The display resolution or display modes of a digital television, computer monitor or display device is the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. It can be an ambiguous term especially as the displayed resolution is controlled by different factors in cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, flat-panel displays (including liquid-crystal displays) and projection displays using fixed picture-element (pixel) arrays.
It is usually quoted as width × height, with the units in pixels: for example, 1024 × 768 means the width is 1024 pixels and the height is 768 pixels. This example would normally be spoken as "ten twenty-four by seven sixty-eight" or "ten twenty-four by seven six eight".
One use of the term display resolution applies to fixed-pixel-array displays such as plasma display panels (PDP), liquid-crystal displays (LCD), Digital Light Processing (DLP) projectors, OLED displays, and similar technologies, and is simply the physical number of columns and rows of pixels creating the display (e.g. 1920 × 1080). A consequence of having a fixed-grid display is that, for multi-format video inputs, all displays need a "scaling engine" (a digital video processor that includes a memory array) to match the incoming picture format to the display.
For device displays such as phones, tablets, monitors and televisions, the use of the term display resolution as defined above is a misnomer, though common. The term display resolution is usually used to mean pixel dimensions, the maximum number of pixels in each dimension (e.g. 1920 × 1080), which does not tell anything about the pixel density of the display on which the image is actually formed: resolution properly refers to the pixel density, the number of pixels per unit distance or area, not the total number of pixels. In digital measurement, the display resolution would be given in pixels per inch (PPI). In analog measurement, if the screen is 10 inches high, then the horizontal resolution is measured across a square 10 inches wide. For television standards, this is typically stated as "lines horizontal resolution, per picture height"; for example, analog NTSC TVs can typically display about 340 lines of "per picture height" horizontal resolution from over-the-air sources, which is equivalent to about 440 total lines of actual picture information from left edge to right edge.