Some say Ultra HD 4K TVs are stupid, and they back up those claims with science-based assertions, claiming the human you can’t see the difference between Ultra HD and standard 1080P HD unless you’re nose is pressed against the screen. But on the other side of the divide, some are saying they’ve looked at Ultra HD content on Ultra HD TVs and swear the difference is readily apparent. So, who’s got it right?

To find out, we decided to set up an informal experiment under what we consider to be real-world conditions to determine whether or not the average viewer can see a difference between Ultra HD 4K and 1080p when placed side-by-side. The results are in the video.

Considering this is such a hotly debated topic among the enthusiast community, we anticipate a bit of blow-back, but before you ragefully take to the comments section to tell us all about how we’re not scientists, allow us to explain why we approached this little experiment the way we did.

First off, it’s true: we aren’t scientists, and we didn’t approach this test scientifically — we did this on purpose. We wanted our setup to reflect real-world conditions, which included average-Joe viewers looking at content coming from one of the very few places average-Joe viewers can access Ultra HD content right now: Netflix. When 4K Blu-ray players are a reality, we will be able to compare 4K Blu-ray on a 4K display next to 1080p Blu-ray on a 1080p display, and we expect to learn a lot more, since resolution is only part of the total Ultra HD package. But for now, the Netflix comparison gives us the best opportunity to see how the Ultra HD content (albeit compressed) people can watch in their homes right now compares to the same 1080p content (also compressed) people are already watching.

Second, we chose to compare a plasma TV to an LED TV on purpose as well. Our theory (which proved to be right) was that the superior picture quality afforded by a plasma display would trump the resolution improvement afforded by a 4K display, regardless of whether the higher resolution was visible.

At the end of the day, Ultra HD is noticeably more detailed than 1080p HD, even when viewing compressed Netflix content. We anticipate the difference being much more stark when 4K Blu-ray comes available. We also found that 60-inch is about as small a screen as you’ll want to go with 4K, as anything smaller from a typical viewing distance has a much lower payoff. Conversely, the bigger the screen the more obvious the improvement in resolution is.

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21 Comments

Dustin Southworth

February 21, 2020

woopty fuckin doo. look i can see flower hairs and wall cracks.

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justin persad

February 21, 2020

Denison: … Like plasma TV, 1080 p would be "obsolete" and yet in 2020, content is still shown in 720p, shm. 1080p isn't going anywhere soon. I'll give it another 10yrs

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Ge0rdieA55a55in

February 21, 2020

Don't get it. We run a normal led tv on a normal x1 and a 4k HD TV on an X1s and there is absolutely no difference in colour or sound. Both tvs are 40 in plus.

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The Underwood Planet

February 21, 2020

both shows are my favourite!!

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GamingReality '81

February 21, 2020

Can you do this on 40" 4k vs 1080p TV IPS vs IPS or LED vs LED ?????? I want to buy some 40" TV for PC mostly for Gaming but it's not necessary to be 4K ! I need some 40" TV at least 1080p which is amazing for visual effects and for gaming !!!!! If someone have advice ???? I won't buy a monitor anyway !!!!!

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David Taylor

February 21, 2020

No one likes a talker just show it and give your opinion.

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Ав Он

February 21, 2020

Haha. Will you seat at 10sm from TV?

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derek452

February 21, 2020

When ESPN CNN CNBC stream in 4k 24/7 I will upgrade

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Chieftain

February 21, 2020

The problem is these 4k TV's look bad when they upscale 720p/1080p broadcasting.

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Khawar Khan

February 21, 2020

It's all shit ….. whether LED or LCD or OLED or QLED……… thay can't compete the picture quality of my 7 years old Plasma ……..I wonder why they decided to stop making PLASMA TVs

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NPC

February 21, 2020

fucking idiots where is gaming

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michael

February 21, 2020

Caleb looks like Joshua Jackson

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Nate Shiz

February 21, 2020

Nonsense depends on cameras rendering etc….

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Maryan Sharm

February 21, 2020

C c

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Pranav Pandya

February 21, 2020

i have hdr plus so what is he difference between hdr+ and hdr

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pinkfreud62

February 21, 2020

Well, I grew up in the 60s and 70s so I'm not that damn picky. We oldsters are just glad to lose "the roll".

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Tanker Review

February 21, 2020

I came here. This video is in 1080… ROFLMAO NOT EVEN 4k.

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Cobalt Snake

February 21, 2020

Thats wht electronics departments have aisles and rows, you are forced to be close, the colors are more vibrent so its appealing, you can sit and watch how gorgeous everything looks, thats how they sell it, but once you have it in your home, will you still care a week from then?

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Josef Holzer

February 21, 2020

There are to many choices for TV! I'm lost!

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Joel Guzman

February 21, 2020

This was 4 years ago. 1080p is here to stay. Uts the set standard for everything. If it aint 1080p its not good quality. Its the standard in most games, phones, monitors, and tvs. No way in hell 1080p is leaving like the plasmas. Its here to stay as the set bar for everything. Everything is picture quality based now.

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zwr9ne0fh8pk4bt635245

February 21, 2020

People were even saying that the human eye couldn't even see at 4k. Looking back 5 years later, its pretty obvious that 4k is definitely better to the naked eye. LOL.

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