4K Ultra HD Emerges

4K UHD TVs

The History of 4K

The Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI) was formed in 2002 by all of the major film corporations. They wanted to create a high standard for digital cinema and ensure quality performance worldwide. The 2K resolution (2048 x 1080) became the standard for cinematography which enhanced the detail on large movie screens. The industry began to explore taking it to the next level. The first 4K camera for cinematographic purposes was commercially released in 2003. YouTube began supporting 4K video uploads in 2010 and in 2011 4K movies were projected at cinemas. The first home 4K home projector was released by Sony in 2012.

What is 4K?

resolutionchart

The standard for high definition today is 1080p (1920 x 1080) or “Full HD”. This is the format of most blu-ray discs, current gen gaming, streaming services and TV broadcasting. 4K Ultra HD (UHD) televisions display up to four times as many pixels (3840 x 2160) as Full HD 1080p. To get a true UHD picture you must have media that is sent to your TV in 4K format. There are many forms of 4K media devices available now such as Ultra HD Blu-ray players, 4K upscale Blu-ray players, PS4 (video only), Xbox One S and PC/Mac (with a video card or hardware that support high resolution). There are also several streaming devices available that display media such as YouTube, Netflix and Vimeo in 2160p format. UHD TVs also have the ability to upscale 720p or 1080p signals providing slightly increased clarity.

4K Media

There are many forms of media that display in UHD format. In order to have a true Ultra HD picture the media being displayed must be in 4k format. If the signal is not from a device or an app that supports this media, it will only be displayed at an upscaled 720p or 1080p on your  UHD TV.

There are several forms of streaming media that support 4K such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Vimeo. Typically you have to select 4K as the resolution in the settings in order to stream at it’s highest quality. Devices like Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Streamsmart Pro and Amazon Fire TV have the ability to stream 2160p content. If your UHD TV has a ‘Smart TV’ feature, you can download streaming video apps directly on your TV and view HD and Ultra HD media. All of these features and devices require internet access.

Ultra HD Blu-ray Logo Ultra HD Blu-ray is another form of 4K media and requires an ‘Ultra HD Blu-ray’ player. ‘Ultra HD Blu-ray’ discs do not work with a regular blu-ray players. Look for the ‘Ultra HD Blu-ray’ logo (displayed above) on the disk and on the outside of the blu-ray player or box to determine if they are compatible. These discs will not work with a 4K upscale blu-ray player which is the most common 4K blu-ray player available now that only enhances 720p and 1080p media.

Playstation 4 and Xbox One S  game consoles are both 4K compatible. They are capable of running most streaming media apps in 4K format and they upscale 1080p games and movies. Xbox One S is the only system capable of ‘Ultra HD Blu-ray’ discs. There are currently no games released in UHD format but both consoles upscale 1080p games. More on HD gaming.

What to look for in a UHD TV

Technology changes often which makes it difficult to keep up with and we don’t want our devices to become outdated too fast. The first line of UHD TVs that were released around 2013 are not compatible with some of the new 4K media that is available now and being released in the near future.

High definition media is now being regulated by HDCP 2.2 (high bandwith digital content protection) technology which was created to prevent illegal copying of HD content. Every component involved including your TV, media player and the disk or file must support HDCP 2.2 in order to view the copyrighted content in Ultra HD. When buying your new UHD TV and Ultra HD Blu-ray player you also want to look for HDMI 2.0a ports. Many devices released with HDMI 2.0 have online updates available to upgrade to HDMI 2.0a.

Upcoming media will also be utilizing a feature called HDR (High Dynamic Range) which enhances color accuracy and expands the range of contrast. It increases the range of how bright and dark colors get throughout every part of the image on the screen giving it a significant increase in depth. WCG (Wide Color Gamut) brings out a wider variety of colors making images more accurate to real life.

  • The Smart TV feature is definitely something nice to look for. You can launch apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Vimeo right from your TV remote. You can also stream in 2160p video on a wireless internet connection.

In Conclusion

These are a few things to look for that will keep your devices up to date for a while. You can enjoy all of the newest devices and features that are on the way without the worry of your new TV becoming ‘dated’ too fast. Refer to FlatScreen 101 for more details of what to look for in your new HDTV.

 

Featured Products:

 

Sony 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV HDR XBR55X850D

See It @ Amazon

Sony 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV (2016 model) XBR55X850D

  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz (Native); Motionflow XR 960 (Effective)
  • Backlight: LED (Edge-Lit)
  • Smart Functionality: Yes
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI (HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0a), 3 USB

 

 

Samsung 3D Wi-Fi 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player UBD-K8500

See It @ Amazon

Samsung 3D Wi-Fi 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player (2016 Model) UBD-K8500

  • 7.1 channel Dolby True HD/DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi
  • HDMI Outputs: 2, Inputs: 1 USB

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9 Comments

  1. I work a couple days a week in Costco, so I pass by the UHD TVs quite often. They are sharp as hell. I can’t even imagine what’s coming next. My own TV is a 2011 Vizio 46″ model. It’s 720 rez.

    Although it is a smart TV, Youtube stopped supporting the 2011 models. I ended up buying a Roku unit and I am now a happy camper once again. I guess, at some point, I’ll be upgrading to a UHD, but by the time I do, they’ll probably be selling UUHD Ultra Ultra High Def) 11,000 pixel models!

    Right now, I seriously think my next step will be a VR headset.

    I have seen the Sony 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV (2016 model) that you feature on this post. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a UHD TV.

    Thanks for the breakdown of the features. Nice post!

    • Hi Hal,

      Your going to need to look for a HDCP 2.2 (regulates copyrighted media) supported TV to stay up-to-date with the streaming media. Then HDMI 2.0a and HDR (high dynamic range) to keep up with the devices. This will keep you in the mix for a while. Most media is converting to these standards over the next few years. I’m sure higher resolutions are coming soon but if you at least have these specs there should be no issues. And those VR headsets look pretty awesome. I can’t wait to see what’s next…

      Thanks for visiting FindMyFlatScreen.com,

      Anton

  2. With the new technology we have today, TVs have certainly come a long way. I bought a Samsung Curved 48inc Smart TV last year, and the picture is absolutely phenomenal. When you’re watching a movie, it actually feels like you’re in the movie itself. 🙂 And of course, I just had to buy a subwoofer and curved soundbar too. 😉

    What do you reckon the next generation of TVs are gonna be like? It will be very interesting to see the advancement in technology over the next few years.

    I’m also looking for a Blu Ray player, so Thanks for the Samsung recommendation.

    Cheers,
    Neil

    • Nice! The curved screen is great for different angles and I know the picture is top notch. The Samsung I recommended is curved as well and it is a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player meaning it can play the new “Ultra HD Blu-ray” discs.

      The next generation will definitely be groundbreaking. 8K is in the works now but as long as you have at least a 4K UHD with HDMI 2.0a your unit won’t be outdated for a while. I’m sure VR will be big for different types of entertainment too.

      Anton

  3. I haven’t had the chance to check out any UHD TVs. Which brands would you recommend for UHD TVs?

    How long would a 4K Ultra HD TV be good for until a better resolution comes out for TVs?

    I have been playing my pc games on a 1080p screen and was wondering if I should replace it with a 4K one.

    • Hi Jason,

      Personally I like Vizio and Sony the best of all the ones I have tried. Samsung and LG have some really great 4K UHD TVs as well. I haven’t had the chance to check out any Toshiba, Philips Hisense etc. The most importantly thing to do is look for the specs you want (check out http://findmyflatscreen.com/flatscreen-101 for help) then look at reviews. See if there is common issues multiple people encounter from the same product. Amazon is great for this.

      As for PC games 4K is the way to go for sure if your video card is capable of putting out a high rez signal. Many PC gamers jumped on 4K TVs as soon as they were available because CPUs put out the sharpest signal at the time.

      I hope this was helpful,

      Thanks for visiting findmyflatscreen.com

      Anton

      • As for how long the next resolution to come out to replace 4K, I know 8K is in the works but if you look for the recommended specs stated in this article you should be up-to-date for a while. Once 8K is released we will have to wait a few more years for 8K media to catch up so we’re talking years before you would need an upgrade,

        Anton

  4. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by all the new technology that are marketed out there, especially in the consumer television market. It’s a good thing that I’ve come across this article.

    Now I understand what this 4k thing is all about. It’s also great that you have covered the devices that is needed to achieve the highest visual quality. Can’t wait to see the next topic that you’re gonna be writing about!

    Great article!

    • Thank you Farhan,

      My goal with this site is to simplify the technical aspects of HDTV technology. I am glad you were able to gain some clarity with this article and if you have any questions let me know,

      Thanks again

      Anton

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