The 4K TV is popularly known as UHD or Ultra HD TV. It is the next best thing in high picture quality capable of displaying 4x the detail of an HD television. However, mist customers are still asking this all too important question: What on earth is a 4K TV?
This guide looks into the ins and outs of a 4K TV.
The 4K can also be termed as a 4K ultra HD TV. It is an extension of its predecessor HDTV in terms of highly detailed picture quality. Watching a 4K TV is possibly the most detailed, fine grained and crystal-clear viewing experience that you will ever encounter (unless they come with something more nuanced).
The resolution of a 4K is 3840 x 2160p which is four times more the resolution as that of a HDTV (1920 x 1080). At times, it may feel like 3D due to intense detail and composure. Mainstream brands offering 4K TVs include:
These 4K TVs are available in a broad category ranging from small and mid-sized to large TVs.
Mostly, these 4K TVS are available in the 40 inch category due to the fact that for appreciating visual spectacle of 4K TV, at least this size is needed. A small screen can’t facilitate the magnificent quality of 4K TV.
Difference between 1080p and 4K
As mentioned earlier, 4K provides four times the resolution offered by 1080p televisions. The file size of a 4K would be huge and would need to be compressed for normal use. Moreover, 4K video needs 1Gbps path for playing a movie without lagging, which in turn requires faster than usual hard drives and top-notch internet connection. Netflix suggests 25Mbps internet connection for playing its 4K video content smoothly.
Moreover, the HDMI connection in traditional televisions may not be fast enough to stream 4K content without lagging; the reason is that most televisions have the old HDMI 1.4 built-in supporting Ultra HD motion movies at 30 frames per second. Using HDMI 2.0 will ensure lag-free video streaming of the favorite movies and TV shows. It supports Ultra HD at 60 frames/ second. Hence, the prospective 4K television must keep this technicality in mind.
4K screen result is obvious on 40-inch televisions. Most viewers did not notice the difference in 720p and 1080p on small screen televisions, but the result becomes instantly clear on 50-inch televisions.
For now, there aren’t any 4K TV channels on cable TV. These TVs can however boost the picture quality of HDTV’s to 4K TV experience including Blu-ray, Freeview HD and DVDs. 4K television is the television of the future with accentuated picture quality; every detail is fine and sharp.
4K television provides the ultimate viewing experience. The picture quality is vibrant and sharp to each pixel. But as the case with HD TV’s, it will take time to weather the storm and there are certain pros and cons to 4K television as examined below.
Netflix is spearheading the 4K industry with 4K content. It’s household products such as House of Cards, Daredevil, Orange is the New Black and Breaking bad are now available in 4K print. Apart from Netflix, there are other avenues of watching 4K content as well. These include FreeView, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. However, the amount of movies and TV shows are still limited.
4K TV Channels
The launching of a 4K TV channel is all the more possible, but the costs are exorbitant compared to launching a normal HD channel. Moreover, not many people have subscribed to 4K TVs yet. Apart from that, introducing 4K TVs into the market poses big challenges in itself.
Slowly and gradually, content is being made for 4K audience. Although it is limited at the moment, the distribution is causing more problems. There was announcements’ of 4K blu-ray players to be launched in the market soon enough. However, those products haven’t surfaced yet. Moreover, BBC is aiming to broadcast its programming in 4K format by 2016, but latest news remains very vague about its adoption in all BBC channels. Sky and BT have also announced 4K transmission in the nearby future with no concrete evidence yet. One option is the Ultra-fix service newly introduced in America during this year provided by many TV brands including Samsung and Sony. The product provides hours of pure 4K content mixed with movies, concert, documentary and sports. But this also product needs further refinement.
At the close of this year, 4K Blu-ray CDs will be available which will be available at obviously at a higher price but the difference in its quality in comparison to blu-ray disc is unknown.
4K Video Streaming
Certain companies have initiated 4K streaming for streaming TV shows like House of Cards and Breaking Bad, but the users need a high speed connection of 15Mpbs or at least 20Mbps to support the capability if 4K TV.
Buying a 4K TV
The prices of 4K TVs are reducing fast and they are also available at amazing deals around Christmas. Whilst buying the 4K TV, keep in mind that it may take time to get returns of this peak performing TV. At present, most TV channels are broadcasting at Full HD 1080p such as Virgin Media, Sky and Freeview which is 4x times short of what 4K TV is capable of. Hence, it will take time for channels to upgrade their broadcasting resolution. Technology is developing which can compress heavy amounts of data for 4K viewing for distribution over multiple channels.
The first HDTV was launched in 1998 and it took a decade for it to become a household commodity, it won’t take 4K TV that long a period to gain a solid footing in the market.
The initial 4K TVs were humongous in size. LG and Sony started out with 84-inch 4K televisions that were priced at $80,000 each. Soon enough, Samsung launched its very own 85-inch 4K television priced at a relatively moderate $55000. The prices have declined dramatically as did the screen sizes. The price war and size war continues between three electronic giants, ultimately helping the customers.
Now, 4K TVs are available for as low as $1000. It is highly advised to buy quality 4K television which can stand the test of time. Opting for higher range televisions for instance 65 inch 4K TV may cost around $3000. They will get cheaper as the time goes by.
Ideal Distance to Sit From a 4K TV
4K TV demand extremely intimate viewing experience in comparison to Full HD. 4K television can be best explained in terms of cinematic experience. Viewers sit at almost 3-5 screen distance away for comfortable viewing.
For viewing 4K at a comfortable distance, the viewer must sit at 1.5 meter away from the screen. This poses the issues of space.
Is 4K OLED TV on the Horizon?
OLED is an abbreviation for Organic Light Emitting Diodes. They have been around for quite a while, but bringing the technology to the big screen is quite an expensive undertaking. The changes of 4K OLED TV are blighted due to its unaffordable cost. On the other hand, OLED technology is much more qualitative and vibrant as compared to 4K TV. Companies such as Samsung and LG are working tirelessly to incorporate OLED in 4K televisions. But the price will be out of reach for the mass market.
8K TV: Too Much to Ask?
An 8K TV is capable of delivering sixteen times the resolution provided that by 1080p TV. Overall, these TVs have 33 million pixels. At present, a Japanese state-owned company NHK aspires to commercialize the technology.
Is 4K TV Worth Buying?
It depends on the user’s requirements and budget. 4K TV is the optimum choice for users bent on high quality viewing experience and willing to pay premium for it. Buying a 4K TV from a top tier corporation would ensure a future viable product. Buying 4K TV is one part of the puzzle. The other part is the 4K viewing content, which would be available in a space of five years or so. Also, ensure that 4K TVs have HDMI 2.0 ports, which would be quite helpful.
On the other hand, it’s worth waiting for 4K TV until they have the proper amount of content available. 4K TVs will get cheaper as the time passes and content will become widespread. Hence, it makes sense to wait.
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