Television lines

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Television lines (TVL) is a specification of an analog camera's or monitors's horizontal resolution power.[1] The TVL is one of the most important resolution measures in a video system. The TVL can be measured with the standard EIA-1956 resolution chart.[2]


TVL is defined as the maximum number of alternating light and dark vertical lines that can be resolved per picture height.[3] A resolution of 400 TVL means that 200 distinct dark vertical lines and 200 distinct white vertical lines can be counted over a horizontal span equal to the height of the picture. For example, on 4 by 3 inches (10.2 cm × 7.6 cm) monitor with 400 TVL, 200 vertical dark lines can be counted over 3 inches (7.6 cm) width on monitor (Note that the 3 inches (7.6 cm) of monitor height is used rather than the 4 inches (10 cm) of whole monitor width).

TVL is an inherent quality of a camera or monitor and should not be confused with the horizontal scanning lines of broadcast television systems, which e.g. for a PAL system are 625 lines, and for the NTSC system 525 lines.[3]


Since analog transmission of video is scan line-based, the same number of horizontal lines is always transmitted. However, several factors impede the ability to display fine detail within a line:

  1. The camera or other source of material.
  2. The storage and processing of the picture.
  3. The transmission of the TV signal e.g. broadcast by radio or by cable.
  4. The reception and reproduction of the picture on a TV set.

See also[edit]

  • Kell factor, which limits the vertical resolution in analog television, and both horizontal and vertical resolution in digital television, to a fraction of the number of scan lines or pixels


  1. ^ Jack, Keith (2005). Video Demystified. ISBN 0-7506-7822-4.
  2. ^ "QA-70-1 Video Resolution Pattern (EIA-1956) Product Specifications" (PDF). Retrieved 24 May 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Overview and resolution". Archived from the original on 2013-07-17.