Media Info: What is 1080p24?

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If you’ve done any research into TVs, Blu-ray players, or Blu-ray in general, you’ve likely seen the alphanumeric 1080p24 (or 1080p/24).

Understanding what it is, and keeping a lookout for products that can take advantage of it, can result in smoother, more natural-looking movie and TV show playback. I’m not talking about the artificially hypersmooth look of the Soap Opera Effect, but instead the correct cadence of motion at which the film or TV show was shot.

All the judder reducing — and causing — awesomeness after the jump.

The short version is this: 1080p24 is a resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, at a frame rate of 24 images per second. As you can probably guess (presuming you’ve seen it elsewhere), 1080p60 is the same resolution, but more frames per second.

Check out What is Refresh Rate and 1080i and 1080p are the same resolution for more detail on frame rates.

The “24” is an important number. It stems from the traditional framerate of movies. Nearly every movie made in the modern era has been 24 frames per second (“The Hobbit” being a notable exception). Most scripted (i.e. fictional) TV shows are also shot at 24 frames per second. This used to be because they were shot on film, though now it’s more common they’re shot on video that’s made to look like film, and thus preserve the “film” framerate.

Not surprisingly, Blu-ray is typically 1080p24, since nearly all the movie and TV show content is the same framerate. In fact, Blu-ray isn’t even capable of 1080p60, which is the most your TV can likely accept. (There are a few exceptions here, too.)

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