480p vs. 1080i vs. 720p vs. 1080p: These numbers refer to the resolution, or sharpness, of a digital display, while “p” stands for progressive and “i” stands for interlaced. A resolution of 480p, known as EDTV or Enhanced Definition TV, is found most often in low-end plasmas or LCD screens.

A TV with a resolution of 1080p is currently considered the Holy Grail, and costs the most. But 1080p pictures usually can’t be distinguished from less expensive 1080i or 720p pictures by average viewers at the typical distances from which most folks watch TV.

HDTV: High-definition television has now become the standard, capable of displaying vastly better pictures, provided the source is also HD. Today’s more popular flat panel HD televisions are LCDs, or liquid crystal displays, though plasmas still hold their own. Recording HD content can’t be done with a regular digital video recorder; instead, a special HD recorder is required to capture this higher quality content. Link.