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720p vs. 1080p: Which TV Screen Resolution is Best for You?

The screen resolution of a TV means the number of pixels present in each dimensional space which the screen displays. As the screen resolution rises, the picture quality of an HDTV also increases. The picture becomes finer and more detailed. However, resolution is just one aspect of image quality.

How Large Should Be The Screen?

Usually, when screen size is mentioned, the obvious recommendation is bigger is better. Over the years, people have enjoyed the pleasures of a large screen TV and entertainment value it brought. As the screen size increases, the viewing increases likewise. Large screen TVs adds life to movies and sports. But one should get a screen size that fits both space and budget.

Viewing Distance Matters

While determining the perfect TV, the space and budget are the deciding factors. Furthermore, the viewing distance from the TV needs to be taken in consideration as well. In case of an large-sized HDTV, the viewing distance needs to be taken in consideration. In case of smaller screens, distance doesn’t matter much.

LCD and plasma TV are well reputed for their detailed, colorful and crisp picture quality, whilst displaying no scan lines. In case of plasma and LCD TV, viewing distance should be 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 from the screen. In case of a 55” LCD TV, distance is increased considerably in order to sink in the entire viewing experience.

In general, we recommend getting at least a 46" screen for your main TV, while a 32" screen is usually a good minimum size for a bedroom TV. Sitting nearer to the TV ensures an optimum viewing experience and you can appreciate the details even more.

Angular Resolution

If an individual sits too close to a television, the pixels of a television are clearly visible. It holds true even in the case of 1080 movie. As the distance from the TV increases, a better image will be produced since density of the details increases correspondingly. Therefore, number of pixels/angle defines angular resolution. The angular resolution becomes higher as the distance increases from the television.

The extent to which angular resolution can be increased depends on the visual acuity of an individual. The human eye becomes weak after a certain distance. As per research, a normal vision individual may notice 1/60 degree of something different. 

With the help of this information, the optimum range for sitting near a television and maintaining the angular resolution is 1.6 times the sloping dimension of the HDTV. For instance, an optimum viewing experience with 55 inch HDTV requires an optimum distance of 7 feet and 4 inches. TV owners can also access the distance chart for noting down their respective distances from the TV. The distance is measured horizontally in all cases.

Factors of Picture Quality

While shopping for an HDTV, a normal customer would be blown away by the reps, marketing lingo, and confusing specs. Not to worry, for it all boils down to few factors.

Screen resolution: 720p HD/1080p HD/4K

720p and 1080p indicate the resolution of an HDTV. With more pixels, the detail of picture increases down to the pimple on an actor’s face. In case of 720p HDTV, the screen resolution is 1280x720 pixels. Multiplying this quantity will result in the total pixels of this TV.

Meanwhile, in case of 1080p, the screen resolution is 1920x1080p which equals 2073600 pixels in totality. Obviously 1080p provides twice more clarity than its 720p counterpart does.

A new entrant has entered the screen resolution industry, namely 4K Ultra High Definition. It is more commonly known as 4K TV, since it consists of 4000 pixels. The screen resolution of a 4K TV is 3840x2160 pixels resulting in a whopping 8294400 pixels in totality. Hence, the name 4K resolution since its resolution is quadruple to that of 1080p HDTV.

The picture quality of a 4K HDTV is very fine grained. It is the pinnacle of high quality viewing. On the downside, there isn’t much 4K content available except for some on Netflix and YouTube. Therefore, 1080p satisfies the present needs of most TV viewers.

In case of TV screens below the 40-inch mark, 720p looks excellent as well. The picture is quality is somewhat less detailed and the pixels are bigger. A viewer may notice that the pixel grid is all the more visible to a human eye. Therefore, it’s advisable for viewers to sit a bit farther from the TV to ignore pixel grid. After 40-inch barrier, the TVs automatically become 1080p.

The Human Eye Aspect

Can the human eye note the differences in 1080p and 720p content? The answer is a bit complicated since a few factors need to be taken in consideration. There is considerable price difference between 720p and 1080p, hence most users may not bother with it. However, the bridge between 720p and 1080p is collapsing in terms of pricing.

The answer depends on 3 factors first:

  • Size of the TV
  • Resolution of the TV
  • Distance between individual and TV


Speaking generally, sitting at ten feet away from an HDTV with a TV screen size of 40 inches, the difference between 720p and 1080p is barely noticeable. Some tips for optimum viewing are as follows:

  • For those purchasing an HDTV of/ bigger than 50 inches, opt for high resolution product and keep distance from the TV.


  • In case of a 720p HDTV, it is advised to sit close for better viewing experience


A human eye with a vision of 20/20 (more commonly known as 6/6 in Europe) can notice detail up to 1/60 of a degree. It means that at a particular distance, the human eye can’t view the full resolution of an HDTV. With the help of this data, a person sitting away from the HDTV won’t notice a shred of difference between 1080p and 720p television in case of a 40 inch TV. Likewise, the 4K HDTV is noticeable at close range when screen size is 60-inch.

Content for Respective Resolutions

720p: It all started with 720p becoming a household staple in terms of viewing standard. With the incoming of 720p, a massive load of content is now packed in 720p wrappings. This includes TV channels, pirated content, sports channels, DVDs and blu-ray DVDs.

1080p: With the availability of HDTVs, 1080p is a now common. 1080p content is available in every form imaginable from TV channels to DVDs and Blu-rays.

4K: The least amount of content available for a particular medium is 4K. The specifications required are quite complex, which explains the lack of widespread adoption. For a 4K TV to work, an internet available for 25 Mbps along with a 4K HDTV is required. Furthermore, Netflix has released certain shows in 4K quality such as Breaking Bad and House of Cards. Moreover, FreeView and YouTube also have warmed up to 4K resolutions. Certain TVs have expressed desire to launch 4K TVs but folded due to lack of market infiltration.  


You must be pondering if the distance from couch to your TV is 10 feet, do you need a 75-inch HDTV? This comes to the budget. However, it was the ideal distance for viewing 1080p TV, but as the HDTV increases in size, its price escalates exponentially. A 75-inch HDTV can probably cost a pretty penny, it’s better to opt for more budgeted models.

The individuals can divide the 1080p resolution by a figure of 1.6 which might give them an idea of what preferable TV they need. In case, the price is outside their budget, it’s better to buy what’s affordable.

The Preferable Screen Resolution for TVs

720p HDTVs are becoming a rare commodity now with the influx of 720p LED TVs. Moreover, with the invention of LED technology, 720p has become a decadent technology. 720p HDTVs exist in the 32-inch category mostly.

On the other hand, 1080p TVs are becoming more commonplace. Most TVs have this resolution by default.

Since 2014, 4K TVs are becoming more commonplace. Each electronic manufacturing giant has its version of a 4K TV. The downside is that prices are still out of budget for commoners.

The Final Verdict

A resolution of a TV plays a pivotal role in the viewing pleasure. For maximizing the viewing experience, the sitting distance from TV and TV’s size matters a lot. Appreciation comes with higher resolution televisions. Since the optimum screen resolution has been clarified in detail, you can now make an informed decision for buying the perfect TV.

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