4K VS 1080P: Best For Video, Gaming, TV, Etc.

If you are someone who uses your TV set for multiple reasons, you may be wondering how different kinds of TVs fare when it comes to not just playing video but also gaming. So, if you would like to which one’s best, welcome to 4K vs. 1080P best for video, gaming, etc.

Many people get lost with all the new technology and everything that has changed in the world of television in recent years.

It is, therefore, unsurprising that so many people do not really understand the differences between the different definitions available (Standard Definition, High Definition, 4k, etc.).

If you are one of those people who are not sure about a) what the main differences between 4K and 1080P are and b) whether going from 1080P to 4K is worth doing for you, you have come to the right place.

I have done all the research for you so you do not have to look beyond this article.

I will begin by looking at both together. This will be a general comparison that should give you an idea on the overall suitability for either one of the definitions for you.

I will then go into the specifics, comparing one to the other. The idea is that, by the end of the article, you should have a clear idea of a) what the main differences are, and b) whether upgrading from 1080P to 4K is worth doing for you.

So, 4K Is Always Better than 1080P, Right? 

Although in theory, a 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV set is always superior to a TV set that only supports a 1080P High definition (HD), this is not always necessarily the case.

But there is one fundamental thing that you need to consider before you let the prospect of purchasing an expensive 4K TV build up your hopes. And that is that, while a 4K (UHD) television has as many as four times more pixels than a 1080P (HD) television, you will mostly only notice it if you are watching content that was produced in 4K.

The problem is that, currently, 4K native content is extremely hard to come by. So, chances are, that even if you got the best 4K television in the market, you would use it for, at best 1080p, content.

We seem to be a long way for having access to much content in 4K particularly when you consider that there is still plenty of content that is broadcasted or aired in 720p HD or, even, 480p Standard Definition (SD).

“‘True Blood’ is shot on film. It’s more like a movie, and they take more days to shoot it, plus it has an hour of content. ‘The Good Wife’ is network. They’re shooting on HD. It moves quicker and they only have forty minutes of content instead of a full hour. Not to mention the difference of shooting, you know, rated-R stuff!” – Carrie Preston

So, for most content, you watch you might need to sit dangerously close to your television set if you would like to notice any difference at all between a 4K and a 1080p television.

If you watch 1080p content (for example, Blu-rays), you will not notice any difference between watching that content on a 4K or a 1080p television.

Having said all that, if you are planning on buying a new television, 4K is the way to go. But if you have a perfectly good and functioning 1080p television consider the information in this article before you make up your mind about buying a 4k television.

So, how many pixels?

A 1080p TV has 1080 horizontal pixels and 1920 vertical pixels. A 4k TV, in turn, has 2160 horizontal pixels and 3840 pixels. So the 4K is actually a misnomer (and slight exaggeration) as so-called 4k TVs not have quite 3000 horizontal pixels.

How about sizes?

A TV size is measured diagonally and only the screen is measured.

1080p television sets come in many sizes, basically anything between 32” and 55”. But if you want something really insane, 4k TV sets go anywhere from 40” to over 100”. So, 4k gives you a lot more options when it comes to size.

How about availability?

The introduction of 4K TVs and their wide availability means that new 1080p are gradually becoming harder to come by.

So, if you are looking for a new TV, you will find a lot more choice and greater availability for 4k.

How about content?

As I have already pointed out, there is not that much 4K content yet. This is changing someone fast but if you compare it with the current availability of 1080p content, it is clear that 1080p content will be the winner for a while still.

“You’re not going to see a wholesale switch over to all 4k by 2k. It will start with one, two, three, four channels, just like high definition (HD) when it was first introduced.” – Henry Samueli

How Do They Compare In Terms of Picture Quality?

How the picture quality compares depends on what we are comparing.

Let’s say that you want to compare something that has been natively produced in 4k to something that has natively been produced in 1080p.

So, if you play 4k content on a 4k TV and 1080p on a 1080p TV, and compare them you will notice the following differences:

  • The native 4K picture will look smoother than the native 1080p picture. You might even notice that the 1080p native content displays the edges around the image objects in a more jagged manner.
  • The native 4K picture will also have more detail than the native 1080p picture.

These few differences exist simply because 4K content simply has a lot more pixels.

Having said all of that, the differences in terms of picture quality between 1080p and 4k are a lot less noticeable than those between Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD). So, while most people will notice a big change between native SD content and HD content, the differences between HD and Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4k can be so minimal that many users may not notice them at all!

If you then compare 1080p native content that has been upscaled to 4k with the same native 1080p content on a 1080p, you will notice the following differences:

  • While upscaling the 1080p content to 4k will add some smoothness to the image, the difference will be incredibly small, so some users might not even notice it at all.
  • Depending on the brand, upscaling 1080p to 4k might affect sharpness negatively and make the content appear softer.

So, when it comes to 1080p, content upscaling it to 4k will at best not be noticeable and, at worst, make create issues that would not be there on a 1080p television. This is an important consideration because most of the content available today is still in 1080p. But, like I said, this problem only affects certain models of 4k so it is worth ensuring that the model that you are interested in does not have this problem before making an expensive purchase.

How About Gaming?

So far I have been addressing the differences when it comes to video of all kind of different nature but, how about gaming?

Just like with television and movies (streaming, discs, television, etc.), 4k is superior to 1080p. It is, to put it briefly, the next best thing.

To enjoy 4k video games in their full glory you will need a graphics card that is compatible with 4k and, of course, a 4k television set.

Unless you just want your TV set for gaming you should also take into consideration everything that we have covered in this article so far.

Everything that I have said about sharpness, smoothness, and general picture quality and the differences between 4k and 1080p also applies to gaming.

Unfortunately, what I said about price also applies. 4K is always more expensive although prices as gradually becoming more reasonable.

An important thing to consider is that, as it happens with video, the differences between games in Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) is a lot more noticeable than the differences between HD and 4k.

So, you are saying that 4k is better for gaming, right? Well, not actually. I think that it some point it will be, but not yet.

The problem with 4k gaming is that your gaming experience could be considerably less smooth. This is because many users report experiencing frame rate dips when playing on 4k as opposed to 1080p.

As it stands 4k is going to be the best thing in the very near future so it might not be the right time to upgrade just yet. But, as with video, if you need a new TV right now then you should go for 4k because 1080p TVs are most definitely on their way out.

So this has been 4k vs 1080p: best for video, gaming, etc. If you have any feedback or would like to share your own experience with 4k and 1080p HD, why don’t you leave us a message in the comments section below?

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