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What are the Differences between 4K and 1080p Webcams?

BenQ
2023/08/10

With the rise of virtual meetings, effective communication and collaboration with others  have become more crucial than ever. As a result, having a high-quality webcam has become essential. When searching for a webcam, you may come across terms like "4K" and "1080p." But what do these terms mean, which is better, and does it meet your needs? Let’s find out everything you need to know about webcam resolution

What is the Difference Between 4K and 1080p Webcams?

Resolution refers to the number of tiny dots, or pixels that appear on the screen. 4K, or Ultra HD (UHD), resolution is made up of 3840 pixels wide by 2160 pixels tall. The name “4K” comes from its horizontal pixel count of approximately 4000 pixels. 4K resolution offers sharper details and clarity resulting in a more realistic visual. For several years, many televisions, computer monitors, and other display devices feature 4K resolution

4K resolution offers sharper details and clarity resulting in a more realistic visual.

On the other hand, 1080p, also known as Full HD, has a resolution of 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels tall. The "p" in 1080p stands for progressive scan, meaning the entire picture is displayed in one frame instead of using odd and even lines leading to a clear image. This resolution finds wide usage in HD televisions, computer monitors, and video content. Although it provides less detail than 4K, it still delivers a sharp and clear picture.

You can find a table below that highlights some differences between 4K and 1080p.

Resolution

Vertical Pixels

Horizontal Pixels

Total Pixels Other Names

Resolution

4K

Vertical Pixels

2160

Horizontal Pixels

3840

Total Pixels

8 millions+

Other Names

Ultra High Definition, Ultra HD, UHD

Resolution

1080p

Vertical Pixels

1080

Horizontal Pixels

1920

Total Pixels

2 millions+

Other Names

Full High Definition, Full HD, FHD

Apart from resolution, there are several other differences between the two types of webcams

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the maximum data transfer rate of a network or internet connection. Higher-resolution videos require greater bandwidth for smooth transmission. For example, the minimum bandwidth required for 1080p video streaming is 5 Mbps, whereas the minimum bandwidth required for 4K streaming is around 25 Mbps.

Recommended Bandwidth for Online Activities at Home and in Business

4K video

25 Mbps

4K Ultra HD video streaming with a service like Netflix or Youtube

1080p video

5 Mbps

HD 1080p video streaming with a service like Netflix or Youtube

720p video

3 Mbps

720p video calling, such as a Zoom meeting

1.5 Mbps

1.5 Mbps

Broadband

Livestreaming

0.5 Mbps

Livestreaming, such as a webinar

Screen sharing

150 Kbps

Screen sharing

VoIP calling

80 Kbps

VoIP calling

However, you also have to think about how fast your internet is and how many devices will be using the internet at any given moment.

Compatibility

Which platform do you use for video conferencing and streaming? While there are plenty of video conferencing platforms available, not all of these are compatible with a 4K webcam. According to Zoom support, their platform does not currently support 4K video. The 4K video will be downscaled to 1080p due to bandwidth limitation, and most people will see your video feed in a tiny little box on their screen. These problems also apply to streaming platforms, such as Twitch.

CPU and GPU Usage

As a 4K video can slow down the network due to its high data consumption, it is no surprise that you would need a more powerful CPU and GPU to handle it. 1080p cameras are reliable since they have been in use for a long time, and manufacturers have developed techniques to optimize CPU and GPU usage while streaming with these cameras. The same applies to 4K cameras to a large extent, but since 4K requires more resources than 1080p, you might encounter slowdowns or poorer performance when using a 4K webcam compared to a 1080p webcam.

Price

Webcam prices vary based on features and specifications. A 4K webcam usually costs more than a 1080p webcam because it provides better picture quality, making your video appear more realistic for a premium experience. So is it worth having a 4K webcam? The answer is probably no. Unless you are a content creator with specific requirements, a 4K webcam might be a good investment. For general use, a 1080p webcam may be a better choice.

When choosing between a 4K and a 1080p webcam, there are various factors to consider. The most important one is your purpose for using a webcam. If you are still unsure which one is the best for you, we recommend BenQ ideaCam.

The Best Multi-use Webcam for Video Conferencing in 2023

With its cutting-edge 8-megapixel Sony sensor, BenQ ideaCam sets a new standard in visual experience. It can record at a maximum resolution of 3264x2488 pixels at 30 fps, providing visuals nearly four times clearer than traditional 1080p, easily making you look your best on every video call.

ideaCam is a powerful multimode webcam that also functions as a document camera. By flipping the lens from a front-facing angle to a downward-facing angle, you can effortlessly capture real-time images of 3D objects, paperwork, and pictures. Equipped with autofocus functionality, it ensures exceptional clarity and precise focus, making it perfect for conducting demonstrations, tutorials, and lectures. With the ideaCam, you can enjoy a comfortable and effortless experience, all with just one device.

Conclusion

We have delved into the differences between 4K webcams and 1080p webcams to help you choose the perfect webcam for your requirements. At BenQ, we take pride in providing a high-quality webcam with a macro lens, ring light, and noise-canceling microphone that caters to individuals who frequently engage in show-and-tells during video conferences and more!

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