1080i vs. 1080p: Full Comparison


1080i vs. 1080p: Full Comparison

Key Points

  • The “1080” refers to the resolution of the TV set.
  • 1080i vs. 1080p will show the similarities and differences between the two. (See table below.)
  • 1080i was developed 14 years before 1080p.

Today we’ll be looking into the similarities and differences of 1080i vs. 1080p. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of each and explain what they are, what they do, and what they mean. 1080i and 1080p are high- definition video signals. The “1080” refers to the resolution of the TV set. 1080 lines make up the image displayed. The higher the number of lines, the higher the picture quality. The “i” and the “p” stand for interlaced and progressive scan, respectively.

With 1080i the image is displayed by illuminating alternating even and odd horizontal rows 30 times per second. This method uses less bandwidth but it has trouble with fast movements. There is a blurring effect called “combing” that is visible when the movement on the screen is too fast.

The progressive scan that is used with 1080p takes up more bandwidth, but the picture is produced by illuminating each row progressively and refreshing each row 60 times per second. This eliminates the combing issue and creates a superior image compared to 1080i.

It must also be noted that the difference in the picture quality is indiscernible on a screen smaller than 40 inches. The larger the screen the larger the noticeable difference between interlaced and progressive scan displays. The resolution is still technically the same. The larger screen is what magnifies the differences.

A 1080p scan displays 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 pixels vertically.


1080i vs. 1080p: Side-by-Side Comparison

A side-by-side comparison of 1080i vs 1080p will show the similarities and differences between the two. It’s all the same until you see the refresh rates and the number of pixels. 1080i is processing half of the data as 1080p.

Meaning:1080 interlaced scan display pixels format that forms an interlaced display by 1920 pixels horizontally and 540 pixels screen vertically.1080 progressively scan display pixels format that forms a non-interlaced display by 1920 pixels displays horizontally and 1080 pixels screen vertically.
Screen Ratio:1080i covers the screen aspect around 16:9 i.e, 1920×540 pixels.1920×1080 pixels, i.e, 16:9 screen aspect ratio.
Refresh Rate:30 per second60 per second
Support:1080i is highly used in cable broadcasts, satellites, and HD channels for high-quality video format.Many electronics employ 1080p as a common display resolution on PC monitors, gaming laptops, TVs broadcasting, Blu-ray discs, smartphones, projectors, and cameras.
Year Created:19902004
Known As:Square pixels display formatFull High Definitive pixels display format

1080i vs. 1080p: Seven Must-Know Facts

  • 1080i was developed 14 years before 1080p.
  • 1080i and 1080p stand for the 1080 lines of resolution with either interlaced or progressive scan.
  • 1080i and 1080p have the same resolution.
  • 1080i uses half the bandwidth as 1080p.
  • 1080p has twice the refresh rate as 1080i.
  • 1080i has trouble with blurring around fast video.
  • Most TVs and cable boxes can convert 1080i into 1080p automatically.

1080i and 1080p: The Complete History

1080i was invented by Charles Poynton in 1990, and 1080p was updated in 2004. That time difference is why 1080i is still in use. 1080p is slowly but steadily replacing the old 1080i systems.

An instant universal replacement would be too costly for little gain, so 1080p will slowly become the new standard as time goes on. Converters in televisions and cable boxes can change 1080i to 1080p so there isn’t a rush to eliminate 1080i broadcasts.

The pros and cons of each option are so minimal that any problems or benefits are nominal at best. Since 1080p is better, new media and devices are setting it as the industry standard for 1080 resolution. 4k is even better, but that’s a discussion for another time.


1080i was the industry standard for fourteen years. It was the best resolution available from 1990 to 2004 when 1080p was developed. Although it is a superior broadcast signal there are some reasonable reasons to use 1080i. Certain TV stations have technical restrictions that prevent them from broadcasting in 1080p. 1080p also requires more bandwidth than 1080i.

1080p is great, but its benefits are only apparent in certain situations. The screen must be over 40 inches and the video footage must be quite quick. After that, the only problem was some mild blurring. That used to be a problem, but now most TVs and cable boxes can convert 1080i to 1080p.

We’ll eventually fully convert the 1080i systems to 1080p, but we don’t need to be in that much of a hurry. Any problem that could arise from the differences between the two has already been dealt with through those converters.

1080p is a video image comprised of1080 lines of resolution that are refreshed “progressively.”

©iStock.com/Nijat Nasibli

1080i vs. 1080p: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

1080p is better for gaming and larger screens. If you have the option between the two choices, it would be best to choose 1080p. However, there are a few situations where it just won’t matter which one you choose.

If you’re not using your screen for gaming or watching something fast-paced like sports, then 1080i is fine. If you’re on a screen smaller than 40 inches, then 1080i is fine. If you want the best just for the sake of having the best then definitely choose 1080p, but it’s rarely that important of a decision.

Is 1080p the Highest Resolution Available?

In a word, no.

Resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. As you know, pixels are far too tiny to see with the naked eye, but when a myriad of pixels are put together, they form an image. A 1080p image will contain 1920 pixels horizontally and 1080 vertically (1920 X 1080). If you multiply those two numbers, you’ll find that the image is comprised of over two million pixels.

Now let’s look at 4K, which has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Again, if you multiply those two numbers, you’ll find that there are over eight million pixels, which means that the resolution is significantly higher than 1080p. More pixels equal higher resolution. And higher resolution equals a sharper, crisper picture.

The first 4K displays appeared on the market in 2001. And 8K was introduced in 2015.

Despite these advances, 1080p is still relevant in 2023. We recommend that you do your research and determine which one is best for you based on your needs, resolution, and cost.

1080i vs. 1080p: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better overall, 1080p or 1080i?

There are a lot of similarities and differences between 1080i and 1080p, but 1080p is the superior video signal. They are both considered high definition, and it can be difficult to notice a difference on a monitor smaller than 40 inches. But once the screen is larger than 40 inches the quality differences become exponentially larger and more noticeable.

Which has better picture quality: 1080i or 1080p?

Both 1080i and 1080p are considered HD or High-Definition video signals. On smaller screens, they are basically indistinguishable from one another. As the size of the screen increases the differences become more and more apparent. 1080p can scale up on a larger screen without degradation to the image. 1080i starts to show blurring issues called “combing” if you’re using it to watch something fast like sports, or using it for gaming.

What are the differences between 1080i and 1080p?

Technically there is only one difference between 1080i and 1080p. The scan type is either interlaced or progressive. The effects of this difference are what create the various pros and cons of either 1080i or 1080p. Using the interlaced scan type saves on bandwidth since only half of the image is being displayed at a time at a refresh rate of 30 times per second. It’s a solid method that’s very efficient. The progressive scan type uses more bandwidth, but it displays the entire image, row by row, with a refresh rate of 60 times per second. It’s a richer and more robust signal. They’re basically evenly matched until you put too much stress on the signal. A screen larger than 40 inches of fast-moving video will start to have visible issues. You’ll be able to notice the cracks. Half a signal at a refresh rate of 30 times per second can’t compete with a signal that’s literally twice as strong. This stronger signal can keep the image crisp and smooth on larger screens better than 1080i.

What do the letters "I" and "p" refer to in 1080i and 1080p?

The “i” stands for interlaced, and the “p” stands for progressive scan. Interlaced images are the even and odd lines of resolution displayed and refreshed thirty times per second. A progressive scan displays all of the resolution lines in order and refreshes them sixty times per second. The interlaced images use less bandwidth, but they have trouble with quick motion and screens larger than 40 inches. There can be a blurring effect called “combing”.

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