Don’t 4K and 2160p resolution mean the same thing? Turns out that there are slight differences between them. In this 2160p vs 4K comparison article, we will see what their similarities and dissimilarities are.

For TV, monitor, or camera resolution, the following information and facts will help you know the right term. While talking about those resolution standards, UHD also needs some explanation.

Whether you are new in the display industry or a pro, you may have never consciously thought about their differences for a very long time. Today, your confusion will be disappeared for good. Let’s get started with some basics.

What Does 4K and 2160p Resolution Mean?

First of all, both are directly related to the resolution of a display. But there are slight differences in their meanings.

4K is the standard set by the Digital Cinema Initiatives which is 4096 x 2160 resolution. The horizontal pixel count is more than four thousand, and its short form is 4K. Here, ‘K’ means thousand.

On the other hand, 2160p is a part of the total pixel count where it indicates the vertical amount. As a synonym, you can also use 2160p instead of 4K. However, it won’t be always correct as there is a difference between 4K and UHD.

As I have said earlier, 4K is set by the DCI standards, it applies to projectors and cinema-recording devices. What we end-users get in our TVs and monitors is UHD or close to 4K. The actual pixel count of Ultra High Definition or UHD is 3840 x 2160.

Because of the wide popularity of the term ‘4K’, we don’t use different terms for different devices.

Is It Really Four Times the High Definition Displays?

The question arises because the pixel count of HD (1920 x 1080) is not 4 times fewer than UHD or 4K (4096 x 2160). It doesn’t make sense after comparing both vertical and horizontal counts.

However, you can see the real difference when you multiply the numbers. HD displays have slightly more than 2 million pixels. And UHD displays have slightly more than 8 million pixels. So, UHD has 4 times more resolution than HD.

2160p Vs 4K: The Ultimate Difference

Technically, both indicate the same resolution count if you are not considering UHD formats. However, knowing the different standards of 4K resolution, you will be able to use the terms appropriately. There are several values to mention where some do not even have a 2160p vertical resolution. Let’s see.


This is the most popular and adopted standard by display manufacturers. 3840 x 2160 is the resolution, and the reasons for its wide acceptability are low manufacturing cost and a 16:9 ratio.

4K UHDTV format is defined by ITU-R and it is the minimum requirement according to the CEA’s definition of Ultra HD displays and projectors. Due to the previous naming patterns (720p and 1080p), this standard is often denoted as 2160p.

DCI 4K Or Cinema 4K

In digital cinema production, this resolution is the standard which has a total of 8,847,360 pixels with an aspect ratio of 256∶135 or approximately 19:10. On the user end, the only true usage of this resolution is in 4K projectors. There are some variations in this category too.

  • Full Frame: 4096 × 2160 with an aspect ratio of 256∶135
  • Flat Crop: 3996 × 2160 with an aspect ratio of 185∶10
  • CinemaScope Crop: 4096 x 1716 with an aspect ratio of approximately 239∶10

Have you noticed that the last one doesn’t even have a vertical pixel count of 2160 and still it is a 4K standard? On the other hand, UHD does have 2160p vertical resolution but it lacks a true 4K horizontal resolution.

Now, let me introduce you to other non-standard resolutions that are used in making displays all over the world.

4096 × 2560: With a 16:10 aspect ratio, you can see this kind of display in the post-production for reviewing cinema footages. Canon DP-V3010, a 30-inch 4K reference monitor has that resolution.

3840 × 2400: This one also has a 16:10 aspect ratio, and the applications of this resolution are in the 22.2” IBM T220 and T221 monitors. According to the manufacturer, this pixel count can also be referred to as WQUXGA.

4096 × 2304: It has a 16:9 aspect ratio, and LG uses the resolution in its UltraFine 22MD4KA 4K monitor. Apple also uses the same resolution in their 21.5″ 4K Retina iMac computer announced in 2016.

3840 × 1600: Comparing the above non-standards, this one is used more often on a good number of computer monitors. On a 37.5” LG 38UC99-W monitor, it offers a 12:5 aspect ratio. The manufacturer markets it as a Wide Quad HD+ or WQHD+ display.

3840 × 1080: Having a 32:9 aspect ratio, it was first introduced by another giant Samsung. They released a 49” monitor in 2017 which had the model number C49HG70. It is a curved gaming monitor with equivalence to a dual HD monitor setup.

However, being a single monitor, you won’t have the annoying border interruption. This resolution is exactly half of UHD, and Samsung markets it as Dual Full HD or DFHD.

4k or 2160p: The Summary

We can safely assume that all 2160p resolutions can be 4K where all 4K don’t necessarily have 2160 pixels on their vertical lines. From the consumer side, the norm was 720p, 1080p, 1080i, etc.

After the introduction of 4K, the notation legacy was broken and lots of people got confused. However, the term has slowly become mainstream within a few years. UHD has also become popular and used alongside those terms.

Those who are planning to buy the best 4K monitors are not wrong but technically incorrect. Ultra High Definition is the more appropriate one to use.

Seeing TVs and monitors marketed as 4K, please don’t think that manufacturers don’t know the difference or making false claims. They simply do that to eliminate confusion among mass populations.


If you are searching for 2160p vs 4K and hoping to get a winner in this battle, you will be disappointed as it is not possible to declare one as better. Due to different standards set by different industries, the vertical and horizontal pixel count can vary a lot.

Some are suitable for recording and some are preferable for end-user displays. The takeaway from this article is the information and facts about both terms. You now know what most people simply overlook and do not consider in their line of work. So, now you can talk or think of being technically correct.

If you have more queries on different 4K-related terms, please don’t feel shy to ask them in the comments.

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Team Everything4K is a bunch of tech enthusiasts and researchers. The team is very interested in the relevant hardware and explain in such a way that reader can get the best experience of playing games in a 4K setup. You know that 4K is the future of display technology. And the credit of explaining rough and tough tech terms easily goes to Team Everything4K.

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