Following on from my question over at video.ex, do media/video players downscale a video if the resolution is bigger than the screen resolution?

I'm wondering if it really matters if a phone/tablet says it supports HD or Full HD if the screen resolution is lower than HD.

It might depend on the Android OS version but what resolutions does the default player support? Do different apps support different resolutions?

1 Answer 1


Yes, most video players will automatically up- or down-scale videos to fit the screen. Android OS itself, and video player apps, don't have a limit on video size. Obviously each device's hardware is only fast enough to decode so many pixels per second, so there's an upper limit on video resolution, data rate, and frame rate for smooth playback.

Like any other playback device, if an Android device doesn't have enough pixels on its screen to play 1080p video, it can't be advertised with the "Full HD" trademark logo.

  • What defines the pixel count? I know that 300dpi is the standard, so is there a standard for "Full HD" dpi? I also ask because know we're getting into 4K and UHD territory, and I'm guessing Android doesn't support that.
    – BBking
    Sep 4, 2014 at 1:59
  • @Dan So is a device having Resolution-1280 x 720 and 1920x1080 pixels for video is a full HD? and what if the resolution is somewhat less and the pixels are same 1920x1080 is it possible like in some budget feature smart phones
    – user285oo6
    Sep 4, 2014 at 4:58
  • I think you're confused about what resolution means. Although people often quote the "screen resolution" as the number of pixels e.g. 1920x1080, really the resolution is the dpi (actually, it's slightly more complicated than that, because it was originally defined for film cameras). Only the number of pixels defines whether it's HD; the dpi is irrelevant. Android supports bigger-than-HD screens just fine: for example, the Nexus 10 is 2560x1600.
    – Dan Hulme
    Sep 4, 2014 at 9:14
  • So, if you're going to play a 4k file on an Android device, it's not the resolution that causes the file to be unplayable, it'll be the codec? Or am I completely wrong? Are there android devices that can play 4k content? Oh, and as I asked before, is there a dpi that defines "HD" or "Full HD"?
    – BBking
    Sep 5, 2014 at 3:58
  • As I said before, the dpi is irrelevant. It's the total number of pixels that counts, and the screen size in inches makes no difference. If your Android device has fast enough video decode, it'll play a 4k video just fine, possibly downscaling it if your screen isn't that big.
    – Dan Hulme
    Sep 5, 2014 at 7:43

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