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1080P, 720P, 480P Or 4K? How to Understand & Select for Video Making?

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Last Updated: May. 20, 2020

Forewords: What are 480P, 720P, 1080P, 4K, HD, Full HD and Ultra HD? How to understand these terms? What's the best choice to make/output your video? Read the answers now!

Tips: Need to create a custom video but lack design experience? Try FlexClip.com for free now!

Part 1: What Are 480P, 720P, 1080P and 4K for Video? What's HD, Full HD and Ultra HD?

To find out what a 480P video is, just open a random standard YouTube video using a smartphone - The streaming video you are watching is a 480P source video. (According to YouTube it's defaulting video quality to 480P on cellular networks.)

Check video quality in 480P, 720P and 1080P in YouTube.

Image: Check video quality in 480P, 720P and 1080P in YouTube.

Or you can find yourself a 1080p+ display monitor, visit YouTube, and adjust the quality of a random streaming video by [Settings] > [Quality] > 480p, 720p or 1080p.

480P quality VS 720P quality VS 1080P quality.

Image: 480P quality VS 720P quality VS 1080P quality.

1.1: What Do These Resolutions Mean? What's The Difference?

When we talk about 480P, 720P, 1080P and 4K for videos, they are all video display resolutions, or you can understand them as video quality.

  • 480P → 480P(SD), known as the standard definition, stands for 640 px * 480 px video/image resolution with an aspect ratio of 4:3. (Exclusively in YouTube, 480P is 854 px * 480 px.) In general, 480P contains 307200 pixels for graphics information.
  • 720P → 720P(HD) is short for 1280 px * 720 px res, which is the minimal requirement for HD, having 921600 pixels in total.
  • 1080P → 1080P(Full HD) has a resolution of 1920 px *1080 px, and it's the cap of HD res. 1080P is also called Full HD or Blu-Ray that has 2073600 pixels.
  • 4K → 4K(Ultra HD), goes with 3840 px * 2160 px resolution. It includes 8294400 pixels for graphic info.

Shortly, an equation explains them all:

4K = 4 * 1080P = 9 * 720P = 27 * 480P

Technically speaking, all of these video quality/resolution are enhanced definition digital TV formats, with "P" standing for progressive scan (non-interlaced) of horizontal lines. Confused? No worry, the illustration picture below is much easier to understand:

Video Display Resolution - Find differences among 480P, 720P, 1080P and 4K videos.

Image: Video Display Resolution - Find differences among 480P, 720P, 1080P and 4K videos.

For a fixed-size picture, more pixels are used to store useful image information (clarity, color, and detail), crisper picture will be.

Besides refering to video resolutions, "480P", "720P", "1080P", "4K" are also used to label monitors and consumer digital devices. But there is a difference.

1.2: Video Resolution VS Hardware Screen Resolution

When downloading a video online or buying DVDs, you see labels of 480P, 720P, 1080P and 4K. They are all video resolutions. - Information Resolution

However, "480P", "720P", "1080P", "4K", "HD", "Full HD" and "Ultra HD" that printed on various specifications for digital displays, (like smartphone, tablet, TV, laptop, desktop monitor, etc,) are consumer device resolutions (a.k.a, hardware screen resolutions). - Device Resolution

1.3: Hot Q&As Related to "480P", "720P", "1080P" and "4K"

    Q1: How to understand 4K video and 4K monitor easily?

  • →A1: Use a metaphor to understand them. A 4K monitor is something like an ice-cream machine, it alone can't give you an ice-cream (a 4K visual experience), since you lack ice-cream materials (4K video contents).
  • Q2: How to play a 4K video to the fullest?

  • →A2: Only 4K+ digital displays can render all of 4K contents. If you want to enjoy the best performance of a 4K video, grab a 4K device.
  • Q3: Can I play a low-resolution video using a high-resolution device? For example, can I play 1080P/720P video on a 4K TV?

  • →A3: Yes. 1080P video can be rendered well & effortlessly on any 1080P+ screens.
  • Q4: Is it possibile to play a high-resolution video with a low-resolution device? Such as, can you watch a 4K video on a 1080P TV?

  • →Q4: Yes! If you use a 1080P TV to play a 4K video, you may find 4K video usually looks sharper than regular 1080P video. It'll happen only when your 1080p TV has no trouble in streaming it (with advanced configuration in CPU, RAM) and compressing the 4K video to render a 1080P video.
  • Q4: Is it possibile to play a high-resolution video with a low-resolution device? Such as, can you watch a 4K video on a 1080P TV?

  • →Q4: Yes! If you use a 1080P TV to play a 4K video, you may find 4K video usually looks sharper than regular 1080P video. It'll happen only when your 1080p TV has no trouble in streaming it (with advanced configuration in CPU, RAM) and compressing the 4K video to render a 1080P video.
  • Q5:Among 480P, 720P, 1080P, 4K, what's the best video quality to make for YouTube?

  • →Q5: 1080P. We see some YouTubers upload 4K videos to their channels, but 4K videos are not YouTube's mainstream. Because 4K videos take more bandwidths to load, and it needs 4K monitor to play original 4K video.

Part 2: How to Render Different Resolution Video for Use? How to Render 480P, 720P and 1080P Video for Free?

2.1.Convert Your Video to a 480P/720P/1080P Video Freely:

FlexClip Free Online Video Converter: https://www.flexclip.com/tools/convert-video/

Just to upload your video, select a resolution from 360P, 480P, 720P and 1080P, and start conversion of video resolution for free.

Convert video resolution for free.

Image: Convert video resolution for free.

2.2.Make a Video in 480P/720P/1080P/4K:

For those who look for a direct approach to make a video in 480P, 720P and 1080P quality, you can try FlexClip, an easy online video maker.

FlexClip doesn't restrict the quality of video uploaded. You'll have many flexible options to customize a MP4 video (output file is 30fps MP4). It takes minutes to finish video editing.

  1. Click [Make a Free Video], select [+ Start From Scratch], and pick a video ratio to start.
  2. Hit [+ Storyboard] > [Add Local Media], and add all videos.
  3. Edit your video with the help of millions of videos, clips and music.
  4. Preview and download your video to 480P/720P/1080P.
Free make a video in 480P, 720P and 1080P.

Image: Free make a video in 480P, 720P and 1080P.

Related Tip: How to Shoot, Film An Excellent Video Correctly?

Part 3: The Best Strategy to Choose a Resolution for Video Creation? 480P, 720P, 1080P, Or 4K?

  • Q1: What's the best resolution to make a video on YouTube, Hulu, and Vimeo?
  • Answer 1: Shooting videos in 4K is OK. With 4K shooting, you have more details and options to choose and edit. While, allowing for uploading videos to these streaming platforms, your optimal choice might be 1080P, which is faster to play, upload, and better to release buffer.

Related Tip: How to Make An Effective Youtube Intro?

  • Q2: What's the best resolution to make a video for smartphones?
  • Answer 2: Nowadays, loads of brand-new Android smartphones connect a display at 1440 px * 2560 px, and iPhone series are seen with a screen of 750 px * 1334 px or higher. That makes 720P content a wise idea for making a video for mobile devices.
  • Q3: What's the best resolution to make a video for tablet?
  • Answer 3: The resolution for tablet ranges from 1920 px * 1200 px to 2736 px * 1824 px, which rules out 4K contents and makes 1080P an available choice.
  • Q4: What's the best resolution to make a video burning into a DVD or Blu-Ray?
  • Answer 4: DVD-R records 720P videos. Blu-Ray disc is recommended for recording large 1080P videos. Both of them are not for 4K.

Part 4: Wrap It Up

Although 4K video is cutting-edge technology, it doesn't make it universal, accessible or viewable for all audiences.

So far, only 4K cameras can record 4K videos, and only 4K and 4K above TVs are capable of playing 4K videos to the fullest. That makes real 4K videos unavailable on a large scale.

On the contrary, 1080P videos with advantages of high quality and small size, dominate streaming world.

Lastly, how to make a video in 1080P, 720P or 480P within mouse clicks? Don't forget FlexClip.com – your free video maker online.

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