What do the 1080p, 2K, 4K and 8K resolutions mean?

What do the 1080p, 2K, 4K and 8K resolutions mean?

Tue, Apr 5, 2022 10:23 PM


The resolution of a television determines how many pixels are displayed on the screen. A greater resolution produces a crisper, sharper image in general, but it does not always increase overall picture quality. Furthermore, having a high-resolution TV is most advantageous when watching high-resolution content, and if you're sitting at a distance, you might not notice the changes between two resolutions.


What is the Resolution?


Simply explained, the resolution refers to the number of pixels in an image. You can see more fine details in your favorite games, movies, and TV shows with higher-resolution displays. While the resolution isn't the sole factor in picture quality, it is significant, and most people can tell the difference between a high-resolution and a low-resolution TV, especially if they're sitting close to it.

The number of horizontal and vertical pixels on a television determines its resolution. The resolution of 1080p and smaller TVs refers to the number of vertical pixels, but 4k and 8k TVs relate to the number of horizontal pixels, which are almost 4,000 and 8,000, respectively.




Most TVs today feature a 4k resolution; 1080p and 720p TVs are hard to come by, and they're usually only available in smaller sizes, such as the TCL 3 Series 2020. On the other end of the resolution scale, 8k TVs, such as the Samsung Q900TS 8k QLED, are pretty frequent since they're steadily becoming more popular, but they're also expensive. Unlike televisions, content is available in a range of resolutions, and while 480p televisions are no longer available, 480p video may readily be found on DVDs and standard definition cable channels. As you can see from the chart above, the information you watch on a regular basis comes in a number of resolutions.


Also Read: Best TV Buying Guide 2021



Unless the video you're watching is 4k, your 4k TV will have to upscale the image. This increases the number of pixels to match the TV's resolution; however, not all TVs achieve this flawlessly, and some lower-resolution video may still look better on a lower-resolution TV. Despite the fact that modern upscaling technology has vastly improved, your TV will only look its best when it is displaying material of the same resolution.


What do the terms Resolution and Aspect Ratio mean for my television?


Resolution Description Width (in pixels)
480i or 480p Standard Definition (SD) 640
720p High Definition (HD) 1280
1080i or 1080p High Definition (HD) 1920
2160p Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4K 3840


TV Resolution


Why Does It Matter?


Because most new TVs have a 4k resolution, you really don't have much of a choice. If you don't plan on watching a lot of high-definition videos or have a small TV, it might be better to stick with your 1080p model.

Whether or not a high-resolution TV is worthwhile depends on its size and viewing distance. A higher-resolution TV is only worthwhile if you sit near to the screen or if you have a huge screen, as seen in the graph to the right. When seated 10 feet away, someone with perfect eyesight can't tell the difference between a 65-inch 1080p and a 4k TV; only at 8 feet and closer can you perceive the finer details on a 4k TV. The same can be said for an 8k vs 4k TV since you will only notice the genuine difference on a 65-inch model if you sit within 4 feet of the screen, which is extremely close.

However, as previously stated, 4k TVs are the most prevalent on the market, so you don't have much of a choice if you need a new one.


How Does It Affect Picture Quality?


Higher-resolution screens let you see finer details in your favorite media, but they can only display the information that is given to them, so they are only as good as the content. Resolution isn't the be-all and end-all of picture quality, and it's typically only a minor role when other factors like contrast, brightness, gray uniformity, and color correctness are taken into account. It also doesn't mean that an 8k TV is superior to a 4k TV; it simply means that you'll be able to see more details.


Also Read: The Advantages and Disadvantages of Purchasing a Smart TV


Despite the fact that 4K TVs have become the norm in recent years, content has taken some time to catch up to this high quality. Netflix was one of the first streaming providers to switch to 4k, but other streaming services have followed up in recent years. Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are in 4k, but you'll need to replace your Blu-ray player, and the PS5 and Xbox Series X is next-gen game consoles with 4k capabilities. Cable TV networks, on the other hand, are still lagging behind. HD channels are either aired in 720p or 1080i and while a few full-time 4k channels are now available, upgrading the infrastructure channels required for the higher bandwidth is costly.




High Dynamic Range, or HDR, is a video format that improves the range of colors and brightness levels. HDR isn't dependent on resolution, but because it became popular around the same time as 4k TVs in the early to mid-2010s, it's generally only available on 4k TVs. You'll see TVs marketed as 4k HDR all the time, but the resolution and HDR support are mutually exclusive






The resolution of a television determines how many pixels are present. A higher resolution is generally better, but it doesn't mean a higher-resolution TV is better than a lower-resolution TV; it simply means you can see more detail. You may not see the difference between a 1080p and 4k TV, or a 4k and 8k TV if you watch TV from a distance, but those distinctions are easier to perceive if you sit up close. If you buy a new TV in 2021, it's likely to be a 4k model, but unless you watch native 4k video from streaming platforms or Ultra HD Blu-ray players, you'll be watching lower-resolution content because the majority of sources are still 1080p or below.



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