Entertainment Technology Explained

How 4K TV Resolution Compares to 8K, 2K, UHD, 1440p, and 1080p

Dan Price 11-02-2019

If you’re shopping for a new TV, you’ll quickly encounter a bewildering maze of information. For someone who doesn’t spend all their time reading the latest news from the world of televisions, it can get confusing.


One of the most important things to consider is your new TV’s resolution. Should you buy 4K or one of the many alternatives? In this article, we explain how 4K resolution compares to 2K resolution, 8K resolution, and more.

What Is 8K Resolution?

Any display that is 8,000 pixels wide is called 8K. You will also see the format called 8K UHD, Full UHD, and FUHD.

8K displays are 7680×4320 pixels for a total of 33.2 megapixels. It has twice the linear resolution of 4K, four times that of 1080p, and six times that of 720p displays.

No consumer TVs offer 8K resolution, and that’s unlikely to change for a few years. Despite some concept designs at expos like CES, experts predict it will not arrive in TVs until 2023 at the earliest.

We are, however, slowly starting to see 8K video cameras creep into Hollywood Studios. 2017’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the first movie to be shot using an 8K camera.


One of the only TV networks in the world with 8K potential is Japan’s public broadcaster NHK. It offers one 8K channel. The network plans to broadcast the 2020 Olympics in 8K.

A sub-version of 8K resolution is called 8K Fulldome. It has a resolution of 8192×8192 (67.1 megapixels) and is only seen in fulldome theaters (such as planetariums).

Note: If you have a high-end digital camera, it probably exceeds 8K—for photos. It could have more than 50 megapixels.

What Is 5K Resolution?

The most common 5K configuration is 5120×2880 pixels. That’s a 33.3 percent upgrade over 4K, meaning it shares the same relationship as 720p and 1080p.


It’s unlikely that we’ll ever see 5K become commonplace on consumer televisions. The tech world appears to have settled on 4K for the next few years before 8K is viable enough for a widespread rollout.

But 5K resolution displays undoubtedly have a role to play. The ability to natively display 4K content while leaving some of the screen free is perfect for video editors. They can work on 4K video while keeping menus and toolbars open; they will not be forced to downscale their previews.

What Is 4K Resolution?

Right now, if you’re in the market for a top-of-the-range TV, the chances are that you’ll end up with a 4K model. Experts predict that at least half of U.S. homes will have a 4K TV by 2020.

4K refers to any screen resolution with roughly 4,000 horizontal pixels; thus several iterations of 4K resolution exist. They are not all the same.


For example, 4K resolution in the world of cinema uses 4096×2160 pixels (8,847,360 total) with an aspect ratio of 256:135. It is called DCI 4K.

In TV sets, the most common 4K resolution is 3840×2160. It uses 8,294,400 pixels in total and has a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Officially, 4K resolution is called UHDTV1 or 4K UHDTV. As you may know, UHD resolution stands for Ultra-High Definition resolution. Ultra-High Definition and 4K resolution are interchangeable terms. You may also see 4K referred to as 2160p.

More services and devices are starting to offer 4K. They include Netflix, Xbox One (S and X), PlayStation 4 Pro, and Prime Video. All matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup were broadcast in 4K. There are some great 4K videos on YouTube The Best 4K YouTube Videos to Watch on Your New TV or Monitor Here are the best 4K videos on YouTube you can watch on your new ultra high-definition television or monitor. Read More that you should check out.


What Is 2K Resolution?

2K resolution screens never really became a “thing.” Officially, 2K resolution is a cinema term and refers to 2048×1080 pixel displays. Most projectors in movie theaters provide 2K displays.

Sometimes, 1080p screens are described as 2K resolution. Almost all literature on the topic agrees that this is not correct. Over time, however, it could become of those situations whereby usage of term dictates its meaning, especially as 1080p slips further back into the history books.

What Is 1440p Resolution?

You won’t find any 1440p resolution TVs; no networks or studios have ever created content in the format, thus rendering it pointless. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a standard format in other devices.

There is more than one 1440p resolution. It includes 3120x1440p, 2960x1440p, 2880x1440p, 2560x1440p, and most recently, 5120x1440p.

You will find 1440p in lots of smartphones (including recent Samsung and LG models) and gaming monitors. According to Steam, slightly less than five percent of its users are gaming on a 1440p screen.

There is significant debate over whether 1080p or 1440p is better for gamers. The general consensus appears to be that if your hardware can handle it, a 1440p screen will offer notable improvements without worrying about 4K compatibility.

What Is 1080p Resolution?

Also known as Full HD (FHD), 1080p screens have a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The format has a ratio of 16:9 and offers 2.1 megapixels.

The “p” in 1080p stands for progressive scan. In simple terms, it means frames are drawn in sequence on the screen. The opposite is interlaced video in which odd and even lines are drawn alternately. It was common in analog TVs.

1080p resolution is half of 4K resolution. It has four times fewer pixels. The resolution is 33.3 percent higher than 720p displays.

Today, it’s tough to find a modern TV that doesn’t support 1080p input via HDMI cable. Most computer screens can also support the resolution. It has been available on Netflix since 2013.

Learn More About Televisions

The five screen resolutions we’ve discussed are the ones you are most likely to come across in your day-to-day lives.

Just be aware that the list is not exhaustive; there are so many variations that it is impossible to cover them all in one article. And remember, you can let us know about your experiences with the different resolutions in the comments section.

If you would like to learn more about televisions and displays, check out our discussion of whether you really need HDR The Era of 4K TVs: Do You Really Need HDR? HDR is a key feature on all new TVs, but do you really need it? Is there enough HDR content to justify paying for the feature? Read More and our list of the best 4K gaming monitors The Best 4K Gaming Monitors for All Budgets If you want to game in 4K, you'll need a 4K gaming monitor. Here are the best 4K gaming monitors you can buy today! Read More .

Related topics: 4K, 8K.

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  1. Richard
    August 19, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Well here it is just 2019 (not 2023) and 8K is out.
    Sorry you missed it!!

  2. NuNYaBiZiNeSS
    March 15, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    It makes no sense to strip a product of such features just to reach a price point but marketing agendas have been laid out to make people jump when they see a large 4K Smart TV with APPS being sold for under $300. But the 4K you get on these cheaper TVs is not the same 4K you get with the ones costing 3 or 4 times more.

    I haven't bought a 4K TV yet because the platform isn't even fully supported to where it can by fully utilized. At least not efficiently. And just as we are finally seeing some progress for the effiecient use of 4K, the marketing agendas are already trying to lure us into foolish notions like 8K.
    All TVs seem to be boasting 4K . But what happened to 2K? The TV marketing agenda completely bypassed 2K TVs. With current hardware capabilities in mainstream markets, we have more reasons to justify 2K/1440p@120hz than 4K/2160p@60hz. The entire 4K platform has been nothing but piece meal and since the manufacturers don't want to commit to a standard we make our choices based on the HOPE that "Full Efficient 4K Support" will come to fruition. But with 8K already stepping on the shirt-tails of an incomplete 4K world, I'm not so sure anyone should bother with 4K. Since 4K is far from being a finished product, 8K should be the LAST thing on people's mind.
    All the iterations of 4K today rely on upscaling, downscaling, and motion rate processing, and just a bunch of things which further stresses hardware. Often times, this causes unpleasant results on screen.
    So 8K is only a thought. Just because a TV says it supports 8K it does not mean you will see it anytime soon. And 4K is not going to be worth anything until hardware starts to improve to give us more efficiency and support for a 4K platform properly and do it consistently. With streaming agendas about to push into the territory of local cable TV providers, the only 4K content over the net is from Netflix and even that's limited. Today, I would rather go with an HTPC with iron-clad support for an efficient 2K setup as a more viable option. At least I know all the hardware and software exists for an efficient setup for 1440p@120hz with Dolby Vision HDR, as well as Dolby ATMOS.
    2K should be the icing on the cake, for now. 4K is not out of the question but there still is work to be done for a setup that runs smoothly. But as of today, trying to go from 4K to 8K is like asking for seconds before finishing what's on your plate.

  3. THT
    February 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    You can buy a Samsung 8k TV in currys or amazon or any good av retailer, not sure how that's not consumer

    "No consumer TVs offer 8K resolution, and that’s unlikely to change for a few years. Despite some concept designs at expos like CES, experts predict it will not arrive in TVs until 2023 at the earliest."

  4. DemonReturns
    February 11, 2019 at 7:12 pm

    In what world are you living at saying that 8K TVs don’t exist.... you haven’t seen the TV released by Samsung last year and all the ones being released this year by LG, Sony and I think even TCL?

    • Todd Clay
      February 20, 2019 at 5:43 am

      More importantly what's the point?
      No network has the bandwidth to deliver it we don't even get HD what's the chance that we'll get 8k even if we can see it? And then there's the little problem of no one recording in 8k.
      Assuming we could get over the delivery problems how realistic is it that the internet providers really want to consume their cash in trying to create enough bandwidth because as soon as they do then we just go to 16k or holograms or whatever.

      I'd just be happy getting HD since I'm paying for it.