By Steve McDonough
4k Ultra HD takes your video to the next level
By now, most people have heard about the arrival of 4k, or Ultra High Definition televisions. You probably have questions about 4k televisions, and are wondering if you should consider a 4k TV for your next TV purchase. So, let’s venture into the world of 4k Ultra HD and answer some common questions about the newest Ultra HD displays, available content, and more. 4k projectors are also available. Don’e get confused by the terminology, 4k, Ultra HD, and UHD all refer to the same thing.
Q: Just what is 4k / UHD?
4K is not just a shorter road race, but a significant increase in picture quality over the current offering of standard High Definition televisions. Without getting too technical, current HD sets provide a resolution of 1920 x 1080, making an image of about 2 megapixels. 4k resolution is 4096 x 2160, but Ultra HD TVs have a resolution of 3840 x 2160, or four times higher than the full HD spec of 1920 x 1080. The take away is that Ultra HD picture quality is a significant bump in picture quality.
Q: Why Are the 4k sets only available in larger sizes?
A higher pixel count allows larger images to be created before they start to break up. Picture resolution is also related to your viewing distance, meaning you can sit closer to a higher-quality display without the pixel grid becoming noticeable. Viewing distance and screen size relate to how much of an immersive viewing experience can be experienced.
The first 4k sets released were 84″ sets from Sony and LG. Smaller sizes, such as 55″ displays are also rolling out. Would it make sense to buy a small 4k TV, even if they were available? Probably not right now; but 4k really pays off with larger televisions. I have seen the Sony 55″ UHD TV, and it was nice, but the 65″ and larger sizes seem to make more sense if you are going to spend the money on a 4k television, at least in my opinion. Of course, as prices adjust this situation is fluid.
Q: I read there is limited content available for 4k TVs, is that true?
Yes, you can only watch The Wiggles or a new 4k channel that only broadcasts synchronized swimming.
Seriously now, this is a completely reasonable question, but the answer is somewhat involved. It is important to remember that as a new technology, the amount of 4k content available is somewhat limited, but that situation is expected to change soon, and there are good reasons to feel confident about the expanding amount of 4k content on the not too distant horizon. There are other benefits of a 4k TV that will make your existing content look even better.
Here is some background info about what you can watch on your 4k TV, and why I wouldn’t worry about a lack of content.
- First, many existing movie cameras already film at 4k and higher resolutions. Most major films and television shows are filmed in 4 or even 5k already.
- Many films are mastered at 4k resolution.
- 4k Blue Ray discs are going to be stunning. The Blue-Ray disc association is apparently still trying to agree on universal standards, but reports state that machinery designed to make 100GB discs is already in production. Industry insiders hint at announcements concerning this exciting new format to be announced soon.
- 4k content is already broadcast on TV. Content in Europe (by satellite) started in early 2013, and the BBC is filing shows for broadcast in 4k, or even 8k. South Korea also has 4k programming, though limited.
- Sony provides a 4k movie vault pre-loaded with movies, and has already introduced their 4k movie download service with 7o titles, and lots more on the way. In fact, there could be more titles available by the time you read this.
- Sony is introducing a 4k video camera for consumers.
- 4k video games are expected to provide amazing detail, and are on the horizon.
And let’s not forget who the big players are in the video market and in terms of movies and other media. With companies such as Sony, Samsung, and LG all clearly on board with 4k, I don’t think we need to worry about a lack of content. When you purchase a 4k TV today, you are future-proofing yourself…at least until the next big thing comes along!
Q: Besides 4k content, are there any real benefits to getting a 4k/ UHD display?
Absolutely! A 4k set does make current programming look better. Greater pixel density makes for a smoother picture, faster frame rates, better contrast, and deeper colors are all real benefits that make for a superior viewing experience. Upscaling technology takes 1080p content and improves it to near 4k quality; meaning you can watch one of your Blue-ray movies on your 4k Ultra HD display and see a better image; but the difference with a non Blue-ray disc is even more noticeable from what I have heard. Haven’t tried that experiment myself yet. Of course having a quality disc player is another important factor to realize this benefit.
Q: Should I buy a 4k TV or not?
If you search the web, you will find plenty of articles that say hold off on a 4k purchase, but check the dates carefully of those articles and posts. Manufacturer’s have already reduced prices of some 4k sets, and more choices are rolling out. Remember years ago when HD first arrived and how much of a “wow!” it was; 4k technology is even a bigger “WOW!” and it is not a gimmick, like many people think of 3D. So, yes…go ahead and buy a 4k TV if you are looking for a larger display (at least 55″) and want to have the best image quality and not be outdated in the near future.
If you want more information about 4k / Ultra High Definition televisions, please call Elite Media Solutions of Wellesley, MA at (781) 237 – 2929.
4K and Ultra HD TV dealer serving Weston, Wayland, Dover, Boston, Sherborn, Medfield, Natick, Newton, Brookline, Winchester, Bedford, Concord, Lexington areas and beyond!