A lot of companies are coming out with 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions and comparing it with 1080p resolution, but what does it all mean? Why does it matter to you? How does it compare to the technology we’re using now? Let’s take a look.
4K UHD TVs boast a resolution of 4096 × 2160, 4K stands for the 4000 pixels across screen, in total there are 8 million pixels on screen; that’s 4 times more than what the current HD 1080 TVs have. Since there are more pixels on the screen, it produces a sharper picture on which you can see more detail and better colors, it’s truly spectacular. While the verdict is still out whether you can tell the difference on smaller screens, it makes a noticeable difference on large displays.
Well, there’s no point in buying a UHD TV if there’s no content for it. Currently, there’s very little support out there for 4K as broadcasting channels in such a large resolution isn’t cost effective. Then there is the price of a 4K UHD TV itself, the large panels are going to be too expensive for the masses to buy right away, but the price should come down after a while as it is with any new technology.
It isn’t all negative though, there are breakthroughs being made, Sony has promised to come up with a platform to deliver 4K content, and release movie titles in UHD on blu-ray. Qualcomm and Nivida’s new chipsets will enable users to capture and play content in 4K on tablets and smartphones. YouTube has been experimenting with a few 4K videos for the past few years, check out the video below. Click the quality menu and set it to ‘original’.
Due to its immense size, 4K content is extremely bandwidth intensive, and if you’re worried that 4K content will bring the network down, worry not; The High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a new codec designed to compress the data size of 4K content to the size of Full HD content that we stream today: we get 4 times the quality at the same for the same amount of data as Full HD, it will soon become the new video streaming standard.
We’re also on the verge of new gaming consoles, it is widely speculated that the fourth generation PlayStation, PlayStation Orbis, is going to support 4K as well, it’s pretty likely that their rivals will follow suit.
Bringing 4K to the market will be an uphill battle, we have just arrived at the foothills, and with the push from the manufacturers at CES 2013, we’ve taken our first steps; there’s a long journey ahead. The success of 4K UHD will depend of how much content is made available in the coming years, now, we just have to wait and see.