Projector 1080p vs. 720p – Which is Better?

It has been a long time since projectors came around. It was in 1895 when Woodville Lathan, along with sons Otway and Gray, invented the first projector. From then on, this invaluable invention further developed. Even to this day, people use projectors in schools and universities, gaming, and even home theatres.

You are probably one of the many people thinking of buying a projector. The problem is you are confused on what to get. After all, there are different resolutions for you to choose from, with 720p and 1080p being the most popular. On that note, let’s try to compare the projector 1080p vs. 720p and see which one is a better choice.

See more: Projector Resolution Explained (Clear, Detailed Images)

Projector 1080p vs 720p – The Differences

It will be easier to choose between 1080p and 720p if you know their differences and what you want for a projector. Do you want larger projector screens? Do you want it to be able to cast better images? What do you want to use it for – playing video games or watching movies?

Your answers to these will help you determine which projector to purchase.

The Letter ‘P’

Before comparing  720p vs. 1080p projectors, let’s start with determining what the ‘p’ in the numbers mean. The ‘p’ does not stand for pixels, but the word ‘progressive.’ Remember when we used to watch movies on CRT or Cathode Rady Tube televisions? Projectors and monitors have gone a long way since then.

CRT emits electrons – that’s how it works. Now, these electrons hit the screen, producing light. Together, these lights create the image you see on the TV or monitor. In this type of monitor, the electrons hit the screen from top to bottom. The problem is the top part is already fading by the time images appear at the bottom part.

The solution manufacturers came up with is a technique called “interlacing.” With this, the monitor refreshes just half of the lines of electrons every cycle. But this did not resolve the problem since it resulted instead to image distortion. Over the years, a new technique came up called “progressive” scanning.

Screens with 720p or 1080p resolution use progressive scanning. With this, the lines appear on the screens sequentially. In this order, the projector shows a more detailed image. It is why 720p and 1080p monitors have better image quality than others, especially CRT TVs.

Number of Pixels

When you compare the projector 720p vs. 1080p the biggest difference is in the numbers before the letter ‘p.’ They stand for the horizontal pixels, which means that a 1080p projector has 1080 horizontal lines and 1920 vertical lines. It means the screen has 2073600 pixels overall.

For a 720p projector, that’s 720 horizontal lines and 1270 vertical lines, which equals to 921600 pixels. Between the two, 1080p has 2.25 times more pixels than that of a 720p projector. But what do these pixels mean? The more the pixels a screen has, the clearer and the higher-quality the image becomes.

Pixels are a display device’s smallest building units. Every image in a screen consists of many pixels forming it together. Only when you combine the pixels will you be able to see an image, which is why the more of them, the better. With that, you will know that a projector with 1080p resolution is obviously better in terms of picture quality.

10 What to Look for in a Projector
Looking for in a Projector – Image source by jack smit

Projector 1080p vs 720p – The Similarities

Both projectors are progressively scanned resolutions. It means the lines are all in one frame, making them both excellent HD resolutions. 1080p and 720p both give beautiful images, but 1080p has sharper, brighter, and more detailed images. It no doubt has better image quality, but the difference is not that big.

Seating Distance and Screen Size

The difference between 1080p and 720p is minimal. You will not see any variance between the resolutions, especially if your screen is smaller than 50 inches, and you sit far. It’s because you only see a change in on the screen based on the pixels per inch, not the total number of pixels.

Larger screens have larger pixels, which means how far you sit from the screen affects how you see it. On that note, you will need a 1080p projector if your screen is larger, and the viewers will be less than 10 feet away. Smaller screens and further seats mean the resolution – whether 720p or 1080p – does not really matter.

What Will You Use It For?

Besides the screen size and seating distance, there are other factors you want to consider. You may prefer one resolution over the other, depending on how you feel about these factors.

HDTV and Streaming

There are two resolutions most cable and HDTV broadcasters provide – 720p and 1080i.  Some do use 1080p, but it’s not common. If you project them using a projector, there is a possibility of losing resolution, particularly with a 1080p projector.

Streaming services send out plenty of resolutions, including 720p and 1080p. Of course, the higher the resolution is, the more expensive it is. In streaming and HDTV, 720p resolution can scale the 1080p and 1080i outputs to its pixel density.

However, it’s only a slight difference. You may not even notice it, so most people simply choose 720p, especially if money is an issue. 1080p, 1080i, and 4k are all expensive, which may just be a waste when there’s a barely noticeable difference.

DVDs and Blu-Ray

Regular DVDs have 480p resolution. HD DVDs, on the other hand, use 720p. Depending on the projector you have, you can rescale the DVDs into 720p or 1080p. But just like with HDTV and streaming, there is hardly any discernible difference.

With Blu-Ray, it is a bit different. It is often always 1080p, which means it will have a better picture if you use a 1080p projector. The image is clearer and brighter, giving you a much better experience watching your movies and TV shows.

Gaming

The resolution often used in gaming is 1080p, as it allows a fantastic gaming experience. Older systems have 720p resolution. However, you should use a 1080p projector if you want to project your games since they give the best quality projection.

If you’re still unsure, here’s a video in Youtube to help you.

Conclusion

If you are still debating – 1080p vs. 720p projectors– the former is the better choice for gaming and home theater. But if you only need a projector to get the job done and you have a limited budget, then the 720p is good enough.

References:

  1. 720p vs 1080p Projectors: Which is Better?, Outdoormoviehq.com
  2. 720p vs 1080p Projectors: Which is Better for You?, com, April 12, 2020
James Core
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right projector.

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