Does 1080p Look Bad On A 4K TV? (Full Details)
4K is taking the world by storm, and more content than ever before is being released in 4K.
However, the vast majority of the content – both on YouTube, cable television and streaming services like Netflix is only available in 1080p.
Therefore, you may be wondering – does 1080p look bad on a 4K television? Will it appear blurry or pixelated, and would trying to view 1080p on a 4K monitor look bad?
These are excellent questions. In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!
Table of Contents
Does 1080p Content Look Bad On A 4K TV?
No, 1080p content does not look bad on a 4K television. In fact, the majority of 1080p content looks vastly improved when displayed on a 4K monitor!
This is due to a process called upscaling.
Essentially, 4K televisions take the 1080p content, and use algorithms to upscale the content to 4K. While it isn’t perfect and doesn’t look quite as good as content that was actually shot in 4K natively, it still offers a significant improvement over 1080p.
Without upscaling, 1080p content would only take up 1/4th of the space on your TV, with the rest of the screen being black. So, we’re thankful that upscaling technology exists!
That being said, modern TVs do more than just stretch the 1080p content out. If that’s all that happened, 1080p content would unfortunately look quite blurry.
Instead, TVs use algorithms to try and ‘guess’ how to fill in each pixel, to make the picture look as perfect as possible. The result is 1080p content looking much more crisp – even close to true 4K most of the time.
Note: Each model of TV will handle upscaling differently, and some brands tend to have better results than others. If you’ll be streaming 1080p content on your 4K TV and you don’t want it to look bad, be sure to shop around for 4K UHD TVs that have good upscaling. Most television enthusiasts agree that currently, Sony is the leader when it comes to upscaling. As a personal note, I have a smart TV in the Sony Bravia line, and it is fantastic!
Pixel Density Matters Too!
Although upgrading from 1080p to 4K quadruples the resolution (which is why 4K content looks so much better), another thing to keep in mind is the pixel density of your screen.
Pixel density is the total number of pictures in a given area. It is often measured by the square inch, commonly referred to as pixels per inch or PPI for short.
A 4K monitor will contain exactly the same number of pixels, regardless of the screen size – 3840 pixels wide, and 2160 pixels tall. However, the pixel density varies depending on the size of the screen.
Because the resolution stays the same, the pixel density decreases as the screen gets bigger. The pixels themselves get physically larger, but there is less of them in a given area.
For example, a 55″ 4K UHD TV has a pixel density of 80.11, but a 75″ 4K UHD TV has a pixel density of only 58.74.
This means that the image will look less sharp as the screen size increases.
However, 4K is still a significant upgrade, especially if you are upgrading from a 1080P screen of similar size. To put things in perspective, 1080p has a pixel density that is exactly half of 4K.
Do 1080p Video Games Look Bad On A 4K TV?
No. Just like with video content, games should not look bad on a 4K television either.
In fact, the majority of them should look much better due to the TV’s built-in upscaling technology, even if the game does not have 4K textures built into it.
That being said, the difference in quality may not be quite as good as streamed video content, or Blu-ray movies. This is because with video games, the content all has to be rendered in real-time, rather than being pre-recorded.
The difference in quality is more noticeable on some games than others. For example, retro games that use basic graphics may not look that much more sharp in 4K.
However, action and adventure games, as well as open-world RPGs may see a significant improvement in visual quality, even without changing the graphics settings within the game.
Is It Worth Buying A 4K TV?
Knowing everything we now know, you may be wondering – is it worth paying more money for a 4K tv, even if you’re going to be using a lot of 1080p content on it?
While this is largely a personal decision, we do recommend opting for a quality 4K television when possible.
More content is being released and remastered for 4K televisions, as adoption of them has grown drastically in recent years. More and more consumers are demanding content that is released in 4K, and major studios are paying attention. Even older shows and movies are being remastered and rereleased in 4K, meaning there’s more content than ever available for 4K televisions.
Additionally, modern gaming system such as Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X are designed with 4K support in mind, meaning AAA gaming studios have followed suit as well.
Clearly, 4K televisions are more futureproof, and it’s likely that the release of 4K content will only grow over time. Whether you want to use your TV to browse YouTube or play the latest games, nearly everything about it will be better when opting for 4K.
However, there is one thing to keep in mind with 4K televisions, and that is data / bandwidth requirements.
Streaming 4K video uses significantly more data than streaming 1080p. In fact, streaming services recommend you have at least 25 Mbps of available bandwidth in order to stream in 4K. As a comparison, 1080p video may only require 5 Mbps.
So, if you live in a rural area or do not have fast internet, you may experience buffering while trying to stream 4K content.
That being said, 1080p content will still perform exactly the same as it would on a 1080P monitor. All upscaling of 1080p to 4K is done locally, without putting any strain on your internet connection. So, you can still experience an improvement by upgrading to a 4K television.
Note: It’s also worth mentioning that modern 4K televisions often have other significant improvements over 1080P TVs, including HDR support, better handling of motion, and better internal components.
Thankfully, even regular HD, 1080p content tends to look better on 4K UHD televisions, than on 1080p televisions.
Because modern upscaling technology is so powerful, you can gain a massive picture improvement with a quality 4K television, even if you aren’t using it to display 4K content.
Therefore, it’s worth upgrading to a 4K television for your next purchase. More and more content is becoming available for 4K, and it’s clearly where the industry is going. So, a quality 4K TV will serve you for years to come.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about televisions or monitors, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister
Does 1080P Look Bad On A 4K TV? – The Gadget Buyer
As an avid gamer, I have invested a great deal of time researching the differences between 1080P and 4K picture quality.
4K is the next big thing when it comes to picture quality, but it made me wonder how important it was to have a 4K TV.
I also wondered if a 1080P picture quality would look bad on a 4K TV.
Does 1080P Look Bad On A 4K TV?
1080P does not look bad or any worse when viewed on a TV with 4K capabilities. A 4K TV will not provide a worse 1080P picture than a TV that does not have 4K capabilities. However, there are unique features that can affect the 1080P picture on a 4K TV.
Factors such as the quality of the video, the quality of the upscaling, and your own perception, affect the 1080P picture quality on a 4K TV.
I highly encourage you to continue reading if you would like to learn about the differences between a 1080P picture and a 4K picture.
Does 1080P Look Bad on a 4K TV?
This question has already been touched on, but there are a couple factors that affect the 1080P picture on a 4K TV.
No, 1080P does not look bad on a 4K TV, and we can thank upscaling for that.
Upscaling is the process that allows higher resolution televisions to display lower resolution video.
Upscaling increases the pixel count of the lower resolution video, which enables it to fit the higher resolution picture properly.
Without upscaling, a lower resolution video quality would occupy much less of the screen.
Due to the number of pixels being increased, there could be an issue with the picture on a higher resolution television.
However, many TVs are built to accommodate lower resolution video, which is why it is rare to have an issue displaying a 1080P picture on a 4K TV.
Does 1080P Look Blurry on a 4K TV?
A blurry picture is one of the ways that a lower resolution can be distorted on a higher resolution television.
As previously mentioned, the pixels are increased on the higher resolution television to accommodate the lower quality video.
This means that there are unnecessary pixels present in the picture, which can appear as blurry.
Also, it is possible that your perception of the picture could be the reason it is blurry. This is likely not the case.
However, if this is the problem, then it is an easy one to fix.
You can fix this issue by grabbing your glasses or putting on your contact lenses.
What Is 1080P?
1080P is a high-definition video mode that is common on many televisions.
The dimensions of a 1080P picture are 1,920 pixels that lay horizontal across the screen and 1,080 pixels that lay vertical along the screen.
Also, “p” in 1080P stands for progressive scan.
A pixel is a single point on the screen that is composed of three dots.
Each of those dots has its own color, and those three colors are red, green, and blue.
Pixels are sorted in columns and rows, and they are responsible for displaying the picture of a video.
The progressive scan is a way of displaying, storing, and transmitting, moving images.
It was first implemented in the early 2000s, and it is now a common feature in all televisions and computer monitors.
What Is 4K?
4K picture quality incorporates many of the same characteristics as 1080P.
However, there are some slight differences between the two.
4K picture quality has 4,096 pixels that lay horizontal across the screen and 2,160 pixels that lay vertical along the screen.
There are more than double the number of pixels horizontally and vertically with a 4K picture when compared to a 1080P picture.
The increased number of pixels allows for minute details to be noticed that would otherwise go unnoticed in a 1080P picture.
The greater number of pixels creates a more detailed picture, which is why 4K is regarded as a superior picture quality when compared to 1080P.
Can You Play 4K on a 1080P TV?
Yes, you can play 4K on a 1080P TV.
You should not be discouraged from streaming something in 4K just because you do not have a 4K television.
1080P televisions can display a 4K picture, but it will not be the same quality as a 4K television.
This is because a 1080P television does not have the proper number of pixels to support a 4K picture.
The 4K picture will be compressed and will omit the minute details that you may notice with a 4K television.
However, you will still notice an increase in picture quality when you opt to stream in 4K instead of 1080P.
Is It Worth Upgrading to a 4K TV?
If you are in the market for a new television, then I would say it is worth it to upgrade to a 4K TV.
While there may not be a ton of shows or movies that stream in 4K now, more are transitioning to a 4K picture.
It will allow you to get ahead of the game, and you can enjoy more shows in 4K as they make the transition.
Also, they are not that much more expensive than a television with 1080P picture quality.
There is currently less than a $100 difference between a 50″ 1080P television and a 50″ 4K television.
You are getting twice the number of pixels for about $100 more.
In my opinion, that is a great deal if you are in the market for a new television.
Are There a lot of Shows that Stream in 4K?
Unfortunately, there are not many shows and movies that stream in 4K due to how new the technology is.
There is a specific camera needed to produce a 4K picture, and they are incredibly expensive.
It is common to see sports streamed in 4K due to the amount of people that regularly watch sporting events.
While there may not be many shows that are in 4K, there are a ton of video games that offer a 4K picture.
Since video games are not filmed, it is much easier for the programming of video games to accommodate a 4K picture.
So, if you are an avid gamer, then I would recommend a 4K television or monitor.
To conclude, 1080P does not look worse on a 4K TV.
There are many factors that play a role in the picture display, and 4K televisions utilize technology to boost any kind of display resolution.
90,000 Movies in HD on a 4K TV. Feel the difference =)
A few months ago it became necessary to buy a TV, as it turned out, choosing from the whole variety of models on the market was not quite easy. I want to share my experience)
In general, if we consider TVs, I am a supporter of Samsung, at one time in Yulmart, 12-13 years have passed, I bought almost the first Full HD then. Now it seems like a colossus compared to new TVs of a similar diagonal, and it exceeds them by 2 times in weight. So in that TV, the opportunity to watch something existed only through a computer and HDMI, no playback was provided from a flash drive, due to the lack of a USB port =) By the way, so far the TV set hasn’t given me a single problem.
I purchased the next model 3-4 years ago, the same Samsung, but already more modified, it also functions properly, and reads absolutely everything except for “broken files”) Of course, it does not understand new codecs (h365), a few years ago about Nobody knew HEVC, but this is not necessary when the scan is Full HD 1080p and this is the maximum. However, on this box there is almost no visual difference between 720p and 1080p rips.
Today’s choice is LG , and I’ll explain why.
Samsung models from 2018-2019 (buying something older just doesn’t make sense), there is no support for the DTS audio codec. I do not really understand this position, because late models (including my second TV) have it. The only logical explanation is that these models are adapted for viewing content by subscribing to streaming services such as Netflix, etc., and this, in principle, nullifies all views from a flash drive. In my case, there were, are, and will be views from the media, and in releases, audio tracks in DTS are often found.
Of course, is the future for 4k (resolution 4096/3840×2160) , respectively, you need to take a device that supports it. The fact that there are still few films in this format is the question of the next subject.
A little bit of theory… I’ll try to tell the layman.
For a modern user of the 20th century, at first it was SD – Standard Definition , for you these are rips in avi – 720×576 pixels, maximum. See for yourself, all avi releases have a maximum resolution of 720 horizontally, and no more than 576 vertically. The aspect ratio is usually 16:9., or 2.4:1 (2.35-2.37).
Then we come to HD – High Definition , here we mean both just HD (1280×720) and Full HD with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. This is exactly five times more pixels than in the case of SD, the aspect ratio is similar to SD, for example – BDRip 720p / 1080p.
And now we are getting acquainted with UHD – Ultra High-Definition or 4k – this is a picture consisting of more than 8 million pixels. The term 4K is used by Digital Cinema (DCI) and generally corresponds to 409 resolution.6/3840×2160 pixels. The aspect ratio is slightly larger than 17:9, and with the help of pixel cropping, it is reduced to a typical 21:9 for today’s devices. In everyday life, 4K is understood as all resolutions close to 4000 horizontal pixels.
It’s easy to calculate that the “standard of the past century”, Full HD, contains 4 times fewer pixels, and analog TV – 23 times, compared to UHD.
For example, put two TVs with the same screen size, one with Full HD 1080p, the other with 4k, and you will see the difference, even if you can’t see well). 1 pixel of information in 1080p is equal to 4 pixels in 4K. This explains such an impressive difference in color reproduction, contrast and sharpness.
The choice was made on the LG model of 1919, and so far I am satisfied (respect to LG for the chic “smart remote control”).
I haven’t figured out all the settings, there are a lot of them, unlike free time, but overall I’m satisfied. I assumed that 720p content on a 4k TV looks worse than 1080p, I didn’t think it was so , the lack of bitrate in the dynamics is clearly visible. The situation with WEB and WEB-DL is the same, if not worse, the slightest artifact shows through.
The verdict is simple – on a 4k TV, watch videos of at least 1080p , and this is already an established fact. Testing directly 4k (+4k HDR) – the content is still to be, everything is more complicated here, there are only a few really converted under 4096, and half of this is upscale (artificially increased resolution, roughly speaking, 720/1080p stretch under 4k / UHD).
Let’s see how the acquaintance with new technologies goes on =)
Reasons why I will not change my Full HD monitor to 4K in the coming years, but my TV will
This material was written by a site visitor and has been rewarded.
Monitors and TVs belong to the category of goods that are bought for many years and quality models can last 10 years or more. The reason for replacing them is usually the desire to buy a model with a larger diagonal, better image quality and support for new technologies. And sometimes – a banal failure, which happened in my case.
A Full HD monitor that has served me faithfully for several years has started randomly turning off for a couple of seconds and then turning back on. Attempts to fix it in service centers were unsuccessful – the repairmen ask for such an amount that it’s easier to add a little and buy a new monitor. What to use then the old one, after repair, expecting a new breakdown at any time.
As they say, trouble doesn’t come alone, and at the same time I have to look for a new TV. The cat bit him around the corner (thin frames are evil), damaging the matrix and leaving a black spot in the corner of the screen, in addition to a stripe that goes across the entire screen. The TV is also quite old, with Full HD resolution and it is almost impossible to find a new matrix to replace it. It remains only to buy a new one, and starting to choose a TV and monitor, I was very puzzled, what I would share with you in this blog.
The fact is that when buying a monitor and TV in 2021, the user has a question – is it time to abandon the Full HD resolution, which turned 14 years old in 2021?
The marketing name “Full HD” was first used by Sony in 2007 and it’s scary to buy a monitor and TV with this resolution in 2021, because you can find yourself in the situation of buying TVs and monitors with a resolution of 1366 × 768, which is outdated very quickly, and literally in a couple of years it was forced out of the market by displays with Full HD resolution.
The TV market is now seeing a similar displacement of Full HD resolution by Ultra HD 4K, which has 3840×2160 pixels. If you look at the range of TVs in any store, for example, in Citylink, we will see that even among TV models with an average diagonal of 40-43 inches from reputable brands: LG, Samsung, Sony and Xiaomi, only 10 Full HD models are sold and as many as 30 – Ultra HD 4K resolution.
Larger screen TVs will shift radically towards Ultra HD 4K models, there are simply no Full HD models anymore. And buying a TV with Full HD resolution in 2021 means dooming yourself in advance to the rapid obsolescence of a device that will be very difficult to sell on the secondary market.
Therefore, I am looking at TV models with Ultra HD 4K resolution and a decent diagonal, for example, Xiaomi Mi TV 4A 55 .
Here we need to make an important digression. The fact is that I am absolutely satisfied with the Full HD resolution both on the monitor and on the TV. And if on the monitor from a short distance I can still notice the difference in the Full HD and 4K picture, then on the TV from a distance of 2.5-3 meters I absolutely do not see it. And, as it turned out, not only I do not see the difference, but also the majority of users.
A study by Romir found that most viewers can’t tell the difference between real Ultra HD 4K content and Full HD content stretched to Ultra HD 4K. And if your vision is not perfect, there is a slight myopia and astigmatism, then the difference between these resolutions is practically not visible on the monitor, as in my case. But it should be borne in mind that you need to stay away from a monitor with a diagonal of 23.8-27 inches at a sufficient distance, at least at arm’s length. Otherwise, of course, you will see individual pixels, but you will noticeably increase the load on your eyesight.
And if everything is clear with TVs and the market is literally forcing us to switch to Ultra HD 4K resolution, even if you do not see the difference between it and the good old Full HD, then with monitors everything is much more complicated. Here, several more factors intervene, and if you look at the range of monitors in Citylink with a popular diagonal from 23 “to 26”, we will see that most of them have Full HD resolution and none – 4K.
And when choosing a replacement for my old monitor, I will again bet on Full HD resolution, and there are several pretty good reasons for this. Firstly, as I said above, I am quite satisfied with the picture on a Full HD monitor and the pixel density on models from 23 to 27 inches.
Secondly, a larger diagonal model with 4K resolution will cost much more. For example, the most inexpensive 4K monitor with a diagonal of 27″ – LG UltraFine 27UL500-W , costs almost twice as much as the most inexpensive Full HD monitor with a diagonal of 27″ and comparable characteristics – LG 27MK430H-B .
Thirdly, many games, especially old ones, are not able to work properly in 4K resolution. They either do not have this permission at all, and if they do, then the fonts and interface details become so small that it is almost impossible to play them, and great harm is done to the eyes when trying to see small text. You can lower the resolution to Full HD, but then in games there is a high risk of noticing “soap” in the picture, which many users complain about.
Fourthly, video card manufacturers and the gaming industry, for many years, with each new generation of video cards promising us finally affordable 4K gaming, put gamers on a “pig” in the form of ray tracing technology.