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What is 4K? A Beginners Guide

Though we considered 1080p to be the apex in quality when it comes to viewing home media, 4K televisions have exploded onto the market with a huge improvement in picture quality, size and overall function. Though the technology is not quite as ubiquitous as HDTVs have become (you can purchase a TV in 1080p for less than $300 now), it’s clear it will follow the trend of previous TV innovations and becomes commonplace and less expensive as time goes on. Here are a few some points to consider before investing in one.


Image: RavePub

The primary benefit to 4K is simply more pixels, specifically 8 million more which is 4x the amount pixels a 1080p display can show. To put it into perspective, one 1080p screen will fit into a quarter of a 4K screen as far as pixel count goes. The term “4K” comes from the measurement of the image width, unlike the height, which is typically represented by the “1080p” classification. This may be referred to occasionally as the correct term 2160p, but 4K is much easier to remember and still accurate. Though this seems excessive for home media viewing, the difference in quality cannot be missed. The additional amount of pixels allows for more data, which allows for a clearer and sharper picture.

Image: Cnet

Image: Cnet

Another derivative of 4K is Ultra HD. Ultra HD is a standard of digital cinema and what you typically see when watching a movie at your local theater. While the theater screen will display an image at 4096 x 2160 (4K), Ultra HD will display an image at 3840 x 2160. A slight difference, but with a larger television it will become noticeable. Due to this, some brands classify their TVs as Ultra HD.

Image: TechRadar

Image: TechRadar

Even though the technology is quite new, if you are in the market for a substantial TV purchase, 4K sets should definitely be on your radar and high on your list of considerations. Not only will the higher quality enhance your entertainment, the technology has is benefits in the sphere of productivity. Photographers, graphic designers and anyone working with imaging software such as AutoCAD will benefit from the vast improvement in picture quality. Though most view their work on a larger HDTV, they are being cheated out of the viewing and working with the finer details of their work that only a 4K screen can provide. While 3D TVs made a significant impact on the market, 4K television enter the scene with less gimmicks (WiFi, apps, 3D glasses) and basically no caveats. In short, It’s a sound investment no matter the consumer.

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