When you are searching for a TV, the first thing you notice is its resolution. It is usually possible to find the resolution of a model on the box and in the name. The introduction of 4K TVs swept away the older 1080p sets at the start of this decade.

Considering how difficult it is to find 4K televisions today, and how difficult it is to find 1080p televisions, what is the difference between the two?

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Throughout this article, we have attempted to explain what 4K and 1080p TVs have in common.

1080p and 4k: What Is the Difference?

4K is distinguished from 1080p by its resolution. In contrast with 1080p TVs, 4K TVs have a resolution of 3840 x 2160. In addition, 1080p and 4K refer to different resolutions, while 1080p is the horizontal resolution while 4K is the horizontal resolution of 3840. The 4K display has four times more vertical pixels than a 1080p display, however, it appears that it has twice as many pixels vertically. There are four times more pixels on a 4K TV than a 1080p one; however, it lacks four times the resolution.

However, 1080p TVs do not always offer better picture quality than 4K TVs, regardless of the different marketing names; many factors decide the picture quality. More content can be displayed at higher resolutions, but they aren’t necessarily of better quality.

Completeness and Availability

The growing popularity of 4K TVs has also contributed to the availability of native 4K content on streaming apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video. The HD resolution used to be limited to 1080p on Blu-ray players and gaming consoles.

  • HD resolution is now supported at a 4K resolution. Discs with a 1080p resolution are available for Blu-ray discs.
  • A Blu-ray player must be upgraded in order to use 4K Ultra HD discs, which are a requirement as well as a cost.
  • First-ever 1080p support comes with PS5 and Xbox Series X. Playing in 4K on the Sony PS4 Pro or Xbox One X is supported on both of these devices. It is not available on their predecessors.
  • A small, cheaper TV with 1080p will be available in 2020, as well as a screen with a smaller hole. As 4K TVs tend to be larger, you may have to settle for a 1080p TV if your space is constrained.

Native 4k vs Native 1080p

In the above two photos, you can see identical images at different native resolutions; that means the TV and image have identical resolutions.

  • First, the Hisense H9G displays a 4K image, while the TCL 3 Series 2019 displays a 1080p image.
  • The detail of a 4K image is greater than that of a 1080p image. 4K TV’s offer better visibility to text and edges around objects than 1080p. Having a 4K screen increases the picture’s clarity and naturalness.
  • The differences between 4K and HD are hard to distinguish when viewed at close range.
  • The difference between 720p and 4K is milder than that between HD and 4K.

An upscaled 1080p compared to a native 1080p

There is a possibility that you will see content that is not original 4K as native 4K content becomes more popular, especially with streaming apps. Generally, 4K TVs are required to up sample materials from other resolutions.

Low-resolution images can appear on screens with many more pixels by increasing their pixel count. Due to the fact that both signals contain the same amount of information, the image does not become more detailed. There is an obvious difference between the Hisense 4K and TCL 1080p when comparing 1080p and 4K.

Several similarities can be drawn between them. That will be a totally subjective choice whether you prefer enhanced or original 1080p. There are some 4K TVs that cannot be upscaled to 1080p. In spite of the fact that most TVs are unaffected by this problem, you should make sure your purchase won’t interfere with watching 1080p video.


High Dynamic Range, or HDR, began gaining popularity at the same time as 4K TVs. It is important to note, however, that this term is actually about color and luminance, not resolution. This facilitates the creation of more vivid and realistic images.

Therefore, colors are richer and brighter. The quality of 4K HDR TVs is not guaranteed, despite the fact that they are available. Even if a company claims to support HDR formats, that doesn’t guarantee high-quality images. 4K resolution HDR TVs provide the best images. Since TVs with 1080p resolution rarely feature HDR, 4K TVs with HDR support are the best.

Distance at which you can see

When you get too far away from your TV, your eye won’t be able to see all of the details in the image.

Depending on how far you sit from the TV, it may appear as if it’s on an old TV with low resolution when watching a 4k TV.

The dividing line for 20/20 is shown here.

The chart can be used to calculate the viewing distance vertically and the viewing area horizontally.

In most cases, the resultant position above the line won’t make any difference between a 1080p and 4K TV. It is easier to notice a difference if you are sitting next to a large screen television.

Distance will not be able to make out the difference since the difference is too small. 

720p vs 1080i: What’s the difference?

720p and 1080i are the U.S. standard TV resolutions. The 720 and 1080 pixels are the vertical resolution of the screen, just like 1080p. This is either an interlaced scan or a progressive scan. Modern TV sets use progressive scan, as well as 1080i signals.

There are odd and even lines in an interlaced video signal. A signal with alternate frames is one where even and odd signals appear side by side. This means that every frame has the remainder of the image. The broadcast costs of progressive scans are higher, since the entire image appears on every frame.

The pixel coverage of 1080i is twice that of 720p, even though 1080i uses twice as much bandwidth. Although photos appear to be crisper with 1080i, they’re not. As shown in the above example, 720p is remarkably clear when viewed with motion. During sports broadcasts, the content moves too quickly for 1080i.

4k vs 8k

In addition to the Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED, there are other 8k TVs available on the market. As compared to 4k displays, 8k displays contain more than 33 million pixels. If you stand close enough to the display, you may not notice it. A large amount of bandwidth is also necessary to stream 8K content. In addition to HDMI 2.1, Blu-ray discs cannot be played back. Only uncompressed 8K video can be played back 30 frames per second.

Content options for 8k TVs will be limited, and prices will be extremely high in 2023. It is now more profitable to purchase a 4K TV instead. Despite rapid technological advancements, 8k TVs will likely continue to gain popularity in the near future. 4K was considered impossible to watch when it was first released.

FAQs: 1080p vs. 4K Resolution

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

Yes, there is a noticeable difference between 1080p and 4K movies, especially on larger screens. 4K offers four times the resolution of 1080p, resulting in clearer, crisper, and more detailed visuals. However, the degree to which you notice this difference can depend on factors such as screen size, viewing distance, and the quality of the original content.

At what distance does 4K make a difference?

The optimal viewing distance to appreciate the clarity of 4K resolution depends on the size of the screen. For a typical 55-inch 4K TV, the ideal viewing distance is around 4.5 to 6.5 feet. If you sit too far away, the difference between 1080p and 4K can become less discernible. For larger screens, you can sit proportionally farther away while still appreciating the enhanced resolution of 4K.


In terms of TVs, 4K units are likely to be most appealing. Picture quality can be determined by many factors other than resolution, since any TV can claim 4K status nowadays. Only if you are seated very close to the TV will you notice the difference between 4K and 1080p.

These days there are so many 4k panels available that it isn’t necessary to choose between 4k and 1080p.