720p vs 1080p what are the differences?

What you need to know about 720p and 1080p. 720p and 1080p are both high definition video resolution formats, but this is where the similarity ends. There are differences between the two that can affect the TV you buy and your TV viewing experience.

This information applies to any modern television display; including but not limited to those manufactured by LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Vizio.

Screen Resolution: 1080p offers more lines


  • 720p is 1.280 pixels displayed horizontally on the screen and 720 pixels vertically on the screen. This produces 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed in succession.


  • 1080p is 1.920 pixels displayed horizontally on the screen and 1.080 pixels vertically on the screen. This results in 1.080 horizontal pixels on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively or each row of pixels displayed in succession. In other words, just like with 720p, all rows (lines) of pixels are displayed progressively.

The number of pixels that make up a 720p image is around 1 million (equivalent to 1 megapixel in a digital camera), while there are 2 million pixels in a 1080p image. This means that a 1080p image can display much more detail than a 720p image.

However, how does all of this translate into what you see on a TV screen? Shouldn't it be easy to see the difference between a 720p and 1080p TV? Not necessarily.

Pixel density at 720p and 1080p, screen size and sitting distance from the screen need to be taken into account.

If you have a 720p or 1080p TV / video projector, the number of pixels displayed for each is the same regardless of the screen size - the changes are the number of pixels per inch.

This means that as the screen gets bigger, the pixels get bigger so that the sitting distance affects how you perceive the details displayed on the screen.

Common programming: 720p dominates the broadcast


  • Municipality for television broadcasting - cable and satellite.
  • Most 720p TVs can automatically resize content.


  • Blu-ray Discs use a resolution of 1080p (or 1080i).
  • Modern smartphones can record 1080p videos.

TV broadcasters and cable / satellite providers send programming in different resolutions. Many use 720p, while most providers and most premium services, such as HBO, use 1080i. Additionally, there are some cable and satellite feeds that are sent at 1080p, and DirecTV offers 4K programming. Internet streaming providers send out a variety of resolutions, including 720p, 1080p, and 4K.

For cable and satellite, a 720p TV will scale the 1080i and 1080p input signals to their native pixel resolution (720p TVs are not compatible with 4K signals). If you access content via a media streamer, you can set the output to match the resolution of the TV. If you have a smart TV, it will scale the incoming streaming signal to fit the display resolution.

Contrary to what many people think, it is possible to use the Blu-ray Disc player with a 720p TV. All Blu-ray Disc players can be set for 480p / 720p / 1080i / or 1080p output via HDMI output connection.

Also, when connected to a TV or projector via HDMI, most Blu-ray Disc players automatically detect the native resolution of the TV / projector and set the output resolution accordingly. Blu-ray Disc players also offer the option to manually set the output resolution.

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The final verdict: let your eyes be your guide


  • Cheaper hardware and smaller screen size.
  • Most 720p TVs can scale content to 1080p but are not compatible with 4K input signals.
  • Ideal for people who only mostly watch TV shows.


  • Better image quality.
  • Overkill for TV broadcast only.
  • Great for Blu-ray disc libraries.

720p TVs are available, but the selection is dwindling and limited for smaller screens. It is rare to see a 720p TV larger than 32 inches. This is due to the increased availability and lower prices of 4K TVs, which resulted in a decreasing number of both 1080p and 720p sets.

Furthermore, the Most TVs labeled 720p TVs actually have a native pixel resolution of 1366x768, which is technically 768p.

However, they are usually advertised as 720p TVs. Don't be put off, these sets will accept all incoming 720p, 1080i and 1080p resolution signals. The TV will process and scale any incoming resolution up to 1080p to the native display resolution of 1366 × 768 pixels.

720p and 1080p TVs are both classified as HD TVs, but 1080p TVs are often labeled as FHD (Full HD) TVs.

This is intended to help consumers by pointing out that TVs with 1080p native resolution displays take full advantage of HD video resolution standards and will not be a downsized result from 1080i and 1080p content sources like they would on a 720p TV.

The way you perceive the difference between 720p, 1080p or any other resolution is in the real viewing experience with your TV.

You may find that a specific 720p TV looks better than a specific 1080p TV as resolution is only one factor. Motion response, color processing, contrast, brightness, and upscaling or downscaling of the video also contribute to image quality.

The quality of the source signal also plays an important role. A TV's video processor can only compensate for poor quality signals from the source, especially VHS or analog cable, and, for Internet streaming sources, the quality depends not only on the source but on the Internet streaming speed. .

FHD vs UHD: what are the differences?

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