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720p vs. 1080p Projectors: What Are Differences?

720p vs. 1080p Projectors: What Are Differences?

The sleek, sharp images shown on large screens are made possible by projectors. If you’ve been to movie theaters, classrooms, conference rooms, places of worship, or auditoriums, then you’ve probably experienced the magnificence of projectors.

But not all projectors are the same. Sleek, sharp images reflect quality, and quality is largely dependent on the resolution. Speaking of resolutions, your choice of a projector would boil down to 720p or 1080p projector.

These resolutions are all good, but your choice would be primarily dependent on your need and the image quality you desire.

Don’t get confused — when it comes to a projector resolution, more is not better. And a 1080p projector does not necessarily equate to better image quality.

Here’s the thing; the 720p and the 1080p projector are all good — they are the best on the market!

To get the best value for your money, you’ve got to understand the basics and go for the right projector for your needs.

The primary difference between the 720p and 1080p projector lies in the number of pixels.

You can safely guess that the 1080p projector has 2.25 times more pixels than the 720p projector from the figures. Since the image quality is largely determined by pixels, it’s quite normal to assume that a high number of pixels reflects better image quality.

1080p resolution translates to 1920×1080 pixels, while 720p resolution translates to 1280×720 pixels.

But do more numbers of pixels reflect better image quality?

Well, it depends…

In theory, a 1080p projector produces better image quality than a 720p projector — after all, it has a high number of pixels. But that’s not always the case. Factors like distance come into play.

For a home theater, you won’t notice the difference between the 720p and 1080p projector. The image quality lies in the size of the screen and how far you are from the screen. For a 10 inches screen, there will be no noticeable difference. If you opt for larger screen sizes (22 inches to 25 inches), the difference will be noticed.

If you sit 12 to 15 feet from 40 inches to 50 inches screen, it would be hard to notice the difference in the resolution.

Direct Comparison

  720p 1080p
Number of pixels It has 720 horizontal lines and 1270 vertical lines, which equates to 921600 pixels It has 1080 horizontal lines and 1920 vertical lines, which equates to 2073600 pixels.
Screen size Ideal for 50″ screens or less It’s compatible with all screen sizes.
Seating distance Seating distance should be over 10 feet away. Seating distance can be less than 10 feet away.

Understanding the letter P

projector lights

The letter “P” is found both on 720p and 1080p projectors. Contrary to general ideas, it does not stand for pixels. “P” is used to represent progressive.

Before diving deep into what “P” represents, here is the background story.

Previous generations did not have the luxury of high-quality visuals. Movies were watched using Cathode Ray Tube televisions (CRT). The CRT emits electrons, which hit the screen to produce light.

Images that are seen on the screen (or monitor) are the results of light produced by the electrons. The working mechanism is straightforward — electrons hit the monitor from top to bottom.

When images appear at the bottom, the top part of the monitor has already faded. Such a situation poses lots of issues, and it led to the development of progressive scanning.

Nowadays, projectors with 720p or 1080p use progressive scanning. This model displays a more detailed image, and it produces a better, well-refined image than the CRT screens.


You can use projectors for DVDs and blu-ray. Regular DVDs are designed with 480p resolution, but you can rescale the devices to 720p or 1080p.

Blu-rays are quite different — they are designed with 1080p. Therefore, if you opt for a 1080p projector, you would have good quality images.

If you desire a great gaming experience, then you should opt for a 1080p projector.

FAQ questions

Is 720p good enough for the projector?

Lots of factors come into play here—first, the display screen size and the viewing distance.

If you’ve got a small-sized display screen of 50 inches or less and a viewing distance of more than 10ft, you would pretty much have a great time on your screen.

All in all, a 720p is good enough for a projector provided your setup is okay.

Are 720p and 1080p a big difference?

720p and 1080p projectors

There is no noticeable difference between the 720p (HD) and the 1080p (full HD) projectors.

Let’s face it, if you are like most folks, you merely desire a good time on the screen. However, if you pay close attention to detail, you would notice that the 1080p projector produces clearer, smoother images.

Also, two factors that come into play are the viewing distance and screen size. It’s almost always difficult to figure out the difference between 720p and 1080p on smaller screens. The larger the screen, the easier it is to notice a difference.

If you are at a distance of 10ft or more, it would be relatively difficult to notice a difference between the 720p and 1080p resolution.

Is 720p better than HD?

Technically, HD is a term used to describe lots of resolution formats like 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. It can also be used to refer to the 720p resolution.

Streaming platforms like YouTube do not consider 720p as HD. Well, it makes no difference — after all, there is no true definition of HD. HD is just a marketing term.

Clearly, 720p is the same as HD. But there is no noticeable difference if 720p is compared to 1080p (Full HD).

Can I play 1080p on 720p TV?

Theoretically, yes, but you will be watching a downscaled 1080p content on a 720p device. Playing 720p content on a 720p TV is ideal, but if you opt for a higher visual quality (1080p), it would be quite hard to notice a difference.

When you look closer, you would notice a difference. Scaling down from 1080p to 720p would lead to a quality increase.

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