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Updated by Gabriel Coleman - Contact Author

A Simple Tutorial on How to Upscale 1080p to 4K

Owning a 4K displayer does not mean what you watch are all in 4K unless you have 4K channels, 4K Blu-ray player and 4K Blu-ray discs, premium plan of some media-services providers, etc. Simply put, you probably watch the same contents that you used to view with a just bigger picture.

As a fair number of contents distributed today, from broadcasting, streaming service to home-made movies, are in Full HD with the resolution of 1920x1080. Hence, it is necessary to upscale 1080p to 4K, otherwise, contents can look small screen on a 4K displayer.

What are 4K resolution and 1080p?

Before we go further, let's make it clear the terms of 4K resolution and 1080p. 4K resolution, also referred to 4K, means the horizontal display resolution of about 4096/3840 pixels and vertical resolution is around 2160 pixels. To be precise, the distribution, 4096X2160 and 3840X2160, is for household media and cinema industry respectively. By contrast, 1080p refers to a content with 1920X1080 pixels and progressive scanning.

Upscaled 4K vs Native 4K, is there any difference in terms of quality?

An upscaled 4K (from 1080p) video will, of course, look better than the one without upscaling (1080p) on a 4K TV, but a 1080p video can only approach its perfection on a 1080p TV. In theory, you would probably think if a video has a 4K resolution it will look perfect on a 4K TV, but this is not always the case.

The truth is that sometimes you can't even tell the difference between an upscaled 4K and a native 4K video on the same 4K TV merely by the sight of your eyes. Besides, it is worth noting that the upscaling quality very much depends on the sources. If the quality of the source is far too low (720p HDTV), it will never outpace the look of an ultra-high quality source (4K). Shortly speaking, an upscaled 4K will look better, but not astonishingly perfect.

How does 4K upconversion work?

Be it a display chip of a monitor or a television set, there are modules responsible for image scaling. For example, when a video in 1080p is played on a computer, the size and aspect ratio of the image will change as the player window changes. This is in relation to the graphics card and the image processing algorithms.

Displaying 1080p on a 4K displayer requires upsampling (interpolation), the opposite requires downsampling. Upsampling is the process of adding information, and reasonable upsampling can make the image look clearer; while downsampling is the process of reducing information. Both of them are sample-rate conversions, and improper conversion can cause interference to images. In other words, upscaling is like the job of artwork restorer, adding the missing elements and polishing the details.

However, not all the chips are qualified. Qualified and intelligent one is capable of enchancing colour, contrast, brightness and more; while the chip with poor quality can deliver sub-par image with artifacts, or even worse. If these happened, employing video processing software to do the upscaling things can be a wise choice. In the following part, the passage will share you more. Please keep reading.

Strapped for time? Click one of the links below to jump straight to your most interested part.

Part 1: How to Upscale 1080p to 4K with Video Processing Software?

When it comes to 4K upconversion software, VideoProc is strongly recommended. Because of its unique motion-adaptive pixel scaling algorithm, which is capable of putting new interpolated pixels calculated by the nearest sample points and controls the degree of diffusion/sharpening based on the input image.

Besides, it is known that video conversion tends to go with processing large amounts of digital parameters. Thus, the process requires a long response time and that is frustrating.

Its hardware acceleration technology allows the converting process to be achieved faster by deploying GPU as far as possible to improve computational performance.

Furthermore, you are allowed to adjust video parameters by yourself, which can ensure quality loss as little as possible. In addition to upscale 1080p to 4K, you are allowed to extra things like editing, codec converting, and screen recording.

The following is telling how to upscale 1080p to 4K with VideoProc in four steps.

Step 1: Free download VideoProc on your Windows or Mac

Download and install VideoProc on your PC (VideoProc for Windows ) or Mac ( VideoProc for Mac ), and you are free to go.

Step 2: Import a 1080p content

Launch VideoProc and move to the video processing interface. Click the "+Video" to import the video(s) you want to upscale, or drag files to the blank space directly.

Step 3: Select 4K as output profile

Move to the toolbox on the bottom of the window and select 4K@MP4 video as the target output file. If you want to adjust the advanced parameter, such as video codecs, frame rate, aspect ratio and more, by your own, select the wheel-shaped icon named "Option" and move into the interface.

Step 4: Hit "Run" to generate a 4K video

Return to the main interface and hit "Run". Speeded by hardware acceleration, projects can be achieved faster than usual video processing software.

Transfer 1080P to 4K

Part 2: Tips about Upconversion

Real-time video upscaling is capable of changing the video resolution in milliseconds. Such as set-top boxes, television, and DVD players, they employ real-time upscaling but the output signal is not saved. Given that the video signal is processed in such a short time, so don't expect miracles to quality. Virtually, the output video made by real-time upscaler is inclined to suffer from blurriness, noise, artifacts.

Accessory upscaler. If you have some classic systems such as VCR player, old game consoles that do not have the HDMI output jacks, but you want to display them on a large 4K screen. Accessory upscaler can help you connect AV and HDMI together, and playback will be available.

AI upscaling is a game-changing and stunning conversion technology initially rolled out by Samsung at CES 2018, which can harness machine learning to convert lower resolution contents to 4K or 8K resolution.

Additionally, it brings a few intelligent technologies that can deliver a boost in frame quality, like Detail Creation, Noise Reduction and Edge Restoration. While the television developer has focused on joining all new technologies, from AI and Quantum Dot to large screen, into high-end products. Therefore, the most significant influence of the product lies in its price tag.

AI upscaler


Free Download VideoProc to Upscale 1080p to 4K!


Gabriel Coleman

Gabriel is a technical editor with several years of writing experience. Gabriel covers video processing, post-production, hardware, Windows, Apple's Macs, iPhones, iPads, and all kinds of technology topics. He loves collecting cool gadgets and trying new things like virtual reality, drones, 8K TVs and the latest 4K games. He also has interests in reading, photography, climbing, scuba diving, and tennis.

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