What is the Difference Between 1080p and 1080i

We often see these 1080p and 1080i specs in HD media contents as well as HDTV displays, but we don’t fully understand their differences.

Let’s study each specs to know their similarities and to know what is the difference between 1080p and 1080i. Learn how these information can help you make better choices when buying your next HDTV or AV Receivers.

What is the Difference Between 1080p and 1080i?

Ok let’s breakdown each terminologies to better understand them.

Both 1080p and 1080i are what we called HDTV video resolutions. It means a height of 1080 pixels from top to bottom of your screen, and width of 1920 pixels from left to right of your screen. It’s aspect ratio is 16:9 widescreen with a total of 2.1 Megapixels Full HD resolution.

  • The subscript ‘p’ in 1080p stands for progressive video scanning. It is frame-based and expressed in frames per second.
  • While, subscript ‘i’ in 1080i stands for interlaced video scanning. It is field-based and expressed in fields per second. A field will contain only half of the total horizontal lines at any given instance. It is either all odd horizontal lines or all even horizontal lines.
Progressive Scanning
Progressive
Interlaced Scanning
Interlaced

What Does It Mean?

Let’s talk about frequencies that determine how fast a frame or field is displayed per second.

  • 1080p uses frames per second. For countries who use PAL TV uses 25 frames per second. While, NTSC TV uses 30/1.001 frames per second. And lastly, cinematography uses 24 frames per second. Imagine that in 1 second you take a total of 25 pictures with full frame, and then storing them into a bitmap. Each pictures that you take will contain a unique instant of that moment.
  • 1080i uses fields per second. Television with PAL standards use 50 fields per second, while NTSC has 60/1.001 fields per second. Now, imagine in this exercise that you took 50 pictures in 1 second, but you store only half of the picture for each instants. Sometimes, odd lines or even lines.

1080p Video Resolution Problems

  • It's frame rate is half as slow as field rate
  • Video motion is relatively less fluid than 1080i
  • A FHD movie in huge Flat TVs will show jerky motion pictures.
  • Deinterlacing artifacts can be seen in large format Televisions.
  • Not applicable for Live TV broadcasting or any fast motion shows.

1080i Video Resolution Problems

  • Videos cannot be naturally resized, rotated, or scaled.
  • You cannot easily slow or speed-up, pause, capture a still picture, or do a reverse mode.
  • Difficulties during video encoding due to the fact that codec was never working on full frame rate.

What is the Best Compromise?

Ideally, you want to achieve a the best video resolution even at a fast-paced motion picture without reducing its quality and not having the headaches for video editing, right?

Answer: 720p resolution

It is 2x faster than the 1080p, so it delivers fluid videos. But, the resolution is 1280 x 720 (instead of 1920 x 1080).

Also it is progressive scanning, so it takes the full frame still picture that allows you to easily edit your videos such as scale, rotate, or slow motion.

Recommendation

There is really no clear winner among the differences between 1080p and 1080i, but it depends upon your necessities.

  1. Should you need it for High-Definition TV, then 1080i is more appropriate.
  2. Will you need it for Standard-Definition TV, perhaps use 720p and then convert it into 480i or  576i.
  3. Do you care more about the quality of your image resolution rather than fluid motion video, then 1080p is the best choice for your.
  4. Lastly, do you care for both resolution as well as fluid motion pictures such as videos taken with outdoor security cameras, then definitely it will be 720p.

Do you have any experiences to share about the difference between 1080p and 1080i? Leave a comment in the section below.

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