1080p vs. 4k – Full Comparison

1080p vs. 4k — what's better?

1080p vs. 4k – Full Comparison

Key Points

  • When it comes to the quality of a video, resolution is a significant factor to consider. 1080p has been a highly sought-after resolution for many years. However, as new technology continues to develop, the desire for 1080p has decreased, especially for game designers and camera operators.
  • 1080p is increasingly being replaced by 4k resolution, which provides significantly more detail. This results in sharper, clearer, and more vibrant video content.
  • However, 1080p is still a great option that is reliable and affordable for many people.

Resolution measures the number of pixels in a video, which in turn affects the quality of the video. The higher number of pixels, the sharper, clearer, and more vibrant the video content will be. The resolution also affects the size of the video file, which impacts the bandwidth required to stream or download the video content. If the resolution is too low, video content may appear blurry and pixelated, and may not be as engaging. Both 1080p and 4k are currently used for various reasons. 1080p represents a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, while 4k is four times the resolution, measuring 3840 x 2160 pixels.

1080p vs. 4k: Must Know Facts

  • 1080p has fallen increasingly out of favor with game designers, camera operators, and more. This has occurred as 4K devices have become more commonplace.
  • However, 4K is not the most advanced resolution that is commercially available. That belongs to 8K, which is rapidly being adopted in certain sectors and will likely overtake 4K, just like 4K eventually overtook 1080p. 
  • Both 4K and 1080p have a variety of off-sets and different uses that have been adopted for different devices and in different countries. As such, there are many “standard” versions of each resolution, depending on where you live and what device you are using. 

1080p vs. 4k: The Key Differences Explained

1080p and 4k are both resolutions on a display, such as a computer monitor or TV. But when it comes to 1080p vs. 4k… which is better? 4k is Ultra High Definition, while 1080p is simply High Definition.

This means that 4k has sharper resolution, more diversity of colors, and more pixels (3840×2160 for 4k, 1920×1080 for 1080p). Indeed, these days, most televisions are 4k resolution, and 1080p resolution televisions are getting increasingly harder to find. 

There are also differences in terms of cost. As you would expect, given their sharper resolution and overall nicer display, 4k televisions and monitors tend to cost more than 1080p versions, with similar-sized 4k monitors sometimes costing 2/3 as much as their 1080p counterparts. This cost is often worth it, as there is no question that 4k provides a superior TV and gaming experience. 

1080p vs. 4k — what's better?
Deciding on whether 1080p or 4k often depends on what you need and what you can afford.

1080p vs. 4k: Side-by-Side Comparison

What it isResolution on display devicesResolution on display devices
Primary UseCameras, projectors, television monitors, and phonesCameras, projectors, television monitors, and phones
Name1080P, Full HD, FHD4K Resolution
Initial Release20122013
Technical Committee 
Influential Developers 
Open formatNoNo
Technologies influenced4K, 8K, Blu-Ray discs8K, 1080P

1080p vs. 4k: Summary

1080p was once the most popular type of display resolution available on the commercial market and remains highly prevalent on a slew of devices. Many internet streaming services continue to use 1080p, albeit not nearly as widely as they used to, given the advent and popularity of 4K devices. 1080p is a form of high-definition resolution. It is most commonly found on former physical mediums, such as video games or Blu-ray discs.

4k, however, began to overtake 1080p in terms of popularity and use around 2014-2015, when a major price drop made 4k devices far more affordable. Advances in streaming technology have made 4k resolutions more prevalent and popular, and today, it is much more difficult to find a 1080p device.  

1080p vs. 4k: Which is Better?

There is no question – 4K is better than 1080p. This is for many reasons. It has more pixels and a higher resolution. This enables it to provide a better, more comprehensive view, one that contains more colors and details than would be contained in a 1080p or lower resolution.

4k remasters
4K resolution refers to a horizontal display resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels.

Modern gaming and television cameras are also becoming more sensitive to certain details, like colors. As a result, it is becoming increasingly necessary that electronic devices be 4K or higher in order to provide a fully accurate and enjoyable experience for users.

However, there are some instances in which 1080p may be preferable to 4K, but this depends on a variety of outside factors. For example, because they contain more pixels and details, 4K can be more draining on a phone or television from a data usage perspective. If data usage is a concern, then individuals may want to consider 1080p or lower resolutions in order to compensate for limited data usage and electric resources. 

Next Up…

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 4K?

4K is a type of resolution. The 4K name refers to the number of pixels in the resolution, with 4K devices typically projecting 4,000 pixels. It is one of the most modern resolutions that are currently commercially available and has become the standard for many television, projection, and camera purposes.

4K has been around for decades and commercially available since 2013. After prices began to fall in 2014-2015, the resolution gained increasing popularity. Modern cameras are able to shoot in at least 4K, if not 8K, and it is typically used in projectors in movie theatres, with projectors having adopted 4K resolution since the mid-2010s.

What is 1080p?

1080p is also a type of resolution. The name is a reference to the number of pixels that the resolution has: 1920×1080 pixels. While it is not as modern as its 4K counterpart, many devices continue to use and support 1080p resolution devices, and electronics continue to be used that take advantage of this resolution. It also continues to be available on a variety of devices, including phones, tablets, projectors, and more.

However, given the advances in technology and cost that have come with the popularity of 4K devices, 1080p has fallen out of favor and will likely cease to be used over the next few years.

Is 4K really better than 1080p?

Yes. It has more pixels and a sharper resolution, meaning it is typically better for display and gaming purposes.

Can you tell the difference between 4K and 1080p?

Some people may not be able to, but with modern gaming, the ability of people NOT to tell the difference between the two resolutions continues to shrink. This is for many reasons: Cameras are becoming sharper and sharper, TV sets and projectors are becoming increasingly capable of highlighting the difference between the two resolutions, and people are simply getting used to higher resolution devices. As a general rule, the more modern the television program or gaming software, the more likely it is that a person will be able to tell the difference between a 4K and 1080p device.

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