4K vs HD vs SD: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Resolution: 4K offers the highest resolution (3840 x 2160), followed by HD (1920 x 1080), and SD (720 x 480/576).
  2. Visual Quality: 4K provides exceptional clarity, rich colors, and fine details. HD offers a crisp and vibrant viewing experience. SD appears pixelated and less vibrant.
  3. Content Availability: 4K content is growing but may not be as widely available as HD. HD content is abundant, while SD content is gradually being phased out.

What is 4K?

4K video resolution is four times of standard high-definition resolution. The approximate resolution for a 4K is approximately 3840*720 and has a pixel count of 8 million and more. The more the pixel count, the sharp and clear image quality is experienced. It gives a high-end cinematic experience and is the most popular.

The 4K video resolution allows the user to experience much sharper image quality which is most noticeable on large screens. They are the most versatile option for displaying content.

What is HD?

HD video resolution is the term used for high-definition resolution. The approximate resolution is approximately 1920*1080 or 1280*720 and has a pixel count of 1-2 million pixels. The HD screen is best for medium-sized devices and is a common choice for movies, televisions, and video gaming.

The viewing quality of HD video resolution is good, and at the same time, the supporting content is widely available for streaming platforms, televisions, movie studios, etc. HD-resolution devices are much popular among customers.

What is SD?

SD video resolution is the term used for the standard definition. The approximate resolution is approximately 720*480 or 640*480, along with a pixel count of fewer than 1 million pixels. The resolution depends on the various device or displays. Earlier, it was the standard for video content, but now it is considered low-quality video resolution.

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The user’s viewing experience for an image is blurry and is much more noticeable on big screens. Now, the video content supporting the video resolution is not produced anymore.

Difference Between 4K and HD and SD

  1. The 4K video resolution is approximately 3840*2160; the HD video resolution is about 1920*1080 or 1280*720; the SD video resolution is about 720*480 or 640*480.
  2. The aspect ratio for the 4K video resolution is 17:9 or 16:9; for HD, the aspect ratio is about 16:9. Whereas the aspect ratio for the SD video resolution is 16:9 or 4:3. 
  3. The pixel count for the 4K video resolution is 8 million pixel count; for HD video resolution, the pixel count has 1-2 million, pixel count. In contrast, the pixel count for the SD video resolution is less than 1 million pixel count. 
  4. A 4K video resolution is best for large screens, about 100 inches or more; an HD video resolution is best for medium screen sizes, about 65 inches. At the same time, an SD video resolution is best for a small screen size of about 32 inches.
  5. The clarity of a 4K video resolution is unequivocal and sharp; for an HD video resolution, the clarity is good. In comparison, the clarity for SD video resolution is blurry. 
  6. The bitrate for 4K video resolution is up to 100 Mbps; for the HD video resolution, the bitrate is up to 10 Mbps; in contrast, the bitrate for the SD video resolution is up to 2 Mbps.
  7. The file size for a 4K video resolution is up to 100 GB, while for an HD video resolution, it is up to 8 GB, and at the same time, the file size for an SD video resolution is up to 700 MB.
  8. 4K video resolution gives a cinematic-like viewing experience, while an HD video resolution gives a good quality viewing experience. And at the same time, SD video resolution gives a low-quality video experience. 
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Comparison Between 4K and HD and SD

Parameter of Comparison4KHDSD
Resolution3840*21601920*1080 or 1280*720720*480 or 640*480
Aspect Ratio17:9 or 16:916:916:9 or 4:3
Pixel Count8 million pixel count1-2 million pixel countLess than 1 million pixel count
Screen SizeBest for large screens about 100 inches or moreBest for medium screen size about 65 inchesBest for small screens about 32 inches
ClarityClear and extremely sharp image qualitySharp image qualityBlurry image quality
BitrateUp to 100 Mbps10 Mbps2 Mbps
File SizeUp to 100 GBUp to 8 GBUp to 700 MB
Viewing ExperienceCinema-like viewing experienceGood qualityLow quality
References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7498935/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1047320317300494

Last Updated : 13 February, 2024

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