Everything you ever wanted to know about pixels and resolution

If you care about VR, you should be aware of the building blocks that make it up. Arguably the most basic element in VR is the pixel. But what exactly is it? Read on to find out everything you ever wanted to know about pixels and resolution. 

First, the technical stuff. The pixel is a basic unit of a digital image. It is the smallest controllable element of an image, and is usually the smallest unit of measurement on a display device. A pixel consists of three sub-pixels that are typically arranged in a rectangular grid.      

Each sub-pixel has a different color filter, so that when light shines through the pixel, each sub-pixel absorbs a different color. The three colors are red, green, and blue (RGB), which is why a digital image is sometimes referred to as RGB image. This is the building block of the 5K footage we see nowadays. 

History of the pixel

The first pixels were created in the early 1960s by engineer Russell Kirsch at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST). Kirsch was working on a computer that could recognize handwritten characters, and he needed a way to store the images of those characters in the computer’s memory. 

He realized that he could divide an image into a grid of tiny squares, each square representing one pixel. To make the squares small enough so that there would be enough of them to store a detailed image, Kirsch made each square just four-thousandths of an inch on a side.

The first digital image ever stored was a scanned version of his infant son’s face, which he converted into ones and zeros and fed into the computer. The image had a resolution of 176 by 176 pixels, and it was stored on a magnetic tape.

Growing popularity

The pixel didn’t become widely used until the late 1970s, when personal computers started to become popular. The Apple II, one of the first personal computers, had a resolution of 280 by 192 pixels. The IBM PC, introduced in 1981, had a resolution of 640 by 200 pixels.

The resolution of digital images has continued to increase as technology has improved. The first digital cameras, introduced in the early 1990s, had resolutions of 640 by 480 pixels. Today’s digital cameras have resolutions many many times greater than this, and the resolution of high-end monitors is now similarly bigger.

What is 5K footage? 

5K resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image or display. 5K resolution measures 5120 x 2880 pixels. Resolution explains how many pixels a display, like a PC monitor, VR headset or laptop screen, has in length x width format. 

The more pixels, the higher the resolution and the sharper the image looks, especially in the content offered by VR streaming sites such as SexLikeReal. 5K resolution is not yet very common in laptops, but there are desktop displays that have this resolution. Aside from VR, few games benefit from running at such a high resolution, so unless you are a creative professional who needs a high-resolution display, you can probably be satisfied with a lower-resolution screen.

All thanks to the humble pixel

As the resolution of digital images has increased, so has the quality of the images. The detail and clarity of today’s images is far superior to that of even the best images from just a few years ago.

Pixels are now an important part of our lives, and they are only going to become more so in the future. Thanks to Russell Kirsch, we now have a way to store and display digital images that is far superior to anything that came before.