FHD vs UHD: what are the differences?

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Valery Aloyants
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Make sense of Full HD, Ultra HD and 4K screen resolutions. When buying a TV or home theater, consumers are bombarded with confusing terminology. Two of these terms are FHD e UHD. Both are important, but what do they mean?

This information applies to televisions from manufacturers including, but not limited to, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TCL e Vice. Additional devices compatible with FHD and UHD are made by these and other manufacturers.

What is FHD

FHD is going to Full HD o Full High Definition and refers to the video resolution 1080p. 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 running from the top to the bottom of the screen.
  • Each row of pixels is displayed progressively on the screen (each row 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 equals 2.073.600 (approximately 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 them 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 is going to Ultra HD o Ultra High Definition, which is also commonly referred to 4K.

  • UHD isn't exactly 4K, but for consumer TVs and related devices, it's considered close enough. Consequently, 4K, Ultra HD, Ultra High Definition e UHD they 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 the top to the bottom of the screen, which is displayed progressively (2160p). The total number of pixels is 8.294.400 (approximately 8 megapixels).
  • UHD has four times the pixels (or twice the columns and rows) as FHD (or 1080p). Four FHD images can fit the space of a UHD image. UHD resolution is twice FHD resolution.

4K is more precisely 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is slightly wider horizontally but is the same vertically. The total number of pixels is 8.847.360. This standard is used in commercial cinema.

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

What you need to view FHD

To see native 1080p resolution on an FHD TV, you need source and content devices capable of delivering 1080p (FHD) resolution signals such as:

  • Disco Blu-ray.
  • Select streaming content from services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, etc., delivered directly to smart TV or via multimedia streaming plug-in.
  • Select i box via cable / satellite and associated content.
  • Select digital cameras e camcorders which record images and videos in 1080p resolution.
  • Most game console.

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 at the same time.


  • A DVD player or 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 it can provide a much better image than an unmagnified image. The quality of the upcaling varies by TV brand and model. Also, if 1080p upscaling is performed from 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 an FHD TV, but to take full advantage of UHD resolution, the best sources are:

  • Blu-ray Disc UHD: Provides native UHD resolution movies via a disc format. This requires the purchase of a new player and discs, but the players can still play DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
  • UHD wired: Comcast directly provides UHD content, 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 media streamers, and select UHD Smart TVs. 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 elevate SD and HD low resolution content to better match the resolution of the UHD TV display.

As of 2019, there are no over-the-air UHD TV broadcasts available to the public, although they are on the way

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.


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 conjunction 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 media streamers, cable / satellite boxes, 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's 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 camcorder, or DVD player with no 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 carry HD digital or analog video signals.

Component Video: This connection uses three RCA connectors with red, green and blue ends. Component video connections were developed to transfer resolutions up to 1080p, but because they are analog in nature and prone 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 a composite and component video source cannot be connected to most FHD and UHD TVs at the same time.

USB: Many FHD and UHD TVs provide at least one USB port. Some TVs may include this for service use only, but most allow playback of still images, video, and audio files via plug-in flash drives.

Some smart FHD and UHD TVs allow connection of a USB Windows keyboard and / or mouse as an alternative way to navigate the TV menu, such as entering password logins and / or browsing the web if the TV includes a built-in web browser .

Ethernet: On FHD or UHD smart TVs, 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 access to the internet. From there, you can install firmware updates and play audio, video and still images stored on a PC or stream movies and TV shows from online services.


Wi-Fi: Most FHD and UHD Smart TVs offer built-in Wi-Fi. This performs the same function as an Ethernet cable, but because it is wireless it is more convenient if the TV is further 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 wirelessly view content on many smart FHD or UHD TVs is by Screen Mirroring or Casting from a compatible smartphone, tablet or PC. Depending on the device mirroring / casting, you may have access to FHD or UHD resolution in combination with compatible content.

Viewing distance FHD and UHD TV

Getting the most out of an FHD or UHD TV doesn't just depend on the content sources, but also on the screen size and distance you sit from.

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

The table below outlines a range of suggested viewing distances for the most popular diagonal TV screen sizes (D).

Optimal viewing distances for FHD and UHD TVs
Diagonal screen size (D-inch) Screen width (inch) Observation distance (feet)
40 34.9 4.3-8.3
43 37.5 4.6-9.0
50 43,6 5.4-10.4
55 47,9 5.9-11.5
65 56.7 7.2-13.5
75 65,2 8.10-15.6
85 73.9 9.25-17.7

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


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

  • It is now rare to find an FHD TV with a screen size larger than 49 inches or a UHD TV with a screen size smaller than 40 inches. Make sure the size you choose is suitable for your viewing environment.
  • Make sure you have access to the most suitable content for FHD or UHD viewing (over the air, cable / satellite, streaming, Blu-ray, etc.).
  • Make sure the FHD or UHD TV provides the necessary connections for your other devices (antenna, disc player, media streamer, game console, etc.).
  • Check your FHD or UHD TV 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 TVs have a wide range of prices depending on the brand, model, screen size and features, from low hundreds to high thousands.

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