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Can you tell the difference between 720p, 1080p, and 4K?

A lot of people have been hearing this question and you may be no different. So, what exactly are all of these numbers? No, they’re not galaxy details for Star Trek, but simply the resolution at which you can view images on your big-screen TV.

Comparison between 720p, 1080p, and 4K

So, 720p (aka HD) is a progressive HDTV signal format with 720 horizontal lines and an aspect ratio (AR) of 16:9 (1.78:1). All major HDTV broadcasting standards (such as SMPTE 292M) include a 720p format which has a resolution of 1280×720; however, there are other formats, including HDV Playback and AVCHD for camcorders, which use 720p images with the standard HDTV resolution.

The number 720 stands for the 720 horizontal scan lines of image display resolution (also known as 720 pixels of vertical resolution), while the letter p stands for progressive scan.

1080p, on the other hand, is the maximum video resolution available to consumers for most video displays and disc players. The best way to get 1080p video into your system is to use a Blu-ray player as a source connected via an HDMI cable. Most of today’s better HDTV sets have a native resolution of 1080p, including LCD HDTVs, plasma HDTVs and most front-projection technologies, such as D-ILA, SXRD and DLP.

1080p has an aspect ratio of 16×9, and has 1,920 pixels in width and 1,080 pixels in height. The “p” stands for progressive, which means every 60th of a second all the pixels are displayed. Most cable and satellite boxes only output 1080i (for “interlaced”) but with film-based material there is no resolution difference between 1080i and 1080p. With fast motion video, like sports, native progressive content will generally look a little better.

4K (2160p) however, is the hottest buzz word in the tech world right now, and it’s rewriting the rulebook when it comes to image quality. It affects not just the world of 4K TV and cinema, but also cameras and image capture, smartphones and tablets, computer monitors and PC games – practically anything that displays images or records video. 4K TV sets are now available from most of the major TV manufacturers.

Which is better?

So, which is better? That depends on considerably more than your eyesight. The bigger your TV is (and the closer you sit to it), the more likely you’ll actually be able to tell the difference between standard definition, 720p, 1080p, and even 4K. The chart above, from Carlton Bale, is a good reference for figuring out whether 1080p or 4K really matter in your living room.

For most of us, viewing distance is dependent on our living room, and TV size is dependent on our budget. So, unless you have a really giant TV don’t even worry about these resolutions, especially 4K.

However, if you are thinking of installing a high-quality home theatre system in your home or business, then you may want to think about 1080p or even 4K. So, now you know whether and how you can tell the difference between these resolutions. There is no one rule for everyone, so choose the resolution that works best for you and enjoy high-quality viewing!

For more information on how to set up a high-resolution screen display for your home or business, contact Actis at 022-30808080 or at

(Content courtesy: and images courtesy: and

1 Comment

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