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How-To Geek

Progressive Video

Progressive video, also known as progressive scanning, is a way of displaying video wherein each line of the video display is drawn in sequence. This is a direct contrast to interlaced video wherein the odd and then even lines are refreshed.

Progressive video is more bandwidth-intensive than interlaced video (thus most satellite, cable, and digital broadcasts are sent in 1080i instead of 1080p) but provides a much smoother video. The artifacts commonly present in interlaced video such as combing (where rapid motion onscreen causes the alternating lines of the current refresh to become visible to the viewer like the tines of a comb) are completely eliminated in progressive video.

Modern televisions and computer displays are all capable of progressive video display. For a more in-depth look at the difference between progressive and interlaced video scanning, check out What Is the Difference Between 1080p and 1080i?

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