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1080p, 1080i, 720p: What do these TV resolutions mean to you?

Learning about 1080p, 1080i and 720p screen resolution can seem extremely technical and confusing if you’re not a television expert. If you’re just looking for the best HD TV for your living room, you can skip the details and technical specs. Get an overview of the screen resolutions available and decide which HD TV is best for your home.

Explore HD TV resolutions

1080p, 1080i and 720p television resolution have to do with how many pixels make up your screen. For example, 1080p is 1,920 pixels horizontally by 1,080 pixels vertically.

When you sit down to watch the new episode of your favorite show or your team’s big game, you want to enjoy it with a crisp, clear picture. Do you need a 1080p, 1080i or 720p TV? Get the lowdown and you’ll be closer to buying a new TV that is perfect for your needs.

  • 720p is typically reserved for televisions smaller than 40 inches.
  • 1080i is the preferred broadcast format of most television networks.
  • 1080p is the best resolution currently available. 1080p is typically used for Blu-Ray™ movies.

Don’t worry about missing out because of your screen’s resolution. If you have a 720p TV, but what you’re watching is broadcast in 1080i or 1080p, it will be scaled down to 720p.

Things to consider when shopping for a TV:


Plan your living room for the best view.

In addition to the pixels and resolution of a TV, there are some other things you should consider when shopping for a new television.

Think about the layout of your room when you shop for a new TV. It’s important to plan out where your TV will go, what size your TV is, and where your couch is. The quality of your TV experience can change depending on your seating distance. With a larger television, you can sit farther away, but with a smaller TV, optimum viewing distance is much closer.

For small TVs, the visual differences are hardly noticeable between 720p and 1080p. If you’re looking at larger televisions, resolution becomes a more important factor.

TV is generally broadcast in either 1080i or 720p, while 1080p is mainly only used for movies on Blu-Ray™.


Have a friendly video game competition with your family.

If you want the high-quality of 1080p resolution, you’ll pay more for it. The price of a 1080p TV can be much higher than the price of a 720p or 1080i TV. If you’re not planning to splurge, a 720p TV might be better for you. If price isn’t a factor for you, then you might want to go for the higher resolution. It all depends on your situation and the type of TV you want.

Will your family play video games on your new television? Some video game systems are able to support 1080p, but most games are not available in 1080p yet.

Ready to buy a new TV? Whether you want a 1080p, 1080i or 720p TV, be sure to shop around and look for sales to get the best deal.

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