720p vs 1080p HDTV

side by side comparison of 720p to 1080p
side by side comparison of 720p to 1080p

720p vs 1080p

In your opinion, is 1080p worth the extra buck?

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720p vs 1080p

When it comes time to buy an HDTV, whether it may be a LCD or Plasma, a consumer needs to know what technology is right for them, but more importantly they need to know about the differences in High Definition marketing. First, you must know the different marketing terms for the type of resolution of a certain display, since many different technologies can be sold with different types of High Definition resolution.

 A true 1080p HDTV is by no means equal or similar to a 720p HDTV, so be aware as sales persons will often try to confuse the consumer into buying now and omitting the fact that the HDTV they are selling at such a low price is actually inferior by leaps and bounds to its 1080p counterpart.

 For any type of display technology to be considered “High Definition” or be branded HDTV, it must meet the basic resolution requirements. HDTVs can have several resolutions, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. But here I’ll only go over the two most widely available resolutions: 720p and 1080p.

 720p – This type of resolution is the most economic resolution that is high enough to be considered “high definition”. The 720 stands for the 720 vertical scan lines of resolution. In a 720p display there are 720 vertical lines and 1280 horizontal lines. So that’s a resolution of 720 x 1280.

  The ‘p’ stands for “Progressive Scan”, which refers to how the lines of resolution are drawn on the display. On a 720p display all the lines of resolutions are refreshed at the same instant, comparatively traditional displays which have Interlaced scanning, all the odd lines are refreshed then all of the even lines of resolutions are refreshed thereafter; this occurs so rapidly that the viewer sees a complete image at all times.

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Progressive scan vs interlaced
Progressive scan vs interlaced
Progressive scan vs interlaced

 1080p – This type of resolution is considered TRUE FULL HD and currently the highest resolution and by far the best. It 1080 vertical lines of resolution, and 1920 horizontal lines of resolution, and it also has progressive scan. 1080p is the same resolution as Blu-ray movies, and it looks crystal clear. Blu-ray will also play on 720p display but limited to the inferior resolution of 720p.

Keep in mind, 720p is still high definition and looks great compared to standard definition, but if you’re expecting Blu-ray quality, you won’t find it on a 720p HDTV.


Which one should you buy?

Well that depends on what you want to use it for.

1080p is perfect for watching Blu-ray movies and excellent If you plan to connect your television to a computer and double it as a monitor, then you certainly would greatly benefit from the nearly doubled resolution. With computer monitors, resolution is very important since the higher the resolution the more you can see and the more windows you can have open side by side, and it also looks better. I personally have a 47'' 1080p that I double as my computer monitor and my ps3 gaming display; I must say that its awesome to be able to have so much space on my desktop at this incredible 1080 x 1920 resolution.

720p is perfect if you're not planning on using your television with your computer, and you're looking to buy one 42" or smaller. Do not waste your money on a 1080p because in screens smaller than 42" its hard to tell a difference in picture quality when watching movies or playing games. You will benefit from 1080p if you have the following: a HDTV 42" or larger, and blu-ray player or PS3. Even In HD channels its difficult to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p in TVs smaller than 42".

1080p TVs cost an extra few hundred dollars for a TV of the same size that's 720p, and if you want one below 42" then its not worth the extra few hundred. However, even on a 32'', if connected to a computer you will instantly notice that your desktop space got cut in half, when compared to 1080p.

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Comments 3 comments

Dan 7 years ago

It can be argued that the 720p looks better in a certain way... look at details such as the ridges of the apple... the sides of them, they can not be seen in the 1080p image, also the white inside of the leaves is better seen in the 720p image. Notice the middle of the leaf at the top right of the screen... the inside groove is better seen in the 720p image.

Also, there is more light brought on the 720p image from the flash of that camera, as it was pointed at the 720p image, that is what that bright spot is in the middle of the screen (720p).

We also don't know if that is a true comparison, is that a true 720p signal on a 720p monitor, or a 720p signal on a 1080p monitor, or a 1080p signal on a 768p set?

To compare 720p to 1080p both signals must match the native resolution of the set, and we can assume here that this was not the case in the top photo.

samsung plasma tv 7 years ago

Good work thank you for giving out this information, it has been very useful for me and i'm sure others have found it useful too

strictland 4 years ago

What if one plans on buying a tv smaller than 42" and intends to use it a computer monitor, will a 720p suffice?

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