480i vs 480p: What’s the Difference?

If you are wondering what’s the difference between 480i & 480p, you are reading the right piece. There has been a lot of confusion over component video which is understandable, and whether progressive scan 480p output from a DVD player is better than 480i, interlaced output. People using gaming consoles like PS2, PS4 or Wii also have doubts on whether to get a BVM or just go with a PVM monitor.

Whether you are a gamer or just a movie enthusiast, you sure want to experience the best video quality regardless of what the difference is when we talk about 480i vs 480p. Today I will be showing you what exactly you need to know about both of these resolutions and which one you should prefer and how to use them.


What is 480i Resolution?

The ‘i‘ in 480i stands for interlaced and has a resolution of 704×480. Interlaced resolutions are made up of 60 partial frames per second. The traditional TV systems (such as NTSC, the standard TV system in the United States) use an interlaced scanning method, here half of the picture appears on the screen at one time. The other half of the picture follows an instant later (1/60th of a second, to be precise). The interlaced system relies on the fact that your eyes can’t detect or detect this procedure in action while the video is playing.

What is 480p Resolution?

The ‘p‘ in 480p stands for a progressive scan and has a resolution of 704×480. Progressive resolutions are made up of 60 full frames per second. In a progressive-scan system, the entire picture is painted at once, which greatly reduces the flickering that people experience while watching TV. Progressive scan is available throughout a range of TV types.

480i vs 480p: Which is Better?

The televisions are made up of lines of pixels. The TV draws the lines of pixels many times a second in order to display the full picture. Interlaced means the TV will just draw lines 1, 3, 5, 7, and so on and then 2, 4, 6, 8, etc. Now what progressive scan does is that it draws all lines at the same time. This results in a much sharper & clearer picture even though the resolution is the same (i.e 480).

All the HDTVs are progressive scan displays. So even if the signal being sent to the HDTV is interlaced, the HDTV will convert it (deinterlace it) to progressive scan for display on the screen. You should look for a display with progressive scan if it fits into your budget, because the picture appears much smoother and more like a film. (You can get direct-view progressive-scan TVs for under $500 these days.)

I personally own a number of PS2 games that can display 480p, but I never saw them in progressive until I put them in my 60gb PS3 with HDMI on an HDTV. They look much better, much sharper, much clearer. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that some of the games look like they’re HD PS3 games.

Composite vs Component Cables?

If your TV supports component cables and a resolution of 480p, you should certainly get them. If you play a game like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, you will not get the benefit of playing the game with its 60 FPS unless you are using component cables with progressive scan enabled.

A guy on Neogaf forum told,

On the standard 27″, when I use the old yellow/red/white composite cables, colors looks bad and everything is blurry. I actually didn’t notice until I tried the component cables on it. Component made everything look much sharper and colors were more vivid despite yje fact that it is still 480i. I have friends with standard TVs with component input and their sets don’t seem to have a drastic a improvement with component like I have.

Each interlaced frame consists of stripes that alternate between the picture and blank. The total of the non-blank stripes is equal to half of a frame. Interlaced resolutions are used to save data bandwidth. The 480 resolution is considered standard definition, while 720 and 1080 are considered high definition. The progressive scan and interlaced designations also apply to high-definition resolutions.

Final Words

I hope this post helped you clear your confusion about the 480i vs 480p and understand the difference. To be frank, you should go for 480p display since it gives you a very clearer view and better experience while playing games or watching movies.

Do comment below if you have any questions and if you want me to cover any specific topic, let me know. I will certainly do that. Share this guide if you liked it and keep visiting. Cheers!

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