Video & Live Streaming

What is video resolution? 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, and 8K Overview

Shayek Ahamed | July 7, 2019 | 212 views | 3 People said helpful.

What is a video resolution or TV resolution?

Generally, by video resolution or TV resolution, we mean the number of pixels, a display device (i.e. TV, PC monitor, laptop, tablet, and even smartphone screens), could be displayed in each dimension. In general, the resolution is quoted as width × height, such as “1920×1080”, where 1920 suggests the width and 1080 suggests the height that the display could be transformed in pixels. A pixel, on the other hand, usually an addressable smallest element (dots) in a display device that produces a specific color. Therefore, the quality of a picture on the display vastly depends on the pixels. So, the more pixels on a display, the more detailed the picture will appear on the display screen. In terms of video equipment and broadcasts, the resolution is usually referred by the number of horizontal lines displayed to make up each frame of a video image. Therefore, the more horizontal lines of resolution used to make each frame of video, the more detailed the picture will appear. Moreover, a display resolution is ruled by two factors, the cathode ray tube, and the flat panel display, for example, and they are usually available in digital TV and computer monitors. However, the resolution isn’t the only aspect of video or picture quality, it is important, and the difference between a high resolution and a low-resolution display is easily noticeable.

The resolution of the media is also an important component to consider. To enjoy the true benefit of a higher resolution, you should have high-resolution content handy. For example, you may stream a 1080p feed or vice versa, in a 4k or UHD TV, but you will not gain anything significant from either use.

Video Resolution Comparison
Various Video Resolution Comparison

What is 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, and 8K resolution?

There are two different types of video resolution. They could be classified as Standard Definition or SD and High Definition or HD. The 640×360 and 640×480 for video and 720×480 and 720×576 for DVD are the most popular standard resolutions. For HD video popular resolution is 1280×720 (720p) or 1920×1080 (1080p). The resolution 1080p is also known as Full HD or FHD. Here is a concise form of various sorts of video resolution for better understanding.

  • 720p= 1280 x 720 – is popularly known as HD or HD Ready resolution;
  • 1080p= 1920 x 1080 – is called FHD or Full HD resolution
  • 2K = 2048 x 1080 – this means the displays that have about 2000 pixels horizontal resolution. This is considered as a different resolution standard, although it is close to the 1080p resolution standard.
  • 1440p = 2560 x 1440 – is usually known as QHD or Quad HD resolution, and could be found on high-end smartphones and on gaming monitors.
  • 4K or 2160p = 3840 x 2160 – is popularly known as 4K, UHD or Ultra HD resolution.
  • 8K or 4320p = 7680 x 4320 – is commonly known as 8K resolution, which is 16 times more pixels than the regular 1080p FHD or “Full HD”.

Overview of 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, and 8K resolution

Video Resolution Measurements in Pixels
Various Video Resolution Measurements in Pixels
1080p Resolution

1080p is usually known as FHD of Full HD resolution which has a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels with a progressive scan. This resolution delivers a full 2.07 million pixels picture with a display aspect ratio of 16:9. This is most popular among people and this is the best selling TV format in the current era. The 1080p mainly describes the resolution and does not indicate the frame rate for video feed or refresh rate for displays. These are surrounded by different standards of video-encoding or broadcasting and generate a 1080 resolution content or image.

2K Resolution

2k is the displays that have a 2048 pixels horizontal line of the resolution, and 1,556 vertical resolution, however, 2k resolution can depend on the aspect ratio. Although the 2k resolution is close to the 1080p resolution standard, it’s considered as a different standard. Until 4K became common, you’d probably never see 2K. 2k was popularly a cinema resolution, that is why you may find it used to refer to a “master format”. For example, the digital cinema projectors used in the theaters nowadays, most of them are 2k resolution. It has a 2,048 pixels (horizontal line of resolution) wide, and, there is no vertical resolution is specified by The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI). The DCI is a group of studios, related to the motion picture, that develops standards for digital cinema, defines Standard DCI 2K resolution as 2048 x 1080. However, displays with such resolution are very rare and the 2k monitors that are available in the market, more often with resolutions of 2560 x 1440. Therefore, it is officially distinguished as Quad HD (QHD), because, many displays claim their resolution as 2k/QHD.

However, 4k has gained attraction as a term used to illustrate TVs and content. The 2k is becoming popular as shorthand for the 1080p resolution which is usually used by most HDTVs, as well as Blu-ray. It might not be technically accurate, but that didn’t prevent the 4K from becoming more popular in comparison to UHD.

4K (Ultra HD) Resolution

The 4K or Ultra HD (UHD) is one of the most popular standards display resolutions. As we discussed earlier, by resolution we mean, how many pixels a display has in length x width format, According to the Digital Cinema Initiatives or DCI, 4K has a resolution of 4096 x 2160, but this resolution is uncommon in PC monitors. Generally, you’ll find 4k monitors have a 3840 x 2160 resolution. Therefore, officially this resolution is considered as an Ultra HD (UHD). As a result, you will often be guided to monitors labeled as 4K/UHD. Almost every modern GPUs usually support 4K/UHD output, however, to play games resolution like 4K/UHD, you should have a fairly powerful graphics chip. As a result, most of the gamers prefer streaming at 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080), 4K monitors are also adequate and relatively convenience. But, monitors with a high refresh rate and 3840 x 2160 resolution, could be beyond budgets. Nowadays, there are also a good number of laptops available in the market with a 4K panels, Dell XPS 15 and Alienware 17 could be a good example.

8K Resolution

The 4320p = 7680 x 4320- is usually known as 8K resolution. It refers to any monitor or display screen with around 8000 pixels width. One may consider 8K would provide double resolution than that of 4K, but the thing is different. As we are discussing two dimensions here horizontal lines and vertical lines it’s actually 16 times the pixels of HD and 4 times the pixels of 4K. The 8K resolution equals to 7,680 × 4,320, or 33 million pixels ( could be exact 33,117,600), instead of 3,840 × 2,160 (8,294,400 pixels). To understand properly, suppose four 4K TVs placed in a four-by-four grid. That is a lot of pixels. Some other technologies, for example, DHR or high dynamic range can and do sometimes make a more visible difference, basically from a distance, though TVs show a sharper and more colorful picture with HDR. However, the 8k resolution is completely noticeable on a larger screen, especially up close.

4K vs 8K Video Resolution
1080p, 4K and 8K Video Resolution

TV or display manufacturers are already started to declare the availability of their 8k models. Samsung, for example, had already introduced an 8K model in the market in 2018, has recently declared the availability of its 2019 QLED TVs, which include the Q900, available in sizes ranging from 65 to 98 inches, and with a starting price at just $5,000.00. Another manufacturer name LG, has also announced it is going to start selling OLED and LED TVs with 8K resolution in the market, however, the prices have not declared yet. Another world famous brand Sony is going to be released its 8K Z9G series 85-inch and 98-inch in the market. At the same time, TCL showed off its 8K Roku TV at CES, which is expected to available in the market this year, hopefully, it will be a most affordable 8K TV in the market. It is quite true that even a year ago, the number of 8K contents were unavailable to watch at home, though you had an 8k TV, but, now things are changing, though the changes are quite very slower.

Vimeo, a popular video streaming site, had announced its 8k support during November 2017. Now, it has more than 6k video contents of 8k. YouTube, another prominent video streaming site, got on the 8K bandwagon even earlier and boasts thousands of 8k contents. Similarly, in December 2017, HHK launched a test basis channel dedicated to playing 8K video contents and finally in 2018 they made it a permanent dedicated 8k videos channel. Nowadays, Japanese consumers can enjoy a limited 8k contents in their home with the proper equipment. Moreover, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is going to be a major showcase for 8K broadcast, at least in Japan. But, it has not been announced yet how much of this Olympics will be broadcast in 8k resolution in the other continents of the world.

Conclusion

The video resolution or TV resolution is one of the most important elements that tell about its picture’s quality. However, it does not only depend on the resolution but also on the quality of the content we are watching and the position of the audience. If the audience sits far away from the TV, it is quite impossible to notice the difference.