The resolution is the number of pixels that “MAY” be displayed, not that “ARE” displayed. Therefore, you should think of resolution as a piece of graph paper. All you have to start with is a bunch of empty boxes; which would equate to pixels. This is the true definition of resolution. CIF resolution would be analogous to a piece of graph paper with 352 boxes wide by 240 boxes high (although a pixel is not perfectly square). A 4CIF image would be a piece of graph paper with 704 boxes wide by 480 boxes high.
Since there are no “bits” of information in these boxes yet the resolution just tells you the number of pixels that “MAY” be displayed.