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1080p vs. 720p: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on November 3, 2023
"1080p" represents a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, higher clarity than "720p," which stands for 1280x720 pixels.

Key Differences

1080p resolution means a display has 1920 horizontal pixels and 1080 vertical pixels. 720p, alternatively, is a lower resolution with 1280 horizontal pixels and 720 vertical pixels. Both terms refer to progressive scan, indicated by the 'p', which means that each video frame is drawn sequentially.
In 1080p, there are significantly more pixels compared to 720p, which translates to sharper and more detailed images. While 720p is considered high definition (HD), 1080p is labeled as Full HD (FHD), offering better image clarity and detail because of the higher pixel count.
1080p is often the standard for Blu-ray discs, HD digital television, and many streaming services, providing high-quality viewing experiences. Meanwhile, 720p is often used for broadcast television, some streaming services, and for content on platforms where storage or bandwidth may be an issue.
Monitors and televisions with 1080p displays are typically more expensive than those with 720p because of the enhanced picture quality. However, the difference between 1080p and 720p might not be noticeable on smaller screens, making 720p a cost-effective option for smaller devices.
Gaming consoles and computers that output in 1080p can display more on-screen details, providing a richer gaming and multimedia experience. On the other hand, devices that support 720p require less processing power and can still deliver a satisfying experience, especially on smaller screens or from a distance.

Comparison Chart


1920x1080 pixels
1280x720 pixels


Higher, more detailed
Lower, less detailed

Bandwidth Usage

Requires more bandwidth
Requires less bandwidth

Common Terminology

Full HD
Standard HD

Screen Size Suitability

Better for larger screens
More suitable for smaller screens

1080p and 720p Definitions


1080p requires more bandwidth for streaming;
My internet struggles to stream 1080p videos without buffering.


720p is known as Standard High Definition;
The 720p broadcast was clear enough for the news.


1080p indicates the progressive scanning of images;
The video game graphics look stunning in 1080p.


720p denotes a resolution of 1280x720;
My old laptop's screen only supports up to 720p.


1080p is known as Full High Definition for its high resolution;
The movie on a 1080p screen was crystal clear.


720p is widely accepted and compatible with most screens;
I set the security cameras to 720p for decent clarity and data savings.


1080p denotes a resolution of 1920x1080;
For my big living room TV, I prefer a 1080p display for better detail.


720p streams well with less bandwidth;
I usually watch YouTube tutorials in 720p to save data.


1080p displays finer detail due to more pixels;
The wildlife documentary is best watched in 1080p.


720p shows images using progressive scanning;
Even at 720p, the homemade video looked decent.


Is 1080p significantly better than 720p?

Yes, 1080p offers sharper images and more detail, noticeable on larger screens.

Is 720p considered high definition?

Yes, it's known as standard high definition.

How much bandwidth does 1080p streaming use?

It varies, but it's significantly more than 720p, especially for high-frame-rate content.

Is there a big difference between 1080p and 720p on a small screen?

Less noticeable on smaller screens, differences become apparent as screen size increases.

Can 720p TVs play 1080p content?

Yes, but they'll downscale the content to 720p resolution.

Do I need a special cable for 1080p?

Standard HDMI cables support 1080p transmission without a need for special types.

Is 720p good for gaming?

It's acceptable, but 1080p offers a better experience, especially in games with high detail.

Can I upgrade my 720p TV to 1080p?

No, the display's resolution is fixed and not upgradeable.

Will a 720p TV work with my old DVD player?

Yes, though the player's content may appear lower in quality on a 720p screen.

Are there any downsides to 1080p?

Higher bandwidth and storage requirements are the main downsides.

Is streaming in 720p much faster?

It's faster and more stable on slower internet connections due to lower data demands.

What's the best resolution for an average-sized living room TV, 1080p or 720p?

1080p is generally better for clarity, especially on TVs larger than 40 inches.

What does the 'p' in 1080p stand for?

It stands for "progressive scan."

Are all HD TVs 1080p?

No, HD TVs can be 720p or 1080p.

Is 720p good enough for a computer monitor?

It's sufficient for basic tasks, but 1080p is recommended for detailed work or gaming.

Why do some broadcasters still use 720p?

It requires less bandwidth, reducing the cost for broadcasters and making transmission easier.

Can you record video in 720p on most smartphones?

Yes, most smartphones today offer recording capabilities in 720p and above.

How does progressive scan work in 1080p?

It sequentially draws each frame, improving motion clarity.

Can I watch 1080p content on a 720p laptop?

Yes, but the content will be downscaled to 720p.

Do I need a special player for 1080p DVDs?

Yes, a Blu-ray player is needed for 1080p as standard DVDs don't support this resolution.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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