FHD vs UHD: what are the differences?

Know differences between Full HD, Ultra HD and 4K screen resolutions.

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When consumers buy a TV or home theater, consumers are bombarded with confusing terminology. Two of these terms are FHD and UHD. Both are important, but what do they mean?

This information applies to producer televisions including, for example, LG

, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TCL, and Vizio. Additional devices compatible with FHD and UHD are made by these and other manufacturers.

What is FHD

FHD stands for Full HD or Full High Definition and refers to a 1080p video resolution. This means that a 1080p TV is an FHD TV.

  • The 1,920 pixel columns are arranged on the screen from left to right, while the 1,080 pixels are arranged in rows or lines that go from top to bottom of the screen.
  • Each row of pixels is displayed progressively on the screen (each line following the other in numerical sequence). This is what "p" means in 1080p.
  • The total number of pixels on a screen is determined by multiplying the number of pixels up (1920) and down (1080), which is equivalent to 2,073,600 (about 2 megapixels).
  • FHD TVs can be made using Plasma, LCD (including LED / LCD and QLED ), OLED and DLP technologies. DLP and plasma TVs have been discontinued but are suitable for those who own or find a used one.

The term FHD is used to distinguish 1080p from other high definition (HD) resolutions, such as 720p and 1080i.

What is UHD

UHD stands for Ultra HD or Ultra High Definition, which is also commonly referred to as 4K.

  • UHD is not exactly 4K, but for consumer TVs and related devices, it is considered quite close. As a result, 4K, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition and UHD are often used interchangeably.
  • UHD is 3,840 x 2160 pixels. There are 3,840 columns (approximately 4K) arranged from left to right and 2,160 pixels arranged in rows from top to bottom of the screen, which is displayed progressively (2160p). The total number of pixels is 8,294,400 (about 8 megapixels).
  • UHD has four times the pixels (or twice as many columns and rows) as FHD (or 1080p). Four FHD images can adapt to the space of a UHD image. UHD resolution is twice FHD resolution.

4K is more precisely 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is slightly wider in horizontal but is the same in vertical. The total number of pixels is 8,847,360. This standard is used in commercial cinema.

  • UHD TVs mainly use LCD technologies (including LED / LCD and QLED ), OLED
  • Although UHD is resolution based, TV manufacturers have incorporated additional features into many TVs and UHD devices, such as HDR and a wide range of colors, not normally included with FHD TVs. These improvements have a greater visual impact on the viewer than just resolution. Some high-end UHD TVs that incorporate these additional features meet the Ultra HD Premium standards.

What you need to see FHD

To see the native 1080p resolution on an FHD TV, source and content devices are required that can provide 1080p resolution (FHD) signals such as:

  • Blu-ray Disc.
  • Select streaming content from services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, etc., supplied directly on a smart TV or via streaming media plug-ins.
  • Select the boxes via cable/satellite and the associated content.
  • Select digital cameras and camcorders that record images and videos with 1080p resolution.
  • Most game consoles.

Broadcast TV is not available in 1080p (FHD). Most stations broadcast in HD at 720p or 1080i.

Technically, 1080i and 1080p have the same resolution, but 1080i is displayed using rows of pixels displayed alternately rather than progressively. This means that only half of the resolution is transferred from one source to a TV simultaneously.

NON-HD RESOLUTION SOURCES (SD) INCLUDE:

  • A DVD player or a DVD recorder.
  • VHS video recorders.
  • Standard resolution analog and digital cameras.

A Full HD TV can display low-resolution signals through upscaling or video processing. Upscaling is not the same as true FHD but can provide a much better image than an unmagnified image. The quality of the upscaling varies according to the brand and TV model. Furthermore, if 1080p upscaling is performed by a source device, the FHD TV will detect it as a Full HD signal and will not perform further upscaling.

What you need to see UHD

With a UHD TV (4K or Ultra HD), not everything you see on the screen is necessarily in UHD. UHD TVs are compatible with the same sources as a FHD TV, but to take full advantage of UHD resolution, the best sources are:

  • Blu-ray Disc UHD : provides movies with native UHD resolution via a disc format. This requires the purchase of a new player and discs, but readers can still play DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
  • UHD via cable: Comcast provides UHD content directly, but the selection is very limited. There is a lack of UHD content on other cable services, with the exception of streaming rather than directly via cable.
  • UHD via satellite: available from Direct TV and Dish Network.
  • Streaming UHD : Netflix, Vudu, and Amazon Prime Video are some of the streaming services that offer 4K (UHD) content. These services are available on Roku, Amazon (Fire TV), Apple TV, Google Chromecast and selected Smart TV UHD streamers. An Internet speed of 15 to 25 Mbps is required for stable viewing.

While native UHD content is preferred, just like with FHD TVs, UHD TVs can raise SD and HD content at low resolution to better match UHD TV display resolution.

As of 2019, there are no publicly available UHD over-the-air TV broadcasts, although they are coming

Cables and connections for FHD and UHD

To get video signals from a source to an FHD or UHD TV there are wired and wireless connection options.

WIRED CONNECTIONS

HDMI : this is the standard wired connection for FHD and UHD source devices. Depending on the version or versions of HDMI a specific cable is compatible with determines the resolution and other features provided in combination with the source device and the TV. For UHD TVs use cables labeled "high speed". HDMI is found on all Blu-ray / Ultra HD Blu-ray players, most multimedia streamers, cable/satellite decoders, game consoles, and PCs and laptops.

Source devices with Display Port, DVI, VGA connections can be connected to the HDMI inputs of an FHD or UHD TV via adapters or adapter cables. It is very rare to find a TV with a DisplayPort connection, but you can find DVI and / or VGA connections on some older FHD and UHD TVs.

Composite video: Analog source devices, such as a VCR, DVD recorder, analog video camera or DVD player without HDMI output, can be connected to most FHD and UHD TVs using a composite video connection. The signals will be a standard resolution (480i). Composite video connections cannot transmit analog or digital HD video signals.

Component Video: this connection uses three RCA connectors with red, green and blue ends. Component video connections have been developed to transfer resolutions up to 1080p, but since they are analog in nature and subject to piracy, they were limited to standard resolution after 2011. On most FHD and UHD TVs, component video inputs can be combined with composite video inputs. This means that it is not possible to simultaneously connect a composite video and component source to most FHD and UHD TVs.

USB: many FHD and UHD TVs provide at least one USB port. Some TVs may include this only for service use, but most allow the reproduction of still images, videos, and audio files via plug-in flash units.

Some intelligent FHD and UHD televisions allow the connection of a USB keyboard and/or mouse as an alternative way to navigate the TV menu, such as entering password access and/or browsing the Web if the TV includes an embedded Web browser.

Ethernet: on FHD or UHD smart TV, another connection usually provided is Ethernet (aka LAN). This allows the integration of a smart FHD or UHD TV into a home network via a router, providing Internet access. From there you can install firmware updates and play audio, video and still image content stored on a PC or stream movies and TV programs from online services.

WIRELESS CONNECTIONS

Wi-Fi: most Smart FHD and UHD TVs offer integrated Wi-Fi. This performs the same function as an Ethernet cable, but since it is wireless it is more convenient if the TV is away from the router. However, Wi-Fi is not as stable as a physical connection, which can cause inconsistent results when streaming video content, especially 4K video content.

Screen Mirroring/Casting: another way to view content wirelessly on many smart FHD or UHD TVs is through Screen Mirroring or Casting from a compatible smartphone, tablet or PC. Depending on the mirroring/casting device, you may have access to FHD or UHD resolution in combination with compatible content.

Viewing distance TV FHD and UHD

Getting the most out of an FHD or UHD TV depends not only on the content sources, but also on the size of the screen and the distance you sit.

If you have a 55 or 65 inches UHD TV, you can sit as close as you can with an FHD TV of the same screen size and still enjoy a comfortable viewing experience. The reason is that the pixels are much smaller on a UHD TV than on an equivalent FHD TV. As a result, the distance at which UHD TV pixels become visible is much closer.

The following table outlines a range of suggested viewing distances for the most common dimensions of the diagonal screen TV (D).

OPTIMAL VIEWING DISTANCES FOR FHD AND UHD TVs
Diagonal screen size (D-inch)Screen width (inches)Viewing distance (feet)
4034.94.3 - 8.3
4337.54.6 - 9.0
5043.65.4 - 10.4
5547.95.9 - 11.5
6556.77.2 - 13.5
7565.28.10 - 15.6
8573.99.25 - 17.7

For FHD TVs, start with the highest number and bring the sitting position closer. For UHD TVs, start with the lowest number and move the seats backward, if necessary, for a more comfortable distance. At the point where you begin to see the pixels, or perhaps the hardness of the edge, you are too close.

Conclusion

Depending on your needs and desires, FHD (1080p) can offer a good visual experience, but UHD (4K) further enhances the experience, especially on larger screens. However, keep the following in mind:

  • Now it is rare to find an FHD TV with screen sizes greater than 49 inches or a UHD TV with screen sizes less than 40 inches. Make sure the size you choose is right for your viewing environment.
  • Make sure you have access to the most suitable content for viewing FHD or UHD (over the air, cable/satellite, streaming, Blu-ray, etc.).
  • Make sure that FHD or UHD TV provides the necessary connections for your other devices (antenna, disc player, multimedia streamer, game console, etc.).
  • Control FHD or UHD TVs and other devices for the features you want (refresh rate/motion processing, smart features, HDR, wide color gamut, light output, ease of use).
  • FHD and UHD televisions have a wide range of prices depending on the brand, model, screen size and features, from the hundreds low to the high thousands.

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