4K vs 1080p Projector

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Updated April 5, 2023

If you’re trying to decide between a 4K vs 1080p projector, or perhaps the Sony 4K projector VW600ES vs VW665ES, then you might feel a bit overwhelmed. There is a lot to know to get the best picture quality in the right price range. The best projector will have excellent color accuracy and a sharp picture that even rivals theater projectors. If you’re wondering if 1080p is good, you’ll find that answer in our Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 1440 Projector review.


  • A leading BenQ 4K projector offers many pixels on a screen, but you’ll only notice slight improvements over 1080p for a much higher price.
  • A 1080p projector offers solid image quality but is not ideal for a premium indoor theater.
  • For occasional projector use, go with an affordable 1080p model. A 4K projector is best for a serious home theater setup.

4K vs 1080p Projectors Compared

There are many options for picking the ideal HD projector. For example, if you can accept a 720p projector, check out a traditional projector vs. a mini projector. That said, if you want something with dynamic range and sharper pictures, then you’ll want to know the difference between 4K and 1080p projectors. On the other hand, if you don’t know why 4K is better, then check out our resource guide discussing what is a 4K projector.

Additionally, consider what you really want to get out of a projector. For example, you want the top gaming projector for epic PVP tournaments. Or, you’re looking for a top-rated projector for golf simulation so you can practice your swing.

If you’d like to jump on a budget-friendly HD projector now, read our Optoma HD141X 3D Projector review.

Insider Tip

For outdoor viewing, pick a projector that is rated for at least 1500 lumens for an adequately bright screen.


The number of horizontal pixels by the vertical pixels gives us our screen resolution. In short, a high picture element or pixel count means a sharp image. For example, a 4K projector has a resolution of 3840×2160 pixels, while a 1080p projector has 1920×1080 pixels. Therefore, the image quality depends on having a high resolution, and a 4K projector offers more detailed images than a 1080p model. So, keep this in mind if you’re buying the best projector for church; that way, the picture looks great in your congregation.

Read our Optoma UHD60 4K projector review for another high-end 4K model.

Sometimes strange projector colors may be due to the color wheel. Read our guide to what is a projector color wheel if you’re unsure of where to look.

On the other hand, if you’re experiencing strange color output on your projector, there’s a good chance the color wheel is damaged. In that case, you’ll want to learn how to repair a projector color wheel immediately.

Brightness and Viewing Experience

You need a high light output, measured in lumens, to make a projection screen pop with colorful images and solid black levels. That said, brighter projectors allow for a greater seating distance from the screen. So even if your projector is a short or long-throw projector, the typical viewing distance should be similar to most HD projectors. If you need to present business presentations at work and are debating between the two resolutions, consider what type of materials you’re presenting. Are they image-heavy or not? Does your work revolve around images and videos? Then consider one of the best projectors for business presentations that has your desired resolution.

If you want to see how a mobile device looks on your projector, check out our guide to using a projector with an iPad.

Smart Features and Streaming

While most projectors come with remote controls and other accessories, most are not made with streaming in mind. In addition, the source material from services like Netflix and YouTube may offer 4K-like images but aren’t actually in 4K. For an authentic 4K projector experience, you’ll likely need a Blu-Ray disc player. The lack of 4K streaming content is why most experts recommend a 1080p projector for casual viewing. But, if you prefer to have a 4K projector, then read our LG HU80KA 4K UHD review.

For the best viewing experience, check out our guide on gloss vs matte projector screens. The projection surface matters, and different theater rooms call for different types.

Plus, compare a home theater vs business projector to see why you’re better off with a theater-like projector in most cases.

Which is Better?

So you may be asking yourself, “What resolution do I need for a projector?” If this article hasn’t answered that question, you may want to learn more about the different resolutions vs screen sizes. But to sum it all up, a 4K projector’s most significant advantage over other projectors is image quality. Still, at a normal viewing distance, you’ll only notice slight differences. In addition, if you go with a more common resolution like a 1080 or 720p projector, you can save quite a bit of money. That said, if you’re a cinephile with an indoor theater, you might want to go with the premium 4K option. In that case, you wouldn’t want anything less than 1080p, especially not like the one you’ll see in our ViewSonic PA503S review. If you don’t mind paying more, however, you may want to check out the best laser projector as they will usually have a better image quality. And if you need great image quality for your art, be sure to check out our guide on great projectors for artists.


If you plan to play games with your projector, make sure it has a “game mode” to cut down on input lag.


Is it harder to install a 4K projector than a 1080p projector?

Not at all. The same steps apply when you set up a 4K or 1080p projector.

Do games look better on a 4K projector?

You can tell the difference with a 4K projector if you have a modern gaming console or PC. That said, some projectors have input lag, so look for a gaming projector.

Can you get television shows in 4K?

Yes, but very few are in actual 4K. Instead, most shows are broadcast in 1080p and upscaled by your display or projector. But, if you want a 1080p projector, read our BenQ MW535A review.

STAT: Almost all film projectors in commercial movie theaters project at a constant speed of 24 frame/s (source)

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