Digital Signage Resources

To Help You Make a More Informed Decision

Screen resolutions and why it’s important (720p vs 1080p vs 4k)

The resolution of the screen you purchase is very important because it determines the cost of the LCD unit and also the quality of the image displayed. You don’t want to be paying for a higher resolution screen but end up using the unit at a lower resolution because the software or the media player you have selected does not support the resolution. In some cases you just don’t need a high resolution screen.

Higher resolution screens allow more information to be displayed on the screen. In the case of images and video, we see this as a better quality image or video. However, most people probably won’t notice a big difference between a 720p image and a 1080p image. However, when displaying text, there is a huge difference. Not only does the text look much cleaner and easier to read on a 1080p screen, there is also more room to pack in more text. Keep in mind the smaller the text the closer the audience need to be to read it. That is, 720p screen for a person standing 25 feet from the screen is pretty much the same as a 4k screen because the fine details is not visible at that range.

Screen resolution also affects performance. The higher the resolution, the more powerful your media player needs to be to display content at the higher resolution. A media player capable of displaying full motion video at 4k resolution will certainly be able to play content at 720p but a 720p rated media player may not be able to handle 4k resolutions.

Most screens will allow display of multiple resolution formats. For example, you can set a 1080p screen to display 720p content. Some 720p display units will allow for 1080p signal to be displayed but it is not true 1080p. This is often the case with projectors that claim 1080p but not a true 1080p projector. What you want to find out is the “native resolution” of the display unit. The native resolution will determine the display unit’s true display resolution capabilities.

Main thing to realize about screen resolution is that you should understand the difference between the available resolutions at the time you are making your purchase by viewing some sample content you want to display. Then pick the lowest cost option that meets your requirements.