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4K – Ultra High Definition…Whats it all about?

4K Everyone wants it and no one knows why.

It’s the hottest techy buzzword, and it’s a technology that’s rewriting the rulebook when it comes to image quality.

It affects not just the world of 4K TV and cinema, but also cameras and image capture, smartphones and tablets, computer monitors and PC games – practically anything that displays images or records video.

4K TV sets are now available from most of the major TV manufacturers – i.e. Sony’s ultra slim Android TV, Panasonic or Samsung’s SUHD series of TVs – but they’re merely the tip of a very cool technology iceberg.

What is 4K?

The headline fact is simple and dramatic: 4K Ultra HD TVs (also known as UHD TVs) deliver four times as much detail as 1080p Full HD, that’s eight million pixels compared to two million pixels.

4Kdiagram

So standard definition is 576 lines with 720 pixels per line, high definition is 1080 lines with 1920 pixels per line & 4K is 2160 lines with 3840 pixels per line.

SD = Half a million pixels on screen (approximately)

HD = 2 million pixels on screen (approximately)

4K / UHD = 8.2 million pixels on screen (approximately)

But there’s far more to it than just extra pixels…

HDR what’s that?

HDR (High Dynamic Range), a technology that promises even brighter whites and darker blacks.

As the theory goes, the higher the dynamic range of the TV, the more lifelike the picture will look.

HDR is confirmed for UHD Blu-ray discs, you will of course need a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player to play the discs.

HDR has had wide support from hardware manufacturers (Sony, Samsung, Panasonic) and streaming services like Netflix & Amazon.

Quantum Dot

Quantum Dot displays are LED panels with a thin film of nano-crystals in between the backlight and the display.

Manufacturers like Sony & LG both claim that this increases colour depth by around 30%.

Samsung SUHD Curved TV, uses a variation of Quantum Dot.

4K  Broadcasts

4K broadcasts are clearly on many broadcasters radar.

The 2014 World Cup was a guinea pig for 4K filming, with the BBC filming three World Cup matches in 4K Ultra HD, which were sent live from Brazil to the BBC facilities back in the UK.

The trial was set up to help the BBC understand the requirements for sending content over broadband and existing digital TV networks.

Back in September 2013, Sky confirmed it had successfully conducted the UK’s first live 4K broadcast.

A Premier League match between West Ham and Stoke City was filmed in 4K, with the live feed being sent live to Sky’s HQ in Isleworth.

A Sky spokesman said: “As part of this research we have successfully broadcast a test event in Ultra HD. It’s yet another UK first for Sky.”

BT has become the latest sports broadcaster to throw its hat into the ring when it comes to the future distribution of 4K Ultra HD sports content in the UK.

This will be starting August 2015.

Verdict

There’s no denying that 4K content is finally available.

Although the only way is via a stream from NetFlix, Amazon, YouTube or BT Sport.

Broadcast is possible and there is a demo reel broadcast from the Astra satellite.

But everyday stations like BBC or ITV have not yet been confirmed.

Remember that if you want the best right now, then it will be a 4K / UHD model.



Posted in 3D, 4K, Curved, FAQs, LED TVs, News, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, TV, UHD