4K has been a popular word for a long time, aka UHD, Ultra HD, Ultra High Def, 4K resolution. It seems to be the main trend of future TV and video enjoyment. However, many people actuall have very little acquaintance about what is 4K and the relationships between 4K, 4K display, 4K TV, and 4K video. In this post, we would like to deliver a detailed introduction on these terms and let you know more about 4K.
What is 4K or what is 4K resolution? 4K, also called 4K resolution, refers to a display device or content having horizontal resolution on the order of 4,000 pixels and vertical resolution on the order of 2000 pixels. 4K resolution is 2160 rows and 3840 columns of pixels (3840×2160). Several 4K resolutions exist in the fields of digital television and digital cinematography. In the movie projection industry, Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) is the dominant 4K standard. In television and consumer media, 4K UHD or UHD-1 is the dominant 4K standard. By 2015, 4K television market share had increased greatly as prices fell dramatically during 2014 and 2015. By 2025, more than half of US households are expected to have a 4K-capable TV (2160p), which would be much faster than the adoption curve of FullHD (1080p). （from 4k wikipedia.）
There are two main 4K resolution standards:
YouTube and the television industry have adopted UHD-1 as its 4K standard and UHD-2 for NHK/BBC R&D’s 7680×4320 pixels UHDTV 2 with their basic parameter set is defined by the ITU BT.2020 standard.
4K resolution means 3840×2160 pixels, while 1080P is 1920×1080 pixels. Obviously, 4k has four times as many pixels as 1080p. This means it should have a clearer picture. But the fact is that you need to play 4K video on 4K TV, then you could get the real 4K picture quality. If you play 4K video on 1080P TV, or play 1080P video on 4K TV, you won’t get improved picture quality. You get the real 4K video enjoyment only if:
That’s to say, you need to meet 3 things to tell the differences between 4K and 1080P: device, content and distance.
You will clearly see the advantages of watching 4K content on 4K device over 1080P content on 1080P device. The 4k image is smoother, and has more detail than the 1080p image. Look closely and you’ll see that the edges around objects in the 1080p picture are noticeably more jagged. The difference is because the higher pixel count of a 4k screen allows for a more natural representation of the picture, with smoother outlines for distinct objects and added detail in the image.
How about watching 1080P content on 4K device vs. viewing 1080P content on 1080P device? 4K TV will automatically upscale 1080P content for 4K display. However, though the 4K TV allows more pixels to display, since the source 1080P content has no more fixels to fill the 4K TV, there isn’t any more detail in the upscaled picture than you can see in the native 1080p picture. The image quality won’t change. So whether or not it looks better is entirely subjective. Therefore, we may come into the conclusion that a 4K TV doesn’t improve the picture quality of lower quality content like 1080p Blu-rays.
Meanwhile, distance would also influence the movie watching experience. 4K TV often requires you to sit nearer for better effect (the real distance should be determined by the size of your 4K TV or 4K display), while the 1080P TV should require you to sit a little bit farther than that of 4K.
What is 4K display? It’s not difficult to know. As its name sugggests, a 4K display could be simply considered to be a display that could display native 4K content without lossing any pixel. A 4K display may refer to 4K display for computer, 4K TV and others. While a 4K TV is a TV with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, more than 8 million pixels in total, which is four times the number in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080). You’ll see the names 4K, Ultra HD, UHD and even 4K Ultra HD being banded about – but they all refer to the same thing.
All the big brands, including Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony, now offer large ranges of 4K TVs – from entry-level models priced under £1,000 to monster sets costing many thousands of pounds. 4K TVs are big screen models of 40-inches or over. This is because to really appreciate the higher picture quality you need to watch it on a large TV, as it’s rather lost on a small screen.
Very obviously, a 4K video, aka 4K UHD video or UHD 4K video in general, is a video that resolution has standardized to 3,840 by 2,160. Digital cinema 4K (the resolution in 4K movie theaters) is slightly higher at 4,096 by 2,160. A 4K video is four times the number of pixels of a 1080p video.
Though it’s believed that 4K is the future trend, there are big challenges to get 4K movie enjoyment into home. Since currently you have very few 4K content resources. So, where to get 4K content to play on your 4K TV or 4K display?:
Obviously, to watch 4K videos at home, you could either purchase a 4K TV and 4K TV channels, or make use of 4K display for computer and 4K video player to play or stream 4K videos to the 4K displays. Without doubt, according to current market preferrences, the 4K would become the next main trend of TV industry. It would not be a bad idea to have one.