The video production industry offers a massive opportunity for anyone who wants to get their hands on a career that involves videos and display. One relevant requirement is that you learn the technical aspects and concepts applied to the industry. It’s also why it’s important to know the difference between progressive vs interlaced video. 

Progressive video and interlaced video are often confused with each other primarily since they are both video standards you may see on your display. While some may think they look alike, there’s a clear difference between the two that you can point out. Before doing that though, let’s start with the basic definitions first. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Basics

Progressive and interlaced are two methods you can consider when you’re working on video playback. This refers to the process of transferring the video content and then broadcasting it to the device it’s supposed to go to. 

In this process, you will have to deal with the sending of the content to the device, from the sender to the receiver, in the form of a signal. Once received, the signal is then processed based on what’s encoded in the signal. It’s translated and formatted after thorough processing. This is the part where you will choose the scan type progressive vs interlaced. 

All about Progressive Video 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video - Progressive
Progressive vs Interlaced Video – Progressive

In the progressive scan, the entire frame is shown and the scan lines are organized sequentially. This ensures that there is uniformity in whatever is displayed. Since the entire frame is shown all at once, it delivers sharp and vivid images. It also offers a smooth transition in terms of the motions and gets rid of pesky flickers in the process too. 

Advantages of Progressive Video

In learning about progressive vs interlaced video, check out the possible benefits you can get from both. Here are some of the advantages of the progressive video standards:

  • Excellent compatibility with modern displays because of its compatibility with diverse video signals
  • Reduced interlacing artifacts
  • High bandwidth, network latency, and decoding and encoding speeds
  • Ideal for HD content
  • Flexible frame rates
  • Shows high-quality and clearer images
  • Ensures smoother motion without risks of flickers

Disadvantages of Progressive Video

On the contrary, there are also several disadvantages you have to be familiar with when you choose progressive vs interlaced video scanning. Some of these drawbacks are the following:

  • Easy to notice blurs in motion
  • Incompatibility issues after production
  • Requires a bigger file size and so requires bigger storage space too
  • Do not support older models of devices

All about Interlaced Video

Progressive vs Interlaced Video - Interlaced Video
Progressive vs Interlaced Video – Interlaced Video

When learning about progressive vs interlaced video, it is necessary to also look deeper into the second method. The interlaced video has scanning lines that are grouped into odd and even numbers and then come in one after the other in an alternating sequence. 

Interlaced video scanning creates its iconic flickering, where it got its name “interlacing” in the first place. This method is popular for older devices like analog displays. It still exists today to accommodate those who prefer older and less advanced technology. 

Advantages of Interlaced Video

If you’re checking out progressive scan vs interlaced scan, look at the advantages you can get from the latter too. When considering interlaced video standards, here are some of the advantages you can benefit from it:

  • Requires lower bandwidth
  • Delivers smooth motion
  • Lower costs and expenses on production and operation
  • Established broadcast standards
  • Highly compatible with older display models
  • High vertical resolution 

Disadvantages of Interlaced Video

For its disadvantages, here are some you need to know and prepare for:

  • Lower quality of images (less vivid and unclear) 
  • Interlacing and flickering elements
  • Not compatible with HD content
  • Motions are inconsistent
  • Editing the video and adding effects can be difficult

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: In-depth Comparison Between the Two

Delve deeper into progressive vs interlaced videos and check out their differences in terms of the specifications that can affect the final output of the video content. We can easily compare the two based on bandwidth requirements and the number of scan lines they have. Video quality and frame rate may also play a significant role in ensuring you know what you get at the end of the day. Here’s a quick glance at the comparison between progressive and interlaced video scanning methods. 

Features & SpecificationsProgressive VideoInterlaced Video
Bandwidth RequirementsNeeds more bandwidthRequires less bandwidth
Video Frame RateUses high & diverse frame ratesUses low frame rates
Video QualitySuperior resolutionLow vertical resolution
Number of Scan Lines576 (Sequential)480 (Alternating)
Frame-Rate FlexibilityFlexible frame rate/second(24, 30, 60, or higher fps)Fixed frame rate/second(Capped at 30 fps)
Modern Display CompatibilityFit for modern display systemsPoor compatibility

Assessing the comparison of progressive vs interlaced video requires a more thorough discussion of how one is different from the other. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Bandwidth Requirements

Both the progressive and interlaced transmission methods have different minimum bandwidth requirements. Interlaced video requires a lower bandwidth with its alternating transmission, which is what makes it compatible with old-model displays. 

Progressive scanning, on the other hand, requires high processing power and so a higher bandwidth for its operation. If you want to show high-resolution videos, modern displays would be the best avenue to display them. And the most compatible method for modern displays is progressive scanning. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Video Quality

Interlaced video features content that usually has low-quality vertical resolution images despite having a generally high resolution. This happens because of the interlacing process integrated into the content, making it flicker. With this, interlaced videos will always show low-quality images. In contrast, progressive video guarantees high resolution and video quality, promising vivid and clear images on screen. It’s accomplished through the exact translation of video content, ensuring that details are kept.

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Number of Scan Lines

Progressive and interlaced have different numbers of scan lines, which refer to the horizontal lines you’ll see on the display. Today, it’s invisible in modern screens but they were once noticeable in the past because of low pixels and old technology. 

In comparing progressive vs interlaced videos, Interlaced has 480 scan lines while progressive has 576. In the former, the lines are arranged alternately, producing a blur effect. You will see the letter “i” placed after the number of scan lines. The latter has its scan lines arranged sequentially, which has significantly improved the video quality and shows clearer and more vivid images. Modern screens process the content in a way that it won’t show the lines, ensuring its quality. You will identify a letter “p” placed after the progressive’s number of scan lines. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Video Frame Rate

A high frame rate produces smooth motion videos while a low frame rate shows blurs and flickers, especially for fast-paced action scenes. This element refers to the frequency of frames shown on the screen every second. 

Progressive video scanning uses a high frame rate, which guarantees flicker-free video content. Interlaced video has a lower rate, which is caused by dividing the scan line into odd and even groups. It comes with a low refresh rate and flickers on screen

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Frame-Rate Flexibility

Set the frame rate at the start of the production process. For interlaced video, it is often set at 30 fps. The progressive method carries more flexibility and can use 24, 30, and 60 fps or even higher when needed. You can reduce or increase the rate when needed, which is how this method and modern displays work effectively. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: Modern Display Compatibility

In terms of video scanning’s compatibility with displays, progressive fits perfectly with today’s modern screens. Powerful processors are perfect for this progressive scanning method and deliver high-quality images and videos. It’s one of the reasons why it is gaining traction from the public and the interlaced is starting to be replaced. 

Interlaced video is quite incompatible with modern displays. The scanning method is designed to work with simpler screens with older technology. When forced, you get poor results in image quality and visual effects. 

Progressive vs Interlaced Video: How to choose between the two

Looking into progressive vs interlaced video, choosing one means considering the following factors first:

Type of Display

When choosing between progressive and interlaced, the type of display plays a crucial role in your decision. Take into account the scanning method that works with the LED screen you’re going to use. Modern screens work well with progressive video. For older display models, interlaced video is preferred. 

Type of Video Content

What type of video content are you planning to broadcast? Choose between progressive vs interlaced video by considering the type of content that needs transmission. Some content are processed only in either interlaced or progressive format, depending on the requirement. 

Processing Power

Progressive scanning needs higher processing power to create high-quality images and videos that look vivid and realistic. Interlaced scanning requires significantly lower processing power, much like how it needs low bandwidth to function. This simply means that their compatibility with the screens that can support their scanning is relevant for them to effectively translate and broadcast the video content. 

Application & Usage

Before choosing the scanning method, think about the application of the video content first. Where do you plan to use it? 

For commercials to be used on massive LED screens, the progressive method is the best choice. Using interlaced methods will simply make the content look bad and in the process affect the company’s brand that’s using it. 


Understanding progressive vs interlaced video scanning requires taking into account different aspects that make each method better than the other. While it’s clear that progressive scanning is more advanced and compatible with the latest display technologies, you can’t also disregard interlaced scanning, considering its basic requirements for operation.

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