How 720p and 1080p Are Similar and Different
Although 4K gets all the buzz these days as the ultimate high-resolution video format available, 720p and 1080p are actually both high definition video display formats. In addition, the other characteristic 1080p and 720p share in common are that they are progressive display formats (that is where the “p” comes from). However, this is where the similarity between 720p and 1080p ends.
- 720p is 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.
- 1080p represents 1,920 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 1,080 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1,080 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line of pixels displayed following another. In other words, all lines are displayed progressively, providing a very detailed high definition video image.
The main difference between 720p and 1080p lies in the number of pixels that make up a 720p image and 1080p image. For 720p the number of pixels that make up the image is about 1 million (equivalent to 1 megapixel in a digital still camera) and about 2 million pixels for 1080p.
This means that a 1080p image has the potential to display a lot more detail than a 720p image.
However, how does this all translate to what you actually see on a TV screen? Shouldn’t it be easy to see the difference between a 720p and 1080p TV? Not necessarily.
Besides pixel density of 1080p vs 720p, there are also the factors of screen size and seating distance from the screen to take into consideration.