1080i vs. 720p

While 1080i has 1080 lines of resolution, 720p has only 720 lines. The "i" and the "p" in these resolutions stand for interlaced and progressive scanning, respectively. While some customers will not notice a significant difference between the picture quality of 720p and 1080i, progressive scanning offers an objectively superior picture, especially on newer LCD or LED TVs built for higher resolutions and progressive scanning.

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Screen Resolution 1920x1080 (two million pixels when multiplied) 1280x720 (fewer than one million pixels when multiplied)
Display Technology Interlaced (that's what the "i" stands for) Progressive (that's what the "p" stands for)
HDTV Usage 1080i is the most commonly used HDTV format, and has been adopted by most television broadcast, cable, and satellite outlets as their HDTV broadcast standard. The FCC includes 720p in its definition of high-definition (HD) quality video. Widely used HDTV format.

Contents: 1080i vs 720p

edit 1080i vs. 720p - Differences in Display Technology

edit Interlaced vs. Progressive display technology

edit 1080i - Interlaced

1080i represents 1,080 lines of resolution scanned in alternate fields consisting of 540 lines each. 1080i is the most widely used HDTV format, and has been adopted by many television broadcast, cable, and satellite outlets as their HDTV broadcast standard.

edit 720p - Progressive

720p represents 720 lines of resolution scanned sequentially. In other words, all lines are scanned in progressively, providing a more detailed high definition video image compared to interlaced display technology of the same resolution. Progressive scanning reduces the need to prevent flicker by filtering out fine details, so spatial (sharpness) resolution is much closer to 1080i than the number of scan lines would suggest.

edit Video Explaining the Differences

Here's a video that explains the differences between 1080i and 720p.

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Comments: 1080i vs 720p

Anonymous comments (5)

July 23, 2013, 2:04am

I was watching Letterman in HD. Bill Cosby was the guest. I watched in 1080i and then switched to 720p. There was a significant VISIBLY NOTICEABKE difference. Bill Cosby's tie had a fine pinstripe pattern. In 480i and 480p, the tie was just beige in color, the fine pinstripes completely invisible. In 720p one could see the pinstripes in Bill's tie because "video noise" was generated by them. In 1080i, however, the tie and its fine pinstripe pattern was as crisp and clear and sharp as can be, no "video noise" whatsoever! So the difference between 720p and 1080i is significant, with 1080i much more clear on fine details onscreen.

— 174.✗.✗.57

February 11, 2013, 6:36am

Irrespective of the comments both ways on thios subject, they appear to all be ignorant of the differences compounded by the amount of data delivered via OTA vs Cable or SAT. ALL of these formats are capable of very high resolution 1080ior 720p, but none deliver their content uncompressed and dithered into a subset of the picture's former glory. The best comparison between ALL formats would be to compare the relative quality of a high-end Blue Ray player running at 1080P vs all other formats, and rate them both on resolution and compression. As an example, you can watch PBS on channel 9 both on Cable, SAT and OTA and see stiking differences in streaming quality not only between sources but also between individual "HD" programming on each one. I've seen some concerts on prime-time PBS special events that looks and sounds absolutely stunning, then on the same channel I've seen bran-newly produced programs in "HD" that are pixellated, have streaming fallouts, and pasty surface-posterized artifacts throughout. The comparison of resolution alone is not adequate to address all the visual differences between 1080i and 720p.

— 69.✗.✗.71

October 6, 2012, 3:16pm

I find on my 61" 1080p projection TV 1080i source looks significantly sharper than 720p. I'm speculating that in 1080i all the spatial resolution is provided and the TV does a better job at deinterlacing than filling pixels for a 720p source. On my 37" 768p LCD panel I can't tell any difference b/t the two sources.

— 67.✗.✗.28

December 15, 2011, 1:08am

To the previous commenter: Your comparison isn't quite valid for comparing 720p vs 1080i.

The reason is the Over the Air HD broadcasts usually have a higher bit rate than cable or satellite. So if you compare an 720p satellite signal to an OTA 720p you will see the same result even though resolution wise they are identical.

— 72.✗.✗.244

September 23, 2011, 2:43pm

Just wanted to say here that the line that the industry uses: "it is practically impossible for an average customer to tell the difference between the picture quality of 720p and 1080i" is just simply hype. It should be revised to "it is substantially cheaper to deliver content in 720p over wires or satellite channels"

The difference is stunning, actually. Our cable & satellite companies deliver content solely in 720p (we had the satellite connection) and I discovered that our local TV stations are broadcasting in 1080i, so I hooked up an antenna, connected it to the TV's tuner- and what a difference! Maybe if you need thick glasses you can't see a difference, but to someone with perfect eyesight, I personally was able to see much more detail, everthing looked crisper & clearer.

— 64.✗.✗.16


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1080p vs. 720p