TV Resolution Explained

Following on from our recent TV Size Guide and QLED/OLED/Mini-LED Explainer, today we’re going to talk about TV resolution. Strap in lads, it’s about to get techy.

What is resolution?

Resolution refers to the number of pixels which make up the picture on a TV, and is commonly one of the things the sales person will talk about when trying to sell you a TV. Pixels are tiny little dots that together blend to make the image on the TV screen, and more pixels mean a sharper picture and finer details. This is why it’s worthwhile to understand the basic range of resolutions you might encounter on your search for the perfect TV, so you aren’t as easily dazzled by sales theatre as I am.

720p and 1080p (HD and FHD)

A 720p resolution TV has 1280 columns and 720 rows of pixels, which is why it’s called 720p. This is the minimum resolution that can be called “high definition”. A 1080p resolution TV has more than twice as many pixels as a 720p TV screen, and for a while now has been the industry standard for high definition displays and most TV content has been created and distributed in 1080p.

With the emergence of new technology HD and FHD TVs are usually found in smaller sizes like 24” and 32”, for use where you’d prefer a smaller TV like kitchens, caravans or a child’s room. FHD is also available in 43” to 49” sizes, ideal for entry level TVs used primarily for gaming. They can also be suited where budget or size constraints are your main concerns when buying a TV.

4K (UHD or Ultra High Definition)

4K UHD TVs contain four times the pixels of the 1080p FHD TVs, and nine times the pixels of the 720p TVs. The pixels on a 4K TV are much smaller so more of them fit in TVs of the same size, meaning the picture quality of a 4K TV will be more vivid and detailed than the lower resolution TVs. If you’re looking to upgrade your TV we definitely recommend going with an UHD TV, because technology is moving on from the 720p and 1080p resolutions and 4K is now the new normal.

Generally you’ll find 4K resolution on TVs with bigger screen sizes simply because the difference in resolution is more obvious in big screen TVs, if you’re concerned about the size of your room it’s worthwhile to note that because the pixels are so tiny in a 4K TV you can’t really see them up close so you can comfortably sit closer to the screen. If you’re having trouble choosing a size you can check out my TV size guide blog here (spoiler alert: go big).

More and more content is being developed in 4K resolution on most streaming platforms (even YouTube), and 4K TVs can also come in other different tech such as LED LCD, QLED, NanoCell, Mini LED and OLED - I’ve got more info on those for you here.


Using the same logic as 4K, 8K TVs contain four times the pixels of a 4K TV, meaning the actors on TV might as well be in your living room the picture is so sharp. This is super new technology and comes with a new technology price tag, so if you’re an early adopter 8K is for you. 8K TV pixels are so small you can’t see them up close, creating a more sophisticated and realistic image than ever before.

Because they’re so new there’s very little content developed and distributed in 8K resolution, however all 8K TVs will come with upscaling technology. On other high definition screens, playing low definition content results in a pixelated or blurry image. Upscaling technology transforms content originally presented in FHD and UHD resolutions to near-8K resolution, meaning you can still enjoy your favourite shows on your top of the range TV.

At this stage 8K is available in top range or premium models for most major brands so if you’re after the best TVs that are currently available then you can’t go past 8K.

an image of TVs cascaded on an angle to show the different resolutions

In summary

If you were looking to upgrade your current TV then we definitely recommend 4K resolution because it’s the industry standard resolution for technology and content alike and suits the vast majority of applications and uses. Like all major purchases weigh up your budget constraints and what you’re using it for first, then come in store and check out our displays and chat to our experts.

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