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Video Resolution 101: A Beginners Guide

Moira West


Resolution 101

What does the number part of my video’s resolution actually mean?

The resolutions you see—360p, 480p, 720p, or 1080p—represent the number of horizontal lines a video has from top to bottom. So, a 480p video is made up of 480 lines stacked one on top of another, with each line being 852 pixels wide. In other words, a 480p video has a resolution of 852×480 pixels.

For comparison, a 720p HD video has 720 lines that are each 1,280 pixels wide, meaning that it is more than twice as sharp as a the same video at 480p and can be viewed on a much larger screen.

Here’s a rundown of the different kinds of resolutions you can use, and how to choose the one that’s right for your project.


Videos at 360p are well-suited to smartphones and other mobile devices since they use up less data, but may appear a bit blurry on larger screens.


DVDs clock in at 480p, so if you’re looking to burn a DVD, this resolution will give your disc the highest quality allowed by any DVD burner or disc. A 480p video will also play well on most laptop and desktop monitors, and smaller TVs.

NOTE: If you’re looking for higher resolution disc, you will need a Blu-ray disc and Blu-ray burner.


True high-definition starts at 720p, and this is the image resolution at which many HD television channels broadcast. An HD 720p Animoto video is crisp, sharp, and looks great on most displays.


For an even higher resolution, you can download your videos at 1080p, another favorite for HD television stations. We recommend this resolution for sharing on social media or for showing videos on larger screens and TVs, since it’ll give your audience the highest possible quality display, with crystal clear playback.

NOTE: 1080p is available for download or sharing on social only. It will not play in Animoto’s native video player.

Upgrading to HD

If you’re using Animoto to create your videos, keep in mind that Animoto Personal users can create videos up to 720p, and Animoto Professional and Business users can further upgrade videos to 1080p, though this resolution is only available for download.

You can access whichever resolution you prefer from your video’s Play page once you’ve produced it.

Sharing your video

Once your video is the resolution you want, you can export it to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more. You can also embed or share Animoto video links at up to 720p or download your video as an mp4 at up to 1080p.