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Posted by Gabriel Coleman - Contact Author

What Are the Differences between 1080i and 1080p?

When you are about to buy a new high-definition television, you must be confused about a question, "Should I choose 1080i or 1080p?" But many people still don't know exactly the difference between them. What is 1080i? And what is 1080p?

Now let's see what secrets behind them.

The Concepts of 1080i & 1080p

Generally both of the two are high definition formats. Here "1080" refers to the "There are 1080 horizontal scan lines in the vertical direction". While their difference lies in the scan type they use. Here "1080i" is the abbreviation of "1080 interlaced scan" and "1080p" stands for "1080 progressive scan".


A progressive scan adopts the way of sequential scanning. It scans all lines one by one. (1080p offers the resolution of 1920×1080.)

Progressive scanning


Whereas an interlaced scan is achieved by alternative scanning. It will first scan the odd rows and then the even rows. While all these happen so fast that you can hardly notice the change.

Interlaced scanning video
Interlaced scanning video

The Differences: 1080i vs. 1080p

1. The scanning ways are different.

As we have talked above, the scanning methods they adopt are different. 1080p adopts the way of progressive scanning, whereas 1080i adopts a way of interlaced scanning.

Scanning method contrast
Scanning method contrast

2. The high-definition degrees are different.

The fundamental difference between 1080i and 1080p is that 1080p is a progressive scan while 1080i is an interlaced scan. Every row appears on the screen at the same time in a progressive scan, so the pictures are usually much smoother and clearer. In fact, 1080p is the highest high-definition standard.

1080p has a higher quality
1080p has a higher quality

3. The application fields are different.

Honestly speaking, 1080p provides superior image quality when it comes to frequent image-changing. For one thing, 1080p can prevent the occurrence of a screen flicker or flash which may happen in 1080i. For another thing, 1080p appears to be sharper. Nowadays most 1080p videos are released on Blu-ray. Thus videos like sports, games, and videos with lots of motions are always in 1080p format. Also, videos like films that are demanding in smoothness and quality are often in 1080p.

Sport and film videos
Sport and film videos

Whereas 1080i is common in documentaries and some videos about animals. In the UK and the USA, some terrestrial TV is broadcast in 1080i.

Documentaries about animals
Documentaries about animals

4. The volume is different.

Does 1080i take up more space or 1080p? I believe all of you have already got the answer. We know that 1080p is the highest high-definition standard, so usually videos in 1080p are always large in volume. While videos in 1080i are smaller.

Tips: If you sense video files are large, see how to reduce their size.

Which is better? 1080i or 1080p?

Many people would ask "Which format is better? 1080i or 1080p?" Though there seem to be many differences between 1080i and 1080p, many of us can hardly tell their differences. And the clarity and smoothness are sometimes defined by the size of the TV and the distance you are away from the TV. In most cases, the differences are negligible. Besides, we may prefer different formats in different situations. So just choose one according to yourself.


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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