The techy buzzword of 2015 is undoubtedly 4K. We’ve had our eyes on 4K for a while and it seems as though everyone wants it but very few seem to know why they want it. It’s not just about seeing Bond’s Aston Martin flying over rooftops as if you were 10 meters away and as with any innovation, it’s not without its issues.
What is 4K?
Let’s start with “Full HD”. Full HD is pretty much the standard today and denotes a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 (around 2 million pixels). 4K screens arrange 8 million pixels in a 4096 x 2160 configuration. So basically speaking, 4K has 4 times more detail than Full HD.
But what about Ultra HD?
Ultra HD (UHD) and 4K are increasingly being used interchangeably to describe the same thing. There is a slight difference. UHD does give 4 times the resolution of Full HD but has slightly less pixels jammed into the same area (3840 x 2160). Brands are therefore choosing to label under UHD rather than 4K.
So what’s good about it?
Starting with the obvious, the image clarity is far superior to any Full HD screen. The detail is finer, the picture is smoother and the depth is greater. Colour spectrums are wider and you experience better graded brightness and contrast.
In the same way that Full HD is better than standard definition, 4K makes the picture easier for the viewer to look at. It’s like looking through a window, rather than on a TV screen.
What’s not so good?
The next thing to get your head around is that simply buying a 4KUHD TV won’t mean a sudden difference in viewing quality when you sit down with your takeaway to watch Strictly Come Dancing on a Saturday night.
A 4KUHD TV will use clever processing to upscale FullHD to 4K pixel count. However, to fully appreciate you need a 4K native source. And that’s where current problems lie. There isn’t a lot of native 4K content available yet.
There aren’t yet any 4K TV Channels, no 4K disc format and current Sky and BT Boxes are incompatible with 4K. Netflix offer Breaking Bad and House of Cards in 4K – and the 4K versions will be automatically loaded if you are watching Netflix via your 4KUHD TV app. Amazon Prime are starting to catch on and BT Sport have recently introduced ‘BT Sport Ultra HD’.
The issues are to do with bandwidth, storage space and data quantities. The industry is researching ways to overcome these technical difficulties and we predict that we will see a huge influx of 4K content in 2016.
4K & Mobiles
It’s well argued that to fully appreciate the super-high-resolution 4K, your TV screen has to be at least 55 inches.
Is it a little pointless that you can now get a 4K screen on your 5 inch Mobile Device? Sony is one of the brands offering just that and we’re not sure your eyes will be able to tell much difference. The extra pixels will require additional power to light up so a 4K phone screen may just mean a hotter, slower phone with a worse battery life.
With mobile devices, we think it’s all about the 4K camera capability. You’ll be able to capture and upload native 4K content to watch on your 4KUHD TV and the picture definition will be stunning.
The future – 8K
If 4K is 4 times Full HD, 8K will deliver 16 times the definition. It’s beyond anything that is currently available. Japanese state owned NHK have pledged to shoot and transmit the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K, but it’s predicted that you’ll need at least an 84-inch screen to appreciate the footage. Better start saving now!
2016. The year of 4K Content.
We are so excited to be researching into buying our first ever 4K camera. We’ll be able to shoot our client’s videos in even more detail, depth and colour. We’re also self-confessed film geeks, so the thought of common 4K excites us. A lot.
We just hope that 2016 is the year of native 4K content. In order to make best use of the beautiful 60-inch TVs we see on display, there has to be a real focus on making 4K content readily accessible, downloadable and viewable. 4K is going to impact everything. From cinema screens and TV content to tablets, PCs and gaming. Basically anything that displays images or videos. Don’t worry though, we’ll keep you up to date on the 4K revolution!
Watch the ‘Celebrate Every Detail’ advert from Sony here (be sure to change the settings to watch 2160p 4K!) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjssgbBeZuw
As always, we’d love to hear from you. Have you upgraded to a 4K TV yet? Can you see much difference? Leave a comment below!