What to know before buying a "4K" TV

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When HD came out, people had no clue what the heck it was, they didn't understand it or why it was better. TV manufacturers took advantage of this and intentionally confused people so they would basically buy the wrong TV, find out a year or two later and buy a better one.

Well, I'm gonna tell you everything you need to know about 4K and what UHD actually is since I work with video all the time! If you like technology and find stuff like interesting, your gonna love this. If you hate boring stuff like this, your gonna want to skip to the end!

What does 4K mean?

So in case you didn't already know, all images you see on a computer are made up of little dots. Each dot can produce a color by mixing the colors red green and blue. These dots are very small and square, we call them pixels.

HD as we know it today calls for 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. This produces a rectangular shape where the proportions of the sides are 16:9 We call that number an aspect ratio.

4K as a term by itself means 4096 by 2160 Bigger is better so if you have a choice between HD and 4K you should buy the 4k right? That's all there is to it right?

NOPE!

You see televisions and video have to fall into specific standards which are layed out so that all video looks the same on all screens.

What to know before buying a

Sounds confusing right? Bare with me.

If I show you something that's green and I ask you what color it is, you'll tell me it's green. If I show you something that's red, and ask you what color that is, you'll tell me it's red. But if I show you something else that's a different shade of red and ask you which one is more red, you might run into a problem.

Computers need to be told EVERYTHING. Remember how I said that they make all colors by mixing red green and blue? Well what's red, what's green and what's blue? What's white even? These all have to be defined on a chart which was made in 1931 by some scientists who figured out all the colors visible to the human eye.

What to know before buying a "4K" TV

Information relating to how many colors on this chart a TV can produce, resolution, aspect ratio, frame rate and other things are all defined in the standardization used for all screens around the world.

When HD came out we followed a set of standards called REC.709 It only let us use a small amount of the colors on the chart. It also calls for the 1920 by 1080 resolution as well as 1080 by 720. There was also a distinction between interlaced (i) or the better progressive scan (p)

But now with the new standardization called UHD or REC.2020 as a someone working with the format would know it, we get to use way more of the colors available on this chart.We get to use this many:

What to know before buying a "4K" TV

It also allows for faster frame rates, 8k sized screens (7680 by 4320) and everything is progressive scan by default so that's one less thing to worry about.

What does all that mean for me?

The big take-away here is that there is a difference between saying something supports 4K and something works with UHD. All 4K means is that you have a 4K resolution. UHD means that you're TV is up to date with standards that will noticeably change your viewing experience.

TV manufacturers are gonna slap 4k on everything and try to trick you into thinking it's the same as UHD. But it isn't. Spend the extra money on a UHD television and don't go too cheap on it. It's a brand new technology and it's very expensive. Most cameras on the market, even on the professional level can't comply. It will be a while before regular television is broadcast in UHD so take your time, save up and wait for prices to drop.

What to know before buying a "4K" TV

However, if you belong to a streaming service like Amazon Prime Video you will have a good amount of UHD content. One of the popular examples that has a lot of video people excited is a show called the Grand Tour. Amazon's only demand to the creators of the show was that it follow the UHD format and even in HD the show looks absolutely fantastic.

What to know before buying a "4K" TV

Gimmie the short version, you lost me!

>If you're gonna get a new TV make sure it says UHD, not just 4K. A TV that only says 4K is false advertising.

>UHD will make a very noticeable difference in your experience.

>It's ok to hold off on buying one. Most content does not meet UHD standards and therefore won't look any better on a UHD TV

>You are gonna want to get at least a 54 inch display to take advantage of the technology it has to offer.

Hopefully you guys found this interesting or at the very least helpful. If you have any questions at all about UHD or color spaces or anything at all feel free to ask and I'll do my best!

What to know before buying a "4K" TV
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  • akadatank44
    Very interesting! Probably will never buy one until I have to if I ever have to. I've also heard that the human eye can't really decent a difference between 4K and HD 1080 P. That true?
    • Ali55sven

      it varies the average person can't, lets say a trained fighter pilot can.

    • @Ali55sven Well that's a little tough to explain. So far as resolution goes (the 4k part) you will need a screen that's at least 60 inches to distinguish the difference. But the HDR is a little closer to being true.

      Think about it like this. If you take an image and you blow it up until you see the individual pixels, there will almost certainly be spots where you can barely, if at all see a difference pixel to pixel. But I would be willing to bet anything they're just a little different. Side by side, you won't notice it, but when you're looking at the whole picture it makes everything feel a little more lifelike.

      Think of all the colors in the real world that "we can't distinguish between" we see all the colors, we just can't distinguish the difference side by side. It's similar to when people try to say the frame rate of our eyes.

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