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Updated 18/11/2012Home » Video Glossary » Pixel

Pixel

The smallest picture element of an image (one sample of each color component). A single dot of the array of dots that makes up a picture. Sometimes abbreviated to pel. The resolution of a digital display is typically specified in terms of pixels (width by height) and color depth (the number of bits required to represent each pixel).

Each pixel is a sample of an original image; more samples typically provide more accurate representations of the original. The intensity of each pixel is variable. In color image systems, a color is typically represented by three or four component intensities such as red, green, and blue, or cyan, magenta, yellow, and black.

Megapixel

A megapixel (MP or Mpx) is one million pixels, and is a term used not only for the number of pixels in an image, but to express the number of image sensor elements of digital cameras or the number of display elements of digital displays. For example, a camera that makes a 2048 × 1536 pixel image typically uses a few extra rows and columns of sensor elements and is commonly said to have 3.2 megapixels or 3.3 megapixels, depending on whether the number reported is the effective or the total pixel count (as opposed to the 2048 × 1536 = 3,145,728 finished image pixels).