Video Resolution – An Overview
About.com departs from their usual short posts and gives a nice 4 page over view on display resolution. Topics covered in the article include major broadcast standards, progressive versus interlaced, digital TV standards and even 60fps versus 24fps. They could have fleshed out the 24 to 60fps conversion a bit more and talked about other details a bit more, but it should give the average consumer enough ammo to walk into a B&M and confidently know what he/she needs.
From the article:
So, even though you may be inputting a 1080i image into your HDTV, your TV may not have the ability to reproduce all the dots within those lines. In this case the signal is often reprocessed (upconverted or downconverted) to conform to the number and size of dots (pixels) on the physical screen. At full resolution on a 16×9 screen, a 1080i image is comprised of 1920×1080 pixels (about a two-megapxiel field).
However, if your monitor is not capable of reproducing the total pixel field, then the image is scaled to fit the number of pixels in the display monitor's pixel field. So, an HDTV image of 1920×1080 can be scaled to fit 1366×768, 1280×720, 1024×768, 852×480, or other pixel field. The relative loss of detail actually experienced by the viewer will depend on factors such as screen size and viewing distance from the screen.