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What Is 720p? HD Resolution Explained

AOC 24-inch HD monitor.

720p, also known as HD (high definition), is a display resolution measuring 1280 x 720 pixels. Resolution explains how many pixels a display has in width x height format (the more pixels a display has, the sharper its image quality).

You'll sometimes see displays with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 resolution also called HD, but this is more officially referred to as 1080p or Full HD (FHD).

720p compares favorably to the old Standard Definition (SD), which is usually around 640 x 480. But with 2K and 4K getting more popular, 720p isn't considered very sharp for today's PC monitors (especially not the best gaming monitors), gaming aptops or TVs. If you're buying a monitor or shopping for laptops, don't settle for anything less than 1080p. 

Common Display Resolutions

5K5120 x 2880
4K3840 x 2160 (typical monitor resolution); 4096 x 2160 (official cinema resolution)
Ultra HD (UHD)3840 x 2160
QHD aka WQHD aka 1440p2560 x 1440
2K2560 x 1440 (typical monitor resolution); 2048 x 1080 (official cinema resolution)
WUXGA 1920 x 1200
Full HD aka FHD aka 1080p1920 x 1080
HD aka 720p1280 x 720

This article is part of the Tom's Hardware Glossary.

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Scharon Harding

Scharon Harding is a Senior Editor at Tom's Hardware. She has a special affinity for gaming peripherals (especially monitors), laptops and virtual reality. Previously, Scharon covered business technology, including hardware, software, cyber security, cloud and other IT happenings, at Channelnomics, with bylines at CRN UK.