Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between 1080p and 720p

1080p vs 720p

If you are buying HDTVs or HD displays, you have probably encountered the terms 1080p and 720p. These are actually shorthand monikers for the resolution of screen itself. The main difference between 1080p and 720p is the number of pixels that they have. 1080p has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels while 720p has a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels; resulting in respective pixel counts of over 2 million and slightly over 920 thousand. Resolution is important in relation to the size of your display and how close you would be to it. Of course, a higher resolution is better for bigger displays as well as when you need to have the display close.

The reason behind this is in how the eye works. If the individual pixels are too small for the eye to discern, your brain would blend them together into a single picture. But if the pixels are too big, then the image would look pixelated instead of smooth. Because of this, 1080p is always preferred if you are going to buy a large display or if the room you are going to put it in is small.

A thing you need to take note though is that the display would not be able to perform to its true potential if you do not have the appropriate content to play on it. This is especially true if you have an HDTV but still rely on SD cable. Since the resolution of the input is lower than both 1080p and 720p, it would look the same on both displays. It also applies if you have a 720p video playing on both screens.

Another difference between 1080p and 720p is how much taxing it is on the hardware. Since the processor needs to crunch more than twice the number of pixels, it needs to be more powerful to cope with the load. The capability of the processor is the reason why some devices can only playback 720p video while others are able to playback 1080p. That’s why you should make sure that each device along the way is capable of performing at the resolution you want. If you want to have 1080p, the display should be 1080p, the media player should be able to play at 1080p, and the content should be 1080p.


  1. 1080p has way more pixels than 720p
  2. 1080p is better suited for larger displays than 720p
  3. 1080p is more demanding on the hardware than 720p

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