November 14, 2016

4K Ultra HD -Are you ready? Nov 2016

As mentioned above, HDR is the latest tech advancement, and it's really cool. It means a better contrast ratio and richer colors for a more realistic image. Check out how HDR works for more info. All 2016 high-end TVs are also HDR-compatible.

'Ultra HD' vs '4K'

The official industry moniker for this new resolution is Ultra HD. But it's commonly referred to as "4K" or even "2160p." 4K is the cinema standard that deals with a similar resolution (generally 4,096x2160 pixels).

Most people, myself included, would rather just call it 4K. Yes, this isn't strictly accurate, but I'm not nearly pedantic enough to care. Some are. Also, 4K is easier to type and say.

For the record the Consumer Electronics Association, the closest the US TV industry has to an authority in this matter, sees "4K Ultra HD" as a "legitimate use" in line with its guidelines. That catchall term, or some variation thereof, appears to be what most TV makers are using, at least for now.

Higher than HD resolution, and possibly more

To put it simply, Ultra HD is a resolution greater than HD. Resolution on TV screens consists of physical pixels, the tiny dots of light that together form the picture. Look closely (you may need a magnifying glass) and you can see them, but move back to a typical seating distance and they blend together.

Today's 4K TVs almost all have a horizontal resolution of 3,840 pixels and a vertical resolution of 2,160 pixels. A single line of pixels across the screen is 3,840 pixels long, and a line of pixels down the screen is 2,160 pixels long. Multiply those numbers and you end up with more than 8 million, which sounds great when you're trying to sell a new TV.

That's four times as many pixels as most current and older HDTVs with 1080p resolution. Ultra HD also includes cinema 4K (4,096x2,160 pixels) and future resolutions like "8K," or 7,680x4,320.

But for right now, 3,840x2,160 is what matters. If you want to dive in more, check out: TV resolution confusion: 1080p, 2K, UHD, 4K, 8K, and what they all mean.

Four resolutions compared: standard definition; full high definition; and the two kinds of ultra high definition (Quad HD and 4Kx2K).

Photo by CNET

Ultra HD is almost entirely just about this increase in resolution. Resolution is just one part of a good picture, however, and not the most important. What's far more interesting is high dynamic range, or HDR, which we'll get to in the next section.

Can you even see the difference?

Probably not. There's only so much detail the human eye can resolve. If you have 20/20 vision (which is common), sit about 10 feet from your TV (also common), and are buying a typical TV (50 inches or so), you're not going to see the additional resolution. Check out Chris Heinonen's excellent 4K Calculator to see if you can benefit from the extra resolution.

That said, it doesn't matter that much. The prices have fallen so quickly that if you want a mid- to high-end TV, it's going to be 4K.

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up.


Sold Out