However, even though 480p HD seems to have fewer lines than standard definition, a side-by-side comparison will show that the 480p image is clearer due to its digital format.

The bottom line is this. Digital formats are superior to standard definition, and should be used on a digital camcorder.

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