Contrary to the popular opinion stating that videos online should be in at least 1080p preferably 4k and that 720p is obsolete I believe that there is still a large place for 720p and here’s why.
The number of pixels that make up a 720p image is about 1 million (equivalent to 1 megapixel in a camera), while there are 2 million pixels in a 1080p image. This means that a 1080p image can display a lot more detail than a 720p image.
However this is not all that matters.
Pixel density, screen size and seating distance from the screen need to be taken into consideration. If you have a 720p or 1080p video the number of pixels displayed for each is the same no matter what the size of the screen is what changes are the number of pixels per inch. This means that as the screen gets larger, the pixels get larger so your seating distance will affect how you perceive the detail displayed on the screen.
Quality over resolution
Quite often these two terms can get confused with each other when referring to video but they are very different.
Resolution describes how many pixels the video takes up both height and width. Whereas quality is about how could the colours look, how sharp the image is and how much dynamic range is in the video as well as a whole heap of other things. This is why a 4k video taken on a gopro or mobile phone look way worse than a cinematic DSLR camera. Which I think is reason for 720p as even cheap 720p cameras have had so long to develop that even though the resolution is low the quality is far greater than cheap modern 4k cameras.
Although most social platforms support 4k and recommend 1080p videos they also impose a maximum video file upload size which means you would only be able to put a short 4k video you will be able to put a relatively long 1080p video on them you could fit an approximately 4x longer 720p video.
The smaller file size of 720p videos also means that there is less demand for high volumes of storage like there is for 4k video which cost a lot of money.
The majority of cameras made within the last 15yrs have the ability to record video in at least 720p and that means you can get a 720p supported camera very cheaply compared to 4k cameras which have only really been commercially available in the last 5 or so years.
Not to mention the toll of editing videos is a lot less for 720p compared to 4k videos which can sometimes take hours whereas 720p would be 1/16th the time. Which means you don’t need as powerful computer and as much time to render a video again saving you money.
Over 50% of all video content online is consumed on mobile devices using apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube and for the first two of those as most of this content is viewed while the device is portrait that means you aren’t actually able to see 1080p or 4k video in it’s full resolution. The video is so small that you can’t tell the difference between the 3.