Some years ago, 720P was the best resolution quality we could get, and that’s what is used in recording DVDs. We all loved the quality, not until technology advanced and 1080p HD came into existence. Again, we all moved to 1080P resolution, which was codenamed Full High Definition (FHD). Blu-rays became more popular at this time because they were mostly 1080P. Now, we’re in the era of 4K UHD – this is so far the best resolution quality you can get. However, many people are yet confused between 4K UHD and 1080P FHD; hence, the comparison 4K vs 1080P is explained in a detailed way in this article.
4K televisions are increasingly becoming more popular by the day; also, the demand keeps increasing too. Today, you’d not only find 4K televisions, but there are 4K monitors and 4K media players. The 4K technology keeps advancing further – and that’s the more reason you need to know about it, as well as learn the differences between 4K and 1080P.
Everyone is familiar with 1080p already. More so, most high-end smartphones and DSLR cameras support 1080P recording; this produces vividly clear footage and videos. Furthermore, most home movies purchased from offline stores and even online are recorded in 1080P. To crown it all, most televisions between 35-inches to 50-inches support 1080P resolution.
Can you really see the difference between 4k vs 1080p? Here is one video we found on YouTube, try to figure that out? View it.
1080P is simply a resolution quality, which literally implies 1920 × 1080 pixels. This interprets as 1,920 pixels displayed horizontally across a screen and 1,080 pixels displayed vertically on the same screen. The letter “P” after the numbers represent Progressive Scan (non-interlaced). The 1080P resolution is codenamed Full HD (FHD) because it displays better than 720P HD.
Coming to 4K, this is a higher resolution quality. Basically, it is expected to be better than 1080p, and yes, it is better than 1080P. 4K represents 3840 × 2160 pixels, which implies 3840 pixels horizontally displayed on a screen and 2160 pixels vertically displayed on the same screen. 4K is also represented as UHD – Ultra High Definition.
Someone may ask, the horizontal pixels isn’t up to 4000 (4K), why then is the resolution named 4K? Well, 4K is the approximated value of 3840 pixels. However, digital television and digital cinematography use different 4K resolutions. While consumers may get 3840 × 2160 pixels on televisions, the movie projection industry displays 4096 × 2160 pixels.
Resolutions are named after the horizontal pixels; hence, 1280 x 720 pixels is called 720P, 1920 × 1080 pixels is called 1080P, and 3840 × 2160 pixels (approx. 4000) is called 4K.
Basically, a 4K TV would be much bigger than a 1080P TV in size. This is because you need a bigger screen to enjoy the widespread vivid pixels produced/delivered by the 4K technology. More so, 4K produces up to 8 million pixels while 1080p delivers just 2 million pixels.
Having understood the meaning of 4K and how it was derived; let’s discuss the difference between 4K and 1080P (4K vs 1080P). Apparently, with all that is said so far, you definitely would prefer 4K over 1080P, right? Well, you’re not making a mistake, but then, read the comparison below.
When you consider picture quality and other factors, 4K resolution, 3840 x 2160 pixels, pulls ahead of 1080P resolution. However, when you watch 4K videos on HDTVs that support 1080 resolution, the video would be automatically scaled down from 4K UHD to 1080P FHD, so here are the major difference about 4K vs 1080P:
4K is quite flexible in the sense that it is possible to watch a 4K video on a 1080P screen, TV, or monitor. In contrast, when you attempt to playback a 1080p video on a 4K screen, you won’t get a clear picture and you won’t enjoy the video. So, basically, while you watch 4K videos on a 1080P monitor and enjoy all the benefits of streaming 4K, you cannot watch 1080P on a 4K monitor and enjoy the benefits.
2. Stunning Details
Apparently, 4K resolution produces more details and vivid colors than 1080p. Comparing 1080p vs 4k in terms of details and picture quality is a no-brainer. With 4K televisions supporting UHD and HDR hi-tech features, you are most likely to get 4x better quality with 4K resolution, than 1080p.
Also, when you play 4K on a 1080p monitor or display, the downscaled quality still looks pretty clearer and more detailed than regular 1080p images.
3. 4K is the Future
Top media companies, cinemas, and various people in the media industry are moving to 4K. It is the futuristic resolution for upcoming movies, shows, and games. 4K vs 1080p is likely a comparison that isn’t dying off soon, but 4K is inarguably the better choice. Most streaming networks now offer 4K content, and there are software players that support 4K playback.
You’d often see 4K HDR and 4K UHD – this may make you wonder, what is UHD and HDR? They are actually two different techs – explained below.
UHD stands for Ultra High Definition, which literally is the codename for 4K resolution. In contrast, HDR stands for Higher Dynamic Range, which refers to how a user views the picture that appeared on the screen.
That said, comparing UHD vs HDR is more like comparing 4K with HDR. The former is all about resolution quality, while the latter deals with picture quality – serving the end-user a clearer, bigger picture.
1080p vs 4k or 4K vs 1080p, anyhow the comparison is done, the simple summary remains that 4K is better than 1080P and it actually provides more flexibility. Also, 4K resolution is seriously advancing and becoming generally accepted – most new movies and digital content are now recorded in 4K quality. There are now 4K cameras for recording UHD videos.
However, if you’ve got a 1080P TV or monitor, you could still use it to watch a 3840 x 2160 resolution content (but this depends on many factors, not all 1080p screens can show 4K resolution in good quality). Regardless, you can always use a 4K software media player like the DVDFab Player to watch 4K movies on any PC or MacBook.
Also, there are other great software to upscale 1080p to 4k such like Gigapixel AI, here is one tutorial about how to upscale video with Gigapixel AI and best alternative to Gigapixel AI.
That's really sharp contrast, right?
So how did these software achieve it? Through a technology called super resolution, learn more about it:
Also we selected top 6 tools for you to understand how could you ultilize AI to enhance your own images and videos, learn more: