Full HD and 4K Displays: 4 Differences

What are the differences between Full HD and 4K displays? Simply put, a Full HD monitor is the one that provides 1080p image resolution and a 4K display is the one that will support 4K or 2160p resolution.

However, there is more to that when you want to know about the actual differences between Full HD display and 4K display, which is also known as UHD or Ultra High Definition monitor.

If only you know the differences in totality, it will be easier for you to make a right choice between the two, based on your needs.

KEY TAKEAWAYS                                                            

  • A Full HD display offers 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution but a 4K display offers 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, which is four times more pixels.
  • The images displayed on a 4K screen are much sharper than the images displayed on a Full HD screen.
  • The 4K displays are more expensive than the FHD displays as of now but it is expected to come down in a few years time.

The 4 Differences Between Full HD and 4K Displays

Differences Between Full HD and 4K Displays

1. Difference in Sharpness

One of the most significant differences between a 4K display and a Full HD display is in the sharpness of the image. This will make the images look real with more color, vibrancy and appeal.

On the other hand, the Full HD display will also produce better images but it will be not as good and sharp as that produced by a 4K display.

2. The Technical Differences

Full HD resolution is most common among TVs, video content and Blu-ray players.

The image is 1920 pixels and 1080 pixels in width and height respectively. This comes to 2.07 megapixels in total count. This is referred to as 1080i and 1080p as well.

The Ultra HD of 4K display, on the other hand, is also increasingly used now in TVs, video content and media players.

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It comes with a resolution of 3840 pixels wide and 2160 pixels high. The total count of pixels comes to 8.3 megapixels, which is four times that of a Full HD display.

3. Differences in Assortment

Full HD resolution is common for movies and TV series. You can even view a Full HD content on a Blu-ray disc by connecting the Blu-ray player to a Full HD display.

Even the DVDs are made HD Ready now with 720p resolution. You will need to use a digital decoder to view a large number of FHD channels on your TV. You can also watch Netflix movies and series or YouTube videos in 1080p.

Though small, as of now, the range of 4K or Ultra HD resolution is increasing. A lot of series, movies, and videos are now shot in Ultra HD.

You will only need a 4K display with a port that supports HDMI 2.0 to view these high-quality images.

However, you cannot watch television broadcasts now in Ultra HD because there aren’t many but the number will surely increase in a couple of years down the lane.

However, you can watch Netflix with a premium subscription and YouTube 4K videos by connecting the display with a modem and a cable rather than using your Wi-Fi.

4. Difference in History

There is also a significant difference in the history of these two terms. The term 4K is derived from the DCI or Digital Cinema Initiatives. According to this association of motion picture studios, a 4K content is that which has 4,096 by 2,160 pixels.

However, this standard is not limited to the resolution of the image only. In fact, it also defines the coding of a 4K content.

Ideally, a 4K content should be compressed by using JPEG 2000 to be considered as a DCI 4K stream. It should employ a 12-bit 4:4:4 color depth and have a bit rate of up to 250 Mbps.

On the other hand, Full HD or FHD, which is the lower grade of UHD, is the official term that denotes a 1,920 by 1,080 display resolution.

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Which is Better – Full HD or 4K Display?

UHD or 4K display simply quadruples the resolution of FHD from 1,920 by 1,080 to 3,840 by 2,160.

Therefore, it is easy to believe that a 4K display is much better than an FHD display. Yes, it is true by a significant extent but there is more to it.

When you visit a TV or monitor store, you may notice that almost every item available there is advertised as 4K, which is truly an Ultra High Definition monitor, no doubt.

Even then, there will be a stark difference in the resolution and aspect ratio of these panels, such as:

  • Some may have a resolution of 4,096 by 2,160 and an aspect ratio of 1.9:1, and
  • Most of them will have 3,840 by 2,160-pixel images with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

When it comes to choosing 4K between the two types of displays, there are different factors that you should consider. These include:

  • Storage capacity and equipment to accommodate it
  • Your need to future-proof your tasks
  • If you shoot high quality cinematic footage and want them to be evergreen and
  • The cost.

A 4K display will provide more details and clarity to the image as compared to a Full HD television. However, much will depend on the content.

If you have a 4K display, you may not be able to watch Netflix series like Daredevil or Man in High Castle.

You will also not be able to watch a few specific series on Amazon Prime or Hulu that also offer a few 4K video contents.

On the other hand, you can watch SD or Standard Definition video or DVDs on a 4K display. Check out 4k gaming pros and cons.

A good Full HD TV may be able to scale up an SD content to almost like a 4K content but the difference in the image will be hardly noticeable.

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Nevertheless, if you still want a definitive answer to your question, there are three good reasons to believe that a 4K display will prove to be better than a Full HD display. These are:

  • The 4K technology will provide resolving details and intricacy to the images thereby raising the video standard.
  • It will allow viewing the larger screen even from a close distance. This is because the details of the picture can be experienced even better when you sit close to the screen.
  • It will even allow scaling down a video content to 2K High Definition resolution which will enhance the video quality and make the images more noticeably detailed in comparison to a content recorded in actual 2K resolution.

All these means that, in the present situation, where 4K content is not available in plenty, there is no significant difference in the images that will sternly point at a 4K display as far better than a Full HD display.

If you really want to have a 4K display, wait for a couple of years, instead of rushing your buying decision.

Wrapping It up

The difference between Full HD and 4K displays is primarily in the resolution and sharpness of the image.

A 4K display provides four times more pixels and is therefore sharper and produces more vibrant images than a Full HD display.

While 4K displays are more expensive, their price is expected to come down in the future.

Full HD is more common for movies and TV series while 4K resolution is increasingly being used in TVs, video content, and media players.

When choosing between the two, factors to consider include storage capacity and equipment, future-proofing tasks, and cost.

About Puja Chatterjee

Puja ChatterjeePuja Chatterjee is a technical writer with extensive knowledge about computers. She graduated from BIMS. Her expertise includes technology writing and client relationship management gained through over 12 years of experience. Follow Her at Linkedin.