Browse Definitions:
Definition

pixel

The pixel (a word invented from "picture element") is the basic unit of programmable color on a computer display or in a computer image. Think of it as a logical - rather than a physical - unit. The physical size of a pixel depends on how you've set the resolution for the display screen. If you've set the display to its maximum resolution, the physical size of a pixel will equal the physical size of the dot pitch (let's just call it the dot size) of the display. If, however, you've set the resolution to something less than the maximum resolution, a pixel will be larger than the physical size of the screen's dot (that is, a pixel will use more than one dot).

The specific color that a pixel describes is some blend of three components of the color spectrum - RGB. Up to three bytes of data are allocated for specifying a pixel's color, one byte for each major color component. A true color or 24-bit color system uses all three bytes. However, many color display systems use only one byte (limiting the display to 256 different colors).

A bitmap is a file that indicates a color for each pixel along the horizontal axis or row (called the x coordinate) and a color for each pixel along the vertical axis (called the y coordinate). A Graphics Interchange Format file, for example, contains a bitmap of an image (along with other data).

Screen image sharpness is sometimes expressed as dpi (dots per inch). (In this usage, the term dot means pixel, not dot as in dot pitch.) Dots per inch is determined by both the physical screen size and the resolution setting. A given image will have lower resolution - fewer dots per inch - on a larger screen as the same data is spread out over a larger physical area. On the same size screen, the image will have lower resolution if the resolution setting is made lower - resetting from 800 by 600 pixels per horizontal and vertical line to 640 by 480 means fewer dots per inch on the screen and an image that is less sharp. (On the other hand, individual image elements such as text will be larger in size.)

Pixel replaced an earlier contraction of picture element, pel.

This was last updated in July 2015

Continue Reading About pixel

Join the conversation

5 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

'color' is spelled wrong its COLOUR!!!!!!!!!
Cancel
not interesting
Cancel
That's because color is the American word. this site is American. Crickey mate, its a koala.
Cancel
Crickey mate, how's it going In Australia. you beauty.
Cancel
Yep, good here. Kangaroos are doing well here, they love it. amazing sunshine here in the beautiful outback. better go, just seen a CROC. crickey mate!
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • cyborg anthropologist

    A cyborg anthropologist is an individual who studies the interaction between humans and technology, observing how technology can ...

  • RegTech

    RegTech, or regulatory technology, is a term used to describe technology that is used to help streamline the process of ...

  • conduct risk

    Conduct risk is the prospect of financial loss to an organization that is caused by the actions of an organization's ...

SearchSecurity

  • application whitelisting

    Application whitelisting is the practice of identifying applications that have been deemed safe for execution and restricting all...

  • security

    Security, in information technology (IT), is the defense of digital information and IT assets against internal and external, ...

  • insider threat

    An insider threat is a malicious hacker (also called a cracker or a black hat) who is an employee or officer of a business, ...

SearchHealthIT

  • HIPAA Privacy Rule

    The Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information, commonly known as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, establishes ...

  • HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA)

    Under the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, a HIPAA business associate agreement (BAA) is a ...

  • telemedicine

    Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • data recovery

    Data recovery restores data that has been lost, accidentally deleted, corrupted or made inaccessible. Learn how data recovery ...

  • disaster recovery plan (DRP)

    A company's disaster recovery policy is enhanced with a documented DR plan that formulates strategies, and outlines preparation ...

  • fault-tolerant

    Systems with integrated fault tolerance are designed to withstand multiple hardware failures to ensure continuous availability.

SearchStorage

  • data deduplication

    Deduplication retains one unique data instance to reduce storage and bandwidth consumed by remote backups, replication and ...

  • byte

    In most computer systems, a byte is a unit of data that is eight binary digits long. Bytes are often used to represent a ...

  • Secure Digital card (SD card)

    SD cards use flash memory to provide nonvolatile storage. They are more rugged than traditional storage media and are used in ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • flash file system

    Flash file systems are designed specifically for memory devices. A well-designed flash device and flash file system ensure ...

  • IOPS (input/output operations per second)

    IOPS measures the maximum number of reads and writes to non-contiguous storage. It is not an actual benchmark since vendor ...

  • eMMC (embedded MultiMediaCard)

    An embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC) is a small storage device made up of NAND flash memory and a simple storage controller.

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close