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1080i is an abbreviation referring to a combination of frame resolution and scan type, in the domains of high-definition television and high-definition video. The term assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, a spatial resolution of 1920 × 1080 (2.1 megapixels), and a temporal resolution of 50 or 60 interlaced fields per second.
Within the abbreviation the i stands for interlaced scan. A frame of 1080i video consists of two sequential fields of 1920 horizontal and 1080 vertical pixels. The first field consists of all odd-numbered TV lines and the second all even numbered lines. Consequently the horizontal lines of pixels in each field are captured and displayed with a one-line vertical gap between them, so the lines of the next field can be interlaced between them. 1080i differs from 1080p, where the p stands for progressive scan, where all lines in a frame are captured at the same time. In native or pure 1080i, the two fields of a frame correspond to different instants (points in time), so motion portrayal is good (50 or 60 motion phases/second). This is true for interlaced video in general and can be easily observed in still images taken from fast motion scenes, as shown in the figure on the right (without approriate deinterlacing). However when 1080p material is captured at 25 or 30 frames/second it is converted to 1080i at 50 or 60 fields/second, respectively, for processing or broadcasting. In this situation both fields in a frame do correspond to the same instant. The field-to-instant relation is somewhat more complex for the case of 1080p at 24 frames/second converted to 1080i at 60 fields/second, as explained in the Telecine article.
The field rate of 1080i is typically 60 Hz (i.e. 60 fields per second) for countries that use or used System M as analog broadcast television system (such as United States, Canada, Japan, and most of Latin America), or 50 Hz for regions that traditionally used television systems with 50 fields/sec rate (such as in Europe, Australia, much of Asia, Africa, and part of Latin America). Both field rates can be carried by major digital television broadcast formats such as ATSC, DVB, and ISDB-T International.
The frame rate can be implied by the context, while the field rate is generally specified after the letter i, such as "1080i60". In this case 1080i60 refers to 60 fields per second. The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) prefers to use the resolution and frame rate (not field rate) separated by a slash, as in 1080i/30 and 1080i/25, likewise 480i/30 and 576i/25. Resolutions of 1080i60 or 1080i50 often refers to 1080i/30 or 1080i/25 in EBU notation.
1080i is directly compatible with some CRT HDTVs on which it can be displayed natively in interlaced form, but for display on progressive-scan e.g. most new LCD and plasma TVs it must be deinterlaced. Depending on the television's video processing capabilities, the resulting video quality may vary, but may not necessarily suffer. For example, film material at 25fps may be deinterlaced from 1080i50 to restore a full 1080p resolution at the original frame rate without any loss. Preferably video material with 50 or 60 motion phases/second is to be converted to 50p or 60p before display.
Worldwide, most HD channels on satellite and cable broadcast in 1080i. In the United States, 1080i is the preferred format for most broadcasters, with Discovery Communications, Viacom, Time Warner, Comcast owned networks broadcasting in the format; along with most smaller broadcasters. Only News Corporation and Disney owned channels use 720p as the preferred format for their networks. Many ABC affiliates owned by Hearst Television and Belo Corporation, along with some individual affiliates of those three networks, air their signals in 1080i and upscale network programming for master control and transmission purposes, as most syndicated programming and advertising is produced and distributed in 1080i and must be additionally downscaled to 720p. This also allows local newscasts on these ABC affiliates to be produced in the higher resolution to better compete with local newscasts from the 1080i networks.
Some cameras and broadcast systems that use 1080 vertical lines per frame do not actually use the full 1920 pixels of a nominal 1080i picture for image capture and encoding. Common subsampling ratios include 3/4 (resulting in 1440×1080i frame resolution) and 1/2 (resulting in 960×1080i frame resolution). Where used, the lower horizontal resolution is scaled to capture and/or display a full-sized picture. Using half horizontal resolution and only one field of each frame (possibly with added anti-alias filtering or progressive capture) results in the format known as qHD, which has frame resolution 960×540 and 30 or 25 frames per second.
- 4320p, 2160p, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480p, 480i, 240p
- Interlaced video
- Field (video)
- Sony HDVS Wideband analog video
- Poynton, Charles. "Charles Poynton – square pixels and 1080". Retrieved 2013-02-21.
- "High Definition (HD) Image Formats for Television Production", EBU-TECH 3299, EBU.UER, Geneva, January 2010, page 7
- High Definition (HD) Image Formats for Television Production (EBU technical publication)
- 720p vs. 1080p HDTV: The final word - CNET Review - December 5, 2007
- 3D HDTV