TV Resolution Confusion: 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, 8K and What They All Mean


One of the first numbers you see once you purchase a new TV – right after the display measurement and worth – is the decision. Sadly, it’s also one of the crucial complicated numbers.

Listed here are some basic questions you could have concerning the decision and quick answers.

  • What does 4K imply? It relies upon, but often three 840×260 pixels.
  • What does UHD mean? It means "Ultra High Definition", however it principally means 4K.
  • Are most TVs 4K today? 50 inches and more, sure.
  • Is 4K an image that’s better than an previous TV?
  • If 4K is four occasions higher than 1080p, does this 4K 4320p mean?
  • Is there a purpose to fret about 8K?

On the lookout for extra info on TV accuracy? Let's begin at the start.

What is decision?

Accuracy, when it comes to TV hardware, means the number of pixels that make up a picture on a television. A single pixel or separate pixel consists of a small dot on the display.

Flat TVs have numerous solutions. Older TVs and many 32-inch models bought at the moment have one million pixels (720p). Newer and slightly bigger TVs (sometimes 49 inches and smaller) have simply over 2 million pixels (1080p). Even newer and larger TVs (sometimes 50 inches and extra, even smaller sizes) have 8 million (4K Extremely HD). The newest, largest and most ridiculously expensive TVs have over 33 million pixels (8K). It’s a must to look very rigorously or whip the magnifying glass to separate everyone.

8K resolution offers four occasions more pixels than 4K (UHD).

Sarah Tew / CNET

The decision is among the commonest specs for tv sales as a result of "4K" and "8K" sound actually high-tech and impressive. Nevertheless, decision is just not crucial element of picture quality. Simply because the TV has a better decision than the opposite, it doesn't all the time mean it seems higher. It could possibly, however not all the time, and for reasons which have little to do with the resolution. A TV with a greater dynamic range (HDR), higher contrast ratio or higher colour seems higher than one with only more pixels.

However, it’s still essential to know the resolutions utilized by TV makers and others. Right here's just a little more, ahem, detail.

Select High Resolution Resolution

Identify of Resolution Horizontal x vertical pixels Other Names Units
8K 7,680×4,320 8K UHD TVs
"Movie Theater" 4K four.096x [unspecified] 4K Projector
UHD three,840×2,160 4K, Extremely HD, Ultra-Excessive Definition TVs, screens
2K 2.048x [unspecified] no Projector
WUXGA 1,920×1,200 Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array Screens, Projectors
1080P 1,920×1,080 Full HD, FHD, HD, High Definition TVs, screens
720p 1,280×720 HD, Excessive Definition TVs

4K or Extremely HD

The most typical decision for brand spanking new TVs is 4K. As a result of it does not know many individuals, it’s also principally nearly all of confusion about TV resolution.

The brief model is that this: In the case of television, 4K and Extremely HD (or UHD) seek advice from the same resolution. These TVs, as well as Extremely HD Blu-ray and virtually all Netflix, Amazon and other UHD streaming content material, have a resolution of three,840 x 2160.

One drawback is that 4K means something totally different no matter whether or not you’re talking on the TV at house or on the projector within the theater.

Technically, "4K" refers to a horizontal decision of four 096 pixels. That is the resolution of the digital movie initiatives. As a result of films range within the facet ratio, which refers to the actual shape of the rectangle on the display, no vertical decision is specified.

So sure, the pedals are right. Ultra-HD TVs aren’t technically "4K" as a result of they have a resolution of 3 840×2 160. However regardless of. 4K is simpler stated than 2,160p or Ultra HD, and when somebody performs a question about it, most of you (and of us, FWIW) want "4K". So make Google. Amazon and most TV makers, all of whom use each.

This exhibits the relative number of pixels in each of the most important decision codecs. In fact there isn’t a real measurement; this can be a chart that isn’t a visual representation (even if it is on a scale when you click on it)

From most to minimal: 4K Cinema, 1.78: 1 facet ratio (black); UHD (white); 2K film, 1.78: 1 part (green); Full HD 1080p (pink); 720p (blue).

Geoffrey Morrison / CNET

Because the pixel difference is 13 % and it’s still unimaginable to see even larger differences, we give it under "why does anyone care?"

The 4K projectors from Sony's house are 4K. One of the best picture I've ever seen within the theater, was a 4K projector with lasers.

8K follows the same logic. When you speak about televisions, it’s double the horizontal and vertical resolution of a 4K TV: 7,680×4,320. This isn’t but the resolution of the movie, a minimum of outdoors the experimental part. We begin to see 8K TVs hit the market, nevertheless it's been many years before this decision is widespread.


– David Katzmaier (@dkatzmaier) August 28, 2018

You can now find 4K content in many places. A lot of the fundamental streaming providers, corresponding to Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Vudu, are available at 4K. There are additionally Ultra HD Blu-ray players and recreation consoles resembling PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. When you’ve got a pc, most video cards of current years can make video games at 4K, with varying degrees of success. Then again, 4K does not have US tv. We’ve to attend till ATSC 3.0 is over 4K. Within the case of cables and satellites, some service providers have some choices, however presently just a few channels for films and documents. In other phrases, the primeime shows introduced in ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox will not be at 4K, and there isn’t any clear indication of once they can be. see "2K." It was pretty much only a film resolution, which is why you typically confer with "master mode". Most digital film projectors used in theaters have 2K decision (some are less). It is 2 048 pixels vast, and the DCI does not outline the vertical resolution once more.

However now that "4K" has attracted the facility of the time period used to describe television and content, "2K" is turning into extra widespread than the 1080p decision and Blu-ray used by most HDTVs. It isn’t technically correct, nevertheless it did not cease "4K" from being favored as "UHD".

1080p or Full HD

Keep in mind how we talked about digital movie resolutions only when figuring out horizontal decision?

Very properly, televisions have traditionally used vertical to describe the decision (by going back to glass-pipe days). Thus, 1080p is a vertical decision. Almost all HDTVs have a facet ratio of 1.78: 1 (16: 9, or "widescreen"), so it means a horizontal decision of 1,920 pixels (1,920 x 1,080).

That is another supply of confusion, since many years of TV discussions have spoken about vertical resolutions, and then all of the sudden we speak about "4K TVs", which refers to horizontal decision. Don't blame me, it wasn't my concept.

Because of this 1080p shouldn’t be "1K". If anything, it's 2K. Or it's the identical logic that UHD TVs are 4K. Nevertheless, most individuals don't name 1080p 2K; They call it 1080p or Full HD.

By the best way, the 1080i has the same decision as 1080p, but there isn’t any 1080i in trendy TV. Nevertheless, most HDTV broadcasts, including CBS and NBC broadcasts, are still 1080i.


About half of the 1080p pixels. It is uncommon to find a TV that’s not 720p. Nevertheless, all ABC, Fox, ESPN and their affiliated / sisters channels 720p. This can return to the HD transition on the turn of the century. And in case you're questioning why TV doesn't say "720p" on these channels, verify this out.


In the pc world, they use inconceivable and surprising, user-friendly envelopes to describe the resolution. Properly, not "shockingly" as a result of these are computer systems.

Look, I'm a computer man who construct their own computer systems because the early '90s, and I cannot even inform what half of these letters mean. I understand that they have been originally carried out to make things easier, but we’ve so many resolutions and mixtures which might be just annoying.

In principle, FHD (1.920×1.080) and WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) are most probably. The remaining, you possibly can dive and print yourself a cheat chart here.

Thankfully, the only time most of you encounter this letter is goulash, is in case you are in search of an affordable knowledge projector or pc display.

There are additionally pc shows with unique resolutions, akin to 5K (5,120 x 880) or ultra-aspect ratio 21: 9, with a crazy resolution of three,440×1,440. There are such a lot of variations that we couldn’t hope to cowl all of them.


Samsung's CF791 ultra-screen show has 3440×1440 pixels or UW-QHD (Ultra Broad Quad HD) resolution.

Sarah Tew / CNET


Once you prepare dinner it all down, here's the takeaway: the present tv (until you acquire it in recent times) is HD, 1080p. Newer TVs are 4K Ultra HD discs with four occasions extra pixels than 1080p. In the future you’ll have 8K or even 10Okay TV, nevertheless it's 1-o-o-o-o-n-way.

Right here we recall that extra pixels don’t essentially mean a greater picture. Other features of picture high quality, corresponding to distinction and colour, are rather more necessary than decision.

In the future, the solution might turn out to be meaningless. Technologies comparable to MicroLED stand-alone measurement and decision, so our upcoming 50-inch bedroom TV has a radically totally different decision than a 100-inch front room TV, in contrast to now when each are 4K-sized pixels. And one can be a projector. Nevertheless, this doesn’t matter due to the progress of the video process. They all look sharp and detailed.

Updated February 7, 2019: This story first appeared in January 2016. It has been updated to mirror new information and progress.

Do you’ve gotten a question for Geoff? First, examine all the other articles he has written on subjects like all HDMI cables are the identical, TV resolutions defined, LED LCD vs. OLED and rather more.

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