Difference Between 1080p and 720p

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: May 31, 2023


Difference Between 1080p and 720p

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In the world of high-definition video, two resolutions come up often: 1080p resolution and 720p resolution. While both 1080p and 720p resolutions offer nice, high-quality images, they differ in many aspects, including resolution, frame rates, image quality, etc. It is essential to understand the differences between 1080p and 720p resolutions, especially for people about to buy a new TV, laptop, phone, or monitor. It is also vital for those who create high-quality videos for content on social media or company websites.

"Resolution" is a very commonly used term that describes the level of detail in a picture when it comes to TVs or laptops. Resolution refers to the number of pixels seen on a screen. As a general rule, remember that the higher the number of pixels in a device, the more detailed and clear the image will be. The two most common resolutions that are frequently compared are 1080p and 720p. In this article, we will explore and try to understand the difference between the two resolutions in detail and also discuss a few technical aspects of both and the implications they have on the image quality.

We need to first understand what the two terms mean before we dive into the differences between them. So basically, the number in the resolution indicates the number of vertical lines of pixels on your screen. The letter 'p' in 1080p and 720p stands for "progressive scan." Progressive scan means that all the lines of pixels are scanned in just one single pass. Progressive scan is considered superior to interlaced scanning, where only alternate lines are scanned in each pass, leading to a flickering effect on the screen. Therefore, both 1080p and 720p resolutions are progressive scan resolutions.

However, the difference in the image quality is not only limited to the level of detail. The higher number of pixels in the 1080p resolution could also mean that the image has a higher pixel density. Pixel density refers to the number of pixels per inch of the screen. A thumb rule here is that the higher the pixel density, the sharper and clearer the image will be. The pixel density in the 1080p resolution is much higher than in the 720p resolution. This implies that the image will be sharper and even more detailed, even when viewed from very close proximity.

In addition to the above aspects, another significant aspect to consider when comparing 1080p resolution and 720p resolution is the literal size of your screen. The level of detail and pixel density of the image depend on the number of pixels and the screen size. Thus, the bigger the screen size, the more noticeable the difference in image quality between 1080p resolution and 720p resolution becomes. Here's an example to help you understand better: while watching a 32-inch TV, the difference in image quality between 1080p and 720p resolutions may not be as noticeable as when viewing a 60-inch TV.

Other than the technical differences in resolution, a few other factors could affect the overall image quality of what you see. One of these factors is the quality of the display panel, which could affect the brightness, contrast, color accuracy, etc., of the image. This may have a huge impact on your overall viewing experience.

To help you better understand the differences between 1080p and 720p resolutions, take a look at the following table. It provides a simple and quick way to learn about the difference between the two resolutions.

Let’s talk about some of the differences in depth:

1080p resolution vs 720p resolution

Resolution: The resolution is the most significant difference between 1080p and 720p. 1080p has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, while 720p has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. This implies that 1080p has a much higher number of pixels, resulting in a much more detailed picture. The difference in resolution is particularly noticeable when viewing content on a larger screen, such as a 55+ inch TV.

Aspect Ratio: Both 1080p and 720p resolutions have a 16:9 aspect ratio, meaning they are both widescreen formats. This aspect ratio is best for watching movies, serials, documentaries, and TV shows, as it can fill up the entire screen and eliminates the need for black bars at the top and bottom.

Pixel Density: Pixel density, also known as PPI (pixels per inch), refers to the number of pixels on a screen. A higher pixel density indicates a clearer and sharper image. 1080p resolution has a higher pixel density than 720p resolution. The pixel count of a video determines the amount of detail that can be displayed on a screen. More pixels mean more detailed, sharper, and clearer pictures. This is particularly important when watching videos/movies on a large screen or zooming in on the video. With 1080p resolution, the higher pixel count allows finer details to be displayed, making the images look more lifelike, sharp, and clear.

Video Quality: Video quality is determined by multiple factors, such as resolution, bitrate, frame rate, compression, etc. Both 1080p and 720p resolutions offer very high-quality video, but there are a few differences in how the video would appear on different devices. For example, on a small screen like a mobile phone, tablet, or iPad, the difference between 1080p and 720p resolutions may not be very noticeable. However, on a larger screen like a TV or laptop, the differences are much more apparent.

File Size and Storage Space: The file size of a video is determined by factors such as its resolution, bitrate, and length. Since 1080p has a higher resolution than 720p, it also has a bigger file size. This means that videos recorded in 1080p resolution will take up more storage space than videos recorded in 720p. However, for most people, the difference in file size may not be a significant concern due to the availability of affordable storage options like external hard drives and cloud storage.

Playback Compatibility: Playback compatibility is another vital factor to consider when choosing between 1080p and 720p resolutions. Most devices in the 21st century, such as smartphones, iPads, tablets, and laptops, can easily play videos recorded in either resolution. However, some older devices or devices with low processing power may struggle to play 1080p videos smoothly. On the other hand, generally, 720p videos are more compatible with old devices and devices with low processing power. The reason behind this is that 720p resolution requires less processing power than 1080p resolution, making it easier for these old devices to play the video smoothly.

Difference between the 1080p resolution and 720p resolution in Tabular Form

Sr. No.1080p resolution720p resolution
1In 1080p resolution, the resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels.In 720p resolution, the resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels.
2In 1080p resolution, more pixels are displayed on the screen.In 720p resolution, fewer pixels are displayed on the screen.
31080p resolution provides a sharper and clearer image quality.720p resolution provides less sharp and lesser clear image quality.
4In 1080p resolution, the pixel density is 24, 30, or 60 fps.In 720p resolution, the pixel density is 24 or 30 fps.
51080p resolution offers better color reproduction.720p resolution offers less accurate color reproduction.
61080p resolution requires more processing power.720p resolution requires less processing power.
71080p resolution provides better detail in images.720p resolution provides less detail in images.
81080p resolution offers a larger display size without losing quality.720p resolution displays can't be made larger without losing quality.
91080p resolution offers better text readability.In 720p resolution, text is less clear and can be harder to read.
101080p resolution provides smoother video playback.720p resolution video playback may be choppy or jerky.
111080p resolution supports wider aspect ratios.720p resolution supports narrower aspect ratios.
121080p resolution offers a higher pixel density.720p resolution offers a lower pixel density.
131080p resolution provides better image quality for gaming.720p resolution provides lower image quality for gaming.
141080p resolution is generally more expensive.720p resolution is generally less expensive.
151080p resolution requires higher bandwidth for streaming.720p resolution requires lower bandwidth for streaming.
161080p resolution provides a more immersive viewing experience.720p resolution provides a less immersive viewing experience.

What is 1080p resolution and 720p resolution?

1080p is also known as "Full HD" or "FHD." 1080p is a resolution with exactly 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels. These result in a total of more than 2 million pixels on the screen, 2.07 million pixels to be precise. On the other hand, 720p is also known as "HD Ready" or just HD. It has 1280 horizontal pixels and 720 vertical pixels. These result in a total of almost 1 million pixels on the screen, 0.92 million pixels to be exact. With these numbers, we find it clear that 1080p resolution has almost twice the number of pixels compared to 720p resolution. The difference in these numbers of pixels does have a noteworthy effect on the level of detail in the image.

The higher number of pixels in 1080p resolution implies that the image has a lot of detail and is sharper than the 720p resolution. This can especially be noticed when looking at text, where the alphabets and symbols appear sharp as well as clear in 1080p resolution. Correspondingly, while watching a movie or a TV show, we realize that the details in the videos, for example, facial features, landscapes, objects, etc., appear more vivid, realistic, and lifelike in 1080p resolution. This increase in the level of detail also suggests that the image appears smoother, with a lesser number of things such as jagged edges and aliasing artifacts.


In conclusion, the difference between 1080p and 720p seems quite small, but it could have a significant impact on the quality of the viewing experience for the user. On one hand, 720p resolution may be more suitable for small screens or devices (where storage space is limited), and on the other hand, 1080p resolution offers better detail and clarity, especially if viewed on large screens, at home, or in a theater. In the end, the choice between the two resolutions depends entirely upon the personal preferences of the user and the intended use of the video content by the user.

Additionally, 1080p provides more immersive and lifelike visuals than 720p resolution. The higher resolution allows more details to be visible to the user, for example, the fine lines on a person's face, the textures on clothing, the individual hair on a person's head, etc. In contrast, 720p resolution sometimes appears slightly pixelated or blurry when viewed on a large screen.

Another difference between the two resolutions is the bit rate and file size. Since 1080p has more pixels, it requires more data to display the same image, which results in a higher bit rate and bigger file size. This makes it more difficult to stream or download high-quality content.

Compatibility is another difference between 1080p and 720p resolutions. Most devices in today's world are compatible with 1080p, but old devices may only support 720p. As a result, 1080p content might not play on certain devices and may require additional equipment to view.

Finally, cost is another factor to consider when comparing 1080p and 720p resolutions. Due to the increased pixel count, 1080p content is typically more expensive than 720p. However, the price difference has become less important over the past few years since 1080p has become more widely available and adopted.

Thus, keeping all the factors in mind, 1080p resolution is the preferred choice for people looking for the best picture quality possible.

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"Difference Between 1080p and 720p." Diffzy.com, 2024. Sat. 20 Apr. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-1080p-and-720p-1253>.

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