Published On: October 9, 2013

720p Video Resolution Explained

Published On: October 9, 2013
Last Updated on: August 7, 2023
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720p Video Resolution Explained

High definition begins with the 720p resolution mark. However, it is rare to see this resolution in large screen formats. It is better suited for smaller screens. But there are other issues concerning 720p

720p Video Resolution Explained

By Author: Natalia Videnov
Beginning her career in IT, Natalia Videnov discovered her love for home theater design at a young age that propelled her to pursue her passion. Today, she channels her expertise into her writing at Home Theater Review, sharing her knowledge and ideas with a broad audience.

Are you grappling with understanding what 720p resolution truly means?

This article will unravel the complexities of this high-definition video quality, comparing it with other resolutions and discussing its applications in everyday usage. Ready for an illuminating journey into the world of pixels?

Key Takeaways

  • 720p video resolution has a display format of 1280 x 720 pixels with an aspect ratio of 16: 9.
  • Compared to lower resolutions, like 480p, it provides sharper images with more detail and clarity.
  • It is widely used in streaming services, gaming, and content creation due to its balance between picture quality and bandwidth efficiency.

Understanding 720p Video Resolution

720p is the lowest resolution of HDTV used by some cable providers and broadcast networks. "720" refers to the 720 horizontal lines of resolution (also known as 720 pixels of vertical resolution), while the letter "p" stands for progressive scan.

Definition and Pixel Size

720p boasts a size of 1280 x 720 pixels. The number '720' designates the vertical height in pixels, while '1280' points to the horizontal width.

Together, they create an aspect ratio of 16:9 which delivers widescreen viewing. Video files with this resolution have more pixel density than lower resolution ones, making visuals crisp and clear on small screens, like tablets or laptops.

Thanks to its balance between file size and image quality, you'll find that this pixel size is widely compatible across various devices and platforms without compromising on picture clarity.

Aspect Ratio (16:9)

720p Resolution HD

The aspect ratio of 16:9 powers the structure of 720p resolution dimensions. This ratio keeps a balance in measurements, where the screen's width is almost twice its height. It provides an immersive viewing experience by filling up our field of vision more completely than older formats.

The popularity of this rectangular format can't be understated. We find it not only in 720p video format but also with other resolutions like 1080p and even 2160p. The widespread use of these resolutions across various devices implies that content creators continuously favor the 16:9 aspect ratio, enhancing viewer engagement and entertainment value extensively.

Comparison with Other Video Resolutions

720p resolution is often compared to other video resolutions such as 1080p and 1080i, but there are distinct differences in picture quality, content availability, creation, and gaming considerations.

Differences between 720p, 1080p, and 1080i

When understanding video resolution, it's important to compare the differences between popular formats: 720p, 1080p, and 1080i. Let's look at these three in detail:

FormatResolutionScanning MethodPicture Quality
720p1280x720 pixelsProgressiveGood, less detailed than 1080p but better consistency than 1080i
1080p1920x1080 pixelsProgressiveExcellent, highest detail and clarity, requires more bandwidth
1080i1920x1080 pixelsInterlacedGood, comparable detail to 1080p but can struggle with fast motion

Now that we compared basic features it's clear that 1080p offers the highest detail and clarity, it also requires more bandwidth. On the other hand, 720p is less detailed but provides better consistency. Meanwhile, 1080i provides similar quality in detail to 1080p, but can struggle with fast motion due to its interlaced scanning method.

Differences in Picture Quality

720p video resolution ensures a noticeable improvement in picture quality compared to lower resolutions like 480p. With its height of 720 pixels and aspect ratio of 16:9, 720p provides sharper images with more detail and clarity.

The higher pixel count means that the video contains greater visual information, resulting in a crisper and more vibrant viewing experience. When comparing picture quality between different resolutions such as 720p, 1080p, and 1080i, it becomes evident that the higher the resolution, the better the overall image quality, which is why 720p is not a great option for large screens.

However, it's important to note that choosing the right resolution depends on individual needs and considerations like aspect ratio preferences and specific usage requirements.

Content Availability and Creation

Due to editing and releasing videos on a daily basis, content creators need to consider the video resolution they are working with. While 720p is accepted for small web content, most videos nowadays use at least 1080p resolution.

This higher resolution provides a clearer and more detailed picture quality, which is important for professional productions or when watching on larger screens. Additionally, different video resolutions have different pixel sizes, affecting how the image appears on various devices.

So it's crucial to choose the appropriate resolution based on the intended audience and platform where the content will be viewed.

Gaming Considerations

720p Resolution Gaming

Gaming on a 720p resolution can be a decent option for those who are more concerned about smooth gameplay than extremely detailed graphics. While it may not provide the same level of visual clarity as higher resolutions like 1080p or 1440p, gaming at 720p allows for better frame rates and smoother performance, especially on older or less powerful hardware.

Moreover, many games are still optimized for this resolution, so you won't have to worry about compatibility issues. Keep in mind that texture quality plays an important role in gaming, so if you're someone who values intricate details and realistic visuals, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher resolution.

Applications and Usage of 720p Resolution

720p resolution is widely used in various applications and for different purposes. It's commonly found in streaming services, video games, and even some TV broadcasts. To learn more about its relevance and advantages, continue reading.

For example, you can find a wide range of content available in 720p resolution, as many streaming services play movies and TV shows in this format, making it easily accessible.

Video Editing in 720p Resolution

Furthermore, content creators have the option to shoot videos in 720p and upload them online. This resolution is also frequently used for uploading videos on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

With its popularity in the past and continued support from various platforms, there are still plenty of opportunities for content creation using 720p resolution.

On the same note, gamers that utilize 720p resolution can experience a high definition viewing area that enhances their gaming experience. Despite not showing as many details as higher resolutions, 720p still provides a solid gaming performance.

Considerations when Choosing Video Resolution

There are a few important factors to consider. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Purpose: Determine the purpose of the video content or gaming experience. Is it for personal use, professional work, or entertainment?
  • Display capabilities: Check the display device's maximum supported resolution. Ensure that it can handle the chosen resolution without compromising image quality.
  • Content availability: Consider the availability of content in different resolutions. Some platforms and streaming services may have limitations on certain resolutions.
  • Processing power: Take into account the processing capabilities of the device playing the video or game. Higher resolutions require more processing power, so ensure your device can handle it smoothly.
  • Bandwidth restrictions: If you plan on streaming content online, check your internet connection speed and any data caps that might affect the quality of higher resolution videos.
  • Cost: Higher resolutions often come with a higher price tag for devices and content production. Consider your budget before investing in equipment that supports higher resolutions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of 720p

The 720p video resolution has its advantages and disadvantages. These include:

  • Clear and detailed images for smaller screens: 720p resolution provides a good image quality for devices such as tablets and smartphones
  • Lower cost: Compared to higher resolutions like 1080p, 720p resolution is generally more affordable, making it a budget-friendly option for those on a tight budget.
  • Faster streaming: With its lower pixel count, streaming videos in 720p resolution requires less bandwidth, resulting in faster buffering times and smoother playback.
  • Better performance on older devices: Older devices may struggle to handle higher resolutions, but they can handle 720p with ease. This means that even if you have an older device, you can still enjoy high-quality videos without any lag or performance issues.
  • Limited picture quality: 720p resolution falls short when compared to higher resolutions like 1080p or 4K. If you're looking for the best possible picture quality, you may want to consider upgrading to a higher resolution.
  • Less immersive gaming experience: For gamers, 720p resolution may not provide the same level of visual detail and immersion as higher resolutions like 1080p or even 4K.
  • Content availability: While many platforms support streaming in 720p resolution, some newer content may only be available in higher resolutions like 1080p or 4K.

Future Prospects For 720p Technology

As technology continues to evolve, the future prospects for 720p technology are uncertain. As higher resolutions such as 1080p and 4K are becoming more popular, it is possible that 720p may become less relevant in the coming years.

However, there are still factors that could contribute to its ongoing use. For example, lower-end devices and older TVs may continue to support only up to 720p resolution, ensuring a demand for content at this level.

Ultimately, whether or not 720p remains a viable option will depend on the advancements in display technology and consumer preferences moving forward.

Conclusion: Is 720p Still Relevant in the Era of Higher Resolutions?

Understanding the concept and applications of 720p video resolution is essential in today's multimedia-driven world. Despite the availability of higher resolutions like 1080p and 4K, 720p still holds its relevance in various contexts such as content creation, gaming capabilities, and device compatibility.

With its smooth motion, 720p continues to be a solid option for those seeking a balance between visual appeal and bandwidth efficiency.


1. What Does 720p Video Resolution Mean?

720p video resolution refers to a high-definition (HD) format that contains 720 horizontal lines of pixel display, resulting in clear and detailed visuals.

2. Will a 720p Video Look Good on My Device?

It depends on your device. A 720p video will generally look good on smaller devices, including smartphones and tablets.

3. Can I Watch a 720p Video on a Non-HD TV?

Yes, you can still watch a 720p video on a non-HD TV; however, the visual quality may not be as sharp or vibrant compared to an HD TV.

4. Can I Upgrade From 720p to Higher Resolutions Like 1080p or 4K?

It depends on the capabilities of your device and the content you are accessing. Some devices support higher resolutions like 1080p or even 4K, allowing for an enhanced viewing experience if the content is available in those formats.

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