Today’s HDTV screens come in two flavors – 720p and 1080p. These numbers represent the vertical resolution of the screen and, as you may have guessed, 1080p offers more detail. This extra detail that 1080p has over 720p is not always seen by the viewer, though. Knowing when you can see the full detail of 1080p can save you quite a few bucks. If you take a look at HDTV prices, you will notice 720p HDTV models are cheaper. You might think that bigger is better and by going cheaper you’re going to miss something. As you will see, this is not always the case.
In order to get the full advantage from 1080p, you must sit at the correct distance. If you sit too far you will not be able to see the extra detail. If your budget will not allow you to buy a TV large enough to allow you to see the full detail of 1080p, it will not matter which you choose between 1080p and 720p. Well, actually it may matter since 1080p is more expensive and you will get nothing extra from it.
The type of content you will watch is also important. If you watch a DVD it will not matter if your TV is 1080p or 720p. If you watch standard definition broadcasts, same story.
The difference between standard definition broadcast and 720p content is striking. You can clearly see that 720p looks amazing compared to standard definition. When it comes to 1080p vs 720p however, the difference is not that huge. 720p looks great and 1080p looks a bit better. Yes, 1080p has almost twice the detail of 720p but when watching real content, like a movie, you will not be twice as impressed. In conclusion, if you would not see a striking difference and you would not be blown off under ideal conditions (viewing distance and screen size), in a real life situation that is far from ideal for most of you, 720p and 1080p will be the same.
While this guide about 720p vs 1080p is quite long and explains many aspects for your convenience, the answer to this question is actually pretty easy. 1080p is useful only if you sit close enough to actually see the extra detail and if you watch 1080p or 1080i content. If you are either further away or you watch content of a lower resolution, 720p will look the same.
Continue reading the next part of this guide – 720p vs 1080p – Images/Screenshots – where you can see how 720p looks compared to 1080p in pictures.
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