720p vs 1080p 2024: When Is It Time To Upgrade Your TV?

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While 1080p sets have become more popular, I still like the picture quality of my 720p set. There. What I said. Given that most televisions only survive between five and 10 years, I’m prepared to guess that I’m not alone in this sentiment.

It’s not that my TV has finally given up the ghost. The answer is yes, and Samsung is as good as new. However, given that it’s only 720p, you can safely assume that it’s hopelessly out of date at this point. Perhaps not, however.

For this reason, I’m interested in learning how much of a difference there really is between 720p and 1080p TVs and when that difference becomes obvious to the human eye.

This being the case, I thought it would be useful to produce an article in which I explain what 720p and 1080p are and how they differ (and 1080i).

When (and why) it is relevant, I will explain more below. Then you’ll know whether your 720p TV has to be replaced or if it has a few more years of life left in it.

I have done the same analysis between 1080p and 4K screens. You may read the aforementioned article by clicking here.

Just go ahead and let us in, won’t you?

When Buying a New TV, How Do We Choose the Resolution?

Images shown on electronic devices, such as TVs and computers, are measured in terms of their “resolution.” The pixel count of a display is a common metric for describing its display resolution.

In order to show color on a TV screen, a number of technologies are used to activate fluid crystals, which operate as pixels. Presuming the same overall screen size, a higher resolution number suggests a more detailed display.

However, rather than addressing all of the pixels, we will just be discussing the number of pixels along a particular axis (either vertically or horizontally).

720p vs 1080p

Consider this example:

A 720p TV has a full resolution of 1280 pixels across and 720 pixels up. The total number of visible pixels is calculated by multiplying the two numbers together.

A 720p picture has 921,600 pixels in total (1280 across by 720 up).

Manufacturers’ marketing departments abbreviated “921K TV” to “720” since it was simpler to say and more properly indicated the number of pixels in the vertical direction.

What Do “p” and I Stand For in Progressive and Interlaced?

If the video is Progressive or Interlaced, a ‘p’ or an ‘I’ will follow the resolution number. Meaning, “how is the image presented on the screen?”

In most cases, the visual quality of a progressive scan (p) picture is superior to that of an interlaced image of the same resolution. Then why would you say that?

The Mechanisms of Interlaced Video I

Interlaced video was the first method used to increase TV screen resolutions. The device functioned by having a single frame draw every other line of an image. In the next frame, it would create the opposite lines.

Taking in the complete movie one frame at a time would be a mistake. Still, if you played them quickly enough, they’d blend into one seamless image. Overall, everything seems to have worked well.

The problem was that the subjects of the two images were different. This would cause strange irregularities to emerge in fast-moving pictures, such as those seen in a sports broadcast.

However, the interlaced video was a great way to improve resolution without dramatically raising the movie’s bandwidth requirements.

Methods of Operation for Progressive Scan (p)

Progressive scan, on the other hand, draws the whole image on each frame, one line at a time. As a result, subjects in motion seem more realistic and undistorted.

The majority of action movies and sports flicks feature a. A cost is associated with this. Progressive scanning requires one log more bandwidth than interlaced scanning.

Because of this, better quality cables became a gradual industry improvement.

How do you define high definition on television?

Now that you know what to expect from a resolution specification, let’s have a look at a straightforward question with a convoluted solution.

When do we need HD?

In the past, 480i (NTSC) and 576i (PAL) were the standard television broadcasting formats in the United States and Canada, respectively (PAL).

As a result, “High Definition” (HD) was first used to refer to “anything above Standard Definition.”

As a consequence of manufacturers’ different understandings of the word “HDTV,” three separate HDTV resolutions emerged.

As a result of its early success, 720p was given the name “High-Definition” (HDTV). In the past, there was just one HD format to choose from, but that changed when 1080p became more affordable.

Shortly after its introduction, the 1080i (interlaced) standard was abandoned as the preferred method of video transmission for consumer televisions.

In spite of the fact that 720p was the first HDTV resolution to be widely adopted, 1080p, or “Full HD” (FHD) as it was originally known, quickly replaced it.

For the last word, keep in mind that 4K and 8K TVs are still HDTVs according to the “official” definition of High-Definition.

Technically speaking, this is accurate, but the name “4K TV” has become popular with customers, therefore the industry has embraced it.

Counting the number of pixels in each format allows for a clear comparison of 720p and 1080p when the marketing jargon is disregarded.

This issue will be addressed in the subsequent section.

To Put It Simply: What Is 1080i?

An early TV format called 1080i seemed to combine the finest features of both HD and standard definition.

Superior to the standard 720p display. It has the same impact on bandwidth use as lower-quality progressive scanning video.

Mismatched images and jagged curves were only a few of the issues that interlaced videos often had.

At first, many thought 1080i was better than 720p. The results of the tests show that the two resolutions are comparable.

Deinterlacing makes 1080p images smoother than 1080i ones. Today, many streaming devices and televisions can automatically transform interlaced transmissions into progressive ones.

A 1080i stream is deinterlaced and down-converted to 720p before being shown on a 720p TV. Everything remains the same, including the resolution, when put into a 1080p television. To put it simply, 1080p is the best quality you can get.

Methods for Counting Pixels

How many pixels a TV has was something I covered in an earlier section.

Yes, they are pixels. High x Wide = Total Pixels. So, it’s hardly rocket science, is it? A higher resolution may be achieved by increasing the number of pixels in a display (up to a point).

Now, let’s look at the differences in pixel density between a 720p and a 1080p set of screens. So, 720p. A 720p television has a 1280-by-720-pixel screen resolution.

It adds up to 921,600 pixels when you do the math. In 720p, 1280 horizontal pixels times 720 vertical pixels equals 921,600 total pixels. It had 3,07,200 more pixels than a 480p screen.

The 1080p resolution allowed for more pixels to be included on a TV screen. Resolution for 1080p displays is 1920 by 1080. As a consequence of this,

In 1080p, 1920 by 1080 equates to 2,073,600 pixels. The quantity of pixels is over six times that of a 480p TV and more than double that of a 720p TV.

Which is Better, 720p or 1080p?

Another easy question with a complex response: which resolution is better, 720p or 1080p? That is totally dependent on how far away you are from the TV.

Case in point: the 43-inch Samsung TV I own. In my upstairs den, the couch is a scant six feet from the screen.

You should place your TV so that it is three times the height of the room’s ceiling from where you’ll be sitting, as recommended by the manufacturer.

The distance to the TV is 5.8 feet. The size makes it seem somewhat removed, but it’s not terrible. Would a 1080p TV even be visible at that distance?

Have a look at this infographic from Rtings.com to see. The length of this chart is devoted to TV screen sizes, while the width is dedicated to distance.

Check the dimensions of your television and climb till you reach that height. My TV is 45 inches, so I’ll go with that.

This diagram illustrates that I can place my television nine feet from my couch and still see a 1080p image (as opposed to a 720p image).

In addition, it suggests that I delay my purchase of a 4K TV since, from a distance of 6 feet, the difference between 1080p and Ultra HD (4K) is imperceptible.


If your current TV is the right size and viewing distance, you may not need to upgrade. Most American TV stations broadcast in either 720p or 1080i.

It’s not worth it to upgrade if you just watch network programming on TV. 1080p resolution is used by the vast majority of streaming services and Blu-ray discs.

4K content is widely available via streaming services and Blu-ray discs. The difference between 4K and 1080p resolution is another point of discussion.

Should I Upgrade Now?

On displays less than 50 inches, the difference between 720p and 1080p is negligible. The lower resolution of 720p is balanced out by the smaller screen size.

The differences become less obvious when seated 2 meters away from a 50-inch TV. Depending on your connection speed, 720p may actually seem “better” than 1080p.

There are less data to compress in 720p than in 1080p because of the lower resolution.

What Do 720p and 1080p TVs Typically Cost?

When comparing prices, 1080p HDTVs are more expensive than their 720p counterparts. Pricing is influenced by factors such as brand, screen technology, features, and capabilities.

A 720p HDTV should be acceptable as a starter set. Choose a screen size under 50 inches and you’ll still receive high definition. You may test out high-definition televisions in order to determine whether an update is necessary.

In most cases, 720p is more than sufficient. Shoppers who are watching their pennies place a premium on quality. You may feel compelled to put money aside because of the current economic downturn.

Each person should put some money away. If you’re looking to upgrade your digital TV, 1080p is your best option. An alternative with a more sizable display.

If you’re looking for a TV to double as a computer screen, look no further. In such a high resolution (19,2010,80), both the icons and the text will be too small to read.

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Conclusion: 720p vs 1080p 2024

It’s not a question of whether you should upgrade your 720p TV to a 1080p TV, but rather when.

The benefits of a new TV set might vary widely depending on the viewer’s viewing location, viewing distance, and media tastes.

It is crucial that you understand your requirements and how to read the many specifications you may encounter.

Though it may not be the best use of your money, I won’t tell you not to get a new TV.


A graduate of the IIMC, Diksha enjoys testing out new tech products and services. Her goal is to help others make more informed purchases of tech products and services. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, and listening to music. An ardent reader loves to be surrounded by technology. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram

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