What Is the Difference Between 1080i and 1080p?


Quick Answer

The difference between 1080i and 1080p is in how they update the picture on a high-definition television set. Each format receives the same number of pixels, but 1080i interlaces video, while 1080p draws images one line at a time. In order to display clear video, both rapidly refresh images.

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Full Answer

In order to produce an image on a television screen, 1080i displays the odd-numbered rows of pixels first and the even-numbered ones next, constantly refreshing the image at a playback rate of 60 frames per second. 1080p, progressive scan, draws the whole image one line at a time, also constantly updating the image at 60 frames per second. Both formats refresh video information so rapidly that the eye can’t detect the different scans except during rapid-motion sequences. Because the industry finds that 1080p handles sports and action better, it is called “full” or “true” HD.

Although there is still debate about whether 1080i or 1080p delivers the best video playback, according to CNET, the television industry agrees that 1080p delivers better video playback for most people. For people with exceptional eyesight, however, 1080i can be the better choice. Such viewers can often detect the difference between formats on televisions between 32 and 42 inches.

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