If you only have a lower resolution 1080p or 1440p monitor, you might wonder whether you need to get a 4K monitor to watch 4K videos. What will happen if you play a 4K video on your lower-resolution monitor?
In this post, we examine whether you need a 4K monitor to watch 4K videos.
Table of Contents
Can You Watch 4K Videos In A 1080p Or 1440p Monitor?
You can watch 4K videos on a lower-resolution monitor. On a lower-resolution monitor, 4K videos will automatically downscale to the monitor’s native resolution.
For example, with a 1080p monitor, 4K videos will downscale to 1080p resolution. Similarly, in a 1440p monitor, 4K videos will downscale to 1440p resolution.
Therefore, on a lower resolution monitor, you will only see a lower resolution downscaled video. In order to watch a 4K video in a true 4K resolution, you need a 4K monitor.
Will You Get 4K Video Quality In A Lower Resolution Monitor?
With a lower resolution monitor, you won’t get the 4K video quality. The 4K video will downscale to the lower monitor resolution.
Therefore, you will only see a lower-quality downscaled video with fewer pixels than the original video. So 4K videos will look better on a 4K monitor compared to a lower-resolution monitor.
4K Video Vs. 1080p Video: Which Looks Better In A 1080p Monitor?
When you watch a 4K video and a 1080p video on a 1080p monitor, which looks better will depend on the video source and compression of the two videos.
If the 1080p video has the highest possible video quality and information, a 4K video can’t give better quality than that on a 1080p monitor. So a 1080p video recorded with a true 1080p camera without any lossy video compression applied will have the highest possible video quality in a 1080p monitor.
However, in most cases, due to differences in video sources and different lossy compression methods, 4K videos can have more information than 1080p videos.
When a 4K video is downscaled to 1080p resolution, each pixel on the downscaled video gets color information from four pixels on the 4K video. Therefore, this downscaled video can have better quality than a native 1080p video.
This is the reason why 4K videos on YouTube look better than 1080p videos even when you watch them on a 1080p monitor.
Can You Watch 4K Videos In An 8K Monitor?
You can watch 4K videos on a higher resolution monitor like an 8K monitor. The 4K video will be upscaled to the 8K resolution.
However, this upscaled video will have lower quality than a true 8K video on the 8K monitor.
You don’t need a 4K monitor to watch 4K videos. On a lower-resolution monitor, the 4K video will be downscaled, and on a higher-resolution monitor, the 4K video will be upscaled.
However, you need a 4K monitor to watch 4K videos in the 4K resolution. This will provide the maximum video quality for the 4K video.